Welcome to South Carolina’s Lowcountry, a flat, dreamlike land of water and salt marshes, a history of pirates and plantations, a future where tourism, transportation and information technology are increasingly important, and a strategic spot where the military has been in some way part of almost every story.
The Atlantic Ocean and its beaches form the eastern border of the Lowcountry and its sea islands, among them Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s, Folly, Morris, James, Kiawah, Seabrook and Edisto as well as Fort Sumter National Monument on its man-made mound guarding the entrance to Charleston Harbor. The Lowcountry’s western reach ends at the “Fall Line,” where upland rivers start their tumble from the higher Piedmont or Midland parts of the state to the Atlantic Coastal Plain to the southeast.
In 2017, Charleston County had a population of more than 401,000. The county is home to the city of Charleston, the county seat; North Charleston; the suburban community of Mount Pleasant; and Joint Base Charleston, the congressionally mandated 2010 merger of Charleston Air Force Base and the naval weapons station. Berkeley County to the northeast had nearly 218,000 residents; its county seat is Moncks Corner. To the northwest, Dorchester County had just under 156,500 people; its largest town is Summerville with more than 50,000 residents.
This area was one of the first settled regions in the South, so all the counties are rich with historical and cultural attractions. In addition to beaches, open skies, serene natural settings, famed cuisine and the scent of the sea, there are archeological and Civil War sites, museums and parks. Outdoor activities abound, among them birding, fishing, swimming, boating, golfing, tennis, hiking and team sports.
Then there are shopping, dining and nightlife opportunities to explore. Annual events and festivals celebrate everything from the area’s colorful history to music, like the world-renowned Spoleto Festival that fills what seems like every possible venue with opera, theater, dance and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music. All showcase the region’s vibrancy.