Awendaw is a small fishing town in Charleston County, South Carolin and is included within the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metropolitan area.
Named by the Sewee tribe, Awendaw is also home to an oyster shell mound created by the Sewee tribe. It is the northern most shell ring in a group that stretches south to the tip of Florida. Most of the mound is still intact. The rest of it was destroyed to construct roads and homes for the citizens of Awendaw. Awendaw was settled in 1696 as "Wappetaw" by settlers from Salem, Massachusetts who left after the Salem Witch Trials. The town was heavily damaged by Hurricane Hugo in September 1989, but did not receive as significant damage in 2004 when Hurricane Gaston made landfall in the region.
Managed growth is the key to Awendaw’s future. The Town should strive to maintain the existing rural character, yet grow to a moderate-density residential community that has conveniences and some light industrial areas. This growth should promote compatible economic development, safeguard the environment, preserve open space and protect the aesthetic quality while enhancing safe, healthy living conditions. Sensitivity to the rural character of Awendaw and preservation of area waterways and forests will sustain the natural environment and enhance the quality of life of our citizens.
The Town of Awendaw, established in 1992 and home to 1,200 residents, sits nestled along the eastern edge of the Francis Marion National Forest and the western edge of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. This unique setting offers abundant outdoor experiences for its residents and visitors.
Awendaw is home to several education-oriented entities:
- the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center;
- Center for Birds of Prey/Avian Conservation;
- Bull Island Ferry;
and several events celebrating the environment:
- the Town’s Annual Blue Crab Festival;
- SEWEE Association’s Annual Oyster Roast;
- Annual Bulls Bay Nature Festival;
- and, Awendaw Green, a weekly outdoor music event at Sewee Outpost.
The Awendaw Passage, the terminus of the SC Palmetto Trail, located on the northern end of town, intersects with the East Coast Greenway which runs from Maine to Miami. Awendaw is working to enhance the East Coast Greenway to take it through the Francis Marion Forest and connect it to future parks—the Town of Awendaw’s 300-acre park and the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission’s 65-acre Doar Road Park adjacent to the Indian Shell Mound.
The Town of Awendaw is centrally located along the Gullah Geeche Cultural Heirtage Corridorand has been designated the pilot project for the newly formed partnership between the Gullah Geeche Cultural Heritage Corridor and the East Coast Greenway. Awendaw is excited about the opportunities this partnership and demonstration project presents to preserve and increase awareness of the Gullah/Geechee language, traditions, arts, crafts and resources that have influenced this region as it also promotes the use of the East Coast Greenway. The hope is that a wide variety of partners will facilitate cultural interpretive experiences in Awendaw.