Early one fall, we visited the Beidler Forest from our son's place in Summerville. We visited the little information center (my grandson was leery of the snakes) and took a self-guided tour on the 1.75 mile boardwalk which runs through the old growth forest over the black swamp water. It was cool, calm and peaceful in the forest. We saw a few birds and some turtles sunning on the logs as we followed the tour pamphlet. We were also able to look up inside a hollow tree.
The Beidler Forest was originally established to preserve 1,800 acres of old-growth swamp forest, one of only two stands of old-growth still left in the state. Most of the huge Bald cypress in this part of the swamp are in the neighborhood of 1000 years old. The oldest known tree on the sanctuary clocked in at 1500 years old. There's also several miles of hiking potential on old logging roads, and a canoe trail on which guided trips are led,
For groups of ten or more, a guided tour is available. Or you can paddle the deep blackwater of the swamp and meet alligators and cottonmouths on their turf! You can gain another perspective by taking one of the night walks.
* Admissions: $7; ages 6 to 18 $3.50; Audubon members $6
* Days and Holidays Closed: Monday, New Year's Eve/Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day
* Days and Hours of Operation: T-Su 9am-5pm and occasionally on Monday
Address: 336 Sanctuary RD
Directions: I-26 W to Exit 187- L Hwy 27 (S) to Hwy 78. Turn R (W). At fork, veer R to Hwy 178. Turn right on Francis Beidler Forest Rd (1st paved right). After 4 mi.- paved road makes a 90-degree turn left, veer R onto Mims Road (dirt road). Go a mile- on the right
Old Fort Dorchester State Park is only 15 minutes away from Charleston, in Summerville. The fort was founded in 1697, on the banks of the Ashley River, by a church group from MA. The town/fort was destroyed by the British during the Revolutionary War, but parts of the fort, a church steeple, and graveyard are still greatly in tact. Located off Dorchester Rd. in Summerville.
You can go exploring at this park and often find old artifacts. There is even a tabby wall left behind!!! It's a must see for any history buff.