Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Edisto Beach, SC

  • Published 2022/10/28

Brimming with Native American history, Edisto Beach is a beautiful state park where visitors can enjoy the sounds and sights of crashing waves and wildlife native to South Carolina.

The soft tides and the lack of urban development hugging these vast shores appeal to those looking for a more relaxed beach experience.

The quintessential Southern beach community with over 400 residents is home to some of the most affluent people in all of South Carolina.

The island paradise offers 4.5 miles of pristine beaches set along with low-lying properties on a tranquil sea island destination, giving guests the best of two worlds: a natural setting that is both serene and breathtaking.

Edisto Beach welcomes visitors and residents to enjoy a serene sanctuary where various events and recreational activities will delight even the most discriminating taste.

You can relax on a scenic beach, sun yourself at a well-manicured picnic area or unwind poolside in an environment that offers space and privacy.

Edisto offers you a chance to try something completely different from your usual day-to-day activities, so why not take the opportunity to discover this part of South Carolina’s coast?

Check out these 20 things to do in Edisto Beach, SC:

Visit the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge

View of ACE Basin Wildlife Refuge

Bennekom /

As a wetland comprised of three different rivers, the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is a natural wonder.

Edisto, Ashepoo, and Combahee are the three rivers that make up this special place.

The unique mix of freshwater from these rivers creates a habitat for hundreds of species along the coast.

Bird at ACE Basin Wildlife Refuge

BiceksPhoto /

You will find some incredibly scenic waterways and wetland areas when you visit this 350,000 acres nature preserve.

Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife like alligators often resting on the edges of the marsh and snakes and lizards moving quickly across rocks.

Daytime view of ACE Basin Wildlife Refuge

BiceksPhoto /

Waterbirds like herons, wood storks, and egrets hunt in or near areas covered by grasses.

You’ll also see foxes, bobcats, raccoons, opossums, deer, and even feral hogs here.

Tee Up a Fun-Filled Golf Vacation at Plantation Course at Edisto

The Plantation Course at Edisto Golf Club is the island’s only and oldest golf course and has a history that dates back to its informal establishment in 1973.

People used to call this place ‘Oristo Golf Club’ and then ‘Edisto Beach Golf Club,’ and now taking pride in its current name ‘The Plantation Course at Edisto.’

The course underwent a complete renovation in 2006, including a new Pro Shop, so you know you’ll have fun here!

Nestled in a beautiful, undulating environment, The Plantation Course at Edisto offers a links-style challenge from the tee to the green.

This 6200-yard course with monstrous water hazards will have you put your ball away from them if you’re looking to avoid a splashy time!

Fortunately for everyone here, there’s more to see than deep greens and lagoons – keep your eyes peeled for herons, egrets, ospreys, and pelicans along the fairways.

And if you’re fortunate, you might even spot an alligator or two basking in the sun!

Experience Edisto’s Unique Coastline Ecosystem With Botany Bay Ecotours

Biologist Meg Hoyle was motivated to create Botany Bay Ecotours after seeing a wonderful and unique place in coastal South Carolina.

She wanted to bring other people and families and kids and others out onto Edisto Island to take in the sights that she spends so much time enjoying as a wildlife biologist who adores pups!

Botany Bay Ecotours offers a range of ecotourism programs that combine history and natural science.

Since man landed on the shores of Edisto Beach, both aspects have been inexorably linked.

Their professional guides will ensure you better understand this region during your tour with Botany Bay Ecotours.

And when you enroll your family or group on one of their Dolphin Boat Eco Tours, you’ll be thrilled at how fun it is to watch those magnificent mammals play out in the surf!

Go on a Dolphin Watching Cruise With The Marina at Edisto Beach

If you’re looking for a genuinely fantastic boat excursion in Edisto Beach, you’re going to love what The Marina at Edisto Beach has in store for you.

The boat tour they offer lets you catch a glimpse of ferocious dolphins splashing through the waters.

You can also take in the spectacularly beautiful sunset while savoring your favorite refreshments.

In addition, this highly-regarded marina hosts several fishing tournaments each year, including the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series.

Whether you’re looking to soak up some local flavor or listen to live music, your Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings on their boat tour is sure to be full of fun!

Find Unique Sharks Teeth and Shells at Gray’s Beach

On Point Street, you’ll find Gray’s Beach, a delightfully small stretch of shoreline with an almost meditative appeal.

Here, you have the opportunity to take a fun walk and catch unique shells and souvenir sharks’ teeth as you stroll along the shore.

It is a small beach that allows you to enjoy a quiet afternoon or evening by yourself or with a few family or friends without a lot of distraction from others.

You can even watch the sunset!

It’ll be hard for anyone who visits not to fall in love with the sunsets and wake up with the sunrise over clear waters each morning.

There’s such lovely energy here, and you’ll meet some of the nicest people on earth!

This is all thanks to Point Street, known for its fantastic rental homes that provide plenty of room for families and tourists to relax and enjoy this perfect little beach town that makes everyone fall in love and never want to leave.

Try Edisto’s Irresistible Crab Cake Sandwich at Whaley’s Store

One of the top seafood dives in South Carolina happens to be resting at Myrtle Street, Edisto Island.

No matter how you like your seafood–fried, boiled, baked, or broiled–or how you like your burger (well done, medium rare, or turkey) and whether you enjoy homemade chips or those chunky ones from the salty bag, Whaley’s Store has something for everyone on their menu.

The local watering hole serves delicious crab cake sandwiches with signature potato chips, perfect for a surprising twist on dinner or lunch after work.

But it gets even better…

They feature live entertainment regularly, so if you need a place to dance the night away after spending time at the beach or just enjoy karaoke each Monday night.

Also, you can buy souvenirs here, such as T-shirts or koozies, for your friends or family.

The best part is they are open seven days a week from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm.

Experience the Ultimate Edisto Island Fishing With Single Shot Guide Services

Single Shot Guide Services, full-service fishing, and hunting agency, sit in Heron Court in Docksite Road.

Owned by Captain Charles Yeomans from John’s Island, they are local to Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

If you’re looking for a company to take care of all of your outdoor adventure needs while you kick back and relax, they just might be the people for you.

With all of Charles’ years as a guide, he has plenty of stories and experiences to share with the lucky anglers who go out on his boat.

Whether it be chasing after Speckled Trout or Blue Marlin, for example, or maybe Ducks and Turkeys, One thing’s for sure: You’ll never forget your time spent with Single Shot!

Buy Souvenirs at Shore Thing Gift Shop

When it comes to souvenir shopping, A Shore Thing Gift Shop, located at 438 Highway 174 in Edisto, is your one-stop destination.

The owner is amiable and interested in what you like and can help you find that gift that seems woo-hoo!

This independently-owned shop has carefully selected merchandise that you’re sure to find something interesting in the fun atmosphere inside The Waterfront Restaurant.

So if you’re trying to find a meaningful last-minute gift or souvenir for someone close to you, Shore Thing Gift Shop is your go-to spot on Edisto Island.

They are open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm every day except Sundays.

Experience the Ultimate Edisto Island Fishing With the Charleston Fishing Company

Capturing a wave and going for a ride – now that’s the ultimate Folly Beach experience.

And you don’t have to compromise on equipment or safety.

Charleston Fishing Company conducts all charters and gets you onboard their Blue Wave Boats Pure Bay boats, specifically designed for fishing and sightseeing.

Their angling trips that offer an inshore, nearshore reef, and sightseeing fishing are a must-experience when you’re on the island.

And that already includes the equipment you’ll be using to catch sharks, seatrout, redfish, and other nearshore and coastal species.

Charleston Fishing Company can handle 1-6 people on their Blue Wave Boats Pure Bay boats and accommodate larger groups by special arrangement.

Enjoy a Golf Cart Ride Around Edisto Island With Edisto Bike & Golf Cart Rentals

Located at 3731 Docksite Road, Edisto Island, South Carolina, Edisto Bike & Golf Cart Rentals has everything you need to go biking or golf cart riding with family and friends around the gorgeous Edisto Beach.

They are open every day of the year from 9 am to 3 pm with four-seat electric golf carts that can accommodate up to four guests and adult bikes with baskets perfect for family bike rides.

You can also rent children’s bikes with training wheels in addition to pull carts, tag-a-longs, baby seats, and baskets.

They have been serving the island with exceptional customer service for many years now.

You can even get free delivery and pickup on your rentals!

Go on an Ocean Adventure With Edisto Watersports & Tackle

No one has ever captured the heart and soul of Edisto like Edisto Watersports & Tackle.

They’ve been sharing their passion for the magnificent beach island with anyone who wants to join them.

Whether you want to take your kayak out on the water and enjoy a day of quiet exploration, or maybe you’d prefer some deep-sea fishing.

They have what you’re looking for because they love it too!

From an afternoon on Big Bay Creek in Edisto Beach, SC, to a whole week-long adventure exploring places near and far from ACE Basin, your memories will add magic to your new favorite place on Earth!

You’ll find them at 3731 Docksite Road in Edisto Beach, just across the street from the Wyndham main gate – it’s right by Big Bay Creek!

Grab a Meal at McConkey’s Jungle Shack

Tropical-themed McConkey’s Jungle Shack is where Edisto Islanders head for informal cafe dining.

From burgers to fried fish and more, you’re guaranteed to find whatever it is your tummy desires!

It’s one of the best restaurants on Edisto Island, located right off of Jungle Rd.

They have a laid-back but fun atmosphere with warm, friendly staff members who are very helpful when you need something or are looking for direction to get to another part of the island.

The decor is very tropical and inviting, adding to the casual nature of this restaurant.

Kid-friendly with customized activities for kids to do during their meal.

There’s a giant search and find game designed mainly for kids spread throughout the restaurant, which they love playing while parents enjoy fine dining.

The wings are worth mentioning here, and the Cuban sandwiches are wonderfully flavorful.

In case you’re wondering, before the current McConkey family that owns the Jungle Shack, there was another family called the Edings who lived in this property long ago when it was deemed a “The House of Tragedy” due to a series of unfortunate events – a grim tale, really.

However, time heals all wounds, and now today, McConkey’s Jungle Shack is a place everyone wants to go to eat.

Pay a Visit to Ella & Ollie’s and Eat Healthy Food

Ella and Ollie’s, a local seafood-focused restaurant and beverage business in Edisto Beach, South Carolina, is run by the all-star duo of Brandon Rushing and Katherine Rushing.

The goal is to deliver good, reasonably priced meals that entice customers to return regularly.

At Ella & Ollie’s, they take pride in utilizing only the freshest local foods and providing a constantly-evolving menu dependent on the season and what is readily available.

The menu constantly changes depending on the time of year and what’s available.

The same healthy, local ingredients are used at the new taco restaurant that was established just next to Ella & Ollie’s.

Search for Handmade Products at My Native Dreams Gift Shop

Since 2018, My Native Dreams Gift Shop has been a family-run business on Edisto Beach in South Carolina.

They began with an appreciation of art and developed it into a passion for the pure, lovely energy that mother earth offers them in the form of crystals.

Look through the wonderful array of Native American handmade goods.

Dream catchers that are truly handcrafted are kept among the assortment of jewelry, paintings, sculptures, fossils, shells, and more.

Visit the My Native Dreams Gift Shop to go over the selection.

Go on an Exciting Water Excursion with Fontaine Charters

Fontaine Charters provide an absolute blast for new and veteran fishermen, including fantastic inshore fishing and fast-action off-fishing.

They provide two-hour tours at specific times of the year that allow you to observe the island and many of its species, such as pelicans, herons, and dolphins.

To pursue species, including speckled trout, redfish, and black drum, inshore excursions transport you into Edisto’s backwater tidal creeks.

They have minimal availability for 2- or 3-hour trips if sightseeing is more important to you than fishing.

Trips close to the coastline take advantage of the variety of species that may be found there.

You can catch everything, from smaller game fish to panfish like whiting, croaker, and trout.

Take a Bite of the Desserts Offered in the SeaCow Eatery

In March of 1996, Lori Fowlkes founded The SeaCow.

Lori and her daughter, who was nine then, designed the eatery using fabric with comical cows.

To better provide a full evening menu, they soon refurbished the kitchens.

New additions were added, but most of the menu items remained mostly same

Frequently offered desserts feature Cheesecakes, cookies, almond delight, and bourbon pecan pies.

The Sea Cow Eatery has an outside pet-friendly deck and is available seven days a week.

Enjoy while Learning More about History with Tours of Edisto

Take a nostalgic trip back in time by listening to tales of Edisto’s history as related by a local.

View the ancient churches and the private lawns of lovely old residences.

The trip will take you away from the common route and into the past with a local islander guiding the way.

You will view magnificent plantation mansions, learn about its previous occupants, and get a taste of Edisto’s culture and economy from the earliest periods it has been mentioned to the present.

Tours of Edisto are an excellent opportunity to get to know one of the nation’s best-preserved Sea Islands, whether this is your first or fifth visit.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Find Nature at Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area

Chapel in Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area

Bennekom /

Located in the northeastern part of Charleston County’s lower region, close to the North Edisto River, the Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a 3,363-acre preserve with much to offer nature lovers.

The preserve is just north of Edisto Beach and south of the islands of Seabrook and Kiawah and gives you a chance to explore South Carolina’s amazing outdoors and natural beauty without having to leave the state.

Trees on Beach in Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area

Bennekom /

The property was obtained by the SC Department of Natural Resources, who then offered public expeditions into the area since 2008.

Watching hatching sea turtles make their way out to the Atlantic Ocean makes for an unforgettable day at Botany Bay.

Chapel in Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area

Race2Beach – Sara Dean, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Your best chance of catching them is between May and October.

At any given time, there are multiple species that you can find here, including various birds making this an ideal place to birdwatch.

Wheelchair access is available on the causeway leading to the beach.

Shells on Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve's beach

Bennekom /

Shop for Handmade American Arts and Crafts at With These Hands Gallery

Based in the heart of the island, nearly 4 miles or 7 minutes’ drive away from Palmetto Boulevard, Edisto Beach, With These Hands brings 36 years of experience to the local craft scene!

They specialize in one-of-a-kind pieces by both loved American artists and up-and-coming locals.

The gallery’s diverse range includes jewelry, paintings, giclee’ print photography, glassware, and much more.

What you’re looking for can be found within these walls – along with a whole lot more!

While every artist adds their own spin to their pieces, you’ll find that most artworks have their roots in inspiration from things around them.

And with such a wide variety of items on display, they’re sure to have something in every price range so you can treat yourself too!

Go for a Nice Hike Around Indian Mound Trail

Indian Mound Trail is a great place to hike or ride your bike.

It’s only about 3 miles round trip and has beautiful vistas that stick in your memory.

In the spring, you can take a pleasant breath of fresh air as you smell blooming flowers as the weather is cool with a nice breeze as there aren’t any mosquitoes around to bother you.

Things get hot and humid during the summer, so be sure to come here early and bring your sunblock and light clothing.

A historic plaque describes what life was like back then and how people would have utilized it way back when you got here.

It’s a humbling feeling to stand at this once-used site and recall the history of why it was used centuries ago.

Buy Souvenirs at Palmetto Gallery & Gifts

Palmetto Gallery and Gifts, located at 438 Highway 174 in Edisto Island, is a great way to discover the many treasures of the beach.

The proprietors have a special knack for finding beautiful things, from seashells, shark jaws to something related to the sea turtles.

The shop is full of decorative items like candles, pottery, and jewelry.

It has a lovely, cozy atmosphere; it’s one of those stores where you can get lost because you know there’s something else over here that’s begging to be explored.

When you come here, make sure you look around carefully because there are many great gifts here!

The owner is amiable and interested in what you like and can also help you find that gift that seems woo-hoo!

So if you’re trying to find a meaningful gift for your favorite surfer, Palmetto Gallery and Gifts is your go-to spot on Edisto Island.

Shop Locally Produced Items at King’s Farm Market

King’s Market is just minutes away from Edisto Beach on Highway 174.

You can’t miss their inviting signs when you pass by.

Founded by the sixth generation of a family who has been here farming, you’ll find all kinds of “farm fresh” things that are sure to delight your senses every time you visit.

It’s a place where you can find fresh vegetables, some freshly baked treats from the kitchen, as well as your favorite spices for your next big gathering with family and friends!

With King’s Market brand jarred items available, you’ll find some delicious jellies, relishes, salad dressings, jams, preserves, barbeque sauces, pickled vegetables, and salsas.

The Market carries a variety of seafood sauces and seasonings any true South Carolina connoisseur would love to serve on their BBQ feast.

And aside from groceries and fresh produce, King’s also sells clothing and household items in its small boutique with various souvenirs.

Their key lime pie is inspired, rich-tasting, and simply divine!

The crust was flaky and thin but still firm enough to support the cream filling.

The filling itself was very creamy – not too dense or thick but maintained a perfect ratio of tartness to sweetness.

With this pie, there are no toppings, only rich, luscious lime flavor.

Plus, the staff goes out of their way to make you feel welcome.

Explore Beautiful Edisto Beach State Park

Beautiful Edisto Beach State Park

Sara Dean from Charleston, SC, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Edisto Beach State Park is a 1,255-acre local legend and sits just northeast of Edisto Beach, nearly 4 miles away from Palmetto Boulevard.

Edisto’s coastline allows you to explore nature in its freshest state through hiking and biking.

Edisto Beach State Park features 4 miles of trails built for people with limited mobility (i.e., wheelchairs), 1.5 miles of oceanfront beaches filled with seashells, and two large shelters where you can find shade or rest under the sun.

Moreover, it is possible to camp on the beach or in the forest along the water, each filled with lush trees that offer protection against strong winds (or rain!).

Exploring the park is a beautiful way to see the island and learn about its rich culture.

In addition, there’s also a natural history exhibit at the environmental education center that explains the ecology of Edisto Island.

See the World of Reptiles at Edisto Island Serpentarium

Eleven minutes’ drive away from Edisto Beach (about 7 miles) is South Carolina’s very first reptile zoo: The Edisto Island Serpentarium.

This wonderful zoo offers a variety of exciting displays and attractions for people to come to have a look at, including lizards, snakes, turtles, alligators, and much more.

To top it off, they also have a lecture program where you or your kids can partake in a wide assortment of talks relating to reptiles and their natural habitats.

The Tropical Atrium features highly camouflaged snakes found in the tropical regions of the world.

They blend right into their natural environments, so you’ll have to look closely to find them.

Here, you’ll also meet Bubba and Shelly, their two giant Alligator snapping turtles.

You can also watch live snake and gator shows or feedings.

See Edisto Island’s Past in the Edisto Island Historic Preservation Museum

The Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society, better known as the EIHPS, is a community-based non-profit organization with representatives from all different parts of Edisto Island.

It’s been their mission to preserve the history of this beautiful island for both residents and tourists since 1986.

The EIHPS works with other community leaders and homeowners to help the public see all there is to see on this marvelous island.

September 28, 1991, marked a great day for Edisto Island as the Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society opened up the historical museum.

Its goal is to show residents and visitors how Edisto’s community has grown and let them experience its long history.

They’ve expanded the museum over the years and continue to preserve everything from artwork to artifacts about this island’s past.

You can also enjoy various exhibits and events related to Edisto Island’s history.

It’s just a 15-minute car drive from Edisto beach.

Final Thoughts

Edisto Beach lies high on the list when it comes to cool, unique things to see on the Carolina coast.

The tropical splendor of this famous barrier island lies just off the state’s southernmost tip, where millions flock each year seeking miles of some of the island’s cleanest beaches, great outdoor activities and water sports, soft breezes, and natural beauty.

So look at this curated list of fun activities and breathtaking places to visit when you’re planning a vacation here on the lovely Edisto Beach and Island!

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