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Hilton Head Island, South Carolina – Why It’s Called the Lowcountry

The Lowcountry (also known as the Low Country) is an area along the South Carolina coast that has a culture, geography, architecture, economy and even cuisine of their own. Its unique climate, landscape, and slow, Southern pace of life is appealing to many, making it a favorite place to live and also wildly popular with tourists from all over the world. WIth visions of shrimp boats, palmetto trees, big front porches with rocking chairs and pitchers of sweet tea; what’s not to love about the SC Lowcountry?!

The term “Low Country” was originally coined to include all of the state below the Fall Line, or the Sandhills (the ancient sea coast) which run the width of the state from Aiken County to Chesterfield County. The area above the Sandhills was known as the Up Country and the area below was known as the Low Country. These areas are not only different in geology and geography, but also have distinct cultural differences as well.

There are several variations on the exact geographic extent of the Lowcountry area. The most commonly accepted definition includes the counties of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper. A larger geographic definition for Lowcountry often includes Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties.

 

Originally dependent on plantation agriculture based on indigo, rice and cotton, the Lowcountry economy developed other sectors in the 20th century; the most popular being tourism. Among the popular attractions are seaside resorts, historic and cultural sites, and natural features, including local, state, and many federally protected or preserved lands and wetlands.

One of the most distinctive elements of the SC Lowcountry is the architecture. Lowcountry style home architecture developed in the late 1700’s and is still constructed today as the most efficient design for the hot subtropical climate of the southeast U.S. Lowcountry buildings historically have been constructed of timber and set on pilings or have a raised first floor due to the often swampy environment, high tide levels, and hurricane flooding. Another popular feature is the broad hipped roofs that extend over deep and large covered front porches accented by columns or pillars that allow a shady sitting area. Large windows are used to allow warm inside air to escape in the cooler evening. Most modern Lowcountry homes feature a central open breezeway through the entire house allowing a cooling breeze to move through the building.

With the sub-tropical climate, the activities for outside recreation are plentiful in the Lowcountry. This vacation paradise offers many destinations for golf, tennis, and beach vacations including of course, Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head’s Sea Pines Plantation was an early resort in the 1950s. This and other longstanding seaside communities in the area remain popular Lowcountry destinations for visitors and a growing number of permanent residents and second-home owners.

Outside Hilton Head offers many ways for you to enjoy the outdoor amenities of the Hilton Head and Bluffton Lowcountry. From kayaks and paddle boards to boat rentals and guided tours; Outside Hilton Head can show you what our beautiful Lowcountry has to offer!

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