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7 Hidden Gems in South Carolina’s Lowcountry

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Where to Go While Visiting the South Carolina Lowcountry


When it comes to South Carolina living, there’s no experience quite like exploring the Lowcountry. From town markets and historic monuments, to maritime museums and art galleries, adventure is around every corner!


To help you plan your visit to the South Carolina Lowcountry, here are seven must-see attractions in the area.


1. Parris Island Museum



Parris Island has been used as a training ground for Marines since 1915, and continues to do so today. Men and women from around the globe have begun their military careers here, so it is not surprising that the Parris Island Museum contains relics, artifacts, and photographs that reveal the rich history of the South. The island exudes pride and promotes true discipline, making this a great educational experience for you and your family.


South Carolina middle and high schools are offered tours of the depot in order to familiarize them with the vision and offer them the opportunity to explore a path that they may not have previously considered. As part of the tour, the guide provides an in-depth overview of the process of becoming a Marine and provides visitors the opportunity to interact with recruits.


Museum hours are 10 am to 4:30 pm, and admission is free. While visiting this attraction, you will be able to learn about the history of the Lowcountry and get a sense of the patriotism and southern charm of the region.


2. Beaufort



Beaufort, SC offers an experience unlike anything else. It is one of the few American cities whose downtown area has been designated as a historical district by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The town is full of southern architecture, dating from before the American Civil War. In fact, it was one of the only towns in the south that was occupied by Union forces. The majority of the homes are privately owned, but have been modernized to maintain a Lowcountry flair while staying up to date.


There are many art galleries, boutiques, and even horse-drawn carriage tours available to enjoy Beaufort at its finest. Dining options in the downtown area include grab-and-go and fine dining. Thanks to the mild climate of South Carolina, you can enjoy outdoor dining experiences all year long.


3. Society of Bluffton Artists



Art lives in the heart and soul of the Lowcountry. Many organizations and communities in the Lowcountry — including the Palmetto Bluff community — host a variety of artists and galleries all throughout the year for the public to enjoy.


During a rainy day in the Lowcountry, be sure to stop by The SOBA Art Gallery. This gallery features a plethora of local artists native to the Bluffton area, as well as various forms of art that tell stories of the rich history of South Carolina.


Doing our part: The Arts Initiative sponsored by the Palmetto Bluff community fosters dialogue between art, the community, and the natural beauty of the Bluff. By inspiring each other, fostering innovation, and supporting the installation of artworks throughout the natural landscape, artists can showcase the true diversity of the Lowcountry. Learn more here.


4. Charleston City Market



The Charleston City Market is the number one must-see attraction in the Lowcountry. The market has been around since 1807 and currently serves as a pinnacle for vendors, artists, and entertainers in the downtown Charleston area. Although many changes have taken place over the years, the spirit of the market remains the same.


Originally, the sheds that stretch across to the waterfront were used to house vegetable, meat, and fish vendors. Now, they are home to multiple artists — including basket weavers, sculptures, and painters — to showcase rare and iconic items that represent the culture of the Lowcountry.


Notably, locals have been weaving and distributing sweetgrass baskets for more than 300 years using artifacts found primarily in the Lowcountry. Today, the Charleston City Market proudly displays these nationally recognized cultural souvenirs.


While the market currently operates during daylight hours, there are plans to reintroduce the night market. Soon, it will span across three blocks and showcase more than 100 vendors, live music, and dining opportunities –– offering visitors a wide range of activities late into the evening.


5. Daufuskie Island



If you enjoy reading, Daufuskie Island will sound familiar to you. Pat Conroy based his autobiography, The Water is Wide, on his experience teaching on a small island off the coast of South Carolina in 1969. This artisan paradise is situated between Savannah and Hilton Head and can only be reached by ferry. Historically, the island goes back as far as 7000 BCE, but as more discoveries and information are discovered, the story of the island will continue to unfold.


In a similar manner to Beaufort, Union troops were stationed there during the Civil War. Up until the late 1950s and 1960s, the island remained very traditional, a pinnacle of what the Lowcountry was. In the 1980s, the economy shifted and developers moved in. The island was able to preserve and restore major portions of the island as well as turn certain areas of the island into resort style communities to boast a bit more tourism and give visitors an opportunity to fully experience the Lowcountry.


You can explore the countryside on foot by hiking the picturesque trails or visit some of the local art galleries to learn more about the art scene. There are many galleries that offer workshops, including Wine and Woodworks, which was founded in 2015. Building boats, canoes, kayaks, and other watercraft is one of Mike Loftus’ specialties.


At Loftus’ workshop, you will find instructions and kits for building your own watercraft, and while you work on your creation, enjoy a glass of craft wine or a pint of beer. Keeping all of its Lowcountry antebellum charm, Daufuskie Island is a wonderful place for visitors of all ages to explore and learn from nature.


6. Intracoastal Waterway



The Intracoastal Waterway extends over 203 miles and serves as a commercial waterway as well as a recreational waterway. Initially, this provided a safe method of traveling, trading, and communicating without entering open ocean territory. With the advent of propeller powered ships, this area became a prime location for quick transport.


The area offers panoramic views of sand dunes, marshlands, and grasslands, and is a wonderful place to arrange a picnic. A trip along the Intracoastal Waterways allows you the opportunity to enjoy nature and to take in the beautiful scenery.


7. Hunting Island State Park



Hunting Island State Park is the ideal attraction if you’re looking to delve into both land and marine wildlife. This state park consists of five miles of beach and more than 5,000 acres of marsh and maritime forest with over 100 campsites. Although a two-night minimum stay is required, each site provides water and electrical hookups as well as shower and bathroom facilities, allowing for extended stays in its natural oasis.


During your stay, enjoy the views of the saltwater lagoons and majestic ocean inlet, take a stroll on one of the many beach walkways, or plan to visit the Hunting Island Lighthouse — the only lighthouse in South Carolina that grants public access for visitors and locals alike.


With the extensive stretch of land and convenient amenities, a stay at Hunting Island can serve as a small family vacation, or the ideal way to make new friends.


Plan Your Stay at Montage Palmetto Bluff


If you’re planning a visit to the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry, be sure to stay in style. The Montage Palmetto Bluff offers a variety of luxury accommodations in the heart of beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina, and features a charming collection of rooms, suites, cottages, cottage suites, and vacation homes. Click below to plan your next stay.


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