Driftwood beaches of the US East Coast draw visitors with their serenity and beauty. Also called boneyard beaches, they are essentially maritime forests that are being eroded into the ocean. They are created by forces of the Atlantic pounding its way into the woods and knocking down the trees. The waves then continue to wash away all the leaves and bark to the “bone”. As a result, the beach becomes a scene or dramatic shapes, shadows, and constant transformation. These beautiful stretches of sand are a mecca for nature lovers and photographers. I am inviting you to learn about the best driftwood beaches on the Atlantic Ocean: Bulls Island in South Carolina, Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area in South Carolina, Driftwood Beach in Georgia, and Boneyard Beach in Florida, where you will find nature at its best.
Driftwood beaches are especially fascinating at sunrise.
AMAZING DRIFTWOOD BEACHES OF THE US EAST COAST – WHERE TO FIND THEM
The first driftwood beach I ever visited was Boneyard Beach in Florida. I immediately fell in love with its captivating beauty. Since then, I tried to find more fascinating beaches like that. As of now, I visited two more, Botany Bay beach in South Carolina and Driftwood Beach in Georgia. To my knowledge, these are the only four boneyard beaches on the East Coast. One more is still on my list, Bulls Island, in South Carolina.
Bulls Island, South Carolina
Out of four driftwood beaches on the East Coast, Bulls Island is the hardest to access. It can only be reached by boat. The Bulls Island Ferry runs year-round, taking passengers to the island from Garris Landing in Awendaw. Following a 30-minute eco-tour through Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, the ferry docks at Bulls Island and passengers depart to explore the island on their own.
Since I never visited Bull Island, I asked my friend, Jim Cook ( Jim Cook Photography ), to share this experience and pictures from his visit.
Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area, South Carolina
Located approximately 45 miles south of Charleston, just off SC Hwy. 174, Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area are managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The area is located adjacent to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the northeast corner of Edisto Island in lower Charleston County, South Carolina. It is open for general public visitation during daylight hours (1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset). There is no charge to enter the preserve.
The drive to the preserve is an attraction on its own. You will be greeted by Spanish-moss draped live oak trees, pine-needle covered trails and even sunflowers fields. The six-mile loop will take you through woods, marsh areas, and farm fields, Expect the dirt road to be bumpy. You will need to walk about half a mile through the marsh and maritime forest to reach the water. Watch for the birds, fiddler crabs, and other animals.
Even though not much physical effort is required to reach it, the beach is practically empty even in high season. This is a perfect place to relax and let your senses thrive. Botany Bay’s beach shows nature at its finest.
I only spent a few hours on the beach, but if you are vacationing nearby, it is a perfect day trip. You can use the beach for swimming, just like any other beach. Bring everything with you need with you since there are no facilities in the park. The shells are amazing, although you cannot remove them from the beach.
Driftwood Beach, Georgia
Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island in Georgia offers the easiest access out of all the amazing driftwood beaches of the East Coast. It is just a short walk away from the road. Photographers who come here can easily carry all their gear to capture its beauty. Come before the sunrise to witness how the scenery changes with the rays of light.
The beach is located on the northern end of Jekyll Island on N. Beachview Drive between the Clam Creek Picnic Area and Villas by the Sea Resort. (Map of the area with where to park)
Vehicle entry onto the island requires a valid parking pass, which must be purchased at the entry gate. This pass gives you access to many of the island’s public outdoor areas, including picnic areas, beach parking, and access points. Multi-day passes are available. Bicycles and pedestrians can enter at no charge
Situated within the chain of the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is a great tourist destination. As a State Park, Jekyll Island is a coastal haven where offering not only unique beaches but also miles of paved biking paths, water sports excursions, and even a water park.
Boneyard Beach, Florida
Did I cover all the driftwood beaches of the East Coast? Let me know in the comments if I missed any!