Hidden Gem: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Edisto Beach, SC
Skip the crowded shorelines this summer and bring the sandcastle supplies to South Carolina's best-kept secret beach.
When you book a beach getaway, your expectations probably feature a worry-free state-of-mind, unparalleled bliss, and the calming sound of waves crashing against the shore… not fighting for a small square of space on the sand among hundreds of other people who had the same idea.
This summer, take the beach road less traveled, and bring your best swimsuit to Edisto Beach in South Carolina. Completely uncommercialized, Edisto Beach doesn’t have hotels or even traffic lights—so serene, crowd-free shorelines are a guarantee. You can rent a charming beach cottage in Edisto, where the combination of oceanfront scenery, saltwater marshes, and Low Country oaks will provide the backdrop for the beach vacation you always dreamed about. Here are a few more things you didn’t know about Edisto Beach, South Carolina.
Edisto Beach is 3 hours and 45 minutes from Charlotte
That puts it at approximately the same distance as Isle of Palms and even closer than Hilton Head. If you were to find it on a map, Edisto Beach lay on the South Carolina coast between Hilton Head and Kiawah Island. It’s basically the best-kept secret of the entire state, full of secluded beach homes with amazing shelling opportunities.
The road to paradise
Roll the windows down and take it slow as you roll into town. You’ll take the Edisto Island National Scenic Byway (Highway 174) to get to your destination, and trust us—you’ll know it when you get there. Edisto Beach awaits at the literal end of this road, where the speed limit tops out at 35 miles per hour. You’re on beach time now, baby!
Shop ’til you drop
No vacation is complete without a little retail therapy, and the souvenir shops in this seaside city promise to delight you with local artisanal works. You can take the island spirit home with you when you buy locally-made pottery, jewelry, and art, in addition to local provisions.
Sink your teeth into seasonal seafood
One of the best parts about visiting a new place is getting a taste for the local fare. And when on the beach, seafood is always the meal du jour. If you visit in the summertime, prepare for plenty of crab-centric dishes. In fall and winter, you can enjoy tasty oysters snatched nearby. And, as for shrimp? You can catch and eat the crustacean pretty much year-round in Edisto. Just remember to keep it casual when dining out at places such as the above Whaley’s—beach vacation attire is laid back and fuss-free, just like your mood will be.
Endless adventures await
The gorgeous beach is not all Edisto has to offer. If you’re ready to see more than sea and sand, you can book a boat tour to explore the creeks and marshes winding through the landscape. You can even rent a kayak or canoe to adventure on your own. Or, if you’re in town for a guys’ trip, take the boys on an off- or in-shore fishing trip—the “big fish” stories will be hilarious to hear once you’re back on land. Speaking of using your land legs, don’t forget to bring your bicycle! Miles of bike paths will take you on a special tour of the beach unparalleled by foot travel.
Or, just sit your happy self underneath an umbrella and dive into that novel you’ve been dying to have some time alone with. There’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to in Edisto Beach, which makes it our favorite place to flit away to when you need to relax.
The beaches here are also pet-friendly. Dogs must be on a leash on the sandy beach between May 1 through October 31, but can run free (within verbal command of the owner) in the off season. Speaking of the off season, this is still a fantastic time to visit. The temps are mild (and warmer than Charlotte) and you can take advantage of low off peak pricing on vacation rentals.
Who else is ready to ditch the crowded beaches this year?