South Carolina

Sandy Island

Georgetown County, near Brookgreen Gardens

9,164 acres

For more information, contact:
The Nature Conservancy
1417 Stuart Engals Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 937-8807

What to See: Plants
Sandy Island supports a large number of rare plant communities. The uplands cover about half of the island and exhibit many communities typical of the Sandhills Region, along with those more commonly found in the Outer Coastal Plain. Parts of the island have experienced wildfires at various times. The north end of the island (which burned most often) supports a longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) community with very little hardwoods understory. Mature longleaf pine in excess of 100 years old dominate the upland landscape. Fire is a natural component of such communities, preserving health, quality and diversity.  Where fire was suppressed in the south end of the island, turkey oak dominates the upland landscape.

What to See: Animals
Among the rare species existing in the pine forest is the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.  These birds depend upon the mature, fire-resistant pine forest to provide forage and nesting sites. Black bears also use Sandy Island as a corridor for travel.

In 2012 The Nature Conservancy entered into an agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service where they help the Conservancy manage the wetlands surrounding the Preserve. Hunting on the wetlands is managed by the USFWS. For more information and to obtain a permit call 843-527-8069. The Nature Conservancy has also entered into the Property Watch Program managed by the SC Department of Natural Resources to help police illegal hunting and other activities on the Preserve.

What the Conservancy Is Doing
The Conservancy has received a grant to improve access to Sandy Island Preserve. A new loop trail, interpretive signage and trail maps are planned.

The Conservancy manages the longleaf pine forests on Sandy Island Preserve with periodic prescribed burns.

We are working to reduce the invasive feral hog population on the island by hunting and trapping methods. The Nature Conservancy is organizing limited archery hunts on the upland forests of Sandy Island. For more information call 843-937-8807 x-15.

How to Prepare for Your Visit
The public is invited to enjoy the property during daylight hours.  However, the following activities are not allowed:

  • Picking flowers, berries, mushrooms, shells, rocks or other parts of the landscape
  • Camping, fires or cookouts
  • Use of motorized vehicles
  • Bicycling
  • Horseback riding
  • Artificial feeding of wildlife
  • Disposal of trash or other waste

The Nature Conservancy manages a limited archery hunt October-November each year. Hunters can call 843-937-8807 x-15 to sign-up for the drawing which will take place September 10. See more details

The USFWS and The Nature Conservancy respect and recognize the rights of private property owners.  Please do not trespass on private property adjacent to the preserve boundaries.


There is no bridge to Sandy Island.  However, four public boat landings exist near the island on the Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers.

  • Sandy Island Landing - One mile south of Brookgreen Gardens on Highway 17.  Turn west at Sandy Island Landing sign on Hwy 17.
  • Wacca Wache Landing - From Charelston take U.S. Highway 17 through Georgetown and Pawleys Island towards Garden City and Myrtle Beach.  Turn left onto Wachesaw Road (sign for landing at intersection) and go 2.4 miles to the landing.
  • Samworth WMA - Take Hwy 701 to Plantersville.  Turn east at Plantersville General Store onto SSR 52 for approximately 6 miles.  Turn east at Samworth WMA sign on SSR 52.
  • Yauhannah Landing - Take Hwy 701 to Plantersville.  Turn east at Plantersville General Store onto SSR 52 for approximately 6 miles.  Turn east at Samworth WMA sign on SSR 52.

From Columbia:

  • Take US Highway 76/378 towards Sumter
  • Just before Sumter, turn south onto Highway 521 and continue through the town of Andrews to Georgetown
  • In Georgetown, take U.S. Highway 17 north through Pawleys Island towards Garden City and Myrtle Beach
  • Turn left onto Wachesaw Road (sign for landing at intersection) and go 2.4 miles to the landing.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

comments powered by Disqus

Read our guidelines on posting comments

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

More Ratings