16 Free (+ Fun) Things to Do in Charleston
From picnics in the park to browsing local art, there are so many activities to enjoy in Charleston without even spending a penny. Scroll on to discover 16 free (and fun!) things to do in the Lowcountry.
1. DOLPHIN SPOT AT WATERFRONT PARK
Stroll to Charleston’s beloved Waterfront Park to see a larger-than-life sized pineapple, swing on the pier and spot flippered friends swimming nearby.
2. ATTEND AN ARTWALK
Browse beautiful artwork from both local and national artists at more than 40 participating art galleries during Charleston Gallery Association‘s ArtWalks, taking place four times throughout the year.
3. LEARN HOW TEA IS MADE AT THE CHARLESTON TEA GARDEN
Visit North America’s only tea garden and enjoy a free factory tour, where you’ll learn all about how tea is made and have the opportunity to look out onto the factory floor to see the process! Following your tour, sip and sample a variety of flavors of tea at the gift shop.
4. VISIT THE ANGEL OAK
Take a drive to the 1,500-year-old Angel Oak, reportedly the oldest living structure east of the Mississippi River!
5. SOAK UP THE SUN AT EACH OF THE CHARLESTON AREA’S 5 BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
Charleston is home to five beautiful beach towns, each with their own distinctive character and flavor – from funky Folly Beach to serene Sullivan’s Island. Take our quiz to discover which Charleston beach fits your vibe best!
6. WANDER THROUGH THE CHARLESTON CITY MARKET
Stroll through the Charleston City Market and discover hundreds of treasured gifts and souvenirs, from handcrafted sweetgrass baskets to Lowcountry heirloom recipe books to savory benne wafers and everything in between.
7. ENJOY THE GATEWAY WALK
Charleston’s Gateway Walk guides you through overflowing gardens and graveyards throughout the Holy City. Designed and created by The Garden Club in 1930, the walk received its name from the numerous wrought-iron gates that you’ll admire along the route.
8. STROLL THROUGH THE COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
The College of Charleston has been named “America’s Beautiful College Campus” by the readers of Travel + Leisure. Discover the beauty for yourself on a stroll and see if you can spot where scenes from “The Notebook,” “Dear John” and “The Patriots” were filmed!
9. SPEND THE MORNING AT THE FARMERS MARKET
Start your morning off with some fresh air and fresh produce at the Charleston Farmers Market, were you’ll enjoy 100+ local vendors including farmers and growers, artisans and crafters, live music and more.
10. WALK THE ARTHUR RAVENEL JR. BRIDGE
Enjoy a sunset walk, or run, along the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America. Towering approximately 18 stories above the Cooper River, the 2.5-mile pedestrian path flanking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is among the Charleston area’s most spectacular vantage point.
11. WINDOW SHOP ON KING STREET
Stroll down Charleston’s iconic King Street and ooh and ahh at the window displays of beautiful boutiques. Every second Sunday of the month, King Street closes to vehicle traffic, allowing pedestrians to leisurely stroll through the street and enjoy live music, shopping and dining.
12. PICNIC AT ONE THE CHARLESTON AREA’S PARKS
From waterfront parks to public gardens, Charleston is the perfect setting to explore the natural world around us. Discover 19 of Charleston’s most beautiful parks here.
13. EXPLORE AMERICA’S FIRST THEATRE
The fine arts community has thrived in Charleston since 1736 with the completion of the Dock Street Theatre, the nation’s first permanent playhouse. Take a stroll to admire the theatre’s historic facade and take a peek into the courtyard!
14. SAY “HELLO” TO FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS AT PALMETTO CARRIAGE WORKS
Pop in to the Big Red Barn at Palmetto Carriage Works and say “hello” to our four-legged friends and learn all about the care of the horses. *Note: there is a fee for tours, but not to visit the barn.
15. #EXPLORECHARLESTON‘S 8 ICONIC STREETS
Whether you’re strolling down East Bay for photo ops or heading towards Queen Street for iconic Lowcountry cuisine, you’re sure to stumble upon many of Charleston’s charms on these 8 Iconic Streets to Explore.
16. SEE A RAINBOW (EVEN ON A CLOUDY DAY)
The thirteen frequently photographed homes that stretch from 79 – 107 East Bay Street in Charleston’s famed Historic District look like a watercolor painting and are an indelible part of the city’s character.
Plan your trip to Charleston with the help of our curated itineraries!