When considering a high-energy, rowdy beach vacation, Edisto Beach, South Carolina, may never come to mind. That’s because this out-of-the-way community has successfully hidden its treasures from the masses. But you could discover the tranquility of quiet beach life if you ventured just a few miles away from the crowds to this seemingly undiscovered island. Let’s see what Edisto Beach has to offer.
About Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Originally settled by the Edistow people, the Spanish inhabited this barrier island just south of Charleston in the 1600s. Rice, cotton, and indigo became the mainstays of commerce until the Civil War. Homeowners began to build on the island in the early 20th century, crossing from the mainland at low tide, driving on a bed of oyster shells.
Today’s population wavers right around 400, but summer brings a few curious tourists to its tranquil beaches. The sand is so unencumbered by sun worshippers that there isn’t even a lifeguard. You’ll most likely have the beach to yourself.
Morning in Edisto Beach
Morning exploration of this bucolic town will have you wondering why you didn’t find Edisto Beach sooner.
Breakfast at SeaCow Eatery
Address: 145 Jungle Rd., Edisto Island, SC 29438
Menu Options: Get your motor running with morning fare like Moo La La French toast, eggs with bacon, sausage or shrimp, omelets, pancakes, and of course, Southern grits. All the menu items at SeaCow Eatery are guaranteed to give your day a great start.
Reasons to Love It: You can always find a whimsical meal at SeaCow Eatery. The logo says it all, with a surfing bovine equipped with a snorkel. Set among the trees in a large house, this eatery provides great food at reasonable prices, with dependable service thrown in. Diners will enjoy the playful atmosphere, punny menu items, and great beach vibe.
Visit Local Shops
Rent a bicycle from Island Bikes & Outfitters and hit the trail, winding around the beach and through town. Dismount to visit surf shops, antique markets, trading companies, and several art galleries. The Farmers’ Market, along with a sweet collection of restaurants and cafes, can fuel you for the rest of your ride, but be sure to revel in the sound of the surf as you pedal by.
Afternoon in Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Exploring this tiny village is the perfect activity for an afternoon adventure. Here are a few suggestions for destinations and activities.
Eat lunch at Waterfront Restaurant
Address: 136 Jungle Rd., Edisto Island, South Carolina 29438
Menu Options: Lunch offerings include crab soup, salads, sandwiches like the Fried Oyster Po-Boy and the Lowcountry BLT, or shrimp quesadillas. Regular entrees include dishes with flounder, shrimp, or oysters. You can’t have a good Southern meal without humongous portions of fried green tomatoes and hushpuppies. For the less adventurous crowd, there are a variety of burgers and chicken entrees available.
Reasons to Love It: The plates are packed with fresh seafood, and the atmosphere has a relaxed coastal feel. Although not located on the beach, you can smell the salt air from here, and the service is exceptional. The Waterfront Restaurant is a popular stop, so plan to spend some time waiting to share in its bounty.
Visit Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Reserve
As two combined cotton plantations dating back to well before the Civil War, today’s Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Reserve is a living museum dedicated to the land and water that make up Edisto Island, South Carolina. The reserve has its own pristine beach, 4,600 acres of maritime forests and ponds, and historical buildings on-site. Visitors are encouraged to explore every nook and cranny, hiking forest trails, meandering under live oak trees decorated with Spanish moss, and discovering an unspoiled part of the Lowcountry.
Spending an Evening in Edisto Beach
Feel the beach breeze as you finish out an exhilarating day on the coast with these activities:
Get Dinner at Dockside Restaurant & Bar
Address: 3730 Docksite Rd., Edisto Island, SC 29438
Menu Options: Definitely take the bait at Dockside. No, really! Each appetizer listed as “Bate” is well worth trying, from the crab dip to the BBQ bacon-wrapped scallops. Meal items include the requisite hamburger, along with a shrimp or oyster po’boy, flounder or chicken sandwiches, and a variety of seafood tacos. Chicken, tuna, oysters, or shrimp top the salads to create that “bay” flavor, and Dockside even offers a Minnows Menu for the little fish in your party.
Other Reasons to Love It: With a location reflected in its name, the Dockside Restaurant & Bar is the perfect hangout for water lovers who enjoy seafood. The sunsets from the deck provide a beautiful backdrop to the outdoor concert entertainment, topping off your evening.
Take a Sunset Cruise with Edisto Watersports
Kick back and let the captain do the driving for a sunset cruise through St. Helena Sound. You’ll be mesmerized as the sun sets beyond the horizon. A two-hour tour off the coast of Edisto Island is $45 per person and affords you front row seats as bottle-nosed dolphins play and wetlands wildlife put on a show at the end of your day.
If you’re able to spend a night or two, Edisto Beach provides some of the best opportunities for beach camping in South Carolina.
A Day in Edisto Beach
For a relaxing beach experience, Edisto Beach, South Carolina, fits the bill. Visitors find plenty of space to enjoy the waters of the Atlantic Ocean without all of the boisterous action of a busier beach. This town knows how to “lay low” when it comes to tourism while providing an excellent getaway destination for those seeking to unwind in peace. Could you go for a quieter getaway like Edisto Beach?