Breathtaking and serene, Driftwood Beach is located near the Botany Bay Heritage Plantation on Edisto Island. When you arrive at this incredible location, you will notice that it seems untouched by humans. Still, the truth is, it holds fascinating history that dates back to the Gullah-Geechee people that were West Africans who were enslaved to work the rice fields and serve the plantation owners.
One of the main things you will notice when you arrive at this beach is the driftwood lying on the shore that naturally creates unique designs as if it were artwork. You can get great pictures of this driftwood; make sure you don’t move or damage this natural boneyard.
As you walk through the large pieces of driftwood, you will feel like you are on an adventure as you explore the natural surroundings. Also, part of the adventure is arriving at Driftwood Beach because you need to go to Botany Bay to get to the beach.
The entrance of Botany Bay is a long road covered by trees that create a unique tunnel. The lush greenery and tall trees make the perfect escape to this beautiful destination.
Parking is available at the far end of the path. Enjoy the half-mile walk as you navigate through a saltwater marsh to reach the beach. An excellent tip is to arrive a few minutes before sunrise to watch the sky turn into various colors as the sun rises over the water.
During June and July, the sunflower fields spring into life and create a sea of vibrant yellow flowers that boost your mood and give you the energy to continue exploring the area.
History of Driftwood Beach
As you make your way around the park, you will notice wildlife and historical sites such as an old plantation home. You are exploring a historical area that has plenty of stories to tell if you look closely. The Botany Bay Plantation where Driftwood Beach is located was two separate working plantations back in the day.
The plantations made it through the Civil War when the Confederate and Union forces occupied the area and used Bleak Hall plantation house as their lookout. The original home burned down after the war ended, but it was rebuilt and can still be seen from a distance.
This area was privately owned in the past but is now managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
You will have a unique experience every time you visit this incredible destination. There is plenty of native wildlife to see, such as fiddler crabs, lizards, egrets, alligators, sea turtles, seagulls, raccoons, and birds. Driftwood Beach features pristine white sand that has driftwood, of course, and has tide pools filled with seashells, shark’s teeth, sea creatures, and more.
While you are standing on the shore, imagine back in the day when the Gullah people caught blue crabs, ghost crabs, mussels, clams, oysters, and fiddler crabs to create delicious dishes. These dishes are a part of southern cuisine that restaurants throughout Edisto Island serve.
Now that you know the history of this location, you can explore a bit more as you see palm trees, pine trees, century-old live oaks, beautiful wildflowers, and sea oats. Take a moment to notice the tall natural grass and palm fronds used by the Gullah people to create durable baskets used to carry their daily catch from the sea, rice, vegetables, and more.
If you love wildflowers, keep an eye out for Indigo plants that might be growing wild in the area. These plants produce a blue dye when boiled in water that was used for fabrics in the past. There’s a chance you might spot a few growing along the way as you discover more of this beach.
Driftwood Beach is fun for the entire family and has plenty to explore. The kids can run along the beach and play in the water while exploring the huge driftwood trees. It’s fun to take pictures near the trees due to their unique shapes and is a great place for taking family or marriage photos.
When you visit Driftwood Beach, you will feel like you stepped back into a moment in time that allows you to take a deep breath and leave the stress of life behind during your visit.
You can take your visit to Driftwood Beach and Botany Bay a bit further when you visit the local museums in Edisto Island that display Gullah artwork that show a glimpse into how life was in the area you just saw. This vibrant colored artwork is unforgettable and often captures a moment of daily life for the Gullah people.
Since many popular Southern dishes originate from Gullah recipes, you can enjoy delicious authentic cuisine at the local restaurants to make it a full day of relaxation and historical discovery.
Driftwood Beach is a great place to take children for fun and play and teach them about history. An excellent tip is to tell the historical information to school-age children and teens as they stand in the exact spot or see it from a distance. It helps bring history to life and makes it a long-lasting memory.
Rules and Regulations
Since Driftwood Beach is a historical site, you need to follow a few rules during your visit.
- You need to obtain a day pass at the kiosk at the entrance of the park
- No dogs or horses allowed on the causeway to the beach.
- No alcohol
- No drones
- No metal detectors
- Clean up after yourself, and don’t leave any trash behind
- It’s prohibited to take any shells or items from the grounds or beach
Hours of Operation and Directions
Botany Bay and Driftwood Beach are open 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. On Tuesdays, the park is closed for scheduled dove and deer hunts.
Directions to Driftwood Beach
- Follow the signs to Botany Bay Park and turn into the entrance.
- Drive down the long road until you reach the parking area.
- Walk along the seashell-covered path that leads you to Driftwood Beach.