Did you make a New Year’s resolution in 2015? Maybe you vowed to exercise regularly, eat better, stop smoking or work less and play more. Was travel or exploration on that list? There’s a good chance Charleston is on your travel bucket list and there’s no time like the New Year to make your vacation plans. Or if you happen to be one of the lucky folks to live in this amazing, why not resolve to see something new this year?
There’s so much to do and see in this award-winning city it would be tough to do everything all at once. So we’ve put together 12 must-do items for your Charleston visit or staycation.
Join in the world’s largest oyster festival on Jan. 25 at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. The Lowcountry Oyster Festival includes the oyster shucking and oyster eating contests as well as live music, wine, a selection of domestic and imported beers, a children’s area and a food court showcasing a variety of local restaurants.
Conservationists and nature enthusiasts come from all over the country for Southeastern Wildlife Exposition Feb. 13-15, a celebration of art, animal demonstrations, environmental education and culinary events. New this year is a program with Richard Wiese, host of “Born to Explore with Richard Wiese,” an Emmy Award-winning travel and adventure program on ABC. Annual favorites include the retriever demos, birds of prey flight demonstrations and the high-flying DockDogs event at Brittlebank Park.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through March 21, take part in one of the camellia walks at Middleton Place. These guided tours focus on camellias throughout the original gardens as well as the “new” camellia garden of the 1950s. Reservations required.
Join The Garden Club of Charleston for its 80th annual House and Garden Tours on April 10-11. Tour private homes and gardens not normally open to the public. Each house features floral arrangements by members of The Garden Club.
Take advantage of extra fun in downtown Charleston and in historic Summerville. A monthly must-do is 2nd Sunday on King Street when the street is closed to vehicular traffic from Queen Street North to Calhoun Street for shopping, outdoor dining and entertainment. Head to historic downtown Summerville from 5-8 p.m. every third Thursday. Shops and restaurants will be open late and some have special promotions.
Take in world-class art, theater, music and more during the annual Spoleto Festival USA (May 22 to June 7). A favorite is the finale in June 7 featuring live music, gourmet picnic fare, local craft beers and a spectacular fireworks display all at Middleton Place. For the best in local arts events, check out concurrent Piccolo Spoleto with several free and low-cost events around town.
Go paddleboarding on Shem Creek. Stay cool, get a core workout and maybe catch a glimpse of some dolphins playing in the creek. Afterward, enjoy lunch and a cool drink at one of the many restaurants along Shem Creek.
The heat in on in August and there’s only one thing to do: hit the beach. Pack a book, towel and your sunglasses and relax at Folly Beach, Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island.
Tour the Charleston harbor for a breath-taking view of Charleston’s picturesque skyline. Check out a dinner cruise with Charleston Harbor Tours for a romantic evening cruising under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and alongside the USS Yorktown.
Get your fill of spooky with a blend of Charleston history on a ghost tour with our friends at Bulldog Tours. Tour graveyards, the Old City Jail and the Provost Dungeon at the Old Exchange Building.
Do some early holiday shopping with a trip to the Charleston Farmer’s Market in Marion Square. It’s a great place to find local gifts, pick up some veggies for Thanksgiving dinner and simply enjoy a morning in downtown Charleston to kick off your holiday season.
Charleston’s holiday events calendar is always overflowing with performances, parades, tree lightings, special shopping events and more. Be sure to visit our blog for a list of must-do holiday events and activities.