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South Carolina coast offers more than sun and sand

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By Wayne Lazarus on July 20th, 2010

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

If some white sand and waves are on your mind this summer, it might be time to visit South Carolina. With its lowcountry culture and deep sense of history, there’s a lot more to do here than slather on sunscreen and shake out gritty towels.

In Beaufort, for example, take a horse-drawn carriage tour of this quaint coastal town, which will celebrate its 300 birthday in 2011. Itplantation house has both Revolutionary War history and Civil War history. Many plantation houses are still visible as Sherman spared this town on his march to the sea. One of the earliest schools for freed slaves was established here in 1862. The Penn Center, now a museum and cultural center, considers itself both a link to the past and a bridge to the future.

Daufuskie Island, reachable only by private boat or public ferry, was the site of native American homes, a Spanish settlement and later occupation by Union forces during the Civil War. It became home to freed slaves, so the Gullah tradition exists here still. The island was made famous in the book The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy, and was the site of filming for the movie Conrack, based on the book.

beachIn addition to beach, South Carolina’s lowcountry has maritime forest, freshwater wetlands and salt marsh, all of which offer plenty of opportunities to fish, birdwatch or just observe nature. Rent a boat, take a guided tour or see the wildlife from water level in a kayak trip through the marshes. The area is bounded by the Edisto River, the state’s longest blackwater river, and site of the Edisto Canoe and Kayak Trail Carolina Heritage Outfitters offers canoe and kayak rentals for self-guided tours or guided trips.

Golfers will find plenty of challenging and beautiful courses in this part of the state. The Heritage Golf Tournament is held every April on Hilton Head Island in Sea Pines. For non-golfing spouses, there are boutiques, art galleries and outlet shopping available. The beauty of the area has attracted many artists, and the best of their work is available at the South Carolina Artisans Center in Walterboro, including sweet grass baskets, ceramics, jewelry and paintings.

(Photos courtesy Lowcountry Tourism Commission. Used with permission.)

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