What’s Really Magical About Botany Bay

There’s a quarter-mile stretch just past a maritime forest and wide expanse of marsh that lleads to a soft, sandy beach lined with sun-bleached trees that reach up from the Atlantic Ocean. This path takes the adventurous straight to the beach at Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve Wildlife Management Area.

Botany Bay is one of the crown jewels of Edisto Island. It provides visitors with a chance to step back in time and catch a glimpse of what the lowcountry looked like when Sea Island cotton was king.

The plantation consists of approximately 4,600 acres of historic ruins, forests, wildlife, lakes, marshland, and three miles of beach that offer uncomparable views.

What’s really magical about Botany Bay is that this unspoiled land provides some of the best views of wildlife native to the area. That includes loggerhead sea turtles, which nest along the beach; a variety of shore birds like the snowy egrets that hunt in the marsh; dozens of deer that dart in and out of the thick tree cover throughout the plantation; dolphin that swim up and down the shore; and the alligators that sunbathe on the banks of the area’s lagoons.

Visitors interested in the history of the property can take a 6.5 mile self-guided tour throughout the plantation to view the entirety of the grounds along. This tour includes access to the old ice house and gardener’s shed, both of which were used during the plantation’s peak. Visitors can also view the chimney of an old slave cabin along with a beehive that was built by slaves as a source for drinking water.

There is nothing quite like Botany Bay anywhere else on the island or South Carolina. From the moment you drive down its sandy streets lined by Spanish moss draped live oak trees, you’ll fall in love with the stunning surroundings.

The plantation is open to the public and there is no admission fee, however, it is closed on Tuesdays and during scheduled hunts. To access the plantation from Edisto Beach, take Hwy 174 approximately 8 miles and turn right onto Botany Bay Road. Follow signage to the plantation.

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Bob Hart Author

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