Whether you’re visiting Charleston, SC, or thinking about relocating to the area, you’ll love the abundance of outdoor activities that you can do with the entire family. Because of Charleston’s mild climate, you can easily spend time outdoors all year long, though you may have to wear a slightly heavier jacket when December and January roll around. From oyster roasts in the winter to beach trips in the summer, Charleston is one of the top destinations in the country for outdoor enthusiasts. Learn more about some of our favorite outdoor activities in the area and then get out there and start exploring!
Paddleboard or Kayak on Shem Creek
Although Charleston is a bit short on mountainous areas, there is a nearly endless list of water-related activities in the area. If you’re looking for some way to get outside and get active, you should definitely plan a day of kayaking or paddleboarding. Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant is one of the most popular places to hop on a board. The creek itself is surrounded by restaurants and bars that overlook the water, so after your adventure, you can stop by for some all-you-can-eat crab legs at Red’s Ice House or grab a sunset cocktail from the rooftop of Saltwater Cowboys. If you head out in the opposite direction from downtown to James Island, you can also kayak off Bowen’s Island for a different kind of experience. Afterward, plan to eat dinner at the Bowen’s Island Restaurant, a no-frills fish shack with some of the freshest seafood in the area.
Visit the Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island
One of the most unique natural attractions in the Charleston area, the Angel Oak is a live oak that is estimated to be around 500 years old, making it one of the oldest of its kind in the country and the largest live oak east of the Mississippi River. You will need to travel out to Johns Island to witness this natural marvel, but the drive from downtown Charleston takes less than half an hour. Once out on Johns Island, you can also swing by Low Tide Brewing for a taste of the area’s craft beer, or pop into Wild Olive for a homemade Italian dinner.
Spend a Day at One of the Beaches
Beach bums will love visiting or moving to Charleston, SC, because of the city’s close proximity to three different stunning beaches. Plan a family day out on Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms to soak up the sun and enjoy one of the best parts of this area. Folly Beach is located on James Island and is known to have a more bohemian vibe. You can grab a frozen drink from the tiki bar on the pier or head farther down the beach for some privacy. When the fam starts to get hungry, there are plenty of great beach eats in the area including Rita’s, Jack of Cups, Taco Boy and Woody’s Pizza.
If you’re a family with younger kids, Isle of Palms in Mount Pleasant is a very family-friendly beach with plenty of activities to enjoy. Sullivan’s Island, also located in Mount Pleasant but closer to the downtown area, is the best beach to go to if you want to grab a great meal afterward. The strip of restaurants near the beach has something for everyone. Knock back a few margaritas at Mex 1, indulge in a Game Changer frozen drink and barbecue at Home Team, bite into a burger at Poe’s Tavern or sit down for a sophisticated meal of homemade pizza and pastas at The Obstinate Daughter. And, don’t forget to head to Beard Cat to end your day with a delicious ice cream treat.
Attend an Outdoor Event
There is no shortage of great outdoor events in Charleston, even in the winter months. If you’re just visiting the area, research some of the most popular events and try to plan your trip around these extravaganzas. Marion Square, a park in the heart of downtown Charleston, is one of the most popular locations for outdoor events—and for good reason. This park is close to all the best things to do in Charleston and is a beautiful place to spend the day.
At the beginning of March, head to Marion Square for the Charleston Wine + Food Festival where top-notch chefs come together to share their culinary knowledge. In the spring, Spoleto hits Charleston with events in Marion Square and other venues throughout the city. The sister event to the Festival of Two Worlds hosted in Spoleto, Italy, Spoleto Festival USA is a 17-day art festival exploring many mediums–from visual art and dance to music and theater.
Check Out a Farmers Market
Charleston is big on supporting local farmers, producers and artisans, which is why it’s easy to find a farmers market nearly any month of the year. From mid-April until the end of November, a farmers market is hosted in Marion Square downtown each Saturday, with booths selling produce, homemade pasta and handcrafted items. You’ll also experience live music and a children’s play area, plus plenty of food trucks. The farmers market on Johns Island runs throughout the year on every Saturday of the week, offering many of the same types of products. For a different kind of farmers market experience, check out the Sunday Brunch Farmers Market at the Pour House. You’ll discover many different delicious brunch options, of course, along with local vendors selling kombucha, produce, dairy products and dozens of other items. Each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., this farmers market keeps the party going with live music and activities like face painting.
Enjoy the Natural Beauty of Charleston, South Carolina
Spending quality time with the family is always important, and it’s even better when you can all participate in an outdoor activity. If you’re moving to or visiting Charleston, SC, you’ll discover a wide range of outdoor activities that everyone in the family will love–from hitting up the beach for the day to buying tickets to the next big outdoor event. The best part? These activities are only the beginning. In Charleston, the possibility for outdoor adventure is endless.