Low Country South Carolina contains so much history that its ancient ruins are just asking to be explored. And with so many spots to uncover that are free, they make for the perfect escape without breaking the bank. Among the unique and free things to do in South Carolina, these old church ruins surrounded by beautiful towering oak trees are waiting for you to discover them.
St. Helena Parish Chapel of Ease, otherwise known as the Old Sheldon Church Ruins, is located in Beaufort, South Carolina next to a small cemetery.
Once a house of worship for those who couldn't make it to the main chapel in town, a forest fire destroyed the holy house in 1886 where it was left to crumble and decay.
Today, the old church is surrounded by huge oak trees with Spanish moss spilling over the branches. It gives the ruins and adjacent cemetery an eerie air as you explore all it has to offer.
The creepy old church can even be used as a wedding venue, but only for members of the Parish Church of St. Helena.
Some locals say this spot is haunted and have even claimed to see apparitions while wandering around the cemetery.
According to Eat, Sleep, Play Beaufort, visitors have been said to hear whispers coming from inside the church ruins and even some singing at times — that sounds like something straight out of a horror movie.
Visitors are welcome to park and walk up to explore the ruins at no charge. Aside from the crumbling church and cemetery on-site, an old mausoleum beckons visitors to come closer.
A few plaques at the storied location share information about the area and tell a little bit about the history of the ruins.
Built in 1740, the church was mostly used until 1861 before being abandoned. The normal Sunday services were stopped due to an invasion from nearby troops during the Civil War.
Just 1.5 miles away from the church you'll find more history to explore at Penn Center.
St. Helena Parish Chapel of Ease
Address: 17 Lands End Rd., Saint Helena Island, SC
Why You Need To Go: These ancient ruins hold so much history and the oak trees that surround it are just as beautiful as the church.
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