Coastal South Carolina has a distinct natural beauty. Natural preserves and refuges provide protection for the plant and animal life that are native to the Lowcountry. Most also offer the opportunity for the public to experience the incredible diversity of this natural habitat. Several important natural conservation sites are located in our immediate area:
Audubon Newhall Preserve
Palmetto Bay Road, Hilton Head Island 843-785-5775
Visitors to the only free public preserve on the island will find a stunning variety of flora and fauna. In addition to the palmettos, passionflowers and Chinese popcorn trees, the preserve is home to an array of birds. Enthusiasts may sight Carolina chickadees, peregrine falcons, turkey vultures or ruby-throated hummingbirds.
Sea Pines Forest Preserve
175 Greenwood Dr, Hilton Head Island 843-363-4530
This 605-acre nature preserve within the Sea Pines Resort encompasses lagoons, salt marshes, tidal creeks and wildflower meadows. The preserve is home to over 200 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. A short hike will bring visitors to the 4,000-year-old Indian Shell Ring. Three feet in height and over 150 feet in diameter, this circle of shells and bones was once the refuse heap of the ancient peoples who lived on the island.
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
This 4,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge actually consists of four islands: Corn, Little Harry, Big Harry and Pinckney Island. Pinckney is the only island open to the public, and features 14 miles of nature trails. An active bald eagle nest is located on the refuge, and sightings of these majestic birds are not uncommon.