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11/17/2009 Frequently Asked Questions
Edisto Chamber of Commerce
Media Kit: Frequently Asked Questions
Location and Travel:
Where is Edisto Island located?
Edisto Island is located approximately 45 miles south of Charleston and approximately 40 miles east of Walterboro. It is situated about 60 miles north of Beaufort and about 100 miles north of Savannah, Ga. From where Coastal Highway U.S. 17 intersects with S.C. Highway 174, it is a leisurely 30 minute drive along Highway 174 under moss-covered oak archways and past old country churches, working farms, and antebellum plantation estates. The Intracoastal Waterway at the McKinley Washington, Jr., Bridge marks the gateway to Edisto Island.
Where is the Edisto Chamber of Commerce located?
The Edisto Chamber of Commerce is located at 430 Highway 174. For more information, please call 843-869-3867 or 1-888-333-2781 or visit www.edistochamber.com.
Where is the closest airport?
The closest commercial airport is the Charleston International Airport, located in Charleston, S.C., about one hour away. The next closest is the Savannah Municipal Airport, located in Savannah, Ga., approximately two and half hours away.
The private airstrip at Edisto no longer permits public access. The closest private airstrip can be found at the Colleton Regional Airport in Walterboro, S.C., approximately 45 minutes away.
Is transportation to and from the airports available?
Yes, the Island Runner Shuttle provides transportation to and from regional airports. For more information, please call 843-271-0407.
What are the accommodations like there?
There are a number of vacation rentals available, including primarily single- family beachfront homes on or near the beach, or homes and villas overlooking the marsh on the back side of the island, to condos near the marina and around the golf course, which is at the beach. Additionally, the Edisto Beach State Park offers several RV and tent sites, along with cabins.
Are accommodations pet friendly?
Yes, some accommodations do allow pets. Pet friendly accommodations are best found through the rental companies that appear on the chamber web site at www.edistochamber.com.
Are there any kennels on the island?
Not on the island, but close by is Dixie Kennels, located on Highway 162 in Hollywood, approximately 20 miles from Edisto. For more information, call 843-763-1100. The next closest option is Polly’s Pet Grooming and Boarding, located at 925 Rodeo Drive in Walterboro. For more information, call 843-893-2080. For additional options, visitors may consider contacting the Charleston Chamber of Commerce or visit www.charlestonchamber.com.
Are dogs allowed on the beach and at the park?
Dogs are allowed on the beach, but must be on a leash from May 1 through October 31. Otherwise, dogs must be within verbal command of the owner, on a leash, or in a secure area within the town limits. Dogs on state park property must be on a leash at all times, according to state law. For everyone’s convenience, the town just installed new receptacles for pet waste in high traffic areas.
Are there any vets close by?
The closest small animal veterinarian is located approximately 45 minutes away, near the Home Depot and Lowes stores in the West Ashley area of Charleston. For more information, contact Bees Ferry Animal Hospital at 843-769-6784.
Points of Interest:
Highway 174 was recently designated as a National Scenic Byway. What does this mean?
In October of 2009, Highway 174, travelling from the McKinley Washington, Jr., Bridge to the Atlantic Ocean at Edisto Beach State Park, was designated a National Scenic Byway. It is one of only four in the state of South Carolina, and this designation grants protection for this scenic stretch of road, which passes under a beautiful live oak canopy and runs by Dawhoo Landing, Russell Creek and Windsor Plantation house, King’s Market, the Edisto Island Museum, the Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island, sweetgrass basket stands, Old First Baptist Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, gorgeous marsh views toward Botany Bay Road and the entrance to the Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area, and Edisto Beach State Park Environmental Learning Center, finishing where the road meets the Atlantic Ocean.
What is a sweetgrass basket and stand?
Sweetgrass basketmaking is an old art form that has been passed down through generations. Originally brought to the South by slaves from West Africa, the art of making these baskets from the marsh grasses has been present in the Lowcountry for over 300 years. In the 1930s, interest in these baskets surged, and basket makers started setting up roadside stands to sell their wares. While these basket stands can be found throughout the Lowcountry, they are largely found along the shoulder of Highway 17 North.
What is the ACE Basin?
Edisto Island is situated between the North and South Edisto Rivers along the edge of South Carolina’s ACE Basin. Three rivers – the Edisto (and later South Edisto), the Combahee, and Ashepoo -- make up the scenic area known as the ACE Basin, heralded as one of the country’s most beautiful and well protected wildlife preserves. Situated on thousands of acres, the ACE Basin offers visitors many opportunities to enjoy its beauty, including hunting, fishing, boating, bird watching, bicycling, hiking, and studying nature. There are also a number of scheduled activities at its properties. These properties, which are generally open to the public, include the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Bear Island, the Caw Caw Interpretive Center, the Donnelly Wildlife Management Area, the Dungannon Heritage Preserve, the Edisto Environmental Learning Center, and the St. Helena Sound Heritage Preserve.
Island Activities and Conveniences:
What is there to do on Edisto Island?
In addition to relaxing on the beach or dining at one of the local restaurants, visitors can enjoy a number of recreational activities. Some include boating, crabbing, shrimping, fishing, kayaking, biking, golfing, and bird-watching. Visitors might also enjoy a trip to one of the area attractions, such as the Botany Bay Wildlife Management area, the Edisto Serpentarium, the Edisto Environmental Learning Center, and the Edisto Island Museum. More information on these attractions and activities can be found below.
What is the Edisto Environmental Learning Center?
The Edisto Environmental Learning Center helps promote the wise use of coastal resources with the theme “Choosing to Protect Our Coast.” The Environmental Learning Center is headquarters for Edisto Beach State Park’s interpretive programs and curriculum-based field studies and for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ education and research services. An exhibit in the center features interactive displays, including a touch tank, which helps visitors understand the fragile resources of the ACE Basin estuarine reserve, the largest such natural reserve on the East Coast. Loggerhead Sea Turtle Walks are held during the summer months. For more information, contact 843-869-4430 or visit 8377 State Cabin Road, Tuesday through Saturday from 9a-4p.
What is Botany Bay Plantation?
Botany Bay Plantation is a wildlife management area set on over 4000 acres of forest, marsh, and beach. It was privately owned since before the War Between the States until very recently, when the property came under the management of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. It opened to the public in 2008. While visitors to the area are free to explore on their own, Botany Bay does offer a variety of tours, by foot, kayak, and boat. So that all may enjoy this pristine natural area, visitors are encouraged to treat the area with respect and help preserve the area for future generations.
Hours of operation are from 6am to 9pm during the summer months, excluding Tuesdays, which gives the animals time to rest and the staff to conduct maintenance. The area also may be closed on certain dates for scheduled hunts. To determine these calendar dates, or for more information, call 843-869-2998 or visit www.botanybayplantation.com.
Are the plantations open for public access?
All of the plantations are privately owned and occupied, and most are located on private roads not visible from the main highway. Some are open to the public during the annual tour of homes and historic sites, which takes place during the second weekend in October. For details, contact the Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society at 843-869-1954 or visit www.edistomuseum.org. The tour sells out quickly each year, so it is recommended that tickets be bought early.
Additionally, there are a couple of companies whose tours include access to some of the plantation grounds. For more information, contact Tours of Edisto at 843-869-1984 or Island Tours & Things at 843-869-1110 or 843-271-0407.
What types of restaurants can be found on Edisto?
Visitors to the Island will find seafood restaurants, barbecue, and deli/lunch/brunch options, featuring mostly Lowcountry fare. Options range from fine dining to very casual and family-friendly, and most restaurants are open year-round.
Where is the nearest grocery store?
There is a full grocery store on the beach, and there are smaller general stores, as well as a hardware store, not far off the beach heading north on Highway 174.
Are there other shops on the Island?
In addition to a few roadside markets, there are some small specialty stores and galleries, locally owned, located on the island and on Edisto Beach. Those interested in more shopping will also find an abundance of stores in Charleston, which is just a short day trip away.
Are boat ramps available for public access?
Yes, there are several public boat ramps:
- Edisto Marina, Big Bay Creek, 843-869-3504
- Live Oak Landing, further up Big Bay Creek and next to the State Park Interpretive Center, 843-869-4430.
- Steamboat Landing, approximately six miles from the beach on Steamboat Landing Rd off of Hwy 174 (the ramp is located on Steamboat Creek off of the North Edisto River)
- Dahoo Landing, approximately 11 miles from the beach on Hwy 174 (beside McKinley Washington Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway)
Do visitors need a license to fish on the Island?
Recreational fishing licenses are required for individuals fishing from the shore (beach, bank, private dock, free public pier, etc.), while saltwater recreational fishing licenses are required for recreational shrimping and crabbing. For more information regarding details, exemptions, exceptions, regulations, and fees, please visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website at http://www.dnr.sc.gov.
Are fishing charters available?
Yes, Edisto offers a number of great options for both inshore and offshore charter trips. More information can be found at www.edistochamber.com under the “To Do” link. The Edisto Marina is also a good source of information. Contact the Marina at 843-869-3509.
Where can visitors obtain information on the tides?
Free tide charts can be found at many stores and / or realty companies on the island, while custom charts are available at http://www.saltwatertides.com/dynamic.dir/scarolinasites.html. Simply select the area for which the tide chart is desired (North Edisto River, Edisto Beach, South Edisto River, etc.) and select the desired days and / or month.
Where can visitors find out about the water temperature?
The following website lists ocean water temperatures: http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/satl.html. Once there, select the “Atlantic Coast” and then “Charleston” (the closest measurement station to Edisto). A listing of data for different months will appear.
Are weddings allowed on the beach?
Yes, weddings on the beach are allowed. The Town of Edisto Beach does not currently require a permit, though those planning a wedding on the beach should contact Edisto Town Hall at 843-869-2505 for more information.
Are weddings allowed elsewhere on the island?
Yes, there are a few sites that allow wedding ceremonies and receptions, including the Lions Club, Wyndham Recreation Center, Cypress Trees Plantation, the Edisto Civic Center, and the Southerly B&B, among others. For more information, please visit the Chamber website at www.edistochamber.com.
What are Loggerhead Sea Turtles?
The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is one of the most common to nest in the United States. From late March to early June, these turtles mate, though nesting season reaches its peak in June and July when the females lay anywhere from 70 to 150 eggs at a time. They require soft sandy beaches and little light. After a period of about 60 days, the baby turtles emerge and make their way to the water. This is typically done at night when threats from predators are less, but because these turtles typically follow the brightest light to the water’s edge, artificial lights from humans have been known to lead them off their path. Edisto Beach is widely known as a choice nesting ground for these turtles. For this reason, visitors are asked to restrict their use of bright lights (porch lights, for example) during prime nesting season.
Are Loggerhead Sea Turtle tours available?
Frequently, visitors want to see a turtle laying eggs or watch the hatchlings make their way back to the water, but it is important to remember that the turtles participate in these activities on their own time and that it is difficult to schedule a visit to observe these events in their life cycle. While the Edisto Beach Loggerhead Turtle Project and The Learning through Loggerheads organization focuses its efforts on protection and education about the turtles and their nests, visitors who would like an educational tour should consider the following options:
The Edisto Interpretive Center hosts Loggerhead Sea Turtle Walks every Tuesday and Thursday nights during the months of June, July, and August. Call 843-869-4430 for reservations, but please note that these walks are not suitable for children under the age of 11.
Botany Bay Ecotours provides eco-tours designed to help people enjoy and understand the amazing plants and animals that make Edisto their home. Turtle walks are held each week between the months of May and September. For more information, call 843-869-2998 or visit www.botanybayplantation.com
Is walking on the beach at night permitted? Should visitors be concerned about disturbing the turtles?
Yes, walking on the beach is permitted at night, and the use of a normal intensity flashlight is fine. The major concerns regarding turtles involve larger porch, security, or street lights. Smaller lights that illuminate immediate pathways should not be a problem. It is suggested that visitors choose lights that are not too bright and that they use them sparingly.
Is there a place to rent golf carts?
Yes, for golf cart rentals, please contact Island Bikes and Outfitters, located at 140 Jungle Rd, by phone at 843-869-4444 or by visiting www.islandbikesandoutfitters.com.
Are there any rules governing the use of golf carts on the island?
Yes, whether visitors rent or use their own, please note that a South Carolina DOT golf cart permit must be attached to the cart (these are available at DOT offices throughout the state) and that drivers are required to have a valid driver’s license. These carts can be operated on secondary streets within two miles of the driver’s residence during daylight hours. They are not permitted on primary highways (Highway 174 or Palmetto Boulevard, for example), though they may be driven straight across a primary highway from a secondary street, nor are they permitted on bike paths or lanes. They are subject to the same parking laws as regular motor vehicles, and it is important to note that the police issue tickets, not warnings, for violations of these laws.
Are ATVs allowed? Are they considered golf carts?
ATVs (such as a Kawaski Mule Utility Vehicle) are illegal to operate on the island, regardless of SCDOT permits and/or insurance, and are not typically considered golf carts according to local ordinances. Please call Town Hall at 843-869-2505 to determine whether a vehicle is classified as a golf cart.
Is metal detecting allowed?
Metal detecting is permitted on the public sandy portion of the beach, but it is not allowed on any of the dunes. Because erosion has been a problem in some areas, walking, disturbing sea oats, or and/or digging in the dunes is prohibited. Those interested in metal detecting on state park property should contact the state park directly to inquire about its policies, and because all of the plantations and historical sites are located on private property, no metal detecting can be done on these sites without the owner’s permission. Those interested in metal detecting on the island should contact Addam's Artifacts and Relic Hunting Adventures, which has access to some private property for these purposes. For more information, call 843-889-6073.
Are there any public tennis courts on the island?
There are no public courts on the island. There are private courts situated within Wyndham Resorts; however, use of these is limited to owners and guests of Wyndham Resorts. The closest public courts are located in Charleston.
Is there a public gym or exercise facility on the island?
There is an exercise facility located within Wyndham Resorts, but its use is restricted to owners and guests of the property. The closest public gyms are located in Charleston. For more information, visit the Charleston Chamber of Commerce’s website at www.charlestonchamber.net.
Is Internet access available at Edisto?
Yes, there are two options for accessing the Internet.
The Edisto Bookstore, located in a small shopping center beside the United States Post Office, has both line and WiFi connection capabilities. For more information, please contact the bookstore at 843-869-1885 or visit www.theedistobookstore.com.
McConkey’s Jungle Shack restaurant, located beside the Piggly Wiggly, also offers Internet access. McConkey’s Jungle Shack can be reached by calling 843-869-0097.
Where can one get more information?
For more information, please call 843-869-3867 or 1-888-333-2781 or visit www.edistochamber.com.