As you’re visiting Charleston, you can’t miss the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge over the Cooper River. It’s majestic diamonds are easy to spot if you’re at one of the parks or attractions near the Charleston harbor or taking a boat tour. So where does the bridge take you?
The Ravenel Bridge connects downtown Charleston to the Town of Mount Pleasant, one of the state’s (and the nation’s) fastest-growing cities with more than 77,000 residents. The village was laid out by James Hibben in 1803; he took the name from one of the area’s 18th-century plantations. For many years after, Mount Pleasant remained a small town. But by the mid- to late 20th century, it was quickly growing. Today it’s a bustling and vibrant area with plenty for visitors to see and do.
While you’re exploring Mount Pleasant, make sure you check out these areas and attractions:
Shem Creek is popular among visitors and locals. Several restaurants serve up local seafood with views of shrimp boats and dolphins in the creek. It’s also a popular spot for kayaking and paddleboarding (contact Nature Adventure Outfitters or Coastal Expeditions for tours). Be sure to stop by Shem Creek Park, a 2,200-foot boardwalk that stretches from Coleman Boulevard to the mouth of the creek at the Charleston harbor. The park has floating dock space and a commercial fishing dock.
Francis Marion National Forest: Site of the battle between forces of British Col. Banastre Tarleton and Revolutionary Gen. Francis Marion, “The Swamp Fox.” Now this wildlife-rich 260,000-acre forest welcomes campers, hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, kayakers, and picnickers. OHV opportunities are found at the Wambaw Cycle Trail. Visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/scnfs/ or call call (843) 336-3248 for more info.
Explore History & Culture
Not far from Shem Creek is the Old Village of Mount Pleasant with historic homes, restaurants and shops. The Mount Pleasant Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and includes 30 blocks in and near the Old Village. Walk the picturesque Pitt Street Bridge which provides expansive views of the Charleston Harbor along it’s palmetto tree lined path.
While in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village, grab dinner or weekend brunch at the Old Village Post House, a neighborhood tavern and inn cooking up local meats, produce and seafood. For coffee and a fresh-made pastry or soup and sandwich, stop off at the cozy Village Bakery.
For a beautiful history lesson, plan a visit to Boone Hall Plantation on Long Point Road. One of the oldest working, living plantations in America, visitors can tour the plantation house and a variety of exhibits detailing black history, Gullah culture and the history of slaves at the plantation. Boone Hall also hosts a number of special events during the year so check the calendar of events to see what might be happening during your visit.
Other historic attractions in Mount Pleasant include the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. Pinckney was the principal author and a signer of the U.S. Constitution. Visit the site (free admission) to see interpretations of African-American life and contributions during the colonial era. Also stop by Patriots Point near the Ravenel Bridge to tour the USS Yorktown, a World War II aircraft carrier.
Explore Dining & Shopping
After all that exploring, try one of our favorite restaurants for lunch or dinner: Five Loaves Café for delicious soups and sandwiches; Rusty Rudder for casual dining with a side of live music and football on the TVs; SOL Southwest Kitchen for tacos and margaritas; and On Forty-One for tasty Southern cooking. Locals love Page’s Okra Grill, a spacious restaurant on Coleman Boulevard that serves up home-style Southern cookin’ like biscuits ‘n gravy, Lowcountry crab cakes and chicken and waffles. Shem Creek also has some great options such as Red’s Icehouse, The Shelter Kitchen + Bar, Vickerys, RB’s Seafood and others.
Mount Pleasant Towne Centre provides an all encompassing shopping and dining experience set on 51 acres with over 60 stores and restaurants….and a 16 screen movie theater. Dining options such as P.F. Chang’s, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, Zoe’s Kitchen, Longhorn Steakhouse and much more are all here.
Not far from Mount Pleasant you’ll also find the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, two of the most popular beaches in the area.
For more ideas, visit the Town of Mount Pleasant’s visitor website.