South Carolina’s Lowcountry is known for its serene landscapes, meandering waterways and expansive marsh views. Some of Charleston’s most sacred resources are its iconic beaches that line the Atlantic Coast and are enjoyed by locals and visitors year-round. With several nearby beaches to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one to visit. In this William Means Guide to Lowcountry Beaches we’ve curated unique, off the beaten path destinations that are must do’s for your summer bucket list!
Morris Island – Located on the southern entrance of the Charleston Harbor is Morris Island. This 840-acre island is only accessible through aquatic transportation. It is the site of the Morris Island Light, a red and white striped lighthouse that was built in 1876 and is the tallest of its kind in the state. If boat access is not an option, you can view this once lived on island and historic landmark from afar at the North edge of Folly Beach.
Breach Inlet – Separating Isle of Palms from Sullivan’s Island is the scenic Breach Inlet. This historic landmark was once the site of a Revolutionary War battle where Colonel William Thompson stopped British troops from invading the neighboring islands. In honorable recognition, the inlet is also referred to as the Thompson Park at Breach Inlet and is a popular destination for local surf fishing. Because the riptide and currents are so strong, swimming is not permitted. However, it is worthwhile to walk the beach while searching for shells and sharks teeth. The rapid, inward tides bring in an influx of underwater species making it a destination feeding area for dolphins and porpoises alike. Catch a sunset or beautiful sunrise from Breach Inlet while watching the dolphins swim by!
Bulls Island – Commonly referred to as “Bone-Yard Beach,” Bulls Island is one of several barrier islands located within the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Cape Romain was established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge and comprises a 22-mile stretch along the Atlantic Coast. This 66,267-acre preserve can only be accessed through aquatic transportation. Visit Bulls Island by boat, kayak or the ferry that launches from Garris Landing. Experience the sun-drenched trees and roots while enjoying the sweeping ocean views or relax and observe the egrets, pelicans and endangered wood storks. If you are looking for a unique nature experience, Bulls Island at Cape Romain is the ultimate, day filled adventure.
Botany Bay Plantation – Pack a picnic and head South to one of our absolute favorite Lowcountry destinations. Managed by South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources, with admissions covered from annual hunting permits, Botany Bay is the perfect outdoor retreat. Upon entering the nature preserve, you are greeted by a breathtaking Oak Alley lined road that sets the scene for this quintessential Southern landscape. This nearly 5,000-acre property includes walking trails, fishing areas and a spectacular driftwood beach that is great for beachcombing and exploring. It also includes a driving tour that exhibits some of the plantation’s original structures. Botany Bay is abundant in wildlife as it is rich in picturesque views and totally worth the short drive out of town.
Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah Island, Folly Beach and Isle of Palms are well-known local beaches in the Charleston area. If you are looking for more of a beach town atmosphere, these areas offer the convenience of local shops and restaurants all in their own unique way. We hope our William Means summer guide will lead you on a quest to explore the Lowcountry and all the beautiful beaches it has to offer.
Sources: Post & Courier, Botany Bay – SC Picture Project, Cape Romain – SC Picture Project, Save the Light