The weekend after our dog died, we were desperate to get out of the house. We not only wanted a change of scenery, but a place to go that didn’t remind us of our beloved Ruby everywhere we looked.
We had been to Botany Bay once before, a few years ago. I remembered that the beach was long and narrow, so it was important to go when the tide was low or going out. I also made a mental note to never go on a hot day in the summer…and even though it was mid-July we decided we could handle it if we went early. Finally, Botany Bay is a place we told my family about countless times, but it’s close to an hour away from where we live so they hadn’t been. Since my parents and sister were in town visiting from Kentucky, we figured that now was the right time to pack up the car and head to Botany Bay.
Botany Bay is a wildlife preserve on Edisto Island. The land was once home to two sea island cotton plantations: Bleak Hall and Sea Cloud. Both are in ruins today, although the Gothic-Revival style ice house and smokehouse of Bleak Hall still stand and have been preserved. These structures are visible on the driving tour.
My favorite thing to do at Botany Bay is go to the beach. The beach is wild and rugged, and the palmetto trees and driftwood are decorated with shells collected and placed by visitors. It’s like an on-going art project that anyone can participate in. From the parking area, it’s a ½ mile walk to the beach. When we visited in July, people were swimming out in the surf and a few were fishing.
Please note: Botany Bay does not have restroom facilities, plan accordingly! Also, visitors are required to sign in at the entrance. There’s a staff person on the beach that checks bags to make sure no one takes any shells home with them. The preserve is closed on Tuesdays—please check their website for updated visitor information.