Quirky, laid-back Edisto Beach is easy to love

Glenda Harris


Quirky, laid-back Edisto Beach is easy to love

Edisto Beach, an easy one-and-a-half-hour drive north of Bluffton, is one of South Carolina's Sea Islands and a natural beauty.

With minimal commercial development or crowds, the island offers miles of beaches with public access paths on the Atlantic side every block or so.

On the bay side, there are bay-front condominiums, a couple restaurants, and a marina and waterfront coffee shop. Across the street, there is a golf course with condos for those who simply must play golf.

Most people, however, come to Edisto for the great fishing, crabbing and shrimping, shell collecting, beach walking and appreciating the natural beauty of this barrier island.

Edisto Beach could be described as quirky and different - in a good way. Be on the lookout for random adornments to be found throughout the island.

Do not miss Botany Bay Plantation, just a couple miles from the beach. We encountered shell-decorated tree skeletons all along this surreal place where maritime forest meets sand, a feast for the eyes with trees juxtaposed against beach and waves.

Previous visitors had left Hawaiian leis on branches and artfully fashioned letters or hearts in the sand with seashells. Botany Bay has strict instructions posted about removing any shells or other artifacts from the property; thus, the next best thing, obviously, is to collect them and leave your "art" for others to see.

On the right side of the road upon leaving the beach, there is a "hula dancer" in grass skirt and bikini top that has been attached to a tree trunk. You have to look for it, but it caught my eye as we were leaving and made me wonder who thought of doing that and why and the effort involved in attaching it to the tree at a height easily seen by passing motorists.

Another example of quirky Edisto is a totem pole on the beach, decorated with pretty much anything including shells, beach toys, snorkel and fins, driftwood and costume jewelry.

We picked up a colorful something that had fallen off, placed it back on the totem pole and continued our beach walk. It made us smile and lifted our mood.

Edisto Beach is easy to love for the quirkiness as well as the laid-back, fun atmosphere. There is no pretense here, no fanciness.

There are very few, if any, restrictions or regulations on building. You will see small bungalows next to larger homes, treehouse-looking homes and beach cottages in need of a coat of paint, appearing a bit tired from the battering of coastal winds and storms, but all offering those never-ending, never-get-tired-of views of blue ocean and barrier islands.

Making all feel welcome, Edisto visitors blend easily with the locals, bringing their boats to fish the island waters and their families to play and soak up Mother Nature at her best.

This is an easy place to just be. On Edisto, everyone seems relaxed and friendly - maybe because stress doesn't live here but quirky does.

Glenda Harris of Bluffton is a freelance writer and editor, nature lover and aspiring novelist.