Unquestionably serving as the focal attraction of Patriots Point naval and maritime museum, the USS Yorktown rests now at the Cooper River’s coast. Just the tenth aircraft carrier to serve as a functioning part of the U.S. Navy, this 27,000-ton ship stretches nearly 1,000 feet long. Tickets for adults are $20, and the Yorktown tour provides guests with an inside look at the construction of the ship as well as unimaginable views of the lovely harbor upon which it sits.
USS Yorktown CV-10, 40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, SC, USA, + 1 843 831 1720
Scarce (yet picturesque) remains of the Charles Pinckney – famed instrumental signer of the United States Constitution – plantation comprise this U.S. National Park, opulent and well respected for its historic value. The centerpiece plantation, owned and occupied by Pinckney himself, is long gone, but the area’s remnants remain eerily intact enough for visitors to imagine and experience both the colonial and antebellum days of old. Spanish moss adorns the surrounding hardwoods, providing much needed shade during Charleston’s scorching spring and summer months.
Boone Hall is nothing short of an antebellum relic. The archaic plantation is in pristine condition, and – as one of America’s oldest working, living plantations – it’s most photographed. The beautiful structure is home to lush gardens and a highly informative slave quarters exhibit, preserved and well documented. The plantation hosts a yearly Lowcountry Strawberry Festival at which guests are welcome to pick away at the delicious homegrown fruit, theirs to eat and enjoy. The plantation is known to host weddings and other special events rather often, so keep your eyes peeled and your calendars open.
Just a few miles inland, Congaree National Park is an integral part of the U.S. National Park Service. The marsh-ridden, low country plot of land actually hosts the largest intact tract of old growth, bottom-land hardwood forest in the United States! Its hiking trails are vastly expansive, and the swamp raises some of the largest, most picturesque hardwoods around – many of which sprout up from underneath the near stagnant marsh water. Camping and bird watching are encouraged, as is fishing in select areas. Grab a front seat in a canoe or kayak and experience the most scenic marshes in the low country.
Congaree National Park, 100 National Park Road, Hopkins, SC, USA, + 1 843 776 4396
The Cooper River is home to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which hosts an annual 5k and stretches over 13,000 feet across this coastal South Carolina waterway. The tidal river has a rich sedimentary bed that produces a plethora of shark teeth. Attracting divers and fossil hunters year round, the marine life (and its remains) of the Cooper River is pointedly unique. The river is celebrated for its colonial history as well: it was one of the primary transportation routes during the period. Need we say more? Take a stroll along the bridge or the river’s shore and take it in for yourself.
Extending 1,250 feet outward and over the Cooper River, the Mount Pleasant Pier embodies the spirit of the surrounding area, an especially preferable location for witnessing East Cooper’s beautiful sunsets. Take a stroll down the pier to find bench swings and pavilions, which are strewn liberally across the length of the pier. The Pier is fitted with a charming café and spectacular harbor views. Stick around long enough, and you’re sure to see extravagant cranes and gulls soaring across a gentle skyline.
The Patriots Point maritime and naval museum’s charter dates back to the mid 1970s, when Charleston Harbor was selected as the site for a future exhibition site. Now a crown jewel of Charleston Harbor, Patriots Point draws over 270,000 visitors per year. Its fleet of United States Naval carriers and ships includes the awe inspiring USS Yorktown, named in honor of the historic 1781 Revolutionary War battle that acted as a major turning point in the war. The historical value of Patriots Point is one of the area’s proudest highlights.
Patriots Point, 40 Patriots Point Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA,+ 1 843 884 2727
By Richard Isaac Tulis