The Holy City is famous for its world-class attractions, award-winning restaurants, and beautiful beaches, but you’ll also discover that the city has its fair share of hidden gems. Read on to discover ten unique things to do in Charleston, SC, including a secluded beach and a haunted jail. Afterward, uncover more of the Lowcountry’s best-kept secrets in our free Charleston Area Vacation Guides. Our guides are full of local recommendations for restaurants, breweries, events, shopping, and more.
A List of Unique Things to Do in Charleston, SC
1. Paddleboard Under a Full Moon
Paddleboarding is one of the best ways to explore Charleston’s waterways, and paddleboarding by moonlight is one of the best things to do in Charleston, SC, at night! Head over to Bohicket Marina and watch the sunset over the water. Then, paddle through the tranquil marshes under the moonlight. Water Dog Paddle is one of our favorite tour companies in the area. In addition to full moon paddle tours, they also offer sunset paddles and dolphin paddles!
2. Enjoy the Views at Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House
After your paddleboarding adventure on Bohicket Creek, head to the nearby Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House. Here, you can enjoy beautiful views of Kiawah Island’s Osprey Point Golf Course. One of our favorite pastimes is sitting on the open veranda and watching the alligators make their way across the course! Craft beer, Southern-style barbecue, colorful salads, and signature sauces are all on the menu.
3. Walk or Run Across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
On any given day in Charleston, you’ll see people walking, jogging, and sprinting along the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Not only is it excellent exercise, but the views from the top are breathtaking.
Don’t miss the Cooper River Bridge Run in April! This world-class race draws athletes from all over the world.
4. Visit the Old Charleston City Jail
Charleston’s history is rich and fascinating. The founding of the Holy City dates back to the 1670s. There are so many historic tours that you can embark on during your visit, but if you are searching for a supernatural experience, ghost tours are a great option. There are rumors of ghost sightings in some of the city’s most haunted places, including the Old Charleston City Jail in downtown Charleston. For the full experience, we recommend the Haunted Jail Tour with Bulldog Tours. As you wander through the building, your guide will tell you the stories of the ghosts who haunt the historic jail to this day.
5. Attend an Oyster Roast
Locals and visitors alike look forward to oyster season in the Lowcountry, which typically peaks from November to February. If you are visiting Charleston in the wintertime, celebrate the season with steaming buckets of fresh shellfish, cold beverages, and live music! Oyster roasts are all about socializing with friends, so they are still fun to attend even if you aren’t a fan of seafood.
6. Catch Some Waves at the Washout
With fewer crowds and large, rolling waves, the Washout on Folly Beach is a surfer’s paradise. To get to there, make a left off Center Street and drive down Ashley Avenue until you reach the end of the road. Once you park your car, you’ll follow a paved walking path all the way to the beach. This hidden gem also offers spectacular views of the Sullivan’s Island lighthouse. The best part of all is that this activity is absolutely free.
7. Go Horseback Riding on the Beach
If you’ve ever dreamed of riding off into the sunset, now is your chance. The Seabrook Island Equestrian Centeris one of the only places that allows horseback riding on the beach in Charleston. Walk, trot, and canter your way along the beautiful Carolina coast as gentle waves crash along the shore. It is one of the most romantic things to do in Charleston, SC!
8. Explore Miles of Scenic Trails
With cascading oak trees, pristine beaches, and protected habitats, Charleston’s sea islands are some of the most picturesque areas in the Lowcountry. Kiawah Island offers 10 miles of private beaches and 30 miles of paved trails to explore. Enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride past the quiet marshes, through the maritime forests, or over the hard-packed shoreline. Don’t forget to bring your camera; there are several scenic photo backdrops and beautiful animals along the way.
9. See the Waring Historical Library
If history buffs are traveling with you, the Waring Historical Library should be at the top of your list of things to do. The building is dedicated to the history of health sciences. You’ll see a wide range of medical instruments, rare books, paraphernalia, and ancient artifacts throughout the exhibits. If you wish to tour the building, make a reservation before your arrival.
10. Visit the Charleston Tea Plantation
Have you been to America’s largest tea plantation? Charleston Tea Plantation is on the lovely and tranquil Wadmalaw Island. Take a tour of the facility and learn how tea is grown and made. Then, enjoy free samples while you wander about the plantation grounds. Remember to stop by the nearby Firefly Distillery for a sample of their famous Sweet Tea Vodka. You’ll also find Charleston’s only winery just a stone’s throw away!
Discover Charleston’s Sea Islands
Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island are two of Charleston’s best-kept secrets. On these islands, you’ll find miles of sandy beaches, endless waterways, and maritime parks. Our luxury homes and condos are equipped with the very best amenities, all only a short trip away from the most unique things to do in Charleston, SC! We even offer pet-friendly accommodations for guests who are traveling with their four-legged friends.