Tire swings and Spanish moss dangling from oak trees in McClellanville, South Carolina. Editorial credit: Scott Woodham Photography / Shutterstock.com

McClellanville, South Carolina

McClellanville is a fishing town in South Carolina that has traditionally relied on the sea and coastal marshes for fishing, shrimping, and oystering, which make up a significant percentage of the town's economy. The McClellan family was one of the earliest families to settle here, and the area was originally where local planters went to enjoy the milder seaside breezes. The town has gained notoriety more recently as the site of Hurricane Hugo's 1989 landfall. Hugo, which pounded the South Carolina coastline at the time, was the most damaging storm ever to strike the United States. Even though McClellanville suffered some setbacks in 1989, it has significantly recovered over the past 20 years. Residents of McClellanville enjoy a peaceful, rural lifestyle on the banks of Jeremy Creek. 

Geography And Climate Of McClellanville

Jeremy Creek at McClellanville, South Carolina
Jeremy Creek at McClellanville, South Carolina. Image Credit: Ammodramus via Wikimedia Commons

McClellanville is a fishing town situated in Charleston County in the US State of South Carolina. It is located halfway between Charleston and Myrtle Beach and is just 11 miles east of Awendaw on Highway 17. McClellanville is placed within the Francis Marion National Forest, where a wide area of marshes separates the town from the Atlantic Ocean. Mount Pleasant and Charleston are 30 miles and 40 miles southwest of McClellanville, respectively. Right in the middle of town passes Jeremy Creek, and the town extends south to the Intracoastal Waterway, adjacent to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. McClellanville covers a total area of 6.11 sq. km, of which 5.80 sq. km is occupied by land, and 0.31 sq. km is covered by water.

According to the Köppen climate classification, McClellanville experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and extremely cold, snowy, and windy winters. The average yearly temperature is 17.9°C, with July and January recording the highest (27.1°C) and lowest (8.2°C) average temperatures, respectively. On average, McClellanville gets 1351.3mm of precipitation each year, with August reporting the highest number (182.9mm). The snowy period occurs between December and February, with the rainy season lasting the entire year. 

History Of McClellanville

The history of McClellanville dates back to around five years before the Civil War when local plantation owners A. J. McClellan and R. T. Morrison started selling off waterfront lots along Jeremy Creek. To the west and south, wealthy plantation owners purchased the property to construct summer homes. The settlement was unnamed for some time. Finally, it was decided that McClellanville be the name of the town in honor of the earliest settlers, the McClellan family. Over time, the community was recognized for cultivating a wide range of food, manufacturing turpentine and tar, harvesting lumber, distilling salt during the Civil War, and, more recently, harvesting its renowned Bulls Bay oysters, clams, and shrimp. The islands, bays, and marshes that makeup McClellanville's shoreline were protected in the late 1930s by the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge. The Francis Marion National Forest was created to manage the nearby forests.

The Population And Economy Of McClellanville

According to the latest US Census, McClellanville has a population of 605 inhabitants with a median age of 42.3. The city's racial makeup is 560 white (non-Hispanic/Latino), 20 African-American or Black, and 6 Hispanic or Latino. The remaining are distributed among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), and some other races. English is spoken by 98.1% of the population. The rest speak Spanish (1.6%) and other foreign languages (0.3%). All of the population in McClellanville are naturalized US citizens. Veterans make up 15.7% of McClellanville's population, of which all are males.

Over the past years, the employment market in McClellanville has grown by 0.7%. The projected rate of job growth over the next ten years is 36.9%, which is greater than the 33.5% US average. The annual median income in McClellanville is $33,313. On the other hand, McClellanville residents' median annual household income is $75,781. 

Attractions In McClellanville

Francis Marion National Forest

Hiking trail in Francis Marion National Forest
Hiking trail in Francis Marion National Forest. Image Credit: Daniel Barcelona via Wikimedia Commons

Visitors may explore 259,000 acres of magnificent pine forests, bogs, and marshes in four wilderness zones. This preserve houses various fauna, including the threatened red-cockaded woodpecker. Besides wildlife watching, the forest also offers several recreational opportunities, including camping, boating, and several trails which can be used for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, off-road motorcycling, etc. 

Hampton Plantation State Historic Site

The south facade of the Hampton Plantation House
The south facade of the Hampton Plantation House. Image Credit: Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons

This Colonial-era rice plantation has a magnificent Georgian-style home that was constructed between 1730 and 1750 with the proceeds of "Carolina Gold" rice that African slaves grew and gathered. There are guided tours available between 12 pm and 2 pm. 

Sewee Visitor And Environmental Education Center

Through educational displays and innovative activities presented at the center throughout the year, one can learn more about the ecosystems of Cape Romain and the distinctive natural history of McClellanville. Check out the viewing area if you want to see the six endangered red wolves that dwell there.

McClellanville has endured countless hurricanes, yet it has managed to keep its beauty and quaintness. Today, it is a self-sufficient community with schools, old churches, lovely residences, a few stores, and docking facilities that speaks about an economy that is now mostly reliant on the sea rather than the land.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. McClellanville, South Carolina

More in Places