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Spend a Weekend in Francis Marion’s South Carolina Lowcountry

Chris M. Rogers

About 33 miles west of Charleston, you’ll find Parkers Ferry, S.C. — a small community with a big history. It was once a major thoroughfare crossing the Pon Pon River, now known more commonly as the Edisto River, and the location where the Revolutionary War’s “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion planned and pulled off a notable ambush in the summer of 1781.

Using the natural landscape as a veil, Marion and his men then looked to guerilla warfare tactics as they went up against the more than 600 Loyalist, British and German troops. Nowadays, Parkers Ferry and surrounding Lowcountry locales offer visitors a chance to connect with the nature that Marion so strategically put to use, explore the history left behind — including spots on The Liberty Trail, indulge in fresh seafood and other local treats, as well as shop for one-of-a-kind finds!

Transport yourself back in time by immersing yourself in the Lowcountry’s collection of historic treasures.

  • Begin your educational journey by heading to the Colleton Museum in Walterboro, S.C., as you’ll find exhibits touching on the region’s role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. And if you’re a fan of farm-to-table goodies, stop by the museum’s adjoining farmers’ market!
  • Visit one of Walterboro's five remaining "high houses," so named for the structure's high height off the ground, at the Bedon-Lucas House.
  • Dating back to colonial times, the Pon Pon Chapel of Ease was constructed to make worship more accessible in a time where people and places were much more spread out. Take a stroll through the captivating ruins, located near Jacksonboro, S.C., and imagine what the structure would’ve looked like in its glory days.
  • Located in Jacksonboro, the small town where Gen. Nathaniel Greene arranged for the South Carolina General Assembly to meet during the Revolutionary War, enjoy ACE Basin Fish Camp’s popular oysters and shrimp.
  • Learn about wealthy rice planter turned determined Patriot colonel, Isaac Hayne, by visiting his tomb and the site of his ancestral home, Hayne Hall, in Jacksonboro. His loyalty to the cause of independence was so true that it cost him his life.
  • While not yet a public site, you can also drive past the location that Marion achieved great victory at the Parker’s Ferry Battlefield, a place where the Trust and its members have successfully saved 31 acres.
  • Recognize the difficult history engrained in the region with a trip to the Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel, S.C. Once part of several rice plantations and home to many enslaved persons, this spot will allow visitors to gain a greater understanding of the American past while immersing themselves in the abundant nature of a wildlife preserve.

Take in the full scope of your natural surroundings, as did Francis Marion, while spending quality time with the family!

  • Gather your family and explore the beautiful sites of the Lowcountry from a tube, kayak, or paddleboard on the Edisto River with the aptly named Edisto River Adventures, based out of Ridgeville, S.C.
  • For the animal lover in the group, head to Cottageville’s Herd It Here Farm and meet their charismatic alpacas, as well as other furry and feathered friends.
  • If the kids need a moment to unleash their boundless energy, take them to a Ravenel, S.C., playground with a historic twist. This train-themed playground is situated right next to a restored railroad depot dating to 1900.
  • For fresh food prepared with the finest ingredients in a friendly environment, the Fillin’ Station Diner comes highly recommended. Pick up homemade desserts while you’re there!
  • If your family can’t get enough nature walks, the Edisto Nature Trail has you covered. Grab a brochure at the trailhead and learn about the nearly 60 varieties of flora and fauna as you wind your way through a typical Lowcountry forest of mature pines, hardwoods and bald cypress — a section of the trail also goes through a cypress swamp atop an old railroad bed.
  • Protecting the largest undeveloped estuary along the Atlantic Coast, the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is a great option for photographers, wildlife enthusiasts, fisherman, and hunters. Here you can also explore one of the few antebellum mansions that survived the Civil War in the ACE Basin area.
  • With a visit to Meggett’s Roxbury Park, families can see and experience eight distinctively unique habitats that attract and support an amazing variety of wildlife.

Embrace the simple joys of art and leisure as you connect with the area’s fascinating past.

  • Housed in a restored eight room Victorian cottage, the South Carolina Artisans Center allows visitors to shop from the works of over 300 of the finest Carolina artists, emphasizing traditional and indigenous folk art and contemporary crafts.  
  • For antiques, collectibles, furniture & more — with new items arriving daily — turn to Farmhouse Antiques & Collectibles in Ravenel, S.C.
  • While vineyards typically bring wine to mind, Baldwin Grape Vineyard allows you to pick-your-own muscadine grapes late August through early fall. Visitors say their fragrance is simply delightful!
  • For a round of golf set amidst South Carolina Lowcountry breezes from the Intracoastal Waterway and centuries-old live oaks, the Links at Stono Ferry is the perfect refuge from society’s hustle. A railroad line known as the Charleston and Savannah Railroad formerly occupied the land where the cart path for the 13th hole now exists. The line was established in the late 1850s and was the main lifeline between many Southern cities during the Civil War.
  • Serving up southern hospitality and affordable, quality Lowcountry cuisine, Roxbury Mercantile is another family-owned favorite.
  • Or, if you’re seeking out a healthier option, look to 17 South Nutrition for creative and flavorful shakes and teas.

Romance in the Lowcounty

A weekend escape to the Lowcountry offers a perfect opportunity to enjoy time with your better half — especially if you both have a penchant for the past.

  • Begin the day with breakfast at Olde House Café where the motto is “home cookin’ makes you good lookin’.”
  • Grab some artistic pictures of the Spanish moss-draped ruins of the Old Sheldon Church, in Yemassee, S.C. One of the first Greek-Revival structures built in what would become the U.S., the church was originally built between 1745-55. Said to have been used by the Patriots to store gun powder, the structure was first burned down by the British in 1779. Rebuilt in 1826, it became victim to fire again when Sherman’s men passed through in 1865. 
  • With raving reviews, the family-owned Ravenel Seafood is said to serve up “the best garlic crab, garlic shrimp and seafood you will ever eat.” But beware: You will get messy! So perhaps this is best for established relationships.
  • Get your beloved moving with a hike at the Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve in Hollywood, S.C. — this 643-acre nature preserve offers a gently rolling, mostly easy-to-follow, foot-traffic only, out-and-back dirt trail through mixed forest and wetland areas.

Before you go

We’ve got some tips and advice for prepping for a visit to the South Carolina Lowcountry, including weather, accommodations, and historical background — everything you need to make your visit a comfortable and memorable one!     

  • Check the weather so you know how to pack and what to wear   
  • Read up on the Revolutionary War and learn about the Southern Campaign through our animated map!
  • Discover South Carolina is a one-stop shop for all things tourism in the Palmetto State, including trip ideas, stories, videos, and more.
  • Find a place to stay that makes it easy to see as much as possible. Stay outside of the charming and beautiful Charleston at a historic inn or a popular hotel chain, or remain closer to locations on the itinerary with a stay in Walterboro.