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Why is it Called Lowcountry? Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

a person riding on the back of a boat in the water

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?

Understanding Low Country

The term “Low Country” was originally coined to include all of the states 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 the Lowcountry often includes Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties.


Originally, The Lowcountry was dependent on plantation agriculture based on indigo, rice, and cotton. In the 20th century, the economy developed other sections, the most popular being tourism.
The popular attractions include:

  • Seaside resorts
  • Historic and cultural sites
  • Local, state, and 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 1700s and is still constructed today as the most efficient design for the hot subtropical climate of the southeast U.S. Defining features of Lowcountry architecture are the following:

  • Raised first floors: This accommodated the swampy environment, high tide levels, and hurricane flooding.
  • Broad-hipped roofs: Allowing for shady sitting areas, these roofs extended over large coerced front porches. These are often accented by columns or pillars, making the perfect low country day.
  • Large windows: During cooler evenings, Lowcountry residents open their windows to allow the warm air inside to escape.
  • Central open breezeway: Modern housing incorporates this to allow the cool breezes to move through the building

Hilton Head Outdoor Activities

With the sub-tropical climate, the activities for outside recreation are plentiful in 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.

Explore the Outdoors

Outside Hilton Head offers many ways for you to enjoy the outdoor amenities of the Hilton Head and Bluffton Lowcountry. Take a Daufuskie island tour, go kayak fishing, and find boat rentals; Outside Hilton Head can show you what our beautiful Lowcountry has to offer!

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