Even in the hot, humid summer months, South Carolina’s coastal city is still charming. Our first recommendation for Charleston visitors is Sullivan’s Island, pictured above. The quaint town only consists of 1,791 people. The 3.3 miles of wide beach offer a great breeze during the high temperatures. The island is a short drive from the city center so that you might consider a beach rental for your stay.
One of the most enjoyable attractions in Charleston are the many gardens. Long walks waterside show off the southern landscapes that made the city famous. Our favorite is Magnolia Gardens, pictured above and below. Magnolia Gardens is a historic home on the Ashley River. The property offers miles of leisurely walks and scenic boat rides. William Posey Silva, a Charleston Renaissance artist, called Magnolia “The Garden of Dreams,” according to officials.
It was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family and is the oldest public garden in the United States. Magnolia Gardens is a large-scale romantic garden. The style started in the industrial revolution in Europe when designers were hoping to help people forget about the boring parts of life by escaping in nature, experts say. Romantic gardens are picturesque because the focus is on appealing to the viewer’s soul as opposed to sticking to a structured design, park officials said.
The gardens also have an inspiring animal rescue program that saves injured creatures that guests can meet after the animals are fully rehabilitated. Friendly deer wander around this area of the park gently nibbling guests hands in hopes of securing a snack. You’ll also see gray foxes, beavers, bobcats, and birds of prey.
Lovers of bright colors and architecture will gladly spend time in the historic district of Charleston. Stroll down the cobblestone streets or take a horse-drawn carriage ride to see the stunning mansions and charming community buildings, like the library pictured above.
Pack a picnic lunch and grab a waterfront spot in one of the many parks in the historic district. Hampton Park has a baseball diamond, a walking trail, and a playground for kids. White Point Garden is waterfront, and history buffs will love the military statues and cannons. If you are looking for more adventure visit Palmetto Islands County Park, where visitors can kayak, fish, and go crabbing, park officials said.
If you would rather spend the day inside but still want to stay in the historic district, check out the Aiken-Rhett House Museum and the Nathaniel Russell House Museum. The Aiken-Rhett House was built in 1820 by Charleston merchant John Robinson, who was forced to sell it to Aiken, an Irish immigrant after he lost five ships at sea, museum officials said. Both houses stand as examples of antebellum life, but the Nathaniel Russell House offers a better idea of the lives of the enslaved men and women thanks to an archeological study that produced artifacts on their spiritual beliefs.
If you are visiting during the spring, consider attending the Festival of Houses and Gardens that runs from March 16 to April 24. Tour homes from the 18th century and learn about Charleston’s distinctive architecture, history, and culture, organizers said.
Locals love to experience Charleston on the water, but visitors can too utilizing sunset sails, private charters, and harbor cruises. Two-hour group sails are $37 for adults and $28 for children on the Schooner Pride. In addition to the stunning view, you’ll also see dolphins, pelicans, and gulls.
What are your favorite Charleston activities? Share in the comments below, and look for our next post on where to stay, shop, and eat in Charleston.