(Editors note: Marriott Grand Ocean is located at 1044 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head, South Carolina. Also, it is worth mentioning that I have stayed at many timeshare resorts and have never been "required" to attend a sales presentation. The only time a timeshare tour would be mandatory is when the consumer accepts a discounted and developer subsidized stay in exchange for the promise of attending a sales presentation.)
We booked this resort for a few nights in early October through an online agency, not realizing this was even a timeshare. Much to our surprise we realized what the property was when we arrived and were offered a timeshare tour! We worried that there was no cleaning service and we would be responsible for washing and cleaning everything before we left. We talked to the manager who was very helpful and offered us a daily cleaning at no charge. The rental was described as Oceanside but we could not see the ocean from the room. These problems were the fault of the website, not the resort but I thought they should be mentioned here.
The room was incredible with two large bedrooms and a spacious living room and kitchen. The grounds were beautiful with swings and rocking chairs all over the property. There were always activities available. I am not a fan of time shares but if I were, this would be one I would return to again. The resort was beautiful, but time shares have a bad reputation and I was sure we would be required to spend hours with a salesperson. We kept saying no, and everyone was very polite so we actually did not have any trouble like people talk about.
This attraction is located at 336 Sanctuary Road in Harleyville, South Carolina. Admission is very reasonable: $8 for adults and $4. for children.This relaxing attraction allows guests the opportunity to experience the beauty of South Carolina's Low Country Swamps and features a 1.75 mile boardwalk through a Cypress forest. If you are a nature lover- this is a great experience..
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is located at 3550 Ashley River Road in Charleston, South Carolina. There are approximately 500 acres of grounds to explore featuring thirty acres of breathtaking gardens, walking and biking trails, an elegant plantation home, a restored slave cabin, a Native American Ceremonial Mound, a garden maze, petting zoo, stables, tram tours, boat tours, gift shop and art gallery. Magnolia Plantation is also the way to access the Audubon Swamp Garden which provides incredible opportunities to view native flora and fauna.
This is an expensive attraction! All access passes are $47 for adults and $42 for children, but you can easily spend a full day or even two days exploring this breathtaking estate.
To access Fort Sumter, you must board a Ferry at Liberty Square in downtown Charleston. The dock is located on Concord Street, next to the South Carolina Aquarium. The Visitor Education Center is free, and is a state of the art facility of the National Park Service that features educational exhibits that explain the importance and historical significance of Fort Sumter during the American Civil War.
There is also a second launching point located at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant- which is the home to the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown and also features exhibits dedicated to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society which tell the stories of brave American servicemen who have received this distinguished commendation.
Prices to ride the ferry and access the island are reasonable. $17,00 for adults and $10.00 for children.
I found the excursion to be educational and very interesting, but I think my youngest enjoyed the ferry ride much more than the fort itself.
A brief history of Fort Sumter:
South Carolina had seceded from the Union, yet Union soldiers still occupied Fort Sumter at the entrance to Charleston Harbor. The South demanded that the Northern troops vacate the fort. The North refused. On April 12, 1861- Confederate forces fired on the fort. This bombardment continued for two days, until the Union troops stationed at the Fort finally surrendered.
Confederate troops held the fort until February 17, 1865- surviving one of the longest sieges in history. The importance of the fort protecting Charleston Harbor was vital to both sides, and thus Fort Sumter became one of the most highly contested locations of the Civil War. For almost two years, Northern troops fired more than 46,000 artillery shells at the complex. The weight of these shells is estimated at more than seven million pounds of metal alone!
The Cypress Gardens brand has long been known as a fantastic value in old fashioned amusement park entertainment. Living in Florida- I had visited the Central Florida location many times (it is now owned and converted to a Legoland Amusement Park) and had never realized that there were other locations.
Driving though South Carolina recently, I discovered the Cypress Gardens Park in Monks Corner. This may be the absolute best way to experience the Cypress Swamps of the Carolinas!
While not a traditional amusement park (you won't find any roller coasters here!), this attractions provides a unique glimpse into the natural beauty of this region. Miles of nature trails, a Swamparium (mixture of an aquarium and reptile house), boats, and a butterfly house create a relaxing and educational experience for all ages.
Admission is very reasonable at $10. per adult and $5. for kids. The park is pet friendly, and the boat usage is at no charge (small fee of $5. if you want a guided boat tour). All in all a great way to spend a few hours, just be sure to bring some bug spray! You are in the swamp after all...
I stopped in Whitten overnight while driving back to Florida from Maine. I went by the Hampton Inn first, but after being told the rate was $169. night decided to try elsewhere since I was just getting about 6 hours of sleep. Found the Whitten Inn located at 123 Mall Street (located at Hwy 6 and I-95 just off exit #98). A rate of $45. was much more to my liking!The hotel was very nice. The rooms were clean and comfortable and larger than many motels where I've stayed. The upper floor rooms are accessible by stairs only. The pool area was large and well maintained. There were BBQ grills nearby. There is a limited restaurant onsite (free breakfast in the morning was much better than a Hampton), and a lounge with live entertainment and reasonably priced drinks! There is free wi-fi in the rooms, and a public computer with printer in the lobby area.
This facility met every need I had for a short stay- and the staff was perhaps the most genuine and friendly I've ever encountered. For example, the late night clerk who checked me in ended up working late into the morning shift- but still had the energy and kindness to stop by the breakfast table to check on us and wish us a safe trip on her way home for the day. For me, the simple stuff is the most important- and that one action epitomized my experience with the Whitten Inn. Everyone there seemed to truly care about the guests, and that type of hospitality is absolutely priceless!
If you are driving on I95 and need a place to rest, are shopping at the Santee Outlet Malls or spending the weekend fishing on Lake Marion- I highly recommend you choose the Whitten Inn for lodging. You'll be rested, comfortable, and save a bundle!