Edisto Island

On rural Edisto (pronounced ed-is-toh) Island, you'll find magnificent stands of age-old oaks festooned with Spanish-moss, and side roads that lead to Gullah hamlets and aging wooden churches; wild turkeys may still be spotted on open grasslands and amid palmetto palms. Twisting tidal creeks, populated with egrets and herons, wind around golden marsh grass. A big day on the island may include shelling and shark-tooth hunting.

The small "downtown" beachfront is a mix of public beach-access spots, restaurants, and old, shabby-chic beach homes that are a far cry from the palatial villas rented out on other area islands. It's also the access point to wild, remote Botany Bay Plantation, while nearby Edisto Beach State Park offers more pristine wilderness and is a camper's delight.

Despite weathering the storm surge of two hurricanes in the last decade, the beach community has rebuilt and retained its remote, forgotten feel. There are a number of privately owned rental accommodations—condos, villas, and homes—and Wyndham Ocean Ridge Resort offers time-share units that can be rented when available. None are on the beach, however.

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