Pawleys Island, South Carolina Gardens

An extraordinary display of nature and sculpture

If Anna Hyatt Huntington hadn't been so talented a sculptor, Brookgreen Gardens might have been viewed as a vanity collection. But she was, and her work, particularly depictions of animals (don't miss the two lions, which remarkably combine intelligence and wit) is the centerpiece of this 500-piece assemblage, which also includes other prominent sculptors such as Frederic Remington and Daniel Chester French. It's worth coming here, though, even if you're not drawn to sculpture: The 300-acre garden set within a 9,100-acre preserve (formerly a rice plantation) is an extraordinary display of nature, with 194 species of birds, an allée of 250-year-old live oaks, and a connecting pattern of gardens containing 2,000 varieties of plants. Admission minimal. U.S. Highway 17 between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island; 843-235-6000.