Drivers headed from Charleston to Columbia on Interstate 26 may be unaware that the surrounding ecosystem is among the wildest tracts of land left on the Eastern seaboard. While humans typically avoid the swampy, uninhabitable area, animals delight in it, especially in Francis Beidler Forest. A 17,000-acre sanctuary within the larger Four Holes Swamp area, the forest is home to otters, alligators, and countless birds, all maintained by the National Audubon Society. Follow the 17.5-mile, handicap-accessible boardwalk and trail deep into the wet, bottomland forest, observing the old-growth stands of cypress and tupelo trees along the way. If you bring your binoculars, you might also spot rare woodpeckers, owls, and songbirds. To explore even more of the forest, book a canoe or kayak trip through Audubon’s visitor center.