If you have seen the Lowcountry from the waterways, you may have been audience to some remaining maritime forest. You may have been lucky enough to stand in the maritime forest if you looked toward the waterway. Have you ever noticed that in the natural areas of Beaufort County, all the trees and shrubs are… Read More…
Although some of the area’s tidal wetlands were converted to rice plantations in the mid-1700s and into hunting retreats in the late 1800s, the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge has ensured that approximately 12,000 acres of this natural environment will serve as a protected habitat for the creatures that call it home, including a number of endangered and threatened species.
Bird watchers travel to South Carolina’s ACE Basin to watch bald eagles soar overhead and marvel at the ospreys, egrets, herons and sandpipers as they gracefully flit around the wetlands of Bear Island. Hunters seasonally descend upon the forests of the basin’s Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in search of white-tailed deer and wild turkey.
The basin’s collection of pristine freshwater streams, saltwater marshes, tidal creeks and brackish waters offers fishing enthusiasts a chance to catch large bass and to spot members of the ACE Basin’s large family of alligators. Visitors are invited to paddle through this area by kayak or canoe and enjoy the sights and sounds of this natural treasure.
Offering excellent hiking, biking and nature trails, the ACE Basin is the perfect place to introduce children to the wonders of biology and ecology. The less adventurous can get a taste of the basin’s swamps, wetlands, uplands and forests by driving along designated dirt roads or down the make-shift road lined by moss-draped live oak trees to Grove Plantation. The antebellum house that now serves as the office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, was once owned by Brooks Brothers’ President Owen Winston and occupied by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.
The ACE Basin’s public sites, including Bear Island, Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, the Edisto River and the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, are open to the public year-round during daylight hours. Dogs are permitted, but must be on leashes.
Hilton Head Island beaches are some of the finest and most pristine in the Southeast. And since summer is in full swing and they are just a few miles away from Bluffton, now is the time to take advantage of them! Here’s all that you info you’ll need to know before you go.
Public Beach Access:
- Alder Lane Beach Access, off South Forest Beach Dr.
- Coligny Beach Park, off Coligny Circle
- Driessen Beach Park, end of Bradley Beach Rd.
- Chaplin Community Park, off Wm. Hilton Pkwy.
- Fish Haul Park & Mitchelville Beach Park, end of Beach City Rd.
- Burkes Beach Access, end of Burkes Beach Rd.
- Folly Field Beach Park and Islanders Beach Park, both off Folly Field Rd.
Parking & Facilities:
- There are 23 metered spaces at Alder Lane, 54 metered spaces at Folly Field and 13 metered spaces at Burkes Beach Road. The parking fee is a quarter for each 15 minutes.
- Additionally, there are 207 spaces at Driessen Beach Park for long-term parking. The fee is a quarter for each 30 minutes during the week.
- The majority of parking spaces at Islanders Beach Park are reserved for annual beach passes, but there are some metered spaces.
- Parking at Driessen Beach Park for annual beach passes is reserved from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Parking is FREE at Fish Haul Park, Mitchelville Beach Park, Coligny Beach Park and at Chaplin Community Park, adjacent to Burkes Beach. Handicap parking is available at no fee at all parks.
- Restrooms, changing areas and sand showers are available.
- Possession or consumption of alcohol
- Glass (bottles, containers, etc.)
- Indecent exposure or nudity
- Disorderly conduct
- Disturbing the peace
- Unauthorized vehicles
- Fires and fireworks
- Shark fishing
- Horseback riding or motorized driving
- Removal, harming or harassment of any live beach fauna (sea turtles, sea turtle nests and sand dollars, etc.)
- Removal, alteration or damage to dunes, sea oats or other indigenous dune flora
- Operation, launching or landing of unauthorized motorized watercraft
- Unauthorized commercial activity
- Sleeping on the beach between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Unauthorized wearing of life-guard emblems, insignias, etc.
- Solicitation or distribution of handouts
- Kites not under manual control
Additional Prohibitions In Designated Swimming Areas – Peak Season: (Between sunrise and sunset, April 1 – Sept. 30):
- Fishing or surfcasting
- Surfboards, boogie boards, etc.
- Frisbee or other sports involving a ball
- Games with metal components
- Stunt kites and sand sailing
Designated Swimming Areas:
Official swimming areas have been designated for the Alder Lane, Coligny, Driessen, Folly Field and Islanders Beach Parks. The boundaries will be clearly marked on the beach and in the water. Lifeguards are stationed at these designated areas for assistance and beach information.
Beach Marker Signs:
Hilton Head’s beaches are marked near the dune line with signs to let emergency responders know where assistance is needed. They are also useful as a reference point if you or your group should become lost.
Animals are NOT permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Animals MUST be on a leash between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 1 through the Thursday before Memorial Day and the Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30. Pets must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of excrement. Ordinance signs are posted at most beach access points.
– Information provided by the Town of Hilton Head Island and Shore Beach Service
Please take care of our beaches and leave only your footprints!
There are so many ways to experience the Lowcountry’s wild beauty this season.
November is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Relatives from all over the country will flock to Hilton Head Island like migratory birds to visit. Be proactive and make some plans and get ideas in place to get everyone outside.
First and foremost, it’s important to prepare any visitors for your adventuring plans with guidance on how to dress for a November escapade. The average temperatures in November here on the Island range betweena low of 49 degrees and a high of 70 degrees.
The key to having an awesome outdoor experience in cooler weather is to dress appropriately. Advise visiting family to bring layers to accommodate potential 20-degree temperature swings. A breathable base layer — topped with a fleece and jacket — would be a solid fall plan. Take into consideration that winter tends to be rather wet here on Hilton Head Island, so waterproof gear wouldbe a smart addition to any suitcase.
If you’re planning on getting out on the water,remember that jackets, pants and shoes that are quick-dry and/or water-resistant are a better choice than clothes made out of natural fibers like cotton and wool. Bear in mind that it can feel chillier on or near the water. Pack a knit hat and a pair of gloves judt in case.
Many people may think kayaking or boating is a summertime activity, but our tidal marshes are stunning in the late fall.
Spartina grass takes on a golden hue and our water clearing as the phytoplankton begins to die back.
Near the shore, you can spot American OysterCatchers, Piping Plovers and Willets. Our residentbottlenose dolphin can be spied frolicking in local waterways. Plus, mussels and periwinkle snails can be seen in the high marsh.You can either arrange to rent kayaks or a pontoon boat and explore on your own. Or book one of Outside Hilton Head’s guided kayak or boat excursions.
Biking is another fantastic fall option to get a group outside and exploring. Don’t have a bike in the garage for Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue? Outside Hilton Head can deliver bikes right to your door to use for the day or the week.
Bike on the beach or take advantage of the miles of bike trails on the Island. Want to rampup the fun? Take a guided Pedego tour of Hilton Head Island or Palmetto Bluff and enjoythe thrill of zipping from place to place on these electrical-assisted bikes.
You can also gear up the group and head out for a hike. Mitchelville Beach Park at low tide is a real treat. You’ll discover all kinds of cool ocean critters wandering on the mud flats and see birds feeding in scores of tidal pools.
Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge is another great hiking choice. Be sure to bring water —and be aware there are no bathroom facilitieson-site. However, these minor inconveniences are well worth the incredible beauty of the vast stretches of marsh and the bird life that festoons the freshwater lagoons.
It’s understandable that dropping temperatures can make you want to curl up on the couch and grab the remote.
But this fall, get out, explore the beauty of the Lowcountry andthink about all that we have to be thankful forhere on Hilton Head Island.
By Anneliza Itkor, Outside Hilton Head
To book an outing with Outside Hilton Head, call 843-686-6996 or visit www.outsidehiltonhead.com.
Savannah’s scenic jewels make this historic city remarkably beautiful and unforgettable.
The 22 squares in Savannah today provide locals and visitors alike with a little greenery amid all the businesses and historic houses. At one time there were 24 historic squares, but two were lost due to city development while others, such as Ellis Square, were redesigned and made even more appealing. These squares are surrounded by some charming churches, historic homes, enchanting inns and museums and are all shaded by huge live oak trees. On weekends you might see kids running around them with a football, a couple having a picnic in the grass or maybe even a proposal! Savannah’s squares are a hot spot for intimate, outdoor weddings in Georgia’s First City.
North to South:
- Dedicated in 1790, this square is named for Benjamin Franklin, an agent for the colony of Georgia from 1768 to 1778. Just off City Market, this is the northwestern-most square. Montgomery & St. Julian Sts.
- Designed in 1733 and named in honor of Henry Ellis, the second Royal Governor, Ellis Square has recently been re-stored by the City of Savannah. Here the “Old City Market” was located and mer-chants sold crops and wares. Barnard & St. Julian Sts.
- A center of activity, Johnson Square was the first square laid out by General James Oglethorpe in 1733. Savannah’s largest square is named for Robert Johnson, a close friend of Oglethorpe. Bull & St. Julian Sts.
- Originally called Lower New Square, Reynolds Square was once home to the Filature. It housed silkworms create silk in the Georgia colony. Abercorn & St. Julian Sts.
- Located in one of the oldest areas of the city, Warren Square is named in honor of General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero, and was added in 1790. Habersham & St. Julian Sts.
- Built at the same time as Warren Square, Washington Square once bordered the original Trustees’ Garden, where colonists grew a variety of experimental crops. Today it is the north-east-ernmost square in the city. Houston & St. Julian Sts.
- Liberty Square was laid out in 1799 and is named in honor of the Sons of Liberty and the victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. Only a portion of the square still exists. It is the site of the “Flame of Freedom” sculpture. Montgomery between State and York Sts.
- Laid out by James Oglethorpe in 1733, it is one of the four original squares and was known as one of the more fashionable neighborhoods of the time. Renamed in 1883 to honor the Telfair family, it is the only square honoring a family rather than an individual. It also contains a tribute to the Girl Scouts. Barnard & President Sts.
- Originally called Percival Square, Wright Square is also the final resting place for Tomochichi, the Native American leader who helped General James Oglethorpe found the colony of Georgia. Bull & President Sts.
- This square pays homage to General James Oglethorpe, founder of Savannah and the colony of Georgia, and is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic or a shady break. Abercorn & President Sts.
- Taking its name from a popular nickname for the American colonies—Columbia—this square is a tran-quil spot away from the hustle and bustle of down-town. Nestled within the north-east quadrant of the Historic District, it is a favorite stop for Savannahians. Habersham & President Sts.
- Named after General Nathaniel Greene, a general in the Continental Army and an aide to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Greene Square is one of the most beauti-ful squares in Savannah. Houston & President Sts.
- Located near the Savannah Civic Center, Orleans Square commemorates General Andrew Jackson’s 1815 victory in the Battle of New Orleans, part of the War of 1812. This square features beautiful red tulips in the spring and a bubbling fountain all year long. Barnard & McDonough Sts.
- Named in honor of the American victory in the Battle of Chippewa during the War of 1812, Chippewa Square is where Forrest Gump’s bench was placed during the filming of the movie by the same name. Bull & McDonough Sts.
- Designed in the year 1841 and named in honor of William Harris Crawford, Crawford Square contains part of a nineteenth-century water cistern and features a gazebo. It also offers the city’s first paved basketball court for residents. Houston & McDonough Sts.
- Named for Polish Count Casimir Pulaski, a hero of the Revolutionary War, Pulaski Square has no monument. This square features some of the most beautiful live oaks in the city, as well as thick ivy ground-cover. Barnard & Macon Sts.
- Named for the fourth U.S. President James Madison, this square features vintage cannons from the old Savannah Armory and a bronze monument of Sergeant William Jasper. The Savannah College of Art and Design originally opened in 1979 on this square. Bull & Macon Sts.
- Named for French aristocrat and military officer Marquis de Lafayette, this square is home to the ornate Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and features quaint benches and cobblestone sidewalks. Abercorn & Macon Sts.
- Troup Square features an armillary, an astronomical center-piece made of iron, that is support-ed by small metal turtles. Named in honor of Georgia Governor George Michael Troup, this is one of the most picturesque squares in the Historic District. Habersham & Macon Sts.
- This square is home to Gordon Row, a block of 15 identical townhouses admired for their iron-work and unique doorways. Chatham Square is named in honor of the Earl of Chatham, an early supporter of the colony. Barnard & Wayne Sts.
- With a statue of Casimir Pulaski at the center, Monterey Square is Savannah’s most picturesque square. The Mercer House, the set-ting for the murder in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is located on this lovely square. Bull & Wayne Sts.
- Laid out in 1851, John C. Calhoun, a senator from South Carolina, who served as Vice President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson gave his name to this square. It offers some of the best views of the Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church and the Massie School. Abercorn & Wayne Sts.
- A popular place for weddings, Whitefield Square has a lovely white gazebo that has hosted countless wedding ceremonies. George Whitefield an English clergyman, gave his name to this square. He founded the Bethesda Orphan Home and served as a minister to the city’s earliest colonists. Habersham & Wayne Sts.
The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, located near the bridge to Hilton Head Island, offers an ideal place to enjoy the natural beauty of the Lowcountry.
Once part of the plantation of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a prominent South Carolina attorney, from 1801 to 1815, this wildlife refuge features 14 miles of trails and an abundance of wildlife.From 1937 to 1975, when it was donated to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Pinckney Island was privately owned and managed as a game preserve. Established in 1975, the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge features more than 4,000 acres of wild Lowcountry beauty, including Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big Harry Island, Little Harry Island, Buzzard Island and numerous small hammocks.
Nearly 67% of the refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks, which support a diversity of bird and plant life. Wildlife commonly observed on Pinckney Island includes waterfowl, shorebirds, bald eagles, wood storks, wading birds, raptors, neo-tropical migrants, white-tailed deer and American alligators, with large concentrations of white ibis, herons and egrets.
The refuge offers ideal opportunities for hiking, bicycling, photography and wildlife observation.
Suggested Hiking/Biking Trips:
All trips begin and end at the parking area located half a mile from the refuge entrance; distances are round-trip.
- Ibis Pond: 1.2 miles
- Shell Point: 4.6 miles
- Starr Pond: 2 miles
- Osprey Pond: 3 miles
- Nini Chapin and Barker Ponds: 3.6 miles
- Bull Point: 5 miles
- Dick Point: 7.4 miles
- Clubhouse Pond: 6.2 miles
- White Point: 7.8 miles
July 19 – 20. 5-9 p.m.
Oyster Factory Park, 63 Wharf St.
What It’s About:
May River Shrimp Festival will return to the Oyster Factory Park from 5-9 p.m. on Thursday and 4-9 p.m. on Friday with live music, an arts and crafts village and a food court full of our delicious seafood from local restaurants! A part of the Bluffton Sunset Party Series, the May River Shrimp Festival welcomes the community to celebrate local foods, vendors, craft beer and homegrown music in a kid- and pet-friendly environment. Tickets for the Bluffton Sunset Parties are $5 at the entrance, while children 12 and under get in for FREE. Everyone is welcome. Come by boat, bike or golf cart. Lawn chairs and leashed pets are permitted, but no outside food or drinks will be allowed.
For more information about the May River Shrimp Festival, go to blufftonsunsetparty.com or call Bear Foot Sports at (843) 757-8520.
In May of 1979, I was a fledgling college student with an idea of opening a windsurfing school.
On a whim, a truck loaded six windsurfers and equal parts of excitement and anxiety into my car as we ventured into unknown territory. I had never traveled south of Washington, D.C., and by the time I hit Coosawhatchie, it was pitch black, without a single light between I-95 and the open drawbridge from Bluffton onto Hilton Head Island.
The following week, I booked my first customer, taking him to the Shipyard Beach Club to introduce him to the sport of windsurfing. He had a horrible time: he cut his knees, got stung by a jellyfish and requested a full refund. I was devastated, but went back to the drawing board, did some research and found out that the #1 key to success for a windsurfing school was location. This meant somewhere with flat, safe water and consistent winds. My hunt was on.
Someone recommended that if I wanted great advice about opening a business on Hilton Head, I should speak with Charles Fraser.
After a few weeks, I was able to secure a 10-minute appointment with Mr. Fraser. Ten minutes turned into seven hours. He took me all over Sea Pines Plantation, to lunch, to the marsh and for a sail on his boat, The Compass Rose. At the end of the day, he gave me advice that has guided my experiences, my business and my life.
“If you wish to be successful with your goals,” Mr. Fraser told me, “you must understand that everything in the Lowcountry revolves around one thing – the tides. All of our history, culture, nature and literature revolves and evolves around the tides. The phenomena of this place where man discovers the shore, you will be successful.”
Now, almost 40 years later, I look back on those words. I reflect on how appropriate they are to being a local.
Native Americans hunted and gathered here. European settlers navigated their galleons in the large tidal sounds. Planters and farmers leveraged the tides with rice dikes, cotton and indigo fields. The Gullah people made a living harvesting our bounty of seafood. Tides influenced all of these residents of our are how people have lived for centuries.
If you want to truly appreciate the Lowcountry, experience the tides. Get out on the water, feel the pluff mud and relish the sea breeze. It is truly magical.
By Mike Overton, Outside Hilton Head
For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and standup paddleboarding. To book an outing with Outside Hilton Head, call (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.
The Power of the Tides
Hilton Head Island beaches are some of the finest and most pristine in the Southeast. With a temperate year-round climate and picturesque sandy beaches, Hilton Head Island is the perfect place to enjoy surfing, shelling, sunbathing, picnicking, fishing, bird watching, volleyball, jogging, biking, and swimming. Lifeguards are on duty from June 1 until Labor Day. Don’t miss all the fun!
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By Chase S. Wilkinson My nacho problem is interfering with my New Year’s resolutions. The problem being that nachos are delicious and I can’t stop shoving them in my face. It’s hard because 2015 was supposed to be the year I finally shed the extra baby fat and got super sexy and ripped. And then… Read More…