Hey, it's the Fourth - getting out of the house is a Lowcountry ritual. But that doesn't mean you have to sweat the jam-packed beaches. There's plenty to do if you get a little creative.
Here are a few options:
Go with the flow
A float down the Edisto River is a sweet retreat from the heat, and on a holiday weekend like this one, hundreds of people will launch inner tubes, rubber rafts and air mattresses, sometimes rafting together in tangled mats of limbs. Plop on your back and relax. Coolers optional but ubiquitous. The most popular drifts take off from boat landings on the Colleton County bank and pull out at Givhans Ferry State Park or near U.S. 17A. Make sure you have a shuttle ride at the takeout end.
Secret fishing spots
No matter how hot it gets, there's an "aaah" waiting for you back in the shady canopy bottoms of Wambaw, Echaw, Wadboo, Ashley, Horseshoe, Ashepoo or any number of other Lowcountry creeks. Meanwhile, the state has designated the Fourth of July a free fishing day, so you can cast a line in fresh water without a license. Saltwater anglers still need a license, though, and catch limits are still in place.
The Charleston RiverDogs are in town. Baseball, hot dogs and fireworks - how do you beat that celebrating America? Game time is 6:05 and the flurries of pyrotechnics that fire away after the Independence Day game have become a Lowcountry favorite. Check out the fancy dogs like the Sushi Dog, which is a hot dog wrapped in a Nori sheet with a wasabi, sweet and spicy mustard and a cilantro/cabbage mixture. And wash it down with a beer shake in one of several flavors.
Shop 'til you drop
If you thought good shopping only happens on Black Friday, try elbowing your way into Tanger Outlet as the shops there offer big sales through Monday. Price cuts range from 50 percent off everything at the Banana Republic Factory Store to Reebok's buy one pair of shoes and get another one free. Get some Christmas shopping done in July, and check out your favorite mall stores, too. It's time for discounting summer merchandise and with the long weekend, retailers are hoping you want cool respite from the heat.
Teach the kids about our country with a tour of a historic plantation and a special reading of the Declaration of Independence. (Hint: the movie "The Patriot" was shot out there in 2000.) Hang in there for the historical re-enactments, complete with costumes, and tour the barnyard with the sheep and the horses. Then there's also the blacksmith forge and pottery wheel to watch, too. It's open all day but there is an admission so take your wallet.
Picnic with a splash
C'mon, you know you want to do it. Get the neighbors together for a cookout. Pull the "kids" aside, pass out the water guns, maybe a bucket full of water balloons, and let 'em have at it. Then fire up the grill, pass out the chicken wings, the ribs, the burgers, dogs and fixin's. Settle back in the lawnchair and savor the freedom.
What a way to celebrate.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.