The walkway to the beach at Botany Bay Plantation surrounded by marsh

Recreation Opportunities

A number of public properties allow visitors to experience the ACE Basin. Come paddle winding rivers, hike across islands steeped in history and catch a glimpse of the bald eagles, loggerhead sea turtles, and American alligators that thrive here.

Botany Bay Plantation

The walkway to the beach at Botany Bay Plantation surrounded by marsh

Located in the northeast corner of Edisto Island, this Wildlife Management Area and Heritage Preserve is rich with history, wildlife and beautiful sights. Take a self-led driving tour through the preserve or walk through marsh and maritime forest to the undeveloped ‘boneyard’ beach.

South Fenwick Island

A dock leading past the marsh to a tree covered South Fenwick Island

South Fenwick Island is a barrier island managed by SCDNR and brimming with wildlife. Walking trails and limited camping/hunting allow visitors to experience the island's seasonal wetlands, wildflower plots and wading bird rookery. A dock provides first-come, first-served tie-up space.

Edisto Learning Center

The Edisto Learning Center building

The Environmental Learning Center, co-managed by SCDNR and the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, features hands-on interactive exhibits, visitor information, youth and adult programs and a meeting space. There are also walking and biking trails and a public boat landing on site.

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area

A field of tall grasses on Bear Island

Home to countless waterfowl and other protected species such as wood storks and bald eagles, Bear Island is a great spot for birdwatching. Miles of dikes provide numerous wildlife-viewing opportunities. Biking, hiking and hunting are also popular on this wildlife management area.

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

An aerial view of a dock leading out into vegetation covered wetlands at Donelley WMA

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area encompasses more than 8,000 acres of protected wetland and upland habitats and is a popular site for birdwatching from late winter to early spring. Hiking, biking, horse riding and hunting opportunities abound among the property's nature trails.

St. Helena Sound Heritage Preserve

The Ashepoo River winding past South Fenwick Island

St. Helena Sound Heritage Preserve consists of a collection of coastal and barrier islands, including Otter Island, which is open year-round to the public for daytime visits and limited archery hunt and camping permits in the fall/winter. This preserve is only accessible by boat.