The city of Charleston is definitely a gorgeous place to visit and you could easily spend an entire vacation exploring our rich history, culture, shopping, and exciting attractions. But if you would like a different glimpse of the Lowcountry’s renowned hospitality, we have several great road trip suggestions that make for the perfect quick getaway.
Pawley’s Island – Think small town. Think pristine beaches. Pawley’s Island is the epitome of small town charm and beauty. The beaches are quiet with low crowds. The actual town of Pawley’s Island doesn’t have much, but the few shops and restaurants they do have are very good. Check out the world famous Hammock Shops right off of Highway 17. There are several great restaurant choices, such as Perrone’s Restaurant and Pawley’s Island Bakery, that offer wonderful local cuisine. Relive history at Brookgreen Gardens where you can meander the trails, enjoy a stroll through the gardens, take a ride in a pontoon boat, and visit the only accredited zoo on the Carolina coast where you can see native animals in their natural habitat. So, make plans to visit Pawley’s Island off Highway 17 on the way to Myrtle Beach. You won’t regret this side trip!
McClellanville/Awendaw – The small towns of McClellanville and Awendaw are located just a short drive from Charleston, just past Mount Pleasant en route to Myrtle Beach. These towns may be small, but offer their fair share of history and culture. Many of the sweetgrass basket ladies trace their roots to this area. The small old churches make for some great photography, not to mention the beautiful wooded scenes from the Francis Marion Forest. Eat lunch at the Seewee Restaurant. We will guarantee that you’ve never tasted She-Crab Soup quite like the She Crab there. Visit the Birds of Prey or Seewee Visitors Center. This area will give you a true taste of the rural Lowcountry.
Edisto – Edisto is a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of the beach towns around Charleston. This small beach town is about an hour away from Charleston and Is never crowded so traffic and busy beaches is not a problem there. You may find yourself alone on the beach, which is a pretty rare thing for other area beaches. Check out the shells at Botany Bay, sign up for a kayak tour or just enjoy the peacefulness that is Edisto Beach.
Moncks Corner – Mepkin Abbey and Cypress Gardens – Mepkin Abbey is a beautiful community of Roman Catholic monks at the site of Mepkin Plantation in the Moncks Corner area, about a 45 minute drive from Charleston. Visiting Mepkin Abbey will bring a sense of peace along with it. You’ll enter the simplicity of the world of the monks who surround themselves in prayer and contemplation. Stroll the gardens or join the monks in prayer. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready to take on any challenges that may come your way. The other gem in Moncks Corner, made famous by movies like The Notebook and The Patriot, is Cypress Gardens. The beauty of landscape is like no other place in the Lowcountry. Take a boat ride in the swamp through cypress knees and hanging vines. Visit in the spring to see a plethora of blooms at every corner. There’s an aquarium/reptile center and a butterfly house. You could do both attractions in one full day while visiting Moncks Corner.
Santee – Right on Lake Marion, just 65 miles from Charleston, is Santee, a community that is well known as one of the best places to fish in the state. Visit the Santee State Park for premiere boat ramps, hiking trails, biking trails and playgrounds. Santee is also known for its bird watching. Osprey, great blue heron, painted buntings and various other species may be seen from the trails and wetlands. If you want to make this longer than just a day trip, stay the night in the cabins that are located right along the shore of Lake Marion.