It is no secret that Charleston and its surrounding communities have a unique and storied history. What is less well-known is that you can experience it all firsthand in some of the most unlikely of places.
To help you explore the beauty and treasures the Lowcountry has to offer, we have compiled a list of our favorite spots—some known, some lesser-known. Whether you are a local or just passing through, we hope these gems will find their way into your next Lowcountry adventure.
White Point Gardens
There are few places with more historical significance than White Point Gardens. Located at the intersection of East Battery and Murray Boulevard in downtown Charleston, this historic waterfront park is decorated with historic cannons, monuments, and beautiful palm and oak trees. It has served as a public park and was even home to fortification for the city during the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
The Gateway Walk
Maintained by the Garden Club of Charleston, the Gateway Walk leads you through the full, fragrant gardens and peaceful, historic cemeteries of St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Philip’s Church, the Library Society and the Gibbes Museum of Art. Full of historical and natural beauty, the Gateway Walk is one you’ll never forget.
Folly Beach – Bowens Island Restaurant
This six-mile long barrier island boasts an appealing mix of eclectic shops, historical sites and southern hospitality. Here, you will also find Bowens Island Restaurant, an award-winning hotspot where they cook oysters the old fashioned way: by digging them up, hosing them off and roasting them over an open fire right in front of you.
The Angel Oak is located on Johns Island and is thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country. There is some debate on its exact age, but it is estimated to be approximately 1,500 years old. Stand in front of this gorgeous live oak and you’ll be amazed to see how far its canopy can reach.
With historic sites like Fort Moultrie and the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse mixed in with modern foodie delights like Poe’s Tavern and The Obstinate Daughter, it is hard to believe that Sullivan’s Island is only 3.3 square miles. A favorite for locals and visitors alike, this seemingly quaint beach town is full of life.
Down the road from historic Charleston you will find the charming town of Moncks Corner. Here, you can visit the unique community of Trappist monks at Mepkin Abbey, where the monks live in silence and work their farm. The abbey also hosts guided tours and offers weeklong and weekend retreats for spiritual renewal.
This 175-acre swamp and garden allows visitors the chance to enjoy respite and soak in the peaceful sights and sounds of mother nature. From the Butterfly House and Swamparium to the new Heritage Museum, there is much to enjoy here—and it is easy to get lost in the beauty of it all. *Note: The gardens are currently closed for maintenance and repairs following the 2015 flooding in the area. When it reopens, definitely put this on your must-see list.
For some unique stores that are off the beaten path, head up the road to Summerville. Here, you’ll find a wide range of art galleries, antique shops like Marigolds, and locally made folk art and quilts at places like People, Places & Quilts. It is hard not to fall in love with the charming sights and characters of this Lowcountry gem.