Love spending time with nature? Check out these 4 parks close to Beaufort County
Beach. Forest. History. Nature.
There are many things you can add to this list, especially if you are talking about things to experience and enjoy at South Carolina’s Edisto Beach State Park.
Located between Beaufort and Charleston on one of the many sea islands that line the coast like an emerald necklace of natural wonders, Edisto Beach State Park has been a travel destination for locals and visitors around the world for nearly a century.
Today it is one of the easiest state parks to access and one where you are sure to encounter myriad different environments and activities that you will be hard pressed to experience all in just one day.
Whether you want to get out into nature or simply hang out on an undeveloped beach and soak up the Carolina sunshine, Edisto Beach State Park is the place for you.
Built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (or CCC) Edisto Beach State Park began like several other South Carolina state parks as a works project during the Great Depression. Deeded to the state as a public park, it quickly became an ideal spot for families, fishermen and vacationers to come camp in its rustic cabins or under the swaying palmettos of the beachfront campground.
The community of Edisto Island lies just outside the gate and the growing beachfront community and popular state park were soon entwined.
Today, Edisto Beach State Park covers 1,255 acres of oceanfront as well as an airy forested portion located half a mile inland, providing access to a diverse ecosystem of beach, marsh and forest that make up the Sea Islands.
When you visit Edisto Beach State Park you check in and begin your tour near the beachfront campground and ocean access that is enjoyed by long-term and day-use visitors. Over a mile and a half of undeveloped beach can be strolled for some of the best shelling in the region, or you can stake out a spot of your own to fish or soak up the sun.
There are places for picnicking and other pastimes but camping is by far one of the most popular activities. Over 200 campsites accommodate tent and RV camping, but the popularity of the park sees that these fill up fast.
The wooded, inland portion of the park is accessed behind the main island where shaded campsites nestle in the songbird and seabreeze-filled forest of pine, live oak and palmetto. Here, nearly 5 miles of level, sandy, ADA-accessible hiking trails take you along the island and marsh to historic “Spanish mount,” a 4,000-year-old Native American shell midden that legend has it bears its conquistador name due to it being a stopover for Spanish explorers in colonial days.
The trees are filled with wrens, warblers, woodpeckers and other birds and in the undergrowth the rustle of toads, glass lizards and raccoons make their way.
Edisto Beach State Park also has a state-of-the-art education and interpretive center. Built with “green technology,” it presents the natural history of Edisto and the surrounding Lowcountry.
My family and I have visited Edisto Beach State Park many times over the years and recently spent a day there hiking the trails and enjoying several hours on the wide, sandy beach. At the end of a long day it was a happy ride home with memories to share and a desire to return and experience more.
Few places in the Lowcountry offer such a diverse experience that is fun for all ages and levels of experience.
Edisto Beach State Park is located about an hour from Beaufort County on Edisto Island and is open all year.
To get there, take U.S. 17 toward Charleston for 30 miles. Take a right onto S.C. 174 and follow signs for Edisto Island. At the small crossroads of Adams Run turn right to stay on S.C. 174. Edisto Beach State Park is 18 miles further on the left as the highway enters the beachfront community of Edisto Island.
Edisto Beach State Park is at 8377 State Cabin Road, Edisto Island, S.C., and a day-use admission is charged for all visitors. Cost is $5 per adult, $3.25 for S.C. seniors, $3 per child age 6-15 and free for kids 5 and younger.
There are programs and activities all year long including sea turtles, ecology tours of nearby Botany Bay preserve and many other things.
For camping, it is best to reserve well in advance.
For more info, including times, storm effect inquiry and other access, call 843-869-2756.