Edisto Island National Scenic Byway
State: South Carolina
Length: 16.8 miles / 27 km
Time to Allow: This byway can be driven in under one hour.
If you have ever wanted to visit the South Carolina coast, then try out the Edisto Island National Scenic Byway. The byway is short at just 16.8 miles but unbelievably beautiful as the route goes through salt marsh, creeks, forests, farm fields, and the Atlantic Ocean. Make sure to pack your camera and plan for a few days to catch all the sights. While you can make the drive in under an hour, you will not be able to see everything this byway has to offer.
Pick up the byway at the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, where the Dawhoo River and South Edisto River intersect. Here you can hunt, fish, view wildlife, learn about the environment, and take impressive photos. As the trail wind toward the ocean, you will get a view of the Historic Windsor Home, and you can also stop at the McKinley Washington Jr Bridge for impressive views.
Going forward, the water offers breathtaking views of birds like eagles and pelicans populating the marshes. Next, at the Dawhoo landing, you can stop to fish or picnic before stopping at the Russel Creek Bridge. Stop for lunch at the King’s Farm Market for seasonal produce, or in the winter, stop for freshly baked goods and jams. Continue to the Edisto Island Museum, where you can tour several plantations and churches before grabbing a souvenir at the gift shop.
Another great attraction is the historic Bailey’s Store that first opened in the late 1880s. Pick up a locally made sweetgrass basket or other local wares. Down the road, find the Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve with thousands of acres dedicated to wildlife preservation. Take a day to explore the gorgeous scenery with free self-guided tours. The preserve even offers a little oceanfront with shells, clams, oysters, and starfish before checking out some Gothic Revival architecture and a Japanese garden along with the Sea Cloud Plantation.
Further down, stop at the Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island, open since 1832 with a large graveyard. From there, it’s time to go to the short at the Edisto Beach State Park. The park offers camping, cabins, and boating. Everything will cost some money, so make sure to pack some cash. If you would rather more luxurious accommodations, then stay at the Wyndham Ocean Ridge Hotel.
Edisto Island offers tons of opportunities to explore the water, including a marina. Make sure to take a boat tour at the Botany Bay Ecotours to watch dolphins and whales from the water. Grab a bite to eat at the Flowers Seafood Company for some fresh seafood and local favorites. The town is filled with options for retail therapy and souvenirs from local pottery to art.
Visitors can rent a kayak or a canoe to explore the marshes, creeks, and ocean. Try on or off-shore fishing or even try biking around the water paths. Of course, the best part of the beach involves hours of lying on the beach and playing in the water. The beach even allows dogs as long as they are on a leash in the off-season.
More South Carolina Byways
You can check out additional Byways in South Carolina by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the South Carolina Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.