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Top Ten FREE Activities to do in Charleston County South Carolina

Updated on November 3, 2012
A FREE sunset! What could be more marvelous? Isle of Palms Front Beach  Charleston County, South Carolina
A FREE sunset! What could be more marvelous? Isle of Palms Front Beach Charleston County, South Carolina | Source

The Best Things in Life Can Be FREE!

Regardless of what time of year you plan to travel to Charleston County, South Carolina, there will always be something fabulous going on in the city and surrounding areas!

If adding up the cost of the tours to all of the historical places, eating at the five stars restaurants, staying at the luxurious hotels, and buying expensive souvenirs makes your head spin, you have come to the right place! So, take a break from digging into your wallet, read on and learn how to have good time and build fabulous memories for FREE!


A marvelous work of art and a picturesque view of the city for FREE!  Arthur Ravenel Bridge from Mount Pleasant SC to Charleston SC
A marvelous work of art and a picturesque view of the city for FREE! Arthur Ravenel Bridge from Mount Pleasant SC to Charleston SC | Source
Looking at the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from the pier at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park
Looking at the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from the pier at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park | Source

# 10 Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge

Ever hear anyone say they walked for miles up hill both ways? If you walk from the city to the suburbs and back, you will get to experience this for yourself! (Make sure you stretch those calves before attempting this!)

The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, A.K.A the New Cooper River Bridge, links Charleston city to the suburbs (Mount Pleasant). The Copper River Bridge Run takes place the first weekend in April and brings people from all over the world to compete in the 6.2 mile endeavor; approximately 50,000 people pay and register for this event. But, you don't need to pay a dime to walk the bridge at any other time. There are two lanes (one for bicycles and one for walkers- strollers welcome!). Just remember to bring your camera, you will want to take pictures!


Learn about important events in history for FREE! Fort Moultrie  Sullivan's Island  Charleston County  South Carolina
Learn about important events in history for FREE! Fort Moultrie Sullivan's Island Charleston County South Carolina | Source

# 9 Fort Moultrie

Located on Sullivan's Island, a short drive from downtown Charleston, you can tour a fort for free!

This is a self-guided tour! Feel free to experience a piece of history at your own pace!

If you happen to travel during Halloween, reserve a space to hear readings from the famous Edgar Allan Poe, who was stationed in the area in the fort at night....spooky stuff!

Fort Sumter (where the Civil War began) is also free, but the only way to get there is by boat! If you have your own boat, wonderful! If not, tours to the fort can be costly through the charters. A free option is always Fort Moultrie, no boat required!

While access to the fort is free, a donation can be made to the Historical Society for preservation!

# 8 Church/ Garden Walks

The city of Charleston makes great use of its' area to create marvelous gardens. Many of the gardens can be toured for a cost, but the Gateway Garden Walk is always free! Take a relaxing stroll at your own pace and take a break on a park bench as needed!

  • Located between Archdale Street and Philadelphia Alley.

¬°Please keep in mind that some sidewalk/ walkways/ gardens can be hard to access by those in wheelchairs, elderly individuals. and those pushing strollers. The cobblestone streets and sidewalks are often uneven; walk at your own risk!


They call Charleston the "Holy City" for a reason!
They call Charleston the "Holy City" for a reason! | Source

There's a good reason why you don't see skyscrapers in the city of Charleston, SC. The reason is because the tallest building you will find is....a church. That's right- they call Charleston the "Holy City" for a reason! Travel down the cobblestone streets, and you will see a church in every direction! Feel free to visit the churches for a service, and don't be afraid to call ahead and ask for a tour!

show route and directions
A markerSt. Michael's Episcopal Church Meeting Street Charleston SC -
St Michael's Episcopal Church, Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
get directions

B markerSaint Phillip's Church 142 Church Street -
St Philip's Church, 142 Church St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
get directions

C markerCitadel Square Baptist Church 328 Meeting Street -
Citadel Square Baptist Church, 328 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
get directions

D markerSt. Matthew's Lutheran Church 405 King Street -
St Matthew's Lutheran Church, 405 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
get directions

Built in 1872. Currently the tallest building in Charleston SC!

E markerCathedral of Saint John the Baptist 120 Broad Street -
Cathedral of St John the Baptist, 120 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
get directions

F markerSt. Mary's Roman Catholic Church -
St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 89 Hasell St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
get directions

G markerFirst Baptist Church 48 Meeting Street -
First Baptist School, 48 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
get directions

H markerSt. John's Lutheran Church 5 Clifford Street -
St John's Lutheran Church, 5 Clifford St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
get directions

I markerBethel United Methodist Church 57 Pitt Street -
Bethel United Methodist Church, 57 Pitt St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
get directions

We love the beautiful trees in Charleston County, South Carolina~
We love the beautiful trees in Charleston County, South Carolina~ | Source

# 7 Angel Oak John's Island

Located a short drive from Charleston is John's Island. On John's Island, you will see a magnificent tree called the "Angel Oak". It is believed to be in excess of 1500 years old!

Although there are other oaks in the area that you can climb, this one you can not...It's still great to look at though!




Isle of Palms beach  Charleston County  South Carolina
Isle of Palms beach Charleston County South Carolina | Source

# 6 Beaches

While the beaches are free, parking is where it hits your wallet! Avoid paying to park at the beaches by doing some investigation work!

The beaches at the Isle of Palms allows beach goers to park on the side of the street and access any beach paths for free (no public restrooms available though).

The beaches at Sullivan's Island have numerous access points (called Stations). You will have to walk along paths, but parking on the street is free! There are many spots available too. (No public restrooms and no parking lots/garages available for free)

The beaches at Folly Beach "Edge of America" can be a little harder to park at for free. (Look for meters that still have time left on them!) The Folly Beach Fishing Pier is free to walk on; although, you will have to pay if you are fishing. Look for free fishing days; they occur a few times a year!

Handmade sweetgrass baskets in Charleston County South Carolina
Handmade sweetgrass baskets in Charleston County South Carolina | Source

# 5 King/Market Streets

Window shopping and people watching is free and won't disappoint!

Restaurants, shops and stores are ubiquitous on King and Market Street.

If you are looking for namebrands like Banana Republic and Copper Penny, then go to King Street for looks straight off the runway!

If you are looking for hand-made, one-of-a-kind treasures, head over to Market Street!

Taking a stroll down East Bay Street!
Taking a stroll down East Bay Street! | Source
Beautiful columns and architectural dreams can be found in Charleston County, South Carolina!
Beautiful columns and architectural dreams can be found in Charleston County, South Carolina! | Source
Artists love to capture the vibe of the city and especially Rainbow Row!
Artists love to capture the vibe of the city and especially Rainbow Row! | Source

# 4 East Bay Street

A stroll down East Bay can complete any day! View the amazing architecture, feel the breeze created from the Charleston Harbor, get some sun and exercise for FREE! Take this stroll and don't forget to stop at White Points Garden for a rest and photo opportunities!

No trip to Charleston is complete without getting a picture in front of the infamous Rainbow Row- located right at the beginning of East Bay Street!

Bring your camera, walking shoes, water, sunscreen, and bug spray to be fully prepared to conquer the elements during this walk!

Charles Pinckney  National Historical Site  Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Charles Pinckney National Historical Site Mount Pleasant, South Carolina | Source

# 3 Charles Pinckney National Historical Site

Located off a scenic highway, Charles Pinckney National Historical Site has rich history, information, and a house tour at an unbelievable value- FREE!

It's hard to believe you can take a tour of grounds, a house, and have a picnic spot for FREE- but it's true!

Relax and rock in the wooden rocking chairs on the front porch while you pose for a picture!

There is a short path through the woods by the remains of the slave cabins as well.

Charleston Waterfront Park  Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston Waterfront Park Charleston, South Carolina | Source
Pineapple Fountain Charleston Waterfront Park  Charleston, South Carolina
Pineapple Fountain Charleston Waterfront Park Charleston, South Carolina | Source

# 2 Charleston Waterfront Park

If you have children, make sure you bring their swimsuits! Bring your swimsuit too! Two waterfalls seem to bring out the child in all of us!

A pineapple fountain welcomes visitors to Charleston at Waterfront Park and is a local water hole for cooling off on a hot day. No lifeguard is available, but this is one FREE place to swim that children take advantage of!

Another large fountain is available to cool you off on a hot day as well!

Even if you decide to stay out of the water, you can still cool off on the Harbor! Swings are available, so kick up your feet and relax to the sounds of seagulls, the sights of dolphins in the Harbor, and the smell of salt water!






Five Stars for Cleanliness, Friendliness, and Southern Hospitality!

5 stars for Mount Pleasant WaterFront Memorial Park
Views of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in the background at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park
Views of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in the background at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park | Source
War Memorial at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park Mount Pleasant  Charleston County  South Carolina
War Memorial at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park Mount Pleasant Charleston County South Carolina | Source
Taking a break to relax  at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park Mount Pleasant  Charleston County  South Carolina  USS Yorktown at Patriot's Point in background
Taking a break to relax at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park Mount Pleasant Charleston County South Carolina USS Yorktown at Patriot's Point in background | Source

# 1 Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park

There is open space for the kids to run, a state-of-the-art playground, a pier to walk on, a war memorial and waterfall, and the best rest-stop I've ever seen (with free southern handscrub in the bathroom).

While some of the cobblestone streets and sidewalks can be difficult for the elderly and children to walk on in downtown Charleston, the Memorial Waterfront Park and Pier is accessible by all! With a paved path and easy access to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (see # 10), this place is great to exercise and take a leisurely stroll! You may even get to see families playing sports or a local gym doing yoga in the green spaces!

The staff at the River Watch Cafe and Gift Shop show the true meaning of Southern Hospitality!

The staff at the Visitor's Center are extremely knowledgeable about everything Charleston and everything FREE! Feel free to pick their brain about history, food, beverages, hotels, and whatever else you are interested in.

Depending on when you visit, check out the special events at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park; the town puts on numerous FREE movie nights, splash days, concerts, and fishing days throughout the year!





What is your favorite FREE activity to do in Charleston County, South Carolina?

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Remember that while Charleston, South Carolina is a fabulous travel destination, (Number one in 2012 for Conde Nast Traveler Magazine's top tourist destinations in the world!), you can still create memories for FREE here as well!

Thank you for visiting; feel free to comment and share, but please always link back to here!

© 3 November 2012 FreezeFrame34.Hubpages.com

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a beautiful area for sure, one I have never seen. Thanks for a great tour.

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image
      Author

      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

      Thanks for traveling with me on a FREE virtual vacation, billybuc!

      It was hard to select my top ten; there is so much to enjoy here!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing this. It has been many, many moons since I walked the streets of Charleston. The people was what I fell in love with.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Beautiful hub, FreezeFrame...I understand the time it took to put this together. Great info as well. My favorite goes to the trees and that would be a reason to travel there alone, not to mention the fabulous beaches. Rated up/U/I / B/A sharing.

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image
      Author

      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

      Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing Denise! I'm glad you appreciate the time it took to compose this hub!

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image
      Author

      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

      Thanks, Mhatter99! There are many smiling faces in Charleston and it feels good to have a stranger wave when you drive down the street! An older man tipped his hat at me when I was walking down King Street; it was that Southern charm that I love!

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you for sharing the free places. I have not visited your state yet, it is on my list. The waterfront park reminds me of our Kansas City "The Plaza". I would stroll around that park for sure. Great hub! Good luck on the contest.

    • How to - Answers profile image

      L M Reid 4 years ago from Ireland

      Very informative article about things to do and see in Charleston. I would love to go on the history walk and tour

      Voted 5 stars and shared on Twitter

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image
      Author

      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

      Thanks, Bridalletter! There are plenty of activities to do here in Charleston, and we have the beach too!

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image
      Author

      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

      Thanks, How to- Answers! There is an abundance of history here; it is nothing like you read in the textbooks! Thanks so much for reading, commenting, and sharing.

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