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Your Charleston, SC, Summer Bucket List

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How much fun can you pack into one summertime visit to Charleston? Take advantage of all Charleston has to offer from seaside fun and water views to adventure and exploring. We’ve put together a few must-do items for a memorable summer in Charleston.

Get creative in the sand

Beach lovers of all ages can’t resist building a sandcastle. Sure, it’s easy to say you’re helping the kids, but we know you’re enjoying the sandy construction as much as they are. Pack your shovels and buckets and head to one of Charleston’s beaches for an afternoon of fun in the sand and surf. Channel your inner architect and see just how creative you can get. Check out our Beach Guide to help you select the best local beach.

Take me out to the ballgame

Charlie the RiverDogNothing says summer like baseball and hot dogs. Take in a Charleston RiverDogs games at Joe Riley Stadium located on the banks of the Ashley River. The RiverDogs are a professional, minor league baseball team and Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Games continue through Sept. 3 with several fun-filled promotions, including fireworks, Thirsty Thursday with $1 beers and Dog Day Afternoon when you can bring your dog out to enjoy a game. And don’t miss out on such signature menu items as the RiverDog (hot dog with pickled okra, barbecue sauce and slaw), boiled peanuts and Beer Shakes. With tickets starting at $8, it’s an affordable option for the whole family. See the full schedule at

Hit the water

The best way to beat the summer heat is with the cool water breezes. Take a tour around the Charleston harbor while learning about the city’s history and landmarks. Or try your hand at kayaking, paddleboarding or even parasailing. Water adventures abound in Charleston. Check out this list of boat and water tours.

Splash in the fountains

Riley Waterfront Park in the heart of downtown has fountains practically beckoning young visitors to toss off their flipflops and start splashing. Dip your toes in the Pineapple Fountain as you capture some classic Charleston family photos. And, grownups, if you need to dash through the fountain to cool off too, we won’t tell. Bonus: Stop by Belgian Gelato at 6 Vendue Range for a cool treat.

Drinks with a view

Relax after a day of sightseeing around Charleston with a craft beer or a specialty cocktail at one of downtown Charleston’s rooftop bars. With views of the Charleston harbor, the Ravenel Bridge and many church steeples, you’ll be captivated by the sunset and refreshed by your favorite beverage. Check out this list of Charleston’s best rooftop bars and restaurants.

Summer shows

Crystal Garrett_Moranz EntertainmentThe Charleston Music Hall is located just steps from the Charleston Visitor Center and hosts all sorts of concerts, comedy shows and performances. Catch “Let the Good Times Roll” (July 20-22), a variety show featuring the best of rock, pop and country (pictured right). The Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival (Aug. 4) includes music, storytelling and sweetgrass artistry presentations. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Second City comedy show are also part of this summer’s lineup. See the full schedule at

Close to the sky

The best views of Charleston are seen from the peak of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge spanning the Cooper River. It has a 2-mile bike/pedestrian lane called Wonders’ Way. Free parking is available on East Bay Street in downtown Charleston. Also, park for free at Mount Pleasant’s Memorial Waterfront Park, another great public space to visit. The park is located at the base of the Ravenel Bridge and a large lawn, a pier that stretches out into the Cooper River and nautical-themed playground. Also stop by the Sweetgrass Basket Pavilion, a cultural arts exhibit on the history of sweetgrass basket making.

Saddle up

What could be more romantic than riding horses across a stretch of Lowcountry beach? The Equestrian Center on Seabrook Island offers visitors a chance to ride horseback on 3 miles of trails along the beach. Packages are available for beginners all to the way to advanced riders. Purchase 30-minute pony rides for children up to 8 years old.

Shop through history

No visit to Charleston is complete without a stroll through the Charleston City Market to shop for gifts and souvenirs. The City Market stretches from Meeting Street to East Bay Street and is home to more than 300 businesses. You’ll find art, jewelry and crafts – many of which are 100 percent locally made. The market is also a great place to shop for sweetgrass baskets, one of the oldest handicrafts of African origin. Visit the City Market daily or stop by the evening market from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday through December.

Tours made easy

charleston tour passEnjoy some of Charleston’s best attractions, tours and restaurants with the new Charleston Tour Pass, which offers visitors convenient package options at a discounted price. Choose from a 1-day, 2-day or 3-day pass option and build your own itinerary based on your interests and length of stay. A go-to resource for Charleston area visitors, the Tour Pass makes it easy for tourists to save time, money and the hassle of researching where to go and what to do. Purchase the Tour Pass online at and a mobile ticket is automatically sent via text message.

Visiting Charleston Just Got Way Easier!

TourPass includes all the top tours and attractions & historic sites. Save up to 40% or more on admissions + skip the lines

Charleston FAQ's

Choosing a hotel and where to stay in Charleston all depends on your budget and goals. Do you want to stay Downtown, at the beach or in the outer areas such as North Charleston where you have to drive to get everywhere? For more help on deciding:

Charleston has 3 main public beaches which are: Folly, Isle of Palms and Sullivans. Each beach has it’s own atmosphere. The most common beach that people visit is Folly Beach and then Isle of Palms followed by Sullivans Island. For more info on Charleston’s beaches visit:

Charleston, SC is full of historical things to do. Everything from museums, to public sites and free landmark sites such as Rainbow Row and the Battery can be seen. For more info on Charleston’s top historical sites visit:

There are many things that will keep the kids and family entertained and educated in Charleston. There are historic sites such as Fort Sumter, a Children’s Museum, Aquarium and the USS Yorktown…a WWII era aircraft carrier you can tour. For more info visit:

There’s so many  things you could do in Charleston it can be overwhelming. We recommend that first time visitors, checkout the ultimate first-time visitor guide here:

Spring in Charleston, SC is an amazing time of year to visit. The flowers are blooming and the weather is mild and sunny. For more info, check-out our spring guide to Charleston here:

Summer in Charleston is a great time to visit. There’s plenty of things to keep you busy and visiting the beach will probably….or should be on your short-list. Also water-based activities and tours are popular. Checkout this summer guide to Charleston for more info: 

Our 10 Favorite Summer Activities in Charleston

Fall is one of the best times to visit. The weather cools down a bit and the skies are typically blue and clear. In addition there are many great events, festivals and the large crowds of summer have gone back to school or work. For more info on visiting in the fall, checkout this article:

There are so many great things to do that it’s difficult to narrow the list down. This article does a great job with figuring out the must do things to do in Charleston

7 Can’t Miss Reasons to Visit Charleston, SC Now

The consensus is a minimum of 3-days is needed to settle in and experience Charleston. For instance, many people take 2 days exploring downtown and another day visiting sites outside of downtown such as the plantations, Angel Oak Tree or beaches. Checkout this page for a list of tours and attractions: 

Charleston’s Top Tours & Attractions | Things to do

Downtown Charleston was made for walking and for sure one of the best way to soak up and experience the history first-hand. This article goes over getting around Charleston with and without a car as well: 

Getting Around Charleston, SC

We’re of course partial to Charleston, but here’s the truth. There are many similarities however there are some differences in our opinion: 

  • Both cities are historic and beautiful. 
  • Both cities are extremely walkable. Savannah, with it’s park-like squares maybe more walkable than Charleston. 
  • Charleston has a more established and food scene with many more options. 
  • Charleston has better hotels and shopping.
  • Both cities have equally good tours.
  • Charleston has better beach options. Savannah has Tybee which is great, however it’s 1 beach vibe versus Charleston which has 3 beaches with different vibes. Checkout this Charleston beach guide article:
  • In Savannah you can walk with alcoholic beverages on the street. This is not allowed in Charleston. This can be good or bad depending on your stance. 
  • Savannah is more affordable.
  • TourPass offers all-inclusive passes in both cities:

There are always great and world-class events happening in Charleston. For a calendar of events and things to do in Charleston, checkout our online calendar of events:

Of course there are free money-saving coupons that you can use. Visit the coupons page for a bunch of ways to save:

Charleston has some fantastic can’t miss tours such as Fort Sumter, carriage, ghost, harbor, historic and culinary tours. For a full list with more info visit:

Checkout the Charleston Relocation Guide page which will guide you during your move:

Additional Places to Explore

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