Got a free afternoon? Visit these bucket list-worthy locations that are conveniently close to home.
Story By Lisa Allen
As our Covid lifestyle drifts into 2021, we’ve learned, if nothing else, to be creative. Creative in how we conduct business, shop, and “see” our loved ones. We’ve also gotten pretty savvy when it comes to keeping our romantic relationships flourishing. We’ve absolutely slam-dunked that one edict of spending time together — likely a little too well. But not all time is alike. Here are some suggestions for where to spend quality, tender time together, right here in the Lowcountry. These places are tailor-made for memorable afternoons.
This park overlooking the creeks jutting off from the Beaufort River is a gem hiding in plain sight. It’s right in Beaufort, well kept and nearly always empty. It has tables and benches just waiting for an elaborate picnic you can spring from the car just steps away. Bring a cast net or a fishing pole if you want an excuse to linger a little longer. What to bring: The food, the wine, the attention. How to get there: If coming from downtown Beaufort, head down Boundary just past the National Cemetery to Lafayette Street. Turn right. Follow it around a sharp right turn, then take the first left, which is Cuthbert Street. It dead-ends at the park.
Hilton Head Island
Harbour Town Lighthouse
It’s 114 stairs to rise 90 feet above the Harbour Town Yacht Basin and get a breathtaking view of Calibogue Sound, Harbour Town Golf Links and the Atlantic Ocean. Admission is $4.95, but trust us, it’s inexpensive for a memorable view of Hilton Head. While you likely don’t want to break out a picnic right there, you can descend and take up a Yacht-Basin-side table at The Quarterdeck, Harbourside or CQs. Or bring finger foods to enjoy on the many benches around the yacht harbor. What to bring: A little cash for admission. How to get there: It’s at 149 Lighthouse Road at the southern tip of Sea Pines Resort.
Old Sheldon Church
Just the grounds alone reek romance. The churchyard lies under a canopy of live oaks that have been arched over these grounds for centuries. Old Sheldon Church, originally Prince William’s Parish Church, was built between 1745 and 1753. The British burned it in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt in 1826 only to be burned again by General Sherman in February 1865. It was never rebuilt. Inside the church walls is the crypt of Colonel William Bull, who, along with General Oglethorpe, designed Savannah’s famous grid and squares. What to bring: Definitely a camera, a picnic blanket and lunch. There is enough room to find an out-of-the-way corner for just the two of you. How to get there: Take U.S. 21 north through Beaufort to Highway 17 toward Savannah. Turn right on Old Sheldon Road almost immediately upon exiting the roundabout. You’ll see the church a couple of miles up on the right. Parking is on the left side of the road.
Donnelly Wildlife Management Area
More than 8,000 acres of pine forest, tupelo swamps, waterways and open fields await just five miles north of Beaufort County, right on U.S. 17. In the heart of the ACE Basin, the area has creeks, roads and trails galore for either driving, hiking, kayaking or biking. If you’re walking or biking, the 3-mile Boynton Trail offers a little of everything, including an intriguing former homestead. Explore, then set up a picnic at the lodge or the check station. What to bring: Your preferred mode of transport (shoes, bike, car or kayak). Picnic, camera, binoculars. How to get there: Head north on U.S. 17. It’s five miles past the Harriet Tubman bridge on the right.
Wright Family Park
Soak in spectacular views of the May River from this new park in Old Town. With sidewalks, benches and plenty of open space, it’s a perfect spot for a romantic picnic under live oak canopies. After, go on a romantic stroll past Bluffton’s colorful and creative art galleries, charming restaurants and trendy boutiques. What to bring: Picnic basket, walking shoes, camera. How to get there: Find it at 111 Calhoun Street, across the street from Church of the Cross in Old Town Bluffton.