June 2020 Issue
Story and photography by Jacie Elizabeth Millen
The Lowcountry of South Carolina is known to be common stomping grounds for vacationers. With the incredibly beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants and scenic nature views that never fail to awe, it’s no wonder people flock to get their needed dosage of the Lowcountry. The usual itinerary includes a short list of activities: Beach, Harbour Town, ice cream and a tourist trap restaurant or two. Sometimes vacations, or just daily, local life can lack spice, or adventure as we would like to put it. Here is your locals guide to put that extra pep in your step while on vacation or just plain living the dream.
Take a step back into history
When people think of the Lowcountry they think, vacation, beaches, but never stop to realize that there is history here just as much as other historically relevant areas of South Carolina. Throughout Beaufort county, there are historic monuments, ruins and museums that bring the roots of the Lowcountry to life. A few to be mentioned are:
The Historic Mitcheleville Freedom Park, the first self-self-governed town of formerly enslaved people in the US; The Stoney-Baynard Ruins in Sea Pines on Hilton Head features remnants of pre-civil war plantation living in the deep South, growing luxurious Sea Island cotton; The Garvin-Garvey House is a Freedman’s cottage in Bluffton, next to the Bluffton Oyster Company; Penn Center which is the heart of the SC Sea Islands, is the site of the former Penn School, one the the United States first schools for formerly enslaved individuals; or the beautiful and majestic Old Sheldon Church ruins in North Beaufort. All these historic sites have stories of how this part of South Carolina started and became what it is today. They help bring the view of Southern roots to whomever visits them, making visitors fall more in love with this nook of SC.
Daufuskie Island is a small island off the coast of Hilton Head, a place that can only be described to have a soul that beats to its own drum. With its “off the beaten path” mentality, it is a hidden gem of the Lowcountry. Daufskie offers experiences and history like no other. The famous writer, Pat Conroy, was a staple to the Daufuskie community and has left his mark on the island to be shared. Daufuskie is also known for their beautiful beaches and delicious restaurants: Lucy Bell’s Cafe and Old Daufuskie Crab Company, where you can grab a known favorite cocktail, the “Scrap Iron.” Daufuskie Island is no better place to spark a day of adventure, especially since the only way to get there is by ferry or private boat.
Reeling in the Fun
Beaufort county is known for its beautiful views county-wide, but not everyone gets to experience what the water views have to offer fully. One way to dive right into adventure on the water is to go on a chartered fishing trip. Whether you catch a nice big redfish, shark, stingray or a sunburn, this adventure will help you get the full spirit of the salt life and likely come face to face with a myriad of wildlife. This is a perfect adventure for the whole family, too.
A New Point of View
On Hilton Head, there’s no shortage of family-friendly things to do, but if you’re wanting to add a thrilling and energizing activity, be sure to add the Zipline HHI and Aerial Adventure Park to your Lowcountry adventure bucket list! With their two hour tours, you will fly on an eco-adventure zipline tour that soars you through the trees, surrounded by stunning views of the water, marshes and beautiful boats along the Broad Creek. Zipline Hilton Head also offers a “playground in the sky,” with 50 in-the-tree challenge activities on six different ability courses! This is an adventure you will want to “zip” off your list first.
Waterway into Adventure
Fishing charters do not hold a monopoly on the adventure paths to our beautiful waters. There are so many more activities to discover and try out. Being a tourist paradise, Beaufort County is loaded with rental companies to provide whatever literally floats your boat. Jet skis, parasailing excursions, kayaking tours, standup paddleboarding, Craig Cat adventures, Dolphin Cruises, paddleboard yoga, dinner cruises, sunset sails—the list of what can be experienced in and on our beautiful waterways goes on! These activities really let you experience the waters up close and personal, rather than a quick view when driving over bridges.
“Hunting” for an adventure
Hunting Island State Park is one of the most popular state parks in South Carolina, attracting more than a million visitors each year, as well as a vast array of land and marine wildlife. Five miles of pristine beach access, 5000 acres of incredible marsh and maritime forest, and a beautiful ocean inlet are all what lures in its guests. Being the only lighthouse in South Carolina that is publicly accessible, this attracts even more visitors. Lunging the 167 steps up the lighthouse is worth the stunning view of what Coastal South Carolina has to offer, making it an adventure in itself. Hunting Island does not have to be just a day trip either. There are campsites and cabins offered, as well. One unique feature about Hunting Island is the array of wildlife that also joins the fun. In the summer months, loggerhead turtles can be found nesting on the shores. This island doesn’t just bring joy to humans, but also to special inhabitants like alligators, deer, snakes, and a vast variety of bird species. This is a Lowcountry paradise for everyone to adventure on—especially for majestic sunrises.
A high attraction the Lowcountry also offers is the incredible amount of golf courses that are rooted here. Watching Tiger rule the green on TV is fun, but not as much fun as getting out on the range yourself. There are more than 30 public golf courses within Beaufort County lines awaiting your presence. Whether you’re an amatuer, or a self-proclaimed pro, golfing is a fun activity that anyone can enjoy. It might be playing the safe side of adventure, but still quite fun and pleasurable.
Beaufort county could be considered one of the best places to bring your bike, especially with 125 miles of multi-use paths on Hilton Head Island, with an additional 12-miles of bikeable beach. There is no way a nice bike ride around the Island can’t curb your adventure apetit. Bike trails give you a different view of the island while getting in some major exercise. See if you can find where you travel under 278 to get to the other side!
Find a hidden bar
Beaufort County is “crawling” with restaurants and bars that will make you come back for more. Long time famous bars like Pool Bar Jim’s on Hilton Head, Bluffton Oyster Company in Old Town Bluffton or Hemingway’s in Beaufort are iconic gems known for their amazing cocktails that are like no other. Try a new drink, maybe switch it up with a new spot you wouldn’t think to go to, dare to find the best margarita in the Lowcountry, or the coldest brew! Be adventurous and order a drink… or two (wink. wink.)