Best Charleston Outdoor Activities

by Caitlyn Knuth
Charleston outdoor activities

Charleston, South Carolina is a city that continues to capture the imaginations of locals and visitors since its founding in 1670. The diversity of experiences available, especially Charleston outdoor activities, makes it a captivating city to visit and one that guests continue to love with the passing of time. What began as a simple seaport city quickly prospered into an epicenter of culture, cuisine, entertainment, and excitement. In the face of trials, Charleston has historically been a city that has preserved, and the effects of a strong city spirit live on today within Charleston’s very walls. Architecture meticulously restored to its pre-Civil War style reminds those that pass through that this is a modern city built on a rich and complex past.

Plentiful Charleston Outdoor Activities and So Much More

It is this intriguing mix of yesterdays and today that cultivates a desire to discover Charleston for one’s self. It is as easy to sail through the Charleston Harbor on an 18th-century vessel as it is to visit a modern art museum. Nearly 7 million visitors head to Charleston annually in search of the many stories it has to tell. Narrowing an itinerary down to the essential few destinations can be tricky. When you’re here, make sure to book these 5 activities in the name of truly capturing the essence of the Holy City.

Charleston Bicycle Tours

While there are many larger tour companies that call Charleston home, taking a trip on two wheels with Charleston Bike Tours is a comfortable, safe and charming way to see the city up close. Tours allow a maximum of 10 guests at a time, making for an intimate group experience that doesn’t overwhelm and allows for plenty of time to take in the city’s most iconic sites at a personalized pace. Each and every tour is led by the company’s co-owners Karen and Alex Graham, providing an insider’s view on monuments, restaurants and the streets less traveled.

Palmetto Carriage Tour

The opportunity to ride in style, commune with history and see incredible icons of Charleston is not something any visitor wants to miss. As the city’s longest-standing carriage company, booking a ride with Palmetto Carriage is sure to please guests looking for both an informative and exciting ride! Hop in an authentic open-air carriage drawn by horses and mules as you make your way through historic downtown Charleston. Trips last 1-hour during the day and 35-minutes in the evening, providing a customized view of the city.

charleston outdoor activities


Schooner Pride

A sail on the Schooner Pride is a well-loved excursion that guests should eagerly book well in advance of their trip. Modeled after a traditional 18th-century trading schooner, the Schooner Pride rises 84-feet into the sky and is as impressive as it is powerful as it leaves from dock daily at Charleston Harbor. Guests enjoy a 2-hour cruise around the harbor providing unsurpassed views of the city skyline as well as encounters with local marine life. The Schooner Pride can accommodate up to 49-passengers at a time and can be booked for specialized sails with a focus on dolphin spotting or sunset cruising upon request.

Charleston outdoor activities

Downtown Charleston Culinary Tours

For all its history, culture and creativity, Charleston often draws in the masses in the name of flavor. One of the best routes to pleasing the palate when you’re in the Holy City is to book a spot on a Charleston Culinary Tour. The Downtown Charleston Culinary Tour is highly recommended for those visiting the city for the first time with its comprehensive overview of savory hot spots. Guests enjoy 2.5-hours of walking and dining their way through the French Quarter and nearby historic streets and avenues. Led by knowledgeable and friendly guides, this tour stops at four different restaurants with a focus on authentic southern fare.

charleston outdoor activities

The Center for Birds of Prey

As impressive as the city of Charleston is, it’s often the balance of wonder between urban highlights and the ever-present wildlife that makes a trip to the Holy City so exciting. Booking a tour at The Center for Birds of Prey is an incredible way to get an understanding of just how many beautiful species of birds call this region home. The center hosts over 50 species of birds, including impressive numbers of falcons, eagles, and hawks. Guided walking tours are 2-hours long with the first hour dedicated to viewing the facility and exhibit area and the second hour dedicated to an amazing flight demonstration. With a focus on rehabilitation, conservation and education, The Center for Birds of Prey is a great stop for photographers, bird lovers and those looking for something a little different when it comes to understanding the dynamic of Charleston.

Charleston outdoor activities

When Charleston is Calling

Whether you arrive with the hopes of encountering history, absorbing scenic views or simply taking the city in through the flavors of the many restaurants the city offers, Charleston is a destination worth the visit. Taking time to see Charleston from a variety of perspectives is the best way to get the full picture of a city that tells an intricate story. Don’t be surprised when a first trip to The Holy City turns into a return visit year after year.

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Cindy Miller April 11, 2019 - 2:25 am

Beautiful images. Thanks for the great information about outdoor activites in Charleston

Nancy Zaffaro April 11, 2019 - 8:55 am

Thanks so much, Cindy; we’re really glad you enjoyed the article. Charleston is a beautiful city!


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