Edisto Island, SC

Legend has it that as delegates from across South Carolina gathered to debate secession from the Union in 1861, the representative from Edisto Island leapt to his feet and declared if South Carolina did not vote for immediate secession, then, by God, Edisto Island would secede by itself. And we all know what happened after that.

Retiring on the island is a bit like seceding from the rest of the world.

But even today, Edisto Island has that independent, the hell-with-y’all feel. Retiring on the island is a bit like seceding from the rest of the world. It’s not for everybody. But for those who do want the easygoing, secluded lifestyle, there is no better place.

Edisto Island is not, nor will it ever be a resort island. Residents have taken great pains to ensure their working island community remains just that. There will be no high-rise condominium or hotel developments, chain restaurants or strip malls. What they do have is charming local architecture, mom and pop businesses, and a friendly, laid-back lifestyle where everything moves just a little bit slower, where the outside world is nothing more than background noise that can barely be heard over the sound of the ocean.

While the island is secluded, there is still plenty to do. Edisto offers some of the best local cuisine in the area: there are two marinas and three boat landings to accommodate the many boat owners on the island; there is a state beach with a historic lighthouse, and over four miles of uninterrupted white sand beach. In the spring and fall, when the temperatures are most pleasant, the tight knit community organizes numerous community events, like art shows and home tours, giving residents and visitors alike a chance to explore the island and get better acquaint themselves with their neighbors.

The Edisto Beach Golf Club offers a hacker-friendly environment, without having to leave the island. The course is simple, but fun, with an atypical easygoing atmosphere. Well worth the bargain basement greens fees. And for the more serious golfer there are the world-renowned courses on neighboring Kiawah and Seabrook islands.

There is no mistaking Edisto for a resort town. It is, however, a nature lover’s paradise. Deer, blue heron storks and other wildlife are as common on the island as cars, and, when you are down by the water, keep an eye out for dolphin.

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