According to a study by the United States initiated by the United States Department of the Interior:
The Sea Island Coastal Region of South Carolina and Georgia is rich in natural resources, including moderate climate, dramatic scenic qualities, fertile soils, water, fish, wildlife and minerals. Those resources are valuable for a variety of often competitive uses, including active and passive recreation, transportation, agriculture, commercial fisheries, industrial development, preservation, and so forth.
The Sea Islands are also rich with history. Slaves who sought refuge there after the Civil War lived in isolation for a almost a century until the bridges were built. This isolation helped the Gullahs, as they were called, preserve their language, culture, and daily way of life. Generations of farmers grew much of their own food, made baskets of sweetgrass, and attended one-room praise houses. Gullah is said to be of West African origin, meaning “the people are blessed.”
Among the storied islands are Daufuskie, where Pat Conroy taught – and memorialized in his book The Water is Wide; Saint Helena, named by the Spanish and famous for Penn Center; Fripp Island, once a hunting ground of the Yamessee Indians and which, like Hilton Head Island, has been developed in recent decades; Edisto Island, once famous for its long-staple Sea Island cotton; and Hunting Island, once a hunting preserve and now a State Park with a famous lighthouse.