What to Do on the South Carolina Coast

I’ve got a three day weekend coming up starting this Saturday and instead of spending it in front of my computer as I would normally do, I’ve decided I want to take a little road trip. As of right now, I’m leaning towards driving to the coast of South Carolina since it’s the only southern state I’ve yet to visit and because I’ve already seen the Pacific and the Gulf but not the Atlantic and that would allow me to mark both off my list of places visited.

The only problem is, I don’t know a damned thing about what there is to see and do there except maybe check out Fort Sumter in Charleston if there’re any tours being offered and, if I can find the correspondence I had with a friend, check out one of the beach communities a little south of Myrtle Beach that she used to vacation at often as a child. I told her I would take some pictures of it if I ever made it out that way and she’s currently in Mozambique as part of the Peace Corps and I think some pictures of that area would mean a lot to her.

Besides those two things, could anyone suggest some things to see and do on a (presumably rainy) Autumn weekend on the South Carolina coast? I’m open to anything, really, and am also really curious if there’re any particularly good seafood restaraunts in the area. I’ve never had truly fresh seafood due to growing up hating it and only discovering my love for it after moving back from Oregon a little over a year ago.

There’s no shortage of things to do in the Low Country (the Charleston end of the coast) if that’s where you’re going to be. Down near Beaufort*, my recommendation would be Hunting Island State Park, which has one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen and a lighthouse that is very easy to climb, if it’s open and you’re into that.

Further north, in the “Grand Strand” area of the coast, there’s Myrtle Beach, one of the biggest tourist beaches on the east coast, with all the “attractions” that involves.

You should know in advance that in SC, Beaufort is pronounced “BYOO-fort” unlike most Beauforts in the world.

Yes, lord, don’t fuck that up. Byoo-fuht. (Also, drive further north to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. You won’t regret it.)

What is there to do? Eat, my friend, eat. She-crab soup, shrimp and grits, fried catfish, huguenot torte…If you are remotely interested in food, the Low Country is the place to be.

In between meals, if you’re in the Charleston area, I’d recommend Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The gardens are the oldest in North America, dating back to the 1670s. Be sure to check out the very cool Audobon Swamp Garden while you’re there. It’s a network of boardwalks through the swamp. When wer there, we saw egrets, ibises, wood ducks, moor hens, and all manner of reptiles, including some big ol’ gators.

My husband and I also really liked the Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour offered by Charleston Original Tours. It focuses on African American life in Charleston in the 1800s. Well worth doing.

If it’s raining too hard for outdoor pursuits, the Charleston Museum, is both interesting and dry.

I was in Hilton Head last weekend for a conference. I had a nice bike ride on the beach, some ocean kayaking, and 16 hours on feline diarrhea. I’d highly recommend the biking and kayaking.

I just popped in to tell you to check out this thread if you decide to visit Charleston. There are some food recommendations in there that should not be passed up.

I read this as “16 hours of feline diarrhea” and was really in awe of your determination to bike and kayak through it.

Eh, what do you want. The “South Carolina coast” is about 200 miles long.

(In order, from northeast to southwest:)

If you like neon, lots and lots of neon, don’t pass up the Grand Strand (about 60 miles of coastline starting with the NC border and going south). It probably has the most “stuff” to do. Needless to say, it’s also about the most popular destination.

I’ve been to Georgetown only once, but just passed thru. Wasn’t happy with the attitude of some of the locals, so I never went back.

I like Charleston, but the beaches aren’t particularly close by, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Edisto is a sleepy little town, but a bit off the beaten path.

Beaufort is small, but quiet. Also, the beach is out of town a good bit. It’s one of my favorites.

Hilton Head is an exclave of either Ohio or Michigan, depending upon the season. It can be pricier, but it’s still one of my favorites because it’s also rather low-key (very discreet signs, no glaring neon).

Daufuskie, accessible only by boat from Hilton Head or Savannah, is the setting for “The Water Is Wide” (movie “Conrack”) by Pat Conroy. It bears no relation to the island described in the book.

*Hello, Jean Paul? We need thirty lunches Tuesday and Wednesday in the East Room.

Sure. Any requests?

Well, they’re veterinarians so better make it no meat.

Err, that limits things a bit. Is there a theme I can work with.

Yes, they’re discussing runny cat shit.*

Right. I know it’s a broad area but I’m in the mood for a road trip (I’ll be driving from the Chattanooga area, for what it’s worth) and have no real destination in mind. It’s the journey itself I’m interested in and am just wanting suggestions for places to stop and see.

Thanks for the recommendations, everyone. I see lots that looks interesting

“What do do on the South Carolina coast”…

Buy me a souvenir!

I spend a long weekend in Charleston for a wedding in mid-2006. From that I remember:[ul][li]What my wife and I thought was a very good dinner for a moderate price at Gullah Cuisine, in Mount Pleasant (1717 N. Highway 17). Seemed like fairly traditional low country fare that we’d been hearing about, and we both quite liked it.[]Walking/running the Ravenel Bridge, which connects Charleston to Mount Pleasant. There’s a wide multi-use path along the southern edge of the bridge, and the views are spectacular. We stayed in a hotel literally right off the eastern end of the bridge, but there looked to be ample parking in or near the Patriots Point park.[]Inside Patriots Point, there are three ships to tour: an aircraft carrier, a sub, and a Coast Guard cutter. We only had time to do the carrier, but I believe all three were available on the same ticket.[/ul][/li]
ETA: While many of us were touring the carrier, a number of others from the wedding crowd went and had lunch at Jestine’s Kitchen, a widely renowned place in Charleston. They reported it to be disappointing. Haven’t been there myself, though…

I planned on it.

I never did go to South Carolina as planned, but I’m really going to this time. I’ve got a three day weekend the week of the 24th, and am going to go with a friend to Charleston. Both Hunting Island State Park and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens sound interesting, and right up my friend’s alley, so I’m thinking we’ll do that, but does anyone have any suggested scenic routes?

This looks like a good compromise between being direct and scenic, but there could be other routes that would be just as pretty, hence the zombification of the thread.

P.S. Still planning on the souveneir, Anaamika.