Home » 2003 Spring Break on Edisto Island

Edisto Beach State Park, SC

Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 10:00am by Lolo
197 miles and 4 hours from our last stop - 6 night stay


After spending the last three years spring breaking on Hunting Island, we decided it was time to try something new. So after a bit of research, we selected Edisto, another one of South Carolina’s pristine coastal islands.

I’m afraid we weren’t always fair to Edisto and often found ourselves comparing it to Hunting Island, which had a very special place in our hearts. While Hunting Island is totally undeveloped (in fact, the entire island is a State Park), Edisto is more of a beach community with private homes, stores, restaurants, hotels, golf resorts, etc. There is a state park on Edisto, but it occupies only a portion of the island. However, the undeveloped portions of the two islands are similar in their topography—beautiful white-sand beaches, miles of salt marshes, and maritime forests with old oak trees draped in Spanish moss.

Also, the commercialization on Edisto wasn’t always a bad thing, especially to the kids. They would often hop on their bikes and ride out to the nearby Piggly Wiggly to purchase candy and other unnecessary items, such as fluorescent orange Speedos, which I’ll explain more later.

When we first drove onto the island and were about to turn into the State Park Campground, I was surprised to see a run-down, closed-up gas station right outside the entrance. Although I was a little turned off to what I took to be signs of economic troubles on the island, the boys saw it in a different light. “Look, we can use that as a skateboard park,” they said referring to the myriad of boxes and wood lying about the deserted pumps. I must say that their uncanny ability to find something positive and fun in whatever they encounter is a constant reminder to me that life is what you make of it.

Fortunately, the campground was quite lovely, situated between salt marshes to the west and a two-mile stretch of ocean beach to the east. Our campsite was set in an open area against the salt marshes, which provided for some great views, especially at sunset.

Our first morning in Edisto was Easter morning, and as Gaidus tradition goes, the boys hunt for treasures left during the night by the Easter bunny who miraculously manages to find them no matter what state they are in. In fact, that’s what we had told Andrew when he was 6 years old and refused to go to Savannah for Easter break because the Easter bunny wouldn’t find him. Although the years have passed and belief in the Easter bunny has long faded, the tradition has lived on with me as the surrogate bunny. I am convinced that we will still be doing this when they are 40 years old.

So we spent the first few hours of that beautiful, sunny Easter morning, which I would rather have spent on the beach, rummaging through every nook and cranny in the RV in search of candy and other good stuff hidden by me in the wee hours of the night. Traditionally, Andrew’s goodies are hidden in that plastic green grass that you buy to stuff Easter baskets with and Tommy’s are hidden in yellow grass. However, not wanting to be picking grass out of the RV for the next 3 years, I very pragmatically used green and yellow Post-Its. The boys questioned whether that violated the Easter rules, but knew better than to push it.

After the Easter festivities concluded, we decided to go on an exploratory bike ride. From the campground, we headed out onto the bike path along Jungle Road, aptly named for the thick jungle-like woods that bordered it. There were some lovely houses along the drive. At the end of Jungle Road we bore right and rode along the Big Bay Creek past the Edisto Beach Golf Club and Waterfront area. From there we followed Palmetto Road around the southern tip of the island and back along the ocean side of the island to our campground. The whole ride was about 7.5 miles and pretty much covered the developed part of the island.

Our friends, the Hubers, arrived later that day to spend another fun-filled spring break week with us. Andrew and Tommy were pretty excited about seeing Whitney and Kyle again. As much as they enjoy Herb and my company, it’s still not the same as having kids their own age to hang out with. They had practically grown up with Whitney and Kyle, so whenever they got together they had no difficulty finding ways to entertain themselves—and us.

The next few days on Edisto Island were passed quite blissfully. Unlike our adrenaline-charged cross country trips in which each day is a new place and a new experience, our time on Edisto Island was a pleasant blending of one great day into the next.

Mornings were spent at the campsite, leisurely eating breakfast and just hanging out. Our campsite itself was so nice and sunny with lovely views over the salt marshes that we often felt no particularly urgency to rush to the beach—or at least the adults didn’t.

Usually by mid-morning, we would gather our beach chairs, books, boogie boards, skimboards, Frisbees, etc. and take the short walk across the campground to the beach, which we pretty much had to ourselves as the campground had about 2 miles of beachfront for its 75 campsites. The waves weren’t very big, but they were perfect for skimboarding along the water’s edge, which the kids did for hours on end.

Although it was only April, the sun was strong enough to produce a pretty good burn, as Andrew will attest to, so we often came off the beach for awhile during mid-day to have lunch and relax around the campsite. Sometimes the kids would ride their bikes over to their “skateboard park” or to the Piggly Wiggly to do some shopping. On one particular afternoon they returned with a bag and silly grins on their faces. While they all giggled, Andrew opened the bag and proudly presented his purchase, which he had made with $11 of his own money. I stared at a very bright orange article of clothing wrapped in a plastic bag labeled “Lil’ bit of paradise.” It took me a moment to realize that it was a tiny Speedo bathing suit, the type you only see on Olympians or European men. Andrew was neither. Several questions ran through my mind, but the one that popped out first was, “Is it returnable?”

Ignoring my question, Andrew went into the RV to try on his new purchase, while we waited outside for his debut. He was gone for quite a long time before he finally returned wearing the same shorts he had on before. “Too tight,” was all he mumbled. Obviously he had not tried it on in the store. I guess being 13 years old he was self-conscious enough to realize that he didn’t want to be displaying his “lil’ bit of paradise” around the whole campground. However, an 11 year old is a very different animal, so Tommy grabbed the suit and was soon strutting happily around the campsite in his luminescent phosphorescent orange Speedo, happily waving to amused fellow campers. Andrew tried to sell him the suit, but Tommy knew he was in a very good bargaining position. Hopefully, Andrew learned a lesson, but I doubt it. I’m sure there will be many more orange speedos, or their equivalent, in his future.

Later in the afternoons when the sun got a bit lower, we would usually return to the beach. This is my favorite time of day to be on the beach—the sun is less intense, the lighting is great for photography, and everything seems just a bit more mellow.

Eventually, in no particular hurry, we would drag ourselves off the beach to shower and make dinner. I love the activity of a campground at dinner time—kids running around having a good time, adults laughing and smiling after a day having fun with their kids, great cooking smells coming from every campsite. Everyone is always so friendly in a campground.

Our kids would usually either be playing with the hermit crabs in the marsh at the edge of our site or riding around the campground on their bikes—or more correctly bike. The four of them devised a method to all fit on one bike. Andrew and Tommy both have trick bikes, which have pegs coming out of the axles, which are meant to be stood on. Andrew would drive while Whitney stood on the back pegs holding onto his shoulders. Kyle would perch himself somewhat precariously on the front handlebars. Poor Tommy was placed between Kyle and Andrew, so squished that you could barely see him—perhaps if he wore the orange speedo he would have been more visible. They looked like a circus act and attracted plenty of attention in the campground.

When darkness fell, we would join our fellow campers in the primitive ritual of gathering socially around a fire—and stuffing our mouths with flaming sugary white globs on the end of a stick. This is my favorite time to take a walk through the campground. Everywhere you look, fires dot the landscape, and the air is filled with the laughter of happy campers. I find it very cozy.

One night we had a drive-in movie night. We set up the Huber’s TV/VCR on the picnic table and gathered our chairs around it. The kids thought a scary movie would be a good idea, so we watched “The Ring.” By the end of the movie, the chairs had definitely shifted closer to ours.

The morning we were to leave Edisto was our first spell of bad weather all week. Huge thunderclouds approached the campground as we scurried to pack up—actually, while the Hubers scurried to pack up. All we had to do was fold our tablecloth and load the bikes on the back of the RV. The Hubers, however, were camping the old-fashioned way: in tents. The dining fly and tents had to be taken down and stuffed in bags, stoves and other paraphernalia had to be packed into large Rubbermaid boxes, clothes and towels had to be taken off the line and stuffed to duffle bags, and on and on. Now, I remember why I like having an RV so much. Packing pretty much means turning the key and driving away.

It was now thundering and lightning so we were all scurrying around like nuts trying to help them pack everything away before the storm really hit. As Herb was helping Whitney load their bikes on the roof of their car, Herb felt a slight tingling in his fingers and noticed that Whitney’s hair was standing on end. She too felt a tingling in her arms. Fortunately, this was just a warning, but the possibility of a real lightning strike was definitely there. We quickly took shelter in the RV and waited out the storm. Whitney was quite shaken up about it, and I don’t blame her. When the lightning and thunder finally dissipated, we helped them finish up the last bit of packing and headed north. The Hubers were headed straight home, but we were planning a two night stop in Virginia Beach to visit some old friends.


Edisto Island is one of South Carolina’s beautiful and isolated coastal islands. Located just 45 miles south of Charleston, it is reached via SC 174, a scenic highway bordered by century-old oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Once the site of cotton plantations, today Edisto attracts visitors with its white sand beaches and layback atmosphere.

The 1,255-acre Edisto Beach State Park lies along 2 miles of the island’s pristine beaches, lined with some of the state’s tallest palmetto trees. A lovely 4-mile nature trail for hikers and bikers winds through the park’s salt marshes and forests. There are two campgrounds in the park: an oceanfront one with 75 sites and one in the live oak forest with 28 sites.

Edisto Beach State Park location map in "high definition"

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