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10 Reasons to Get Out and About in Charleston, SC

Today we are featuring, Kristin Fry, owner of The Shady Umbrella– a small travel agency devoted to finding your perfect place in the shade, to finding great deals, and to doing it all for free for their valued clientele.

I have been fortunate to call Charleston, SC home my entire life.  A city rich in history and culture that many flock to year round, Charleston has always been quick to offer a reason to get out and experience it. If this is your first trip to the Holy City, welcome…I hope you enjoy exploring my home.  Below you will find some of my favorite spots around the city that are sure to make your visit a memorable one.

Historic Charleston City Market and Waterfront Park-  The Charleston Market has a lot to offer in terms of history and commerce.  A staple of the city, visitors will find locally made crafts, food, and jewelry.  In the last year the market underwent a renovation that allows it to offer air conditioning in parts, which is a welcome upgrade in the summer months.  Hang a right onto East Bay Street, at the end of the market, for a short walk to Waterfront Park. Feel free to grab a seat on a swing, or take a quick splash in one of the fountains.

Arthur Ravenel Bridge-  Want to get in a workout and see more of the city? How about an incline treadmill with a view?  Try running, walking, or even riding a bike over the bridge.  Easy parking can be found at base of the bridge on the Mount Pleasant side near the Patriots Point Naval Monument. The Arthur Ravenel Bridge is site of the annual Cooper River Bridge Run taking place March 31st this year, and is sure to be fun whether walking or running the 10K.  The route takes participants over the scenic Arthur Ravenel Bridge into downtown Charleston.  40,000 residents, visitors, and even a few celebrities chose to start their spring with this event last year. So lace up those kicks, hydrate, and get over it…the bridge that is.

Marion Square Farmers Market- A great way to start a sunny Saturday is a stroll through the Marion Square Farmers Market.  It’s full of locally grown food, craft vendors, and a bounty of other services.  During the warmer months Marion Square is also a great spot for frisbee, coed sunbathing, and evening movies shown under the stars.

King Street Shopping- Historic King Street in downtown Charleston proudly boasts the Lowcountry’s most diverse shopping experience. From couture retailers, antiques, books, collectibles, and great food it’s a stop on your tour of the city that should yield grins all around. Be sure to check-in at the Apple Store on your quest to get the illusive “Jobs” Badge…godspeed to you and yours on your journey.

Backwater Kayak Tours- Getting back to nature with a kayak tour through the quiet creeks and marshes around Charleston is a fantastic way to explore the local ecosystem and get a great workout as you go.  It’s not uncommon to see pods of dolphin feeding in the shallows, as well as the usual suspects of marshland critters.  With tours running throughout the local waters, the folks at Coastal Expeditions are the ones to call for a fun, safe, and professional experience.

Great Eats- The South is known for it’s great cities like Charleston, and great cities in the South are known for awesome food…see where I’m going with this?  You just ran over a bridge for goodness sake, now it’s time for some tasty bites to eat.  Some of our favorites include (but are definitely not limited to) Ted’s Butcher Block for their delicious “Bacon of the Month BLT”, Taco Boy for taqueria style mexican, F.I.G. (Food is Good) where you truly can’t go wrong, and finally Fleet LandingBowens Island, or The Wreck for the absolute best seafood around.

Beaches, Fishing Piers, & County Parks- Charleston has a very diverse and beautiful collection of beaches and county parks. There is something for every person and every need…One of my favorite shows is NBC’s Parks and Recreation.  The show’s portrayal of the dedicated parks department employees mirror the efforts put in by the City of Charleston to maintain green spaces throughout the area. While there may be less antics, the commitment is clear…get out, explore, get some sun, and have some fun out there. It can literally change your life!

Local Sports Action- Charleston has a pretty sporty collection of semi-pro teams that never stop bringing the fun! The Riverdogs baseball, Stingrays hockey, and Battery soccer all offer an experience second to none in terms of fan participation, entertainment, and family fun.

Historic Charleston Museum & Tours- Charleston is a city so rich in culture and history that you’d be remiss not to take a day or two out of your vacation to learn more about the Holy City.  Museums, walking tours, reenactments, ghost walks, carriage rides, and nautical adventures all tell the tale of a city that helped shape the nation.  Go put a wrinkle or two in your brain learning about the South’s proud heritage!

Festivals- Local festivals are a great way to catch a glimpse into the culture of a city.  Just outside of Charleston in Summerville, the town is gearing up for the annual Flowertown Festival on March 30th-April 1st where great food, local businesses, and crafts can be enjoyed by all. With the renowned Spoleto Festival kicking off in May, it’s a great time to be in Charleston enjoying the arts!

I hope that these tips help you navigate the city during your stay. Charleston is such a large part of my life, I am happy to share my favorite pieces of it with you!