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Outdoor Activities in Charleston, SC

a car driving on a city street

Most visitors head to Charleston to enjoy outdoor adventures, take in a little nature, and explore historic Downtown. The good news is that makes us an ideal city to visit during social distancing. These outdoor activities in Charleston, SC, are some of our top attractions, and we recommend enjoying them regardless of social distancing guidelines.

Charleston Outdoor Activities

While the country may be running at limited capacity, the Holy City is still the place to be. Check out how the best way to enjoy the city while maintaining social distancing in our Charleston Social Distancing Guide.

Charleston Walking Tours

One of the best ways to get to know the city a little better is by way of a walking tour! Our Downtown and Historic Charleston Walking Tours cover many of the outdoor activities on this list. Our Hidden Alleys and Passages Tour takes you behind the scenes through the Holy City’s most beautiful back alleyways; guides tell the stories of the famous families of Charleston as well as lesser-known stories about some hidden figures you may not already know about. 

We offer both public and private tours of the city. We practice social distancing on all of our public and private tours, and we cap our public tours at 10 people per tour. If you don’t see a tour that strikes your fancy (or if you’re worried about staying six-feet from others), we recommend booking a private tour for your party.

Charleston Boating Adventures

Charleston is right on the water (it’s one of the many things we’re known for!), which means you can’t come to this city and not see it by sea! Luckily, there are plenty of companies that can get you on the harbor, the Ashley or Cooper rivers, or even in one of the beautiful estuaries.

Just some of our favorite boating adventures here include:

  • Seawater Cycle
  • Kayaking
  • Charleston Water Taxi
  • Charleston Sailing Charters

Read about all four in our guide to Charleston by Boat!

Beaches

Our fair city is known for many things: iconic lowcountry cuisine, history, and (of course) our white sandy beaches!

Charleston is home to six (six!) different beaches. That means there’s plenty of room for social distancing — and there’s a beach for every personality. Get the full rundown on all of our beaches in our Charleston Summer Beach Guide.

Carriage Rides

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys taking things slowly, we recommend taking a carriage ride through Downtown Charleston. Carriage rides are a great way to social distance (there’s no way you can come within six feet of another person), and they’re also the perfect way to enjoy the city’s historic district. 

Hop in a carriage, and enjoy the city the way our ancestors did — slow and steady. 

Plantation Tours

Charleston plantations attract visitors from all over the world. Once home to some of the most famous families in the lowcountry, these plantations are now museums that offer a glimpse into the city’s history. 

They’re also living memorials that honor the enslaved African Americans that once worked the land. (Though, some plantations do a better job than others when it comes to accurately portray this period in American history). 

While many of the plantation homes are closed to the public in 2020, you can still enjoy touring the grounds. Magnolia Plantation has a botanical garden, known as ‘America’s Oldest Garden’, and is open to the public year-round. 

The Battery and Pineapple Fountain

Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC

Charleston is practically surrounded by water, which means we’ve got just as many opportunities to enjoy the rivers and bay by land as we do by boat. Two of our most iconic and scenic waterfront parks are White Point Gardens and Joe Wiley Waterfront Park. 

White Point Gardens is more commonly known in the city as ‘The Battery’ and offers beautiful views of Patriots Point, Fort Sumter (where the first shots of the Civil War were fired), and the Ashley and Charles rivers. 

Joe Wiley Waterfront Park is most famous for its biggest attraction: the Pineapple Fountain. We recommend heading here at night when the fountain is aglow. You’ll get a cool breeze off the river and enjoy some of the most stunning views of the city. 

Bike the Ravenel Bridge

a bridge over a body of water

Charleston is a beautiful city to see by bike. Glide past historic homes and wildlife — with plenty of chances to take in the sights and smells of the city. Pause to take a photo before heading on to your next neighborhood.

One site you simply can’t miss on any Charleston cycle trip is the Ravenel Bridge. This cable-stayed bridge runs over the Cooper River to Mount Pleasant and offers travelers a 30-minute bike ride each way. 

The best part? Gentle breezes offer a break from the heat, and the bridge doesn’t get very crowded with pedestrian traffic, so you won’t need to worry about wearing your mask during this activity!

Once you get to Mount Pleasant, we recommend biking around its picturesque streets and popping by a cafe for a cup of iced coffee. 

Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant is the neighborhood that sits across the Cooper River from Downtown Charleston. It’s known for its pretty shops and jewel box cafes. While not all of the businesses are — well, back in business — in this neighborhood, you can still peruse a few open ones, grab a snack to eat at the beach, or enjoy a beer at an outdoor cafe. 

If you’re not headed over by bike, Mount Pleasant is a mere few minutes’ drive from Downtown. 

What are your favorite outdoor activities in Charleston, SC? Let us know by leaving us a comment on our Facebook page!

 

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