South Carolina is famous for its beaches, from the Grand Strand to the north, all the way to Hilton Head in the south, with a dozen beloved vacation destinations in between.
But there is a stretch of South Carolina coastline about 70 miles long that is hidden in plain sight, a stretch little visited and yet spectacularly beautiful. This place, between Mount Pleasant and Georgetown, is well worth seeking out.
Here are some of our suggestions on how your family can explore South Carolina's most untouched stretch of coastline:
Charleston Zipline Adventures
What more exciting way to explore a deep and massive forest than to fly through its canopy? Charleston Zipline Adventures is surely one of the most thrilling ways a family can explore the Francis Marion National Forest.
Nature Adventure Outfitters
If gliding through the water, rather than the air, sounds more like your family's speed, then head to Nature Adventure Outfitters. Their experienced guides will take you kayaking through the blackwater swamps and meandering creeks of Francis Marion.
McClellanville, right in the heart of this stretch of coastline, is like a town that time forgot. This little fishing village is tucked away, surrounded by marsh and forest and ocean. It is charming, beautiful and gracious, and an all-around delightful place for parents and children to explore. Since McClellanville is a working fishing village, it is a great way to see working shrimp boats up close when they bring in their catch.
The Center for Birds of Prey
The Center for Birds of Prey was founded in 1991 as a place to treat and rehabilitate injured birds. Since then, this amazing place has welcomed visitors to see their work with magnificent birds of prey from around the world. And don't miss the amazing flight demonstration and aviaries of birds that are permanently injured and unable to leave the center.
At the southern edge of this undiscovered coastline, Capers Island is a state-owned and undeveloped barrier island. This pristine place is what all the beaches of South Carolina once looked like. You can explore this natural wonderfland either by motor boat or kayak. Several local outfitters offer trips to Capers.
No visit to the hidden-in-plain-sight coast of South Carolina could be complete without a trip to Bulls Island. This astonishing island is the only easily-accessible-to-people part of the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge. And even then, it isn't that easy to reach. Only accessible by ferry, the island is home to birds, alligators and the famous Boneyard Beach, perhaps the most haunting place in all of South Carolina. Be prepared to walk - there's lots of sand. Bring water. And depending on the time of year, mosquitoes can be more than nuisance.