SUN, SAND & SURF
Whether you like to surf, climb or hit the links, Charleston’s glorious spring weather provides the perfect backdrop for a host of outdoor activities. Wander through the ruins of a former rice plantation, commune with wild dolphins or even catch your own dinner. No matter your age, stamina or enthusiasm level, there’s certain to be an alfresco adventure with your name on it.
CAW CAW INTERPRETIVE CENTER
A hike through six miles of raised trails winds through an otherworldly cypress swamp. Once a 5,500-acre rice plantation dating from the late 1700s, the land has now reverted back to nature. Check out the trailside signs highlighting the area’s natural and cultural histories, but don’t let the tranquility fool you: Caw Caw is home to otters, deer and bald eagles, as well as alligators and a wide variety of waterfowl. 5200 Savannah Highway, Ravenel, 843.762.8015
JAMES ISLAND COUNTY PARK
The climbing wall at James Island County Park is one of the tallest outdoor climbing facilities in the Lowcountry. The 50-foot structure offers more than 4,500 square feet of climbing space, including two lead climbing walls and 14 top ropes. The adjacent 10-foot bouldering wall provides an additional 1,000 square feet of space perfect for beginners. The facility is appropriate for all skill levels. 871 Riverland Drive, Charleston, 843.762.9511
At the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, this island provides ample beachcombing opportunities. Once the setting of both an Edgar Allan Poe novel and a Revolutionary War battle, today the 3.4 square mile island is the spot to search for shells, starfish and shark teeth. And not just any sharks: These can include Jurassic megalodon tooth fossils ranging from three to seven inches in size.
Considered the surfing mecca of South Carolina, Folly Beach lies just 11 miles south of Charleston. Get out there as early as possible, as winds and crowds tend to pick up in the afternoon. Arguably the best—and certainly the most popular—spot to surf is the Washout, a long stretch of break with powerful swells. Best suited to more advanced surfers or out- of-the-way observation, but newbies can learn the ropes with a class from Carolina Salt Surf Lessons, 843.452.4833
There are ways to get out on the water without getting wet. Head to Mount Pleasant’s Shem Creek, an excellent starting point for exploration via canoe, kayak or standup paddleboard. Nature Adventure Outfitters leads a variety of tours, as well as rents equipment for self- guided exploration. Head west from their boat ramp toward the fishing boats and take in the bustle of Charleston Harbor, or paddle east and explore the lazy tidal waters of Shem Creek. The grassy wetlands are home to playful dolphins and even the occasional manatee. Shrimp Boat Lane, Mount Pleasant. 843.568.3222
There may be no better way to take in Charleston’s seemingly effortless beauty than by bike. Start your expedition at the Visitors’ Center, then pedal a mile down bustling King Street as you take in trendy boutiques and restaurants. From here, head north to Huger Street while en route to the historic campus of the military Citadel College. Then navigate to East Bay and the nearby on-ramp for the Ravenel Bridge, the longest cablestay structure in the country. Get your rental on King Street at Affordabike.
KIAWAH ISLAND GOLF RESORT
Offering some of the finest golfing on the East Coast, Kiawah Island Golf Resort features multiple golf courses including Turtle Point, Oak Point and Cougar Point, as well as the world-renowned, Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course that spans more than 2.5 miles of coast. It will play host to the 2021 PGA Championship. 1 Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island, 843.768.2121
The clubhouse and 18th hole at Kiawah’s Ocean Course.