Today our visitors enjoy the recreational aspects of Berkeley County. “Berkeley Blueways” features 20 canoeing and kayaking trails throughout the county. Egrets, herons, eagles, fish, turtles and alligators make these waters home. Hiking and biking trails are also available and allow our visitors to enjoy our lush forest and wildflowers rich with colors of the rainbow. Keep an eye out to catch a glimpse of animals such as deer, otters, squirrels, fox and even bobcats and black bears.
The Old Santee Canal Park highlights the first true canal in America, and is home to the first semi-submersible torpedo boat, CSS Little David, that was built right there on the plantation. The park features a 19th century plantation house and four miles of boardwalk that brings you face-to-face with nature, brilliant at any time of the year. The impressive 11,000 square foot Interpretive Center tells the story of the engineering feat of digging a canal from the state’s midlands to the Cooper River.
The 5600 exhibit Berkeley Museum, located in Old Santee Canal Park, traces the area’s history back 12,000 years, from the Native American residents of the Ice Age, to the famed “Swamp Fox”, Francis Marion’s battles during the American Revolution. On the bluffs overlooking the scenic Cooper River you’ll find Mepkin Abbey. Following The Rule of St. Benedict, the monks at Mepkin Abbey devote their lives to prayer, spiritual study, work and hospitality
This monastery is located on the land formally owned by Henry Laurens, Congressional Constitutional president. Henry Laurens, a true political patriot, was held prisoner in the Tower of London and finally released after he was exchanged for the infamous British General, Lord Charles Cornwallis. The plantation was later owned by publisher and philanthropist Henry R. Luce and his wife Clare Booth Luce. Clare Luce commissioned famous architect Loutrell Briggs to create the magnificent Mepkin Gardens. In 1988, the gardens were renovated through the efforts of Nancy Bryan Luce, wife of Henry Luce III and for whom the gardens are named. Mepkin Abbey hosts several events throughout the year. One of the most popular is the “Crèche Festival” featuring nativities from around the world.
Enjoy yourself on the black water swamps at Cypress Gardens while spending the day learning about wildlife from butterflies and beetles to turtles and alligators. Visit the Heritage Room which features unearthed artifacts from Dean Hall Plantation which date back to the 1700s. Cypress Gardens offers a variety of experiences for all visitors.
For the sport enthusiast Berkeley County is home to the Family Circle Cup, the largest women’s only tennis tournament in the world. For soccer fans the Charleston Battery, which is an USL professional soccer team, offers a great time.
From Berkeley County’s humble beginnings, special events, and festivals have offered residents and visitors great opportunity for learning and fun. From original plays, country music, art exhibits, festivals and storytellers, to classical pianists, jazz, bluegrass, and symphony orchestras, Berkeley County events are rich in heritage and fun.
Let us develop a personalized Berkeley County, S.C. outing for your group; a new experience is waiting for you!