My family has been vacationing on Edisto Island for at least twenty years now, and it’s easily one of my favorite places on earth. Growing up, I always dreamed that I might live close to Edisto, but when I moved to Charleston, I was closer than I ever thought possible.
Tucked between Seabrook Island and Hunting Island, Edisto seems to have been forgotten by time. Unlike many other South Carolina barrier islands, Edisto has been practically untouched by commercialization. If you’re looking for lots of shopping, tons of restaurant options, and luxury resort accommodations, Edisto is NOT for you. If, however, you enjoy peace, tranquility, and relaxation, it might be your cup of tea.
If you’re living in Charleston or simply visiting, Edisto is an easy day-trip. Just seventy-five minutes south of the Holy City, Edisto sits at the end of Hwy 174. Ryan and I recently took a quick day trip, and I felt so relaxed and at peace when I left. Of course, Edisto holds many cherished memories for me, but I think it is capable of de-stressing anyone.
I decided to put together several quick recommendations for a day-trip to Edisto Beach:
- Ride bikes. You can either bring your own or rent bikes for the day from one of the several bike-rental companies on the island. Edisto has a great bike path down on the southern end of the island, but I also love to ride up and down each street, admiring the houses. If you don’t like looking a beach houses (which I do, because I dream of owning one some day), this might not be the best activity for you!
- Play in the ocean. Edisto often has some large waves, so if you enjoy boogie-boarding or body-surfing, the is the place for you. *Note: you need to go to the beach somewhere between the 1000 and 2500 block of Palmetto Boulevard because that’s usually where the waves are the best. If you drive down to where the island curves around towards the inlet, the waves are almost non-existent.
- Tour some rental houses. Many people don’t know it, but the vacation rental companies will actually allow you to take keys to the rental houses and tour them, as long as they’re unoccupied. This is a great way to check out a house you might want to rent or simply satisfy your curiosity about what the exterior of a house looks like.
- Eat at the Waterfront or the Sea Cow. Both restaurants have been island institutions for years, and if you’re looking for some delicious fried shrimp, the Waterfront is definitely the best spot. For a quick lunch, though, the Sea Cow is great. It’s such a cute little island cafe, and their beer-battered french fries are seriously some of the best french fries I’ve ever had. Be sure to check out their selection of desserts, too. You won’t regret it!
- Watch a sunset on the St Helena Sound. The St Helena Sound is such a quiet, peaceful spot. It’s the perfect place to bring your chairs and watch the sun setting. Sometimes, a pod of dolphins will grace beachgoers with their presence and slice through the water as the sun is sinking in the sky. *Note: Take mosquito repellant! You’ll thank me later!
- Visit the Edistonian Gift Shop & Gallery. This gas station/gift shop is a great place to pick up a souvenir t-shirt AND stock up your cooler with snacks and drinks for a day at the beach. The same people have been working in this gas station for years, and I get an odd sense of coming home every time I walk in.
Edisto is a beautiful place—truly one of my favorite spots in the Lowcountry. If you ever get a chance to vacation there, I highly recommend it. But remember, Edisto is not for everyone, so if you’re looking for commercialization and don’t enjoy sitting on the beach, it’s probably not for you.
If you do appreciate it, though, you’re part of a special club—a club of people who know how to enjoy one of South Carolina’s rarest gyms.
♥ Emma ♥