Edisto Beach State Park

Edisto Beach, SC – April, 2016 After our chilly weekend at Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago we were watching and waiting for some decent beach weather. Just as the weather was improving, we saw a 3 night opening at Edisto Beach State Park’s beach campground. When we stayed here last fall we had to stay in their Live Oak campground, a half mile up the highway from the beach. We really wanted to return but stay in one of the 75 beach side sites. Edisto Beach State Park is only 50 miles from our property so it was mucho convenient.

Our site, number 58, backed up to the marsh that fills up with water at high tide. The site was near the limit of what we are willing to pay for a campsite. It averaged $58 per night after all fees and had water and electric. But you cannot beat the convenience of walking past a couple rows of campers and over a dune and being on the beach. If one of you gets tired or bored they can just go back home without making the other one leave. If Jim wants to go fishing, there is nothing stopping him.

Last time we were on the east coast Jim saw a guy with a great beach cart that carried all his fishing gear and stuff. He has been looking for one with the right features and price ever since. He finally found exactly what he wanted for about a hundred dollars at Dick’s Sporting Goods near Brownsville, Texas. We have used it a couple times since, to carry our chairs and cooler to a nice riverside spot in Texas and to get our stuff to and from the camp’s laundry. But this was to be the cart’s true beach debut.

The big wheels were a must and worked great even in the loose sand. The cart folds down pretty well but those wheels still take up their fair share of the basement.

Totally worth it though when you can easily haul two chairs, fishing gear, and a cooler past the crowds on the beach and nab a secluded spot to spend the afternoon.

We spent our first full afternoon at the beach; sunning, fishing, generally being lazy. Here is a pic of one of the many beach accesses. We loved the dead tree and yellow flowers.

The next day we loaded up the kayaks and drove a couple miles to where the state park has a boat ramp on Big Bay Creek. From there you can paddle up the creek or out to the mouth of the South Edisto River and on into the ocean. The creek has more of a tide than a current. So our plan was to put in and float upstream with the tide, wait for the tide to turn, and float back with the tide.

It was a wide creek with grassy marsh on both sides. We floated up the creek and were passed by a group of dolphins.

There were at least four of them. We saw quite a bit of them for about a minute but they were fast so it was hard to get any picture at all especially since all I had was my iPhone.

After we floated past the state park’s property there were a dozen or so private docks crowded on one side of the creek, each with a long wooden sidewalk built between it and a big house back in the trees. Many of the docks had impressive boats. After them we had the creek to ourselves again.

We only went about a mile and a half and then tried to stay out of the current and wind that was pushing us upstream and wait for the tide to turn. There was such a strong wind coming up the creek that even when the tide turned and water started flowing toward the ocean the current wasn’t strong enough to counteract the wind. So we ended up having to paddle against it all the way back to the boat dock. We weren’t totally surprised by this outcome and were grateful we hadn’t gotten too far from the takeout. Next time we’d like to float toward the ocean just before low tide and hope the wind and the tide will carry us back to the dock with less effort.

Besides the dolphins we saw in the creek, we saw a lot more wildlife in general on this trip than we did during our last visit. We saw a huge turtle swimming in the ocean one day. The campground also has some very aggressive raccoons (the squirrels aren’t exactly shy either). This big fella had no problem walking into people’s camps in the middle of the day and rummaging through their things.

We were careful not to leave any trash out but Jim forgot to put his fishing gear away one day and they ate/stole/are wearing his plastic lure and they broke one of his poles, probably trying to get away after getting tangled up. Thankfully he was able to repair it.

When the tide went out the marsh behind our camp became a mud field. We were sitting there one afternoon and realized the whole thing was moving. There were a kazilion crabs about an inch wide, each waiving their little claw at us. How friendly!

The park’s learning center is located near the boat ramp. It’s definitely a must see if you visit. It’s much nicer than we expected. They have a beautiful building with a nice back porch full of rocking chairs.

They also have lots of live snakes, fish, and such in aquariums. Glad this fellow is no longer in that category.

The place has some beautiful murals and displays like this cool boat.

We had a wonderful three days in Edisto Beach and look forward to visiting again.

Edisto Beach

Edisto Island, South Carolina – August, 2015 We only had a few days before we planned to head west and wanted to spend them on a beach. So we chose the nearest one and headed that way. Edisto Island has a great state park. It occupies about a third of the island’s beachfront real estate and has an amazing beachside campground with 74 sites. Of course, some advance planning is required to get a beachside campsite and we all know that is not our strong point so lucky for us they have a second campground called Live Oak a half mile up the highway from the beach that had plenty of vacancies during our stay. We were impressed that this campground had wide roads and large, level sites. We were less than impressed with the $51 per night rate.

This island is not very commercialized. There were only a couple beach stores and only about a half dozen restaurants. There was a relatively well stocked little grocery store just outside the state park’s gate. The island is rather remote (25 miles to the next reasonably sized town) but in comparison to Hunting Island where the nearest grocery store was 20 miles away, this is a metropolis.

The Edisto Island travel brochure only listed 3 things on their local attractions page: the Edisto Island Museum, a serpentarium, and the state park’s environmental education center. The weather looked rather questionable for the weekend and I thought we might end up visiting some of these if we got rained out one day but when we did get rained out, on Sunday, they were all closed.

What this island primarily has going for it is several miles of uninterrupted beach front. You can walk and walk and walk without running out of beach and that is exactly what we did. The island’s beachfront is divided into the state park’s shoreline which is completely undeveloped and looks like this.

You can see a few of the campers in the campground. This was taken at high tide when the beach did get a bit narrow.

The state park’s boundary marks the beginning of development and the remainder of the island looks like this.

There is one house after another for the rest of the beach which wraps all the way around the end of the island. Edisto has no main beach parking lot besides the one in the state park. Instead they have over 30 beach accesses squeezed between the homes, most with several parking spaces each. I would guess that during their busy season a lot of people park on the street and the roads gets pretty crowded. We were there the weekend before Labor Day and showers were forecast so we had no trouble finding parking spots even for our monstrous truck. Since we had to drive to the beach from camp anyway we chose a different access point each time we wanted to take a walk and saw quite a lot of the beach and many, many beach houses.

Jim had been dying to fish in the ocean but was not looking forward to another expensive out of state fishing license so he was pleasantly surprised when he learned a 14 day non-resident fishing license for either fresh or salt water is only $11 in South Carolina. Since we had shrimp in the freezer he didn’t even have to buy bait. Between the rains and the tides he only fished for a couple hours but he had a good time and got some nibbles. We didn’t see any fisherman catch a single fish all weekend.

This island is a 2 hour drive from Hunting Beach where we recently visited but is only about 10 miles north by water. So the water was pretty much the same, warm with almost no visibility. Even so, we didn’t see any dolphins like we had at Hunting Beach but on the plus side I didn’t see a single mosquito either. We will certainly return to Edisto Beach for an extended visit some day but will plan it far enough in advance to get a beachside site. There is nothing better than walking out your front door and being a short walk from the beach