South Carolina’s Edisto Island and Its Beaches a ‘Hidden Gem’
If you’re looking for a beach getaway this summer, but you’re also keen on skipping the crowded shorelines, noise and trash — look no further than to a destination that travel writers call “a hidden gem” among American beaches. It’s South Carolina’s Edisto Beach just off the shore of the Palmetto State. The beaches are on Edisto Island, categorized as a sea island. Some call this region one of America’s “best-kept secrets” because it remains largely uncommercialized and the beaches are all public. That means you can wander off wherever you want and not worry about straying onto a private beach.
Edisto displays a remarkable environment because it’s almost like visiting a lush tropical island, complete with swaying palm trees and white-sand beaches, but you never have to leave mainland United States to get there. Part of the Island lies in Charleston County while the southern tip extends into Colleton County.
The closest fly-in location is the Charleston International Airport which is exactly 46 miles to the center of the island, so less than an hour’s drive.
Some History and Background
Edisto is named for a former Native American tribe called the Edisto. These people maintained fishing enclaves on the island and traded with the upcountry Catawba Tribe. Europeans began settling the island in the late 1690s and soon established rice farms. That formed the basis of trade, along with lumber and deerskins.
Later, large rice plantations dominated Edisto Island that were worked by African slaves. That remained the case until the Civil War, altering the trajectory of the habitation of Edisto ever since. A rich culture of African Americans developed here characterized by a unique form of Creole called the Gullah Language. That linguistic influence can be noticed here to present times.
Although Edisto is a sea island, you don’t have to take a boat to get to it because it’s connected to the mainland by the magnificent 5,584-foot Dawhoo River Bridge. It is part of the Edisto Island National Scenic Byway which is Highway 174. When you arrive at the island end of the bridge you’re practically on the beach!
Don’t be surprised if you can find an isolated beach location that’s all for you. Crowds are rare here. Traffic is light and Edisto Beach has no hotels, although it’s easy to rent a charming beach cottage. This is an area that combines oceanfront scenery, saltwater marshes with low country oaks for a background.
Yes, the fishing is great, including shore fishing. You can book a boat tour that will explore the creek and marsh areas that sprawl through the landscape. There is a lot of other things to do as well, such as renting a canoe or kayak – you can also rent a launch to take you offshore for ocean fishing. Well-groomed bike paths abound on the island.
Finally, not far from Edisto Beach are intriguing places to shop and a selection of eateries that offer authentic and delicious local foods based on culinary traditions developed around Edisto over the centuries.
Interested in making this beautiful place your home. Give Lisa Weslake a call for help finding your home in the Beaufort area.
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