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Things to Do in Edisto Island, South Carolina, Besides Going to the Beach

What to Do on Edisto Island, South Carolina, Besides Going to the Beach | CosmosMariners.com

I'm all for laying out and soaking up some sun on the beach, but there are times when I want to do something other than read another paperback and get burnt. (I'm one of those annoying people who can't ever be happy unless I'm doing something.)

While Edisto Beach is known for its family friendly beaches and rows of quiet cottages, there's a lot more to do in this, my favorite of all the South Carolina beach towns, than just watch the waves roll in.

Here's are some of my favorite things to do in Edisto Island when I'm not feeling like going to the beach. Have fun!


1) Botany Bay Plantation

Botany Bay Plantation is highly, highly recommended to anyone visiting the Edisto area. Not only is it free (score!), buy Botany Bay Plantation great for visitors both tiny and large.

Kids will love playing on the beach and keeping a close lookout for birds and deer; adults will enjoy learning about the history of the two plantations that were combined to form the existing wildlife reserve. Pick up a map at the wooden kiosk at the entrance to Botany Bay so that you'll know where to go for the driving historical tour.

Don't forget to allot some time to walk out to Botany Bay Beach, where you can find some incredible shells and see the beautiful driftwood. The area was closed off after Hurricane Matthew came through in late 2016, but has now been restored to its former glory.

What to Do on Edisto Island, South Carolina, Besides Going to the Beach | CosmosMariners.com

2) Edisto Museum

Edisto Museum is a great place to dive into the history of the island and surrounding area.

Since 1991, the Edisto Historical Preservation Society has run the museum as a way to share their love of the rich history in this part of South Carolina.

The gift shop has lots of local goodies for sale, including toys and clothing for children. The Museum is located at 8123 Chisolm Plantation Road, which is to your right when you're approaching Edisto Island.

3) King's Farm Market

King's Farm Market has lots of yummy fruits and veggies that are grown right on Edisto Beach. They also have refrigerated casseroles and pies that you can pick up and eat without any mess in your rental kitchen.

When Landon and I stopped by the last time, we picked up some homemade coconut macaroons (yum) and pondered over whether or not we needed some spicy pickled eggs (the answer: not this time). You can also decorate your rental house with a few bouquets of the wild flowers that they sell.

What to Do on Edisto Island, South Carolina, Besides Going to the Beach | CosmosMariners.com

4) Tours of Edisto

Tours of Edisto is run by Dottie, a native of Edisto and a lifelong lover of history. Each tour is taken through places that highlight important parts of Edisto's past and includes trips to plantation homes, churches, and graveyards.

If you're like me and you enjoy learning about the history of the areas that you visit, a tour like this one will help you dive into what has helped shape Edisto. 

Plus, it's more rewarding than begging your family to listen to a history lecture after you read Edisto Island, 1861 to 2006: Ruin, Recovery and Rebirth, yet no one takes you up on your offer. True story.


5) Edisto Serpentarium

Edisto Serpentarium is number one on my list of what to do on Edisto Island with kids.

This high praise comes from someone who is deathly afraid of any and all snakes. When I visited with my home school students, I was terrified of what I might find. To my surprise, the entire exhibit is extremely informative and really, really interesting. The entrance fee is pricey, but it's worth it.

When you first walk in the main interior exhibit, you'll find a large pool with turtles. Surrounding this pool are four walls filled with glass snake habitats; each habitat has been designed to look as it would appear in the real world. Take some time to read through the descriptions attached to each habitat.

What to Do on Edisto Island, South Carolina, Besides Going to the Beach | CosmosMariners.com
My husband and my daughter at our last trip to the Serpentarium
After you get your fill of snake information in that area, head out to the covered amphitheater and catch one of the live snake shows. The snake wranglers who emcee these events are super awesome and really know their stuff.

When I went, they brought out three snakes and talked about the characteristics of each. The last one was an 8 foot timber rattler; they milked in right in front of us! The rattlesnake venom is then sent to hospitals to use in anti-venom. 

The final section of the serpentarium has about a dozen outdoor areas where you can observe snakes (both venomous and non-venomous), alligators, turtles, and lizards in large, natural habitats. The snakes really freaked me out, but they are kept a safe distance away from visitors.

The gift shop lots of fun reptile-related clothes, toys, and stuffed animals, as well as garden decorations, wind chimes, and t-shirts. [Read about our visits here.]

What to Do on Edisto Island, South Carolina, Besides Going to the Beach | CosmosMariners.com

6) Local Arts and Crafts Show

The arts and crafts show occurs on Wednesdays from March to November and showcases goods from local artists. When I visited, they had adorable hairbows, wind chimes, wall art, soaps, and clothing. It's a great place to find the perfect souvenir. Find the market at Bay Creek Park all the way at the southernmost tip of the island.

7) Edisto Bookstore 

This locally owned bookstore just begs passersby to come explore through its many shelves, and the interior (which is jam packed with volumes from every genre) is sure to please even the pickiest of readers.

There's a fantastic kids section that I always have to pull my kids out of--usually with a new book or two in hand!--and I've spent time on every one of our trips to Edisto lingering in the local history section.

Whether want to learn more about the island's past, or you just want a new beach read, Edisto Bookstore is well worth the 10ish minute drive from Jungle Road.

8) Kayaking in Big Bay Creek 

While this is technically still a water activity, it doesn't involve sand, so I'm including it in my non-beach round up!

Big Bay Creek runs along the southern portion of the island and offers a gorgeous perspective of Edisto without too much effort.

Plus, it's fairly easy to stay close to civilization if you're not a very confident kayaker or if you've got kids with you.

We usually bring our kayaks with us when we're visiting Edisto, and it only takes a few months to launch into the river and start paddling.

You might even get lucky and see some dolphins as we did on our last trip!

If the dolphins don't show up, you'll still get treated to some of the pristine ecosystem that's just off of the South Carolina coast.

9)  Edisto Presbyterian Church

Things to Do in Edisto Island, South Carolina, Besides Going to the Beach | CosmosMariners.com

While a church might not be among the most obvious things to do in Edisto Island, I promise, Edisto Presbyterian Church one is worth a few hours of your beach vacation.

Not only is it interesting from a historic perspective, it also has one of the creepiest ghost stories from along this part of South Carolina.

You can visit the grave of Julia Legare (who's supposedly the aforementioned ghost), or take a self-guided tour of the property using the available markers.

If you have a little extra time, I'd recommend walking around the graveyard where you can see the resting place of many of the local leaders and war veterans.


Have you ever visited Edisto Island, SC? Which of the above things to do in Edisto Beach would you be more interested in trying?

This post contains affiliate links. By booking through one of these links, I receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. 

What to Do on Edisto Island, South Carolina, Besides Going to the Beach | CosmosMariners.com


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