Edisto Beach beach vacation rentals
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Your guide to Edisto Beach
Quietly perched on a sparsely developed island between Charleston and Savannah, Edisto Beach is one of South Carolina’s hidden secrets: a family-friendly beach town virtually untouched by tourism. The area wasn’t established as a community until the 1920s, when locals began arriving at low tide, traveling across the saltwater marsh on beds of oyster shells. Most of the makeshift retreats built during that time were destroyed in hurricanes, but development began to take off in the 1990s. Still, it’s restrained. Just 500 people call Edisto Beach home year-round, and they pride themselves on the town’s relaxed, low-key lifestyle and absence of commercialism. There aren’t any colorful nightlife strips, nor a single traffic light. Instead, locals and visitors stroll or bike Palmetto Boulevard looking for shells or admiring the panoramic ocean views, soaking in Edisto Beach’s slower way of life.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Edisto Beach
Located squarely in the center of the Gulf Coast, Edisto Beach is affected by the Gulf Stream, which warms its waters and lends the air its heavy humidity. The town’s subtropical climate means that temperatures typically peak in the high 80s Fahrenheit during the summer, dropping to the 40s in winter. If you’re staying in one of Edisto Beach’s vacation rentals during tropical storm season (late summer through early fall) keep a close watch on local weather reports. Although the town has been spared by major hurricanes in the past, it remains vulnerable given its position on the gulf.
Top things to do in Edisto Beach
Edisto Beach’s neighbor to the north is Kiawah Island, a beach community known equally as a luxury hospitality destination and one of South Carolina’s best preserved habitats for local flora and fauna. Unlike a handful of privately owned islands in the area, Kiawah is open to the public despite being largely managed by resort properties.
Though Edisto Beach is technically located on Edisto Island, the two are in separate counties and couldn’t be more different. Edisto Island proper is sparsely populated, covered with the ruins of former plantations and colonial-era buildings. Many have been redeveloped for tourism and resorts, logged on the National Register of Historic Places. The island is also home to the 1,255-acre Edisto Beach State Park, covered with hiking and biking trails, and boardwalks extending over natural salt marshes.
ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
Named for the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers, the massive ACE Basin spans more than 350,000 acres on Edisto Island. The wildlife refuge itself is just less than 12,000 acres, making it one of the largest undeveloped estuaries on the Atlantic Coast; it’s about a 40-minute drive from Edisto Beach, and open year-round to visitors, with limited hunting and fishing.