More than 9,000 people voted for their favorite in our annual Facebook-based contest. Ellis Calderon came out the winner. 

Perfectly situated between Hilton Head, Savannah and Charleston, you’ll find Dataw Island, one of South Carolina’s hidden gems. Off the beaten path and surrounded by nature, yet close to the beach, shopping, history, and fine and performing arts.

Dataw Island is a gated golf, tennis and boating community where members are very active in social and sporting activity, as well as in philanthropic ventures.

THE LOWCOUNTRY’S PRIVATE PENINSULA FOR WORLD-CLASS GOLF

Lowcountry casual elegance lies at the base of Hilton Head’s bridge at Colleton River Club. This 1,500- acre private community delivers on its promise of world-class golf, pristine natural surroundings; and a thriving, active and unique membership experience.

Coastal South Carolina and coastal Georgia are home to many of the country’s top 100 private residential golf communities, as rated by Links magazine. From Sea Pines to Savannah Harbor, the area is ripe with lush greens just waiting for hackers.

Two of the most iconic and most visited historic towns in the U.S., Savannah and Charleston, draw millions of tourists, and Hilton Head Island does pretty well, too. Many play golf while visiting, and some decide they want to retire to the Lowcountry. The mild climate, dramatic marsh vistas, live oaks, palm trees and the availability of vast tracts of affordable land all favored development of high-end residential communities centered around golf.

Spring in the Lowcountry means the RBC Heritage of golf, time at the beach and making memories with friends. Comfort and style are Lowcountry traditions during the most beautiful season of the year.

COLUMBIA IS FILLED WITH FUN AND LEARNING

It’s that time of year: The weather is warm, the flowers are in bloom, Hilton Head Island is decked out in plaid. And Lowcountry students are counting down the minutes until spring break.

VOLUNTEER HELPS CARE FOR PINCKNEY ISLAND, THE REFUGE THAT RAISED HER

A quarter of a million people visit Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge every year. But Alice Boyd remembers a time when visitors to Pinckney Island — the largest of five islands in the 4,053-acre refuge, and the only one open to the public — could be counted in the dozens, the island was accessible only by boat and she and her brother were the only children for miles around.

Once hunted for their blubber, North Atlantic right whales are now among the rarest mammals in the world. Only about 500 of the species exist, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, making them one of the most endangered marine mammals.

Right whales can weigh up to 70 tons and grow up to 60 feet. Commercial whalers christened them “right whales” because they are the “right” whale to hunt: they move slowly, are easy to chase, and carry copious amounts of blubber.

When President Donald Trump’s administration announced in January its five-year plan to open up opportunities for gas and oil drilling in 90 percent of federal waters — including the stretch of ocean off the Lowcountry’s coastline — the uproar on land was swift and strong.

A month later, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to make the state’s opposition to the plan known and to ask that South Carolina be exempted. His sentiment echoed those expressed by U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford and Jim Clyburn, as well as many in the Palmetto State like Hilton Head Island Mayor David Bennett.