The parks in Charleston are well kept and many in number. For a jovial day in the sun, pick child and pet-friendly James Island County Park. With its own ‘dog beach’ and a four-acre, wide-open grassy area, the park is often crawling – literally – with activity. There’s water to take a dip in, and the park extends beyond the furry friend zone, amounting in all its glory to about 600 acres of space. Bicycling, jogging, and simply walking trails are all perfectly suitable activities at this park. Want to try something new? Grab a paddle-board and push off into one of the Stono River’s tidal creeks.
James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive, Charleston, SC, USA, + 1 843 795 7275
Home to the Charleston Farmer’s Market on Meeting Street, Marion Square is perpetually milling with the freshest local fruit and vegetables available. Full of Charleston farmers, gardening aficionados, and food vendors, the Square makes a valuable addition to the Charleston Park Conservancy’s list of locations. The park is ten acres and hosts several interesting historic monuments. The park also has free Wi-Fi, but don’t use that as an excuse to stay on your phone too long – you might miss something. Come the holiday season, visitors can take pictures in front of the city’s very own Christmas tree.
Marion Square, 329 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC, USA, + 1 843 724 7327
This public space preserves the inaugural site of permanent settlement made by the English in Carolina. Though the park is home to a 17th century replica sail ship and plenty of historical background, remember it also contains an animal forest-natural habitat zoo, walking trails, and ongoing archaeological excavation sites. Over 600 acres, the park sits on the banks of the Ashley River and is heralded as the ‘birthplace of South Carolina.’ Stop by for a visit and take a walk through nature in the heart of the low country.
Charles Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Road, Charleston, SC, USA, + 1 843 852 4200
Occupying the inner space of the block formed by Broad, Meeting, and Chalmers Streets, historic Washington Square is a more urban park, yet home to a rare sort of inner-city peaceful leisure nonetheless. With dozens of large trees, the park provides enough shade and benches to satisfy those looking for a small escape from the hustle of Downtown. The statue of George Washington gives the one and a half-acre park its name, and a 42-foot obelisk model of the Washington Monument provides a pleasant backdrop.
Take in the outdoors of this charming beach town by strolling through the Battery – a paved, public bulkhead lined with sturdy antebellum mansions. The Battery is one of the most picturesque portions of Charleston, rife with enchanting, pastel, plantation style edifices, white picket fences included. Amid the moss-draped oaks of this scenic promenade are sights such as archaic Civil War-era cannons and commemorative plaques dedicated to the historical significance of many different structures and locations. The Battery is drenched in the history and culture of the low country. Bring your camera to the promenade and snag a photo of Fort Sumter across the harbor… and maybe even a few dolphins if you’re lucky!
White Point Garden, 2 Murray Boulevard, Charleston, SC, USA, + 1 843 724 7327
By Richard Isaac Tulis