There’s nothing like the ocean breeze, sand between your toes, and salt in your hair to recharge the soul…beach getaways are a must!
Especially during these uncertain times during COVID, we know we aren’t the only ones being extra cautious about seeing family members and traveling. But after much consideration [and lots of conversations between each member of the family], we decided to pack our bags and get away for a few days to the Low Country–more specifically, Saint Helena Island in Beaufort, SC! For this trip that we took back in September, we mostly planned to stay in and cook most meals at the house. It was our mom’s chance to make up for about seven months of homecooked meals for Manny and I! (JK! JK!) But seriously, our mom loves to cook. Every time we go ‘home’, it’s non-stop Filipino food eating! We have at least 3 days a meal and 2 ‘meriendas’ (in between meal snacks)! It’s a total diet killer (at least, that’s my excuse!) So, while we didn’t go out much to eat, we do have a few gems to share about this coastal area. It’s surely worth the stop for those who want to disconnect.
Beaufort Historic District: Beaufort is the major town closest to Saint Helena Island. Every time we visit, we enjoy taking a stroll on the Waterfront Park. We always have to treat ourselves to an ice cream cone and snag some beach treats like saltwater taffy, pralines, and salted caramels! Pre-COVID on another visit, our family enjoyed a ferry trip from here. But even without that option (which I think is still available but we just didn’t feel comfortable doing so), we enjoyed watching the boats right from the waterfront park as we finished off our treats. Kilwins is always a solid pick.
Cypress Wetlands in Port Royal: This walking trail is super short and a combination of boardwalk, paved and roadside pedestrian trails but totally worth checking out. Keep your eyes peeled for all the creatures hidden in plain sight! The kids enjoyed looking for hidden alligators, turtles, and frogs in the swamp. It’s also a perfect spot for bird watching–no binoculars needed as they’ll literally nest in groups all around you.
Hunting Island State Park: Unlike NC State Parks, there is a fee to enter the park–and this being one of the coastal SC parks, the fee is per person rather than per car. But it’s still worth the visit and another family fave. Also, the small fee goes towards park preservation efforts, so it’s a great way to spend your money on an experience. Pro-tip: if you find that you’ll visit more SC State Parks or will visit several days, consider purchasing the All-Pass Park Passport, especially if you are traveling with family.
The kids love the Nature Center, and we spotted a decent size alligator and a small patch of what must have been at least 10+ baby alligators!!!
The Hunting Island Lighthouse can be visited inside and you can climb all 167 steps. We’ve done it before but didn’t during this trip because you have to pre-purchase tickets in advance. (Whoops!) But experience a full panoramic view atop the lighthouse if you dare climbing all 167 steps and be about 130 feet above the ground!
Coffee lover and plant addict? We’ve got the stop for you: Good Earth and Urban Nest are a must stop! Grab a cup of your fave latte and peruse all the home and local goods that Urban Nest has to offer then head over to the nursery attached to it–it’s an absolute retreat! Both shops are women-owned. Urban Nest is a mom-daughter duo and Good Earth is owned by Heather–one of the most beautiful souls we’ve ever met! Plant people are seriously the best! Don’t forget to snag a few photos in front of their mural and update those profile photos with some POSITIVITY!
On our last day heading out of Beaufort, we finally stopped at the Lowcountry Cider Company. The only thing we were upset about is that we didn’t stop by sooner or another time so that we could have actually stayed on their patio! It was the absolute cutest and had pretty views of the marsh. Next time we are back in the area, we will make sure to make it an official spot to enjoy our coffees and milkshakes at rather than just a pit stop!
There are definitely a few other things to check out in this area–Port Royal and Beaufort, SC are beautiful coastal towns with all of the Southern charm your heart can desire with the slowness that your heart is craving and longing for. We can’t wait to go back. Are you ready to travel? What’s your comfort level at this time? Ours change still day-to-day. We have family and friends who have now traveled by air, and we wonder when we will get there. Whatever it is and whenever you get there, follow what your gut says and what you feel most comfortable with. Have open conversations with people you’re willing to open up your ‘bubble’ of exposure to and know that we’re all just navigating this on our own ways–so there’s no real right or wrong answer. Well, as long as you’re keeping SAFETY top of mind, of course! Wash those hands. Stay socially distant. Mask up. We can do this, guys!
Make memories. Celebrate moments. Seek adventures. Experiences over things! XOXO, Kriska