Once home to the Waccamaw Indians, this Colonial land grant was divided into 14 plantations by 1865. With the decline of the rice cultivation, Hobcaw was bought by Bernard M. Baruch, a Wall Street financier and presidential advisor, who used it as a winter hunting retreat. Baruch's daughter, Belle, later owned the 17,500-acre estate. At her death, the Belle W. Baruch Foundation was created to operate Hobcaw Barony as a center for environmental research.
The Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center features exhibits on local history and ecology, and has a 1200 gallon saltwater aquarium holding native species. The property's history is interpreted through Indian artifacts, exhibits on naval stores and rice cultivation, and Baruch family archives.
Public access is limited to guided tours and programs. A two-hour van tour includes the interior of Hobcaw House, the 1930s hunting lodge over looking Winyah Bay; the grounds of Bellefield Plantation, and Friendfield Village, the only existing slave village on the Waccamaw Neck; and views of the river, bay and salt marsh.