A visit to Walterboro calls for sweet tea and lazy summer days, visiting nature and puttering around, looking at artists’ work and poking in antique shops. It makes a perfect day trip or weekend getaway. That’s why it’s called the Front Porch of the Lowcountry.
If you haven’t visited Walterboro yet, this summer would be a great time for a visit. Walterboro is just a short ride from Charleston, Summerville, Savannah, Beaufort, and Columbia, yet so far away from the hustle and bustle of the cities.
So, come on over and sit a spell. Walterboro offers a lot to enjoy, just down the road.
1. Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary
Walterboro boasts a stunning 600-acre wildlife sanctuary just three minutes from I-95. In the heart of the ACE River Basin, the sanctuary features what may be the world’s only braided creek swamp accessible to the public — a network of creeks snaking around tiny, pop-up islands. The definition of Lowcountry flora and fauna, the sanctuary’s boardwalk offers views of cypress knees, hardwood flats, and live oaks drenched in Spanish moss.
This quiet oasis is a great place to commune with alligators and birds or kayak the creek with a line out for dinner. Feel the tug of history as you walk along the Colonial-era Charleston-to-Savannah Stagecoach Road with the ruins of its old cypress bridges and exit emotionally and spiritually refreshed.
2. South Carolina Artisans Center
The South Carolina Artisans Center invites you to indulge your inner artist. The restored Victorian cottage houses handcrafted art from 300 South Carolinian artists. Focused on traditional and indigenous folk art and contemporary crafts in every medium imaginable, the Artisans Center features a historic canoe that you can take home with you if you have a trailer and $60,000 to spend. If you’re looking for a more modest purchase, the SC Artisans Center, has everything from ornaments to sea grass baskets and everything in-between. The kid-friendly facility also includes funny pottery characters and wood-crafted dinosaur toys.
3. Antiques and Collectibles
While soaking in the Lowcountry charm in this walkable city, mosey over to East Washington Street and poke your head in at the antique malls that have dotted Walterboro for so long they’re antiques themselves. Visit the collection of fake noses and glasses at Bachelor Hill Antiques, the Waterford crystal at Washington Street Antiques, Governor Carroll Campbell’s gorgeous Hong Kong-built chest at Antiques and Collectibles or any of the literally thousands of antiques and collectibles of all types along the street. If you can imagine it, it’s somewhere on East Washington.
4. Tuskegee Airmen Memorial
We should never forget the contribution made to the war effort by African-American soldiers, sailors and flyers who fought during WWII to protect the promise of liberty and justice denied to them at the time. The famed Tuskegee Airmen, a group of pilots educated at Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee University and trained at Walterboro Army airfield, served in segregated military units that helped destroy the enemy on every front during the war. They returned home to segregation and discrimination despite their heroism and service.
In May of 1997, a monument honoring their bravery was placed at the old airfield and stands there today, a silent sentinel to the ultimate triumph of valor over bigotry.
5. First Thursday
The first Thursday of every month, East Washington Street is closed to traffic and hundreds of people stroll its path, stop in at shops and restaurants and enjoy the sounds of local musicians in the streets’ historic Waterfall Plaza. Bask in the sultry Southern charm of this throwback Americana locale.
Indeed, you could walk anywhere, anytime in downtown Walterboro, which sports two historic districts on the National Register and 55 points of interest dating back 200 years and marking the heritage of the Old South.
The Front Porch of the Lowcountry is right here in your backyard. Y’all come on over.
To learn more about a day trip to Walterboro, visit WalterboroSC.org.