field trips south bluffIn spite of the incredible spring weather we have had, jasmine in full bloom, and the good fortune of living here, many Beaufortonians may be ready for a change. Here are a couple ideas that you may not have thought about; they provide opportunities for getting outside while maintaining social distancing and supporting home schooling efforts. 


South Bluff Heritage Preserve

Well off the beaten path, the South Bluff Shell Rings remind us that, long before Europeans arrived here, the Lowcountry hosted some heavy-duty oyster roasts! Created 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, and the only one in South Carolina accessible from land, the rings contain shellfish remains as well as pottery shards and tools. Archeologists speculate the rings were the result of festivals and communal living, taking advantage of the easily harvested dinners. 

Managed by SCDNR and open for hiking and bird watching during daylight hours, the park offers a quiet walk in an upland area with a well-developed maritime forest. 

Located on Coosaw Island, follow Sams Point road to Lucy Creek bridge. Slowly cross the bridge, enjoying the incredible views, and turn right at the David Smith Community center. Follow the paved road straight, bending to the left when necessary. The entrance is on your right; free parking and information materials displayed at the path entry. Bring binoculars, bug spray, and a walking stick.  Read the information kiosk materials before you walk. Be careful, this is reptile season. There is a single bench overlooking the shell mounds. No restroom facilities. 



Crystal Lake

I admit to having driven by Crystal Lake Park at least fifty times before stopping there. You should not delay that long. With a boardwalk leading from a metal butler building this Beaufort gem is a leisurely half mile field trips crystal lake 2walkway, fenced for safety, providing easy viewing of migratory birds, alligators, and a fishing dock. Unlike most ponds on Lady’s Island, Crystal Lake is freshwater.  With resident “gators”, this is not a swimming hole. Instead, it is a quiet place to enjoy nature or catch and release fish with your children or grandchildren. Enjoy the Pollinator exhibit, and explore why fishing is catch and release.

Free, open sunrise to sunset. Handicap accessible, excellent restroom facilities. Bring your binoculars and bird guidebook. 

Davis Folsom is a walking tour guide with Beaufort Tours. Bill Reynolds owns Beaufort Tours and offers specialty Sea Island and Pat Conroy tours.  Their new guidebook, BEAUFORT: What to Do Here Now That You Have Been Lucky Enough to Find Us, will be published this fall.