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Where Is The ‘Low Country’? A Walking Tour Through A Distinctive South Carolina Region


Charleston has an amazingly rich history and heritage that has lead to a vibrant and thriving culture that attracts visitors. Many of them are interested to learn more about the low country, a distinctive region that created the conditions needed for our special culture to develop. It’s like nothing you’ll find anywhere else!

In fact, our tour guides are passionate about sharing the best of the low country with our guests. There’s so much to learn, see, taste and enjoy. That’s why today, we’re sharing a primer with information for anyone that wants to learn more about the low country — where it is, what it is, and how to find it. The information below isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide, though. It’s only a taste to whet your appetite. Once you get started, we’re sure you’ll want to plan your own trip to experience all the low country has to offer.

A ‘Walking Tour’ Through The Unique Character of the Low Country

Geography. Where to begin? The low country is a distinctive geographic region on the eastern side of the Fall Line, or ridge where the Piedmont and Atlantic coastal plain meet. It’s a natural geologic boundary that creates some pretty interesting conditions in the terrain. On the eastern side of the ride, the ground is lower and more sandy, and you can visually mark the boundary by looking for the Sandhills. The climate is a hot subtropic. Those are the details that most everyone agree on. But from there, folks have some different definitions of the area. Most commonly, people recognize the four South Carolina counties of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper.

History. Due to the geography, the area was historically very rich agriculturally. Indigo, rice and cotton were crops that fueled the economy. South Carolina was first a large and wealthy colony with a diverse population, and its wealth and diversity fueled the development of a rich state culture complete with the first museum and theatre in the U.S., many churches and more.

Culture. Ever heard of grits? What about gumbo, or Hoppin’ John? The culture of the low country was influenced by the predominantly Native, European, African and Caribbean population that lived here. From that mix and the agrarian base came the distinctive foods we often think of when we list the traditional southern foods. Lots of delicious seafood stews, rice dishes, and more are part of the rich culture of the region.

Architecture. It’s worth noting the unique architectural style that came out of the geography and climate of the low country. The distinctive architectural style has a Caribbean influence, and typically includes buildings made to be efficient for the tropical climate. Examples of the architecture most generally have large windows, are made of timber, have a raised first floor and open breezeway, and a covered front porch with columns or pillars.

As we said, this is a broad topic. If you’re interested in exploring the culture, seeing the architecture, learning more about the history, or trying the food, we invite you to book a walking or culinary tour in Charleston.

We invite you to visit us online, give us a call, or visit in person to learn more. We’re passionate about Charleston and its culture, and we want to share it with you!

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