If you happen to visit Charleston or Edisto Island, do not pass up the chance to got one one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, Botany Bay.
I was visiting my sister in law Bridget a couple months ago and she suggested we head out and see Botany Bay. Neither of us have ever been there and when I asked her what it was she said something to the effect of, “I don’t know, a really cool place.” Ok then! HA!
Helpful Hint: The drive to Botany Bay is a little long and there are NO bathrooms, so be sure to use the bathroom before you head out!
Once we arrived at Botany Bay, we could not take our eyes off the scenery. Botany Bay is made up of three historic plantations (Bleak Hall, Botany Bay, and Sea Cloud) on 4,630 acres on Edisto Island and was opened to the public in 2008.
The land itself is full of nature’s beauty, from salt marshes, to fresh water ponds, Spanish moss draped oaks and miles and miles of private beach.
When you enter the Plantation you are greeted by an attendant who gives you a map of where things are, the beaches, the remains of the plantation house itself. It has a clearly marked driving tour. You are also welcome to walk down any of the trails and just maybe you will get a peek at some of the wildlife including deer, alligators, snakes, fiddler crabs, and egrets. It is also the home and nesting area of over 100 Loggerhead turtles.
And yes, you did read that correctly….ALLIGATORS. While we did not see any when we went, that does not mean they weren’t there. I do remember seeing a sign saying something to the effect of “Don’t run from Alligators, they can run faster than you.” Ok then…good thing to remember.
As you start the driving tour you will be inundated with the beauty of nature.
The driving tour will take you to a trail where you can walk to the virtually untouched private beach at Botany Bay. If I were to guess, the walk was about 1/2 mile through the marsh, so be prepared to walk. While I am sure you could push a stroller or wheelchair on the trail, I think it would be a very bumpy ride.
But that walk is worth every second once you reach the beach. I cannot even describe just how beautiful it is. Erosion on Botany Bay Beach has left a “bone yard” of dead trees along the sand, creating a unique coastline you must truly walk to fully appreciate.
Helpful Hint: Do NOT take anything from the beach, it is a CRIME to remove anything from the beach.
Get back in your car and continue the driving tour. The next stop will be on the right and you can pull into a parking lot.
There are two buildings. The one right in front of you once served as the ice house for Bleak Hall.
The one on the right was gardener’s shed erected next to the now overgrown Japanese formal garden, the first of its kind in North America.
Hop back in your car and continue your tour. You will continue to see additional remnants of historical plantations as well as some of the most interesting landscape, trees, and flora I have ever seen.
I hope you have fun exploring Botany Bay!
For more information on Botany Bay visit Preserve Edisto.