FAVORITE LOCATIONS

Sun City locations:

  • Nature trail

  • Butterfly garden

  • Model sailboat races at Lake Somerset

  • Sports: softball, pickleball, tennis, horseshoe, bocce, croquet, playground

  • Model trains at Modelworkers/Woodworkers Friday mornings

  • Golf course nature tours sign up in Pinckney Hall

  • Riverbend marsh and pier

 

CHECK WEBSITES FOR CURRENT SIGHTINGS, HOURS & FEES BEFORE GOING

Ace Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve

The ACE Basin is a partnership program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

    A=Ashepoo River Drainage

    C=Combahee River Drainage

    E=Edisto River Drainage

These 3 rivers makeup the entire ACE Basin

Aiken

Arboretum Trail, DuPont Planetarium. Eudora Farms is the first drive-thru safari park in South Carolina. Joye in Aiken Festival brings the very best in the performing arts in March. Hopelands Gardens 14 acre estate. Hitchcock Woods is among the largest urban forests in the nation, with about 2,100 acres. Home to the rustic Aiken Horse Show in the spring, one of the oldest annual horse shows in the country. Annual Steeplechase.

 

Alligator Farm & Rookery, 999 Anastasia Blvd., St Augustine, FL

Boardwalk to see large wading birds like Herons, Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks. White Alligators. 

 

Bear Island WMA Typically closed November through early February

Bear Island is located in eastern Colleton County approximately 13 miles from U.S. Highway 17 off of Secondary Road S-15-26 (Bennett's Point Road). A green highway sign marks the turn onto Bennett's Point road from Highway 17. Bear Island is 13 miles from Highway 17. Migrating birds, Glossy Ibis, White Pelicans, Bald Eagles, Kingfishers, Roseate Spoonbills, Tundra Swans.

Beidler Forest, 336 Sanctuary Rd, Harleyville, SC 29448

18,000-acre bird and wildlife sanctuary with 1.75-mile raised boardwalk through the Cypress and Tupelo swamp. The world's largest virgin Cypress -Tupelo swamp forest - a pristine ecosystem untouched for millennia. A range of wildlife:  Prothonotary Warblers, Barred Owls, Hawks, Woodpeckers, Bobcats, Fox, Otter.

 

Bishopville Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden is three acres with sculptures. Self-taught,  Fryar worked for more than 20 years to create and maintain these remarkable topiaries. 

 

Boone Hall, 1235 Long Point Rd, Mt Pleasant

Slave Street, smoke house, oak alley, antebellum cotton ginhouse, brick manor house.

 

Botany Bay Plantation, Edisto

3,363 acre. Closed Tuesdays. Neotropical songbirds including Painted Buntings and Tanagers. Botany Beach is a wonderful place for sunrise photography.

 

Brookgreen Garden, Murrell’s Inlet

9,127-acre Botanical garden, sculpture garden and zoo with Eagle, Fox, Otter, Hawk Ducks, and butterflies.

 

Callaway Gardens Pine Mountain / LaGrange, GA

Birds of prey show. September is Blue Motho Butterfly Month. Annual events include steeple chase, hot air balloons, old cars, and Festival of Lights.

 

Camden

Revolutionary War Colonial Mansion & Battlefield. Lake Wateree, 242 miles of shoreline covering 13,000 acres has served as one of the state's premier fishing and boating destinations for almost 100 years. Carolina Steeplechase

 

Charleston

Aquarium, Middleton Plantation & Gardens, Drayton Hall, Hampton Plantation, McLeod Plantation Historic Site is an important 37-acre Gullah/Geechee heritage site. Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie.

Cleveland

Victoria Valley Vineyards, Symmes Chapel,  Caesar State Park, Jones Gap State Park, and numerous waterfalls.

Clinton

Musgrove Mill State Park,  American Revolutionary War battle includes mill and waterfall. Horsehoe Falls nearby. Enoree Passage of the Palmetto Trail is 36 continuous Trail miles through Sumter National Forest, linking Newberry, Laurens, and Union counties. 

Clover Vien Quang Buddist Monastery. Beautiful gardens filled with pagodas, gorgeous marble statues, and blooming flowers across the 22 acres of well-groomed landscapes.

 

Columbia

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Aquarium, Congaree National Park

 

Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden, Savannah

The garden is part of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. It offers educational classes and workshops,  special events and opportunities for visitors to connect with nature. Entrance fee. https://coastalbg.uga.edu

Cumberland Island, St Mary’s, GA

Ferry ride to the Island to see attractions: Dungeness Ruins, Plum Orchard Mansion, First African Baptist Church, ghost beach, wild horses.

 

Cypress Gardens, Moncks Corner

170-acre preserve and gardens inlcuding a 80 acres blackwater bald cypress/tupelo swamp, surrounded with both boat and foot trails.

Cypress Wetlands, 1700 Paris Ave, Port Royal, SC 29935   

Protected wetlands area with a boardwalk through the rookery with Herons, Egrets, Ibis, and Anhinga.

 

Darien, GA

Shrimp Boats, Georgia Buffalo Ranch & Trading Post is a locally owned & operated bison ranch.

Daufuskie Island 

Ferry ride to the island from Hilton Head. Enjoy Gullah history & artisans.

 

Donnelley WMA, 60 miles from Sun City. 

Turn right into the entrance from Hwy 17. Watch for smalls sign across from the I-95 sign.  Migrating birds, Glossy Ibis, White Pelicans, Bald Eagles, Kingfishers, Roseate Spoonbills & Painted Buntings. Several acres planted with sunflowers in summer.

Edisto Memorial Gardens, Orangeburg on US Highway 301. The average peak spring bloom of cherry trees, azaleas, dogwoods, and other flora is from March. .

15 to April 15. 

Effingham Living Museum, 1002 Pine Street, Springfield, GA includes jail, schoolhouse, general store and historic displays. 

 

Folly Field Beach, 55 Starfish Dr, Hilton Head Island

Great location for sand dune & sunrise photos.

 

Fort Jackson, Savannah

Oldest Revolutionary War brick fort

 

Fort Pulaski National Monument, US-80, Savannah

 

Frampton House Plantation, Yemassee

Battle of Pocotaligo reenactment

 

Gay Fish Company, US 21, East of Frogmore

Large platform just for photographers. Shoot water, marsh, bridge and shrimp boats with either the moon or sunset all in one shot.

 

Georgetown, south of Pawley's Island. 3rd oldest SC cities with more than 60 structures on the National Register of Historic Places Gullah. Museum with tours and demonstrations. Hopsewee Plantation inlcudes  a scenic river-front vista with Spanish-moss draped Live Oaks.  SC Maritime Museum, harborwalk, Mansfield Rice Plantation. Hobcaw Barony is a 16,000-acre natural preserve and wildlife refuge. Wooden Boat Show, a two-day festival in October.

Greenville

Zoo, Cedar Falls Park, bridges. Gassaway Mansion. Conestee Nature Preserve, a 400-acre preserve along three miles of the Reedy River with 13 miles of trails, more than 6 miles of them paved and 1 mile of boardwalk. Paris Mountain State Park, a 1,540-acres include hiking, biking, swimming and picnicking. The 13-acre Lake Placid offers swimming and fishing. Nearby waterfalls.

 

Harbor Island, outside Beaufort, near Hunting Island

Private 1400-acre barrier island. Great for shorebirds in the Spring.

 

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Townsend GA 45 miles south of Savannah

Wood Storks, Painted Buntings, various duck species, Glossy Ibis, raptors, owls, woodpeckers, warblers, Night Heron, Kingfisher, Roseate Spoonbill. 

 

Hilton Head Gullah Museum, Georgianna Drive

 

Honey Horn Plantation, Hilton Head

Discovery Museum, sculpture & butterfly garden, boardwalk, festivals

 

Huntington Beach State Park, 16148 Ocean Hwy, Murrells Inlet, SC

The Sandpiper Pond Nature Trail has a viewing deck on a pond that attracts egrets and herons. The Kerrigan Nature Trail includes a boardwalk over a lagoon. Atalaya, a vast 1930s Moorish-style castle. Annual Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival in September. 

 

Jacksonville, FL 

  • Huguenot Memorial Park: Nesting area for Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls,  Brown Pelicans and Oyster Catchers in late spring and early summer.

  • Zoo, Kingsley Plantation, Little Talbot Island State Park & Fernandina Beach.

  • Great area for night photography at The Landings area on St Johns River.

James Webb Wildlife Center, 1282 Webb Avenue, Garnett, SC

Comprises 5866 acres. Birds: Least Bitterns, Swallow-tailed Kites, Mississippi Kites, Purple Gallinules, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Acadian Flycatchers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, variety of Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Painted Buntings. The Webb Center is a stronghold for Eastern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake.

https://www2.dnr.sc.gov/ManagedLands/ManagedLand/ManagedLand/108

 

Jarvis Creek Park, Hilton Head

Fishing dock, wetlands walkway

 

Landrum 

1820's Ballenger Mill, part of Willow Creek Conservatory, a popular event site and wedding venue that includes a wedding chapel and other outbuildings along the Middle Tyger River. 47 acres. 1909 Campbell's Covered Bridge is the last remaining SC covered bridge.  

 

Magnolia Plantation, Charleston

Gardens, nature tram, 125 acre rice field boat tour, zoo. There is 30 acre swamp with Night Herons, Prothonotary Warblers, Herons, Bitterns, Bald Eagles, Hawks, Woodpeckers and many song birds.

 

Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, Pooler

 

Milledgeville GA

Founded in 1803 as the new capital of Georgia, Milledgeville has stunning Federal-style architecture, enhanced by noteworthy Greek, Victorian and Classic revival styles. The Old Capitol Building is the first public building ever designed in the US in the Gothic Revival style. Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion built in 1839. Georgia College and State University, Lockerly Arboretum.

 

Mitchelville Beach, Hilton Head

Great place for sunrise photos. Elevated boardwalk above a marsh area. Shore birds & Bald Eagles.

 

Oglethorpe Speedway, Pooler

 

Old Car City, White, GA 281 miles

34 acres of junkyard with over 4,000 cars. Fee.

 

Parris Island Marine Corp Base, Beaufort

Crucible, graduation 

 

Pickens, NW corner of SC in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Hagood Historic site. Table Rock and Keowee-Toxaway State Parks.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, Hilton Head Island  

A 4,053-acre National Wildlife Refuge. Ibis Pond is the main attraction. Walking & biking. Call for tram tour schedules. 

 

Sgt Jasper Park, Red Dam Road, Hardeeville, by Coastal Carolina Hospital

Fishing pond, birding, nature trail, kayaking, disc golf. Picnic area.

 

Savannah Botanical Garden

The garden is owned and operated by Savannah Area Council of Garden Clubs. The garden includes both formal and naturalistic plantings, a two-acre pond, amphitheater, nature trails, and archaeological exhibit.   https://www.savannahbotanical.org/

 

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, 694 Beech Hill Lane

4 mile driving loop and walking trails on the old dike walls. Bobcats, Otters, Black Skimmers, Owls, Purple Gallinules, Ducks, Raptors, Wading birds, Song birds, Shore birds.

 

Savannah Railroad Museum

 

Smith State Park, Twin City, GA

Approximately 1.5 hours away. Refurbished Parrish Mill and Pond, a gristmill, covered bridge and saw mill that straddles a dam in 1880, Cypress and Tupelo trees. Victorian style farmhouses. 

South Carolina Botanical Garden, Clemson University

295 diverse acres of natural landscapes, display gardens, and miles of streams & trails.

Sumter, 2 hrs

Swan Lake Iris Gardens is the only public park in the US to feature all eight swan species. The 150-acre garden also is home to some of the nation's most intensive plantings of Japanese iris, which bloom from mid to late May through the beginning of June. 

South Carolina Back Roads towns in close proximity to each other. 1.5 hours

Old abandoned homes, barns, farm equipment, cotton fields, etc. 

  • BRANCHVILLE: Old Railroad station & museum, vintage houses  

  • BAMBERG: court house, murals, abandoned storefronts, old gas station

  • BLACKVILLE: Old Shamrock Hotel ruins & Healing Springs Artisan Well, Lil's B & B Cottage. Miller's Bread Basket Amish Restaurant. Barnwell State Park one of 16 built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in South Carolina built in 1937. 

  • DENMARK: Old Railroad station, old signs, ice cream store

  • COPE: Word Holiness Church, cotton gin, Historically Registered Railroad station, abandoned buildings, old gas station, tiny Town Hall

Sunset

Twin Falls, Reedy Cove, and Wildcat nearby waterfalls. Keowee-Toxaway State Park. 

Tybee Island, GA

  • North beach lighthouse, pier & pavilion, loggerhead turtles.

  • Fall & Spring migrants, including more than 30 species of warblers.

  • Sally Pearce Nature Trails: Painted Buntings, Warblers, Brown Thrashers, Woodpeckers, and the Great Crested Flycatcher.

  • Events: Mardi Gras, St Patrick’s Day Parade, SCAD Chalk the Walk, SCAD sand sculpture festival, Pirate Festival, Beach Bum Parade, Christmas Parade.

  • Night photography / Milky Way on the south end of the island.

 

RESOURCES:

    September 2021