When summertime comes around, the living is easy in Charleston, SC. There are beaches to explore, maritime forests to wander, history to discover, and soul food to taste. With so much to do and so little time, we’ve created a comprehensive summer fun guide to help you make the most of every minute! If you are looking for more ways to cut down your planning time, download our free Charleston Area Travel Guides. You’ll find top recommendations on restaurants, tours, museums, and more so that you can spend less time planning and more time having fun!
Your Complete Summer Fun Guide to Charleston, SC
Is it really a summer vacation if you don’t plan a trip to the beach? Here are several of the Charleston area’s best beaches!
- Kiawah Island (Beachwalker Park is the island’s only public beach access)
- Seabrook Island (A private beach is available for residents, their guests, and also those staying in vacation rental properties.)
- Folly Beach
- Sullivan’s Island
- Isle of Palms
- Edisto Beach
A Fun Fact: People aren’t the only visitors you’ll find on South Carolina’s beaches in the summer. Summertime in the Lowcountry is also loggerhead turtle nesting season. The Sea Turtle Conservancy is a valuable resource that will tell you how you can do your part in protecting these sea turtles during your vacation.
Fun on the Water
Surrounded by sparkling blue waves, Charleston is a city that you must explore on the water. Discover the Lowcountry from a unique perspective with these water sports and tours:
- Captain Jack’s Kiawah Sailing and Dolphin Watching (Pack a picnic and watch the dolphins play!)
- The Morris Island Boat Tour (Morris Island is an undeveloped island in the Charleston Harbor. It is full of sea treasures, including giant shark teeth and colossal conch shells!)
- Waterdog Paddle (SUP dolphin paddles, sunset paddles, and full-moon paddles)
- Coastal Expeditions (Ferry tours to the undeveloped beach of Bull Island, shark tooth kayak tours, dolphin kayak tours, and more)
A Fun Fact: While you are exploring the water, a friendly, local resident may greet you! Bottlenose dolphins are frequent sightings in Charleston, and they are brilliant, intelligent, and social! Although dolphins may tempt you to feed them, please remember that doing so is illegal.
Walking & Biking
There are so many ways to explore Charleston’s terrain! Ancient oak trees draped in Spanish moss provide shade on maritime trails. Some paths even overlook the city’s sparkling waterways. If you are looking for the best walking trails and bike trails in the area, we recommend:
- Kiawah Island (30 miles of bike paths, ten miles of beach, and endless scenic views)
- Francis Marion Forest (Over 259,000 acres of lush landscapes. You’ll find swamps and marshes shaded by ancient cypress trees.)
- The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Although the bridge is only 2.7 miles long, it provides phenomenal views of the USS Yorktown, the Charleston Harbor, and downtown.)
Local Tips: If you are planning a hiking or biking adventure during the summer, we recommend getting started early in the morning or before sunset. During these times, temperatures are at their lowest and most comfortable. You can look forward to bright pink sunrises over the ocean in the morning! If you are hiking one of the area’s wooded paths, you can enjoy flashing, flickering fireflies at dusk.
For the History Buff & Art Lover
History is the No. 1 attraction that draws people to the Holy City. You’ll find history everywhere you look in the Lowcountry, but first, you need to know what you’re looking for! Here are a few of our favorite ways to dive into history and the arts in Charleston:
- Holy City ghost tours (Get to know a spookier side of Charleston)
- Charleston historic house tours (Explore Charleston-style architecture and the stories behind some the city’s most iconic homes)
- Charleston Art Tours (Personalized art gallery tours)
- The Charleston Gallery Association Art Walk (Wine down and browse downtown Charleston’s beautiful galleries at this open studio event)
- Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (The oldest public gardens in America)
Local Tip: If you are planning a day trip to downtown Charleston, remember that parking is limited. Do yourself a favor and ditch your car. First, park at the South Carolina Aquarium Garage. It is only a short walk away from the DASH Carta. The DASH Carta is a free shuttle and a great way to navigate the city!
Unique Charleston Experiences
Some Charleston summer activities are too unique to have a category! When it comes to experiencing the Lowcountry like a local, some of our favorite things to do in the summer include:
- Charleston Riverdogs baseball games (A Lowcountry tradition and family event that is suitable for all ages)
- Music on the Green (A family-friendly concert series that takes place each Friday in the summer near Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island in Freshfields Village)
- The Summer Farmer’s Market (A local produce and craft market that takes place each Monday in the summer in Freshfields Village. It is an excellent place to stock up on local seafood, jams and jellies, and fruits and vegetables for your beach vacation!)
For the Craft Beer Enthusiast & Foodie
When you think of dining in the Lowcountry, what comes to mind? Is it savory shrimp and grits or sweet, brown sugar pecan pie? Whatever it is that you can dream of, you’ll likely find it an award-winning restaurant in Charleston.
In addition to phenomenal food, the craft scene in the Lowcountry has taken off in the past several years. Today, the area is home to over 25 local breweries. Take a look at our brewery guide and restaurant guide for our top recommendations! You’ll also find a wide variety of top-tier dining on Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island.
Local Tip: Although you’ll find a little bit of everything at the restaurants in the Lowcountry, you are missing out on the full Charleston experience if you don’t try soul food! Without soul food, The Holy City wouldn’t be what it is today; this food has deep roots in our city’s heritage and local people.
Stay Near All the Fun on Charleston’s Most Beloved Sea Islands
After falling in love with the bustling Holy City, the historic gardens, and the finest food in South, head to an oceanfront home to complete your Charleston experience. Whether you are searching for a cozy villa for two or an expansive home with private beach access, you’ll find it all when you plan your vacation with Pam Harrington Exclusives.
Now that you’ve found the ultimate summer fun guide, it’s time to find the beach home of your dreams. Browse our collection of Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island vacation rentals today! When you are ready to plan your summer getaway, check our specials and book your stay. We can’t wait to welcome you to the South Carolina Lowcountry!