About Bulls Bay Area

Running along South Carolina’s coast between the metropolitan areas of Charleston and Myrtle Beach is a rural stretch of land that harkens to a time when things moved a little slower. The Bulls Bay Historic Passage contains the scenic towns of  McClellanville and Awendaw and the unincorporated surroundings of northern Charleston County. This “passage” of inhabited land is bordered on both sides by sizable federally protected lands that offer an abundance of natural resources and serve as a buffer from urban growth and development, preserving the area’s rich history and culture.

To the west lies over a quarter of a million acres of Francis Marion National Forest, consisting of mostly pine forests, cypress swamps, and black water rivers. An abundance of deer, turkey, boar, ducks, and alligators allows for excellent year-round hunting. There are also numerous hiking and biking trails winding through this land including the head of the state-wide Palmetto Trail which continues all the way to the mountains.

Nearly everything east of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) makes up the longest stretch of protected coastline on the eastern shore of the United States. This coastline includes the salt marsh islands, winding creeks, and the sandy beaches of the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge as well as Capers Island, Santee Coastal Reserve, and Santee River Delta. This pristine habitat is a prime destination for eco-tourism activities such as bird-watching, dolphin spotting, photography, kayaking, paddleboarding, and shelling. The beaches, only accessible by boat, offer an astonishing contrast to the rest of the tourist-laden beaches of the state. They are breeding and nesting grounds for migratory birds as well as a sanctuary for loggerhead sea turtles who come to land to lay their eggs. The saltwater creeks and bays also offer world-class fishing opportunities.

The history of the Bulls Bay area is rich, dating back to the Native American tribe known as the Sewee Indians, from whom many local names such as “Awendaw” derive their roots. The French Huguenots were the first European settlers to the area, establishing their homes along the Santee River in the 1600s. They were followed by the English and gave rise to rice plantations in the area. The Gullah-Geechee culture is still preserved by the descendants of former slaves. Hopsewee and Hampton Plantations are both open to the public, providing visitors with a glimpse into the history of the area.

The bountiful natural resources here have long inspired the artistic abilities of residents and visitors to the area. Archibald Rutledge, who called Hampton  Plantation his home, was a prolific writer and was named the state’s first Poet Laureate in 1934. A thriving artist community still exists to this day and the work of many local artists, authors, and craftspeople can be found on display at the  McClellanville Arts Council as well as the local shops.

At the core of all life is tried and true Southern hospitality that lives on in the hearts of these communities passed down from generation to generation. Strangers hold open doors, people wave and smile, families get together for Sunday lunches, and neighbors catch up with one another over a glass of sweet tea. Many say that it is like stepping back to a simpler time of life and that you can feel your troubles drift away. It is no wonder that residents choose to live here to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and focus on what matters.

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