Early summer 2020 left us craving another daytrip and we chose a lowcountry adventure to Beaufort, SC. The overwhelming charm of the huge oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, creating a canopy across the road are the signals you have made it to the lowcountry of South Carolina. It felt so good to be away from the house for a day!
Beaufort is an adorable coastal town near the southernmost tip of South Carolina. The oak trees dangling with Spanish moss line the streets filled with quaint shops and restaurants. You can feel the water surroundings wherever you are. After all, Beaufort is located on one of the coastal sea islands of South Carolina.
Bike in Beaufort
We strapped our bikes onto the back of the car before we took off down the road and boy are we glad we did. Beaufort boasts a beautiful and well-maintained 10 mile paved path called The Spanish Moss Trail. It follows what used to be the Port Royal Railroad and traverses around the downtown area, across marshes and through the oak canopies. You can do as much or as little as you prefer, of course. There is a parking area at the end of Depot Road with enough spaces for roughly 15 cars. We were there on a weekday so there was plenty of space, but I suspect it’s crowded on weekends and when the weather is spot on. Pets on a leash and babies in strollers were utilizing the trail as well by the locals.
Mid-Day Break Downtown
We chose to continue on our bikes into downtown Beaufort for a mid-day break and lunch. Let me be honest and tell you the ONLY reason we decided to do this is because we were there during a pandemic. The town was bustling, but not busting at the seams per usual this time of year. Riding your bikes in Beaufort proper is not recommended. We rode around sticking mostly to the edge of town near the water and then ordered an incredible take out lunch with curbside pick up from Lowcountry Produce Market. We each ordered a different salad: The Cobb, The Caesar, and the French and oh my heart were they delicious and robust. There are many shops to peruse and give you an incredible taste of lowcountry style and life.
Hunting Island State Park
We still had plenty of afternoon left on our lowcountry adventure so we decided to cross the bridge and head over to one of South Carolina’s most incredible state parks. Hunting Island State Park completely knocked our socks off with its well maintained roads and pristine beaches. We suspect that on weekends and sunny summer days this place fills up quickly. In 2020 the park was limiting entrance on a first come basis. The park does offer 100 campsites and a cabin rental via reservation, but those typically book up in January and are highly coveted. We totally understand why now that we’ve been there! Entrance fees are collected at a manned booth upon arrival ($8/adult,$5/seniors,$4/children 6-15).
Hunting Island Beach
As you can see, we were easily able to social distance. There are small parking areas spread out that can accept about 7-8 cars at a time. Just remember which beach access you walked in on so you can get back to your car! Know before you go. The North Beach has rougher waters and less swimming options due to currents, but South Beach is busier and has the lighthouse you can climb for views. There are facilities with bathrooms available at two different parts of the beach. The park also offers 10 short trails throughout as well as an incredible nature center. If you have young children, teenagers, or are visiting solo you will not be disappointed.
Historical Stop: Old Sheldon Church Ruins
Before our lowcountry adventure ended we stopped at the Old Sheldon Church Ruins located off two lane highway 21 between Beaufort, SC & Yemassee, SC. There is no official parking lot and the ruins are on private land so be both careful and respectful. The church was burned during the Revolutionary War and then again by General Sherman’s troops during the Civil War (although some believe it was just ransacked beyond repair). We were there as the light began to fade from the day and it was empty so we stopped to wander and photograph. For all of about 7 minutes we took in the wonder of history right before our eyes. I love how history comes alive as you visit the actual locations.
The Perfect Day Trip
As far as day trips go, this one was perfect. We had a mix of active fun, excellent food, relaxing beach time and a smidge of history. Next time you are in South Carolina, don’t hesitate to head to the very lowcountry part of the state where we can show off a bit and charm you for good. Beaufort, SC and Hunting Island State Park make the perfect lowcountry adventure!