A Summer Lowcountry SC Road Trip: The Places You Have To Visit

Botany Bay SC

If you haven’t taken one already, now’s the time for a Lowcountry SC road trip. The “Lowcountry” is the 200-mile stretch of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Composed of tidal marshes, rivers, estuaries, and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s an area with many towns and cities that you can roadtrip through. It’s a drive that should be made slowly, in true summertime Southern style. Set aside your vacation days, pack up the car, and head down the Carolina coast. Stops in places like Pawleys Island and McClellanville, ACE Basin and Beaufort. Here’s what we think you should pull off to see.

Pawleys Island Pier

Lay back at this fishing pier located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Pawleys is known for encouraging a lifestyle of ease, free of both your worries and shoes. Crabbing in nearby creeks, fishing, sharing ghost-stories about rumored hauntings, hammock lounging, and enjoying the beach are all everyday activities at this haven of a destination.

McClellanville

Pass through McClellanville, a quaint, Spanish moss-draped fishing town just far enough from the buzzing city of Charleston to provide guests with a quiet, relaxing experience. McClellanville was established in 1706 as a portion of St. James-Santee Parish, and today, its history of rice plantations, grand architectural homes and buildings, and rich culture remains woven throughout the area. McClellanville has a population of less than 1,000. Guests can enjoy a peaceful stroll through the fishing docks and piers, where bodies of water promise bountiful fish. The nearby Francis Marion National Forest offers even more beautiful scenery.

Lowcountry road trip
Photo credit Jamey Price

Francis Marion National Forest

Located just north of Charleston, this 258,864 acre national forest attracts recreationalists. This is a must-stop while on your SC road trip for those who enjoy everything from hiking, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, off-road motorcycling, to ATV-riding to name a few. Steeped in history, the forest is named after Revolutionary War officer Francis Marion. It offers a unique experience to those who adventure through it.

Downtown Charleston

As the oldest and largest city in South Carolina, Charleston features cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and pastel antebellum houses with an unmatched elegance. Character, color, and charm are particularly prominent in the French Quarter and Battery districts. Head over to the Battery promenade or Waterfront Park to view the Charleston Harbor. Brush up on your history at Fort Sumter, also located near the water, where the first shots of the Civil War sounded.

lowcountry road trip
Photo credit Jamey Price

Angel Oak Park

Admire the age and beauty of the largest oak tree east of the Mississippi at Angel Oak Park in James Island, South Carolina. At approximately 300 to 400 years old, the Angel Oak receives nearly 40,000 visitors each year. Sit under the shade with a book or picnic in the 17,000 square feet of shade this Southern Live Oak tree offers. Then continue further south on your SC road trip to one of our favorite places in the state.

Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area

Spark your curiosity with this 4,600-acre wildlife preserve located on Edisto Island in South Carolina. Resilient through the Civil War, a fire, and the boll weevil (an insect with the ability to destroy cotton), this plantation has a rich history and story. Ruins, maritime forest, freshwater ponds, historical buildings, trails, and the beach provide an experience unlike anything else for you and the family.

Edisto Beach State Park

Grab your leash and furry friend to go enjoy this dog-friendly beach located 50 miles south of Charleston. Get outside with a Botany Bay tour, fishing excursion, boat ride, picnic, swim, bird watch, bike ride, or hike. The park offers the state’s longest system of ADA trails.

lowcountry road trip
Photo credit Jamey Price

Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge

Grab some comfortable shoes and head to the 11,815-acre portion of the ACE Basin area in Lowcountry South Carolina. Try something new with archery, hunting, picnicking, fishing, canoeing, environmental education, or photography during your adventure.

Beaufort

Before Bluffton, stop for a few hours in the town of Beaufort. Founded by the British in 1711, Beaufort, South Carolina boasts the amazingly conserved Gullah culture of Beaufort’s African-slave-descended citizens, and the various related historical sites that populate the quaint coastal town. Beaufort now offers exciting opportunities to golf, fish, bike, kayak, and soak in oceanside sunshine. However, the city’s defined history and its dedication to preserving the diverse wildlife make this unlike your typical coastal town. Refuel with Blackstone’s Cafe.

Palmetto Bluff and Bluffton

Call Bluffton home for what’s nearing the last leg of your trip. One truth about the South is that time simply moves slower, and that couldn’t be more true for Bluffton. A staple of the Carolina Low Country, Bluffton is perched above Savannah, Georgia on the mouth of the May River. This is a town with a tight bond to the water, the beaches, and the accompanying way of life.

Although a recent surge in development has made it the fastest growing town in South Carolina, Bluffton still has history to show, and in spades. Old Town in particular weaves the modern face of a long standing town with the strong, weathered churches and homes that have anchored the town since the mid 1800’s. Rent a local home or go all out and stay at the nearby Montage resort, for what’s arguably the best luxury lodging experience in the greater area.