South Carolina is known for its beaches. Part of the reason why they are so popular is due to barrier islands. This small chain of islands, called the Sea Islands, covers about half the coastline of South Carolina and stretches into Georgia and Florida too. 

These Sea Islands have been inhabited for hundreds of years, first by the native peoples of the Edisto tribe and later on by settlers and their slaves in plantations. This area of the country also saw heavy fighting during the Civil War in the 1860s.

To say Edisto Island and the other Sea Islands are home to a lot of history is an understatement to be sure!

Today, Edisto Island is a trendy tourist destination for both native South Carolinians and visitors from all over the world. 

Now that you know the history of the island, we’ll cover our best tips for making the most of your time here. 

Getting to Edisto Island

Tree Lined, live oaks, Dirt Road in Charleston, South Carolina. Edisto Island, SC

Geographically, Edisto is located in the South Carolina Lowcountry between Kiawah Island and St. Helena Island, not far from Beauford. There’s only one main road in and out of Edisto Island, so driving there is your best best.

Charleston, South Carolina is about an hour’s drive from Edisto Island. You’ll need to take Highway 17 and then Route 174. From Savannah, Georgia the ride is just under two hours, mostly along Interstate 95. 

Things to Do

Big branch tree laying on its side on the beach in Edisto Island Bay, soft blue sky in the background

Because the area is home to some of the few unspoiled beaches along the coastline, spending time near the ocean is a big draw. 

Visitors to Edisto can spend their days enjoying truly natural beaches and coastline at Edisto State Beach. If you’re looking to spend a weekend away, camping is also available here.

Nature lovers have to spend some time at Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area. This area has over 3,000 acres of natural beauty and wildlife for you to explore. Hike through the wooded areas or spend time near the shore looking for seabirds and turtles. 

If seeing the ocean makes you itch to get out on the water, well you’re in the perfect place. Beyond your standard canoe and paddleboard rentals, you can also enjoy whale watching and boat tours too. If you’re a collector, be sure to ask around for a ride to the nearby shell island

History lovers will know that South Carolina is chock full of it. So, it makes sense to stop by the Edisto Island Museum where you’ll learn all sorts of interesting tidbits about the area, far beyond just the Civil War.

Enjoy Your Visit!

Rear view portrait of group of young people walking on the beach carrying a cooler box. Young men and woman on sea shore. Friends on beach vacation.

More often than not, spending time in these off the beaten track seaside hamlets can be incredibly fun and relaxing. There are all sorts of hidden gems and amazing people who live in these areas and can share their best local knowledge to make your trip truly memorable.

So if you’re looking for an unspoiled area to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few days, you can’t beat Edisto Island.

If you are ready to start planning your visit, take a look at our sister website,, for the best hotel rates.