Rain or Shine, There's Plenty To Explore

From blossoming gardens and ancient oaks, to waterfront parks and the wonders of sea life, Charleston is the perfect backdrop for exploring the natural world around us (and having fun while you do it)

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Flags from the Collections of the Charleston Museum on exhibit nowLearn More
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With more to explore every day, share in the wonders of South Carolina’s backyard. Marvel at turtles, stingrays, sharks, otters, jellyfish, alligators and more. Daily dive shows and interactive programs. Travel through the new Madagascar Journey exhibit featuring ring-tailed lemurs.
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This 943-acre park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including crabbing and fishing along tidal creeks and lagoons, an off-leash dog park, biking/walking paths, paddle boats, and picnic sites with grills. Visit our website for additional amenities, fees, and hours of operation.
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Enjoy 600 feet of beautiful ocean frontage, with lifeguards on duty seasonally along a designated swimming area. The park is conveniently located at the foot of the Isle of Palms Connector. Visit our website for amenities, gate fees, and hours of operation.
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This nature-oriented park provides guests with a variety of recreational opportunities. Features: miles of paved trails for walking, biking, and skating; seasonal sprinkler area; off-leash dog park; playgrounds; and picnic sites with grills. Visit our website for additional amenities, fees, and hours of operation.
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Discover the life of raptors through guided walking tours, educational conservation programs and captivating flight demonstrations. See first hand bald eagles, great horned owls, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons and more! Public programs: Thursday to Saturday, 10:30am and 2pm.
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This 643-acre park, with exceptional recreational opportunities, is a short drive from Charleston. Features: paved trails for walking, biking, and skating; seasonal spray play fountain; off-leash dog park; and picnic spots with grills. Visit our website for additional amenities, fees, and hours of operation.
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Voted a Top Ten Beach in America, it’s a spot not to be missed. Beachwalker Park offers the only public beach access on Kiawah Island. Lifeguards on duty seasonally, along a designated swimming area. Visit our website for amenities, fees, and hours of operation.
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Enjoy beautiful views of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridges and Charleston Harbor. This 1,250-ft pier features: River Watch Cafe and Gift Shop, swings and shade structures, fishing tackle sales, and rod rentals. Visit our website for additional amenities, fees, and hours of operation.
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Journey from past to present and heritage to habitat. Caw Caw is rich in natural, cultural, and historical resources. Enjoy miles of trails, elevated wetland boardwalks, and former 18th-19th century rice fields. Favored habitat for rare wildlife. Dogs and bicycles not permitted.
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Located on the west end of the island, situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Folly River. Lifeguards are on duty seasonally. Skimmer Flats, a major Eastern Brown Pelican rookery, is visible at the west end of the park. Visit our website for amenities/gate fees/hours.
Angel Oak
Open daily 9am - 5pm. Owned and operated by the City of Charleston Department of Parks. The Angel Oak is a Live Oak tree, estimated to be 1,400 years old. Live oaks are not particularly tall, but have wide spreading canopies. Only in the very oldest of specimens do you find massive limbs resting on the ground, as do the limbs of the Angel Oak. It stands 65ft. high and provides a 17,000 square foot area of shade. No admission charge.
Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest
The 15,000-acre sanctuary for plant and animal life is located in Four Holes Swamp and contains the largest remaining virgin stand of bald cypress and tupelo trees in the world. A mile-and-3 quarters boardwalk begins at the Visitor's Center and sweeps past portions of majestic swamp, where ancient trees, migrating birds, and colorful wildflowers can be quietly oberserved. 35 miles NW of Charleston, Exit 187-SC 187 off I-26. Open 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Tues.-Sun. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. Adults/$8.00, 6-18 years/$4.00, Children under 6/free. Audubon members/$7.
Battery Park/Whitepoint Gardens
The Battery, which includes a park known as White Point Garden, is a landmark promenade in Charleston. Stretching along the shores of the Charleston peninsula and bordered by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Fort Sumter is visible from the Cooper River side and the point, as is Castle Pinckney, the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, Fort Moultrie and Sullivan's Island.
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
Daily 9:00am to 5:00pm, closed New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Free admission. The National Park Service preserves a remnant of Founding Father Charles Pinckney’s plantation, Snee Farm. An 1828 Lowcountry cottage serves as museum and visitor center. 20-minute film & ˝ mile trail.
Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site
Begin your Charleston experience where English settlers established the first permanent European colony in Carolina. This 664-acre historic treasure boasts a replica 17th-century tall ship, functional cannons, a zoo, and an award-winning museum! An exceptional experience at an affordable price.
Folly Beach Fishing Pier
Great saltwater fishing, walking, birding, dining, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean are just some of the possibilities offered at this 1,045 ft landmark pier. Special events and tournaments held seasonally. Visit our website for amenities, fees, and hours of operation.
Francis Marion National Forest
A 250-thousand-acre forest located in the Coastal Plains north of Charleston. The forest offers wide variety of recreation activities including picnicking & camping sites, boat ramps, fishing ponds, rifle ranges, hiking, horse & motorcycle trails. For more information write: District Ranger, Witherbee Ranger District, HCR 69, Box 1532, Moncks Corner, SC 29461 or write: District Ranger, Wambaw Ranger District, PO Box 106, McClellanville, SC 29458.
Hampton Park
A historic park with camellias and azaleas in bloom in spring, roses bloom in the summer; 1-mile nature trail; Charleston's mounted horse patrol stables nearby.
Historic Charleston Battery
No trip to Charleston is complete without a stop at White Point Gardens, known popularly as Battery Park. This peaceful park offers unprecedented views of Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter, while a look back across the street promises fantastic images of beautiful Charleston mansions. Enormous oak trees provide serene shade to the park, and a display of weapons and cannons used in the Civil War make for a unique play area for children. You'll see a Columbiad used to shell Fort Sumter in 1861, two seacoast mortars, and more - be sure to bring a camera to snap photos of your family clamoring and playing on the cannons! During the early 18th century, the park was used as the home of the gallows, where Stede Bonnet - the "gentleman pirate" - and dozens of others were hanged. By 1837, the land was in use as a public garden. Weddings and other special events are frequently held at the beautiful, massive white gazebo in the center of the park, but on off-days it makes for a beautiful place to sit and take in the beauty and charm of Charleston!
Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park
Located at the foot of the Ravenel Bridge, featuring a visitor center/reception facility, Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Pavilion, a war memorial and nautical-themed playground. Adjacent to the Mount Pleasant Pier.
North Charleston Riverfront Park
Set on the banks of the Cooper River, the park boasts a performance pavilion, expansive lawn, and picnic shelter, as well as 10 acres of walking paths, playground, fishing pier, boardwalk, dog park, and play fountain. Hosts Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial and annual National Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition. Free parking/admission.
Old Santee Canal Park
Old Santee Canal is a 195 acre park located on the first true canal in America. The park's boardwalks and trails wander through Biggin Creek leading to the last one mile section of the old canal. Visitors can canoe or hike through the park and see an abundance of nature.
Shem Creek Park
Shem Creek Park in Mount Pleasant is located off Coleman Boulevard in close proximity to the Charleston Harbor. A float dock is available for mooring day trippers, or board a water taxi. Take a leisurely stroll or welcome the shrimp Trawlers along the long boardwalk.
Waterfront Park
This park is an eight-acre linear park and pier along the Charleston Harbor entry. The park masterfully combines spectacular fountains, spacious lawns, intimate garden "rooms," walking and jogging path and a long pier with picnic tables and wooden swings.