Newsletter Signup | Subscribe to Magazine

Snappy local photo spots

Sometimes, you stumble upon the perfect photo op without even trying. You can’t believe your luck. Other times, it takes some real searching to find a photo-worthy spot. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best locations in the Lowcountry to visit with your camera in tow. You can get all the classic shots or come up with something entirely original. Feel free to say “cheese” because there’s nothing cheesy about these locations. For photos worth thousands of words, here is where to go:


The adventure photo

Marsh Boardwalk, Hunting Island

The wooden boardwalk on Hunting Island is great for observing life in the salt marsh. The dock on the end provides an area for viewing magnificent sunsets.

This photo requires some sort of inspiring caption about traveling or exploring, so be thinking about that as you look for breathtaking views. Located in the middle of an untamed state park full of tropical greenery, there will be plenty. You won’t be disappointed if you head straight for the boardwalk. Once you find the perfect spot, we recommend showing something like a backpack or pair of binoculars in the photo. As you know, an adventure requires some danger to be a true adventure, so look for alligators off the boardwalk. Bring a long-focus lens and you won’t have to get too close if you find one. An alligator wrestling story would make a great caption, wouldn’t it? We won’t tell anyone you were safe on the boardwalk and didn’t actually wrestle it.


The history buff photo

Church of the Cross, Bluffton

Challenge yourself to get a photo in front of as many historical landmarks as you can. Kick it off in Bluffton, where you’ll find the Church of the Cross. It’s been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. The church was designed by architect E.B. White, not to be confused with the author of Charlotte’s Web, and built in 1854. Architecture enthusiasts will recognize its Gothic Revival style. After weathering a hurricane and the Civil War, the church is still standing strong. Located in the Old Town historic district next to scenic May River, you’ll be able to find multiple photo ops nearby if you do a little exploring. Let’s make history buff photos the next big thing.


The nature landscape photo

Sea Pines Forest Preserve, Hilton Head Island

You know those desktop wallpapers that look so good you wonder if they’re fake? This is where to go for the best chance of taking your own. It’s a wild preserve which means not only are there plenty of breathtaking forest scenes, but wildlife sightings lurk at every corner. The 4,000-year-old Sea Pines Shell Ring is a historical landmark worth checking out. Be on the lookout for marshes, fishing docks and even a vanishing swamp. Everyone will be jealous when you tell them you took that desktop wallpaper photo yourself.


The profile photo

Coffin Point, St. Helena Island

Your social media profile photo is what everyone sees first, so it has to be impressive. A photo in front of the half-mile-long Avenue of Oaks fits the bill. As a bonus, it will have a story behind it. The avenue leads to a historic house with a tabby foundation which was supposedly inhabited by a witch doctor at one point. Wander beneath the giant oak trees and keep it candid or strike a pose. Let the stunning backdrop do the work and get ready to rack up the “likes.”


The family photo

Burkes Beach, Hilton Head Island

You know the one. The uniform is comprised of white and khaki. One or all of the kids might be crying in between takes, but no one will see that once the photographer works some magic. No matter what, it’s going to look great on your Christmas card – especially if you choose Burkes Beach as the setting. The beach is always a classic choice and you won’t have to worry too much about big crowds at this one. If you want something less traditional, look for the small bridge on the path from the public parking lots to the beach. There’s a hidden marsh view that will take your breath away. Wait for a sunset over the sweeping grass lined with tall pines and you’ll be golden, whether you break the white and khaki uniform code or not.


The couple photo

Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, Hilton Head Island

It’s the photo that elicits either collective sighs or eyerolls – no in-between. Regardless, it’s a classic. A background of sailboats and a sunset create the perfect romantic atmosphere to snap this photo. Head to the marina right after dinner to catch it at the golden hour. As a bonus, you’ll already be dressed up. Better yet, take a fireworks cruise that leaves from the marina to get some photos under the dreamy night sky. We won’t complain if you use a cliché pose. Just spare us the mushy caption, please.


The wildlife photo

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, Pinckney Island

We know everyone obsesses over dog and cat photos. Sometimes, that can get a bit redundant. Break the mold and get everyone talking about your wildlife photo. This whole island is a wildlife refuge, so it will give you plenty of opportunities to do so. You could see birds and deer and gators, oh my! Be ready to do some sneaking around to get the best shots – you don’t want to scare off the stars of your photos. Wildlife photography can be the most challenging, so only attempt it if you’re ready to be patient. Otherwise, you may have to stick to dog and cat photos, but no one will complain about that.