Discover Charleston

Things to Do in Charleston: Outdoor Adventures

When the weather is warm in Charleston (count on April through October), Charleston comes alive with a thousand outdoor adventures. The city itself is on a peninsula that juts out into the Charleston harbor, and it's ringed by marinas where you can find day sailing cruises, water ferries and deep-sea fishing excursions. The nearby islands (almost all of the land around Charleston is islands divided by rivers and tidal creeks) are natural paradises for water sports, great hiking, bicycling tours and more. Most of these outdoor activities are located off of the city's peninsula, which is a great excuse to explore the Lowcountry areas outside of the historic city center. 

A few of our favorite things to do are seeing the ancient live oak trees (head to the Angel Oak), paddleboarding up Shem Creek, kayaking the tidal inlets near Bowen's Island, surfing Folly Beach, working on our suntans at Sullivans Island or at Kiawah Island's Beachwalker Park, and bicycling through the Charleston historic district.

Essentials to pack for these outdoor adventures:

  • A good hat for shade
  • Quick-drying shorts
  • A lightweight shirt (long-sleeve is recommended to help offer sun protection and avoid bugs)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Sandals for water activities and good walking shoes for when you're on shore

Nature Adventure Outfitters

Nature Adventure Outfitters offers kayaking trip on many of Charleston's waterways, specializing in saltwater tours, blackwater swamp tours and equipment rentals. Both kayak and canoe tours are offered daily, including 2-hour, 3-hour and full-day tours.

Charleston Water Taxi Sightseeing and Dolphin Watch

Hourly ferry service between Mount Pleasant and downtown's historic district, hourly dolphin cruises and hourly sightseeing tours. Taxi departs Mount Pleasant from Charleston Harbor Resort at the top of each hour and the Charleston Maritime Center at Aquarium Wharf 30 minutes past each hour, 9 am-8 pm.

Fort Moultrie

Named after William Moultrie, who oversaw its construction as colonel of the South Carolina militia in 1776, Fort Moultrie has seen more than 170 years of history, from the American Revolution through World War II.

Kiawah Island Beachwalker Park

Consistently ranked in America's "Top 10 Beaches" by professor Stephen P. "Dr. Beach" Leatherman, Kiawah Beachwalker Park (on the west end of Kiawah Island just a few miles south of Johns Island) offers both ocean frontage and a river view.

West Ashley Greenway

Load up your dogs and pack your running shoes or your bikes for a ride on this 8-plus mile (one way) multipurpose paved trail converted from an old rail line. It extends from the suburban West Ashley area out to rural Johns Island.

Angel Oak

The Angel Oak Tree is thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country. This ancient oak tree is estimated to be 300 - 400 years old. It is 65 feet tall and has a circumference of 25.5 feet. Perfect for a romantic picnic or family gathering. Open daily. Free admission.