Shem Creek - Charleston, SC

Cool Off at These Charleston Hot Spots


There’s no denying Charleston summers are h-o-t. But thanks to some indoor attractions and cooling ocean breezes, you can enjoy Charleston without breaking a sweat.

Family Activities

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry offers a variety of exhibits for young visitors, including water stations, an arts and crafts center, a medieval castle and a pirate ship for climbing (closed Mondays).

At the South Carolina Aquarium, journey from South Carolina’s mountains to the sea, exploring native animals and plants in a variety of exhibits of birds, plants, reptiles and plenty of sea creatures from turtles to otters. Read all about the new Sea Turtle Recovery area in this blog post.

North Charleston Fire MuseumVisit the North Charleston Fire Museum where kids of all ages will love the interactive displays and hands-on equipment. The museum houses the largest collection of professionally restored American LaFrance fire apparatus in the country.

Bus Tours

Learn about Charleston’s rich history while riding in the air-conditioned comfort of a mini-bus.

Adventure Sightseeing offers a 90-minute “See It All” City Tour. Highlights include select stories from 350 years of Charleston history; beautiful architecture in the historic district; a drive through The Citadel military college; a tour around the Battery with a stop for a photo opp. Plus, drive past the Charleston Market, gardens, wrought iron artwork and several of the city’s many historic churches.

Book Gray Line’s 90-minute “Historic City Tour” to see historic homes, the Battery, historic churches, the Charleston Market, the four Gray Line bus touring on South Battery_smcorners of the law and Rainbow Row – all while riding in comfort. A number of combo tours are available with both a bus tour and the opportunity to visit another attraction.

Breezy Beaches

Visit Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island or the Isle of Palms to splash in the ocean or lounge under an umbrella. Check out our complete Charleston Beach Guide.

Water Tours

Combine a refreshing water tour with a chance to explore Charleston’s history, waterways or natural beauty.

Book a history tour with Charleston Harbor Tours. Climb aboard the Carolina Belle to enjoy a scenic 90-minute tour with more than 75 landmarks and points of interest. A number of special cruises are also available.

Take a dinner cruise with SpiritLine Cruises for waterfront dining at its best. Aboard the Spirit of Carolina, enjoy a three- or four-course dinner made with local, seasonal ingredients with views of the Charleston harbor.

Schooner PrideTake a sunset sail aboard the Schooner Pride, an 84-foot tall ship modeled after the 18th-century coastal trading schooners that once dotted Charleston’s harbor. A moonlight sail and dolphin sail are also available.

You can’t go wrong with a sunset cruise, nature tour, history tour or a ghost tour by boat with Sandlapper Water Tours. Board “The Palmetto,” a 45-foot Corinthian Catamaran and let the water breezes refresh your spirit and the tour guides entertain.

Ever wanted to try kayaking or paddleboarding? Now’s your chance. Nature Adventure Outfitters has a variety of kayaking and paddleboarding tours for all ages and experience levels. Book the popular saltwater tour and explore Shem Creek and a sea island bird sanctuary called Crab Bank Island.

For the adventurous water lover, Tidal Wave Water Sports has WaveRunners visitors can rent and ride in a 3-mile area. Or book a parasailing trip and fly with the seagulls above the ocean. Talk about a view!

Tidal Wave ParasailingThe Palmetto Breeze catamaran has a spacious wooden deck, bar, cushioned seating and deck chairs. Book a dolphin or sunset cruise on the Palmetto Breeze now through October.

Barrier Island Eco Tours offers naturalist-guided excursions exploring the salt marshes and island off Charleston’s coast, including Capers Island, one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands.