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
Nothing 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 riverdogs.com.
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.
The 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 charlestonmusichall.com
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.
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
Enjoy 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 charlestontourpass.com and a mobile ticket is automatically sent via text message.