CHARLESTON FAMILY ADVENTURES
Charleston, SC is an incredible outdoor adventure destination with numerous things to do for the entire family. Our guide to the best family adventures offers up a selection of great things to do, including hiking, paddling, biking and more.
Experience a Real Lowcountry Swamp (Harleyville): When most people think of the Lowcountry they think of beaches. That beach mentality often keeps folks from participating in an authentic and rewarding swamp experience. Located in Four Holes Swamp and off the beaten path, the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest includes a 1.75 mile boardwalk trail set within 1,800 acres of old-growth cypress-tupelo swamp forest with 1000 year-old trees and native wildlife abound. We
recommend checking out their very popular naturalist lead canoe/kayak trips that typically take place in the spring and sometimes summer months (call for reservations).
Directions from Charleston: Take I-26 W to exit 187. Turn left on to Hwy 27 S to right turn on to Hwy 78 W. At the fork in the road, veer right onto Hwy 178. Make a right onto Francis Beidler Forest Rd. (first paved right). After 4 miles the road will make a 90-degree turn to the left, veer right onto Mims Rd. Head 1 mile to entrance.
Biking Around Lake Moultrie (Lake Moultrie): For 26 miles, the Palmetto Trail skirts the banks of Lake Moultrie following a wide dike that’s often immediately along the shore. The packed dirt trail is flat which allows for a great family ride for all levels of riders. The final 3 miles at the trail’s western end passes through a pine forest, including a boardwalk and bridge over a creek. Primitive campsites with khand-operated water pumps are near the Diversion Canal trailhead and two spots in
or near the Sandy Beach Wildlife Management Area. There is another primitive campsite 1.8 miles after leaving the Bonneau Beach community at General Moultrie Rd.
Directions from Charleston: To start at the eastern trailhead, take exit 199B (Hwy 17A) off I-26 W to Moncks Corner. Pass through town and bear left onto Hwy 52. Continue 3.6 miles to Canal Recreation Area. To reach the western end, continue 13 more miles past the eastern trailhead on Hwy 52 and turn left on Hwy 45. In 10 miles, the trail crosses at the bridge over the Diversion Canal between the two lakes.
Ferry Ride to Bull Island (Awendaw): This adventure combines all the best of what Charleston has to offer—a pristine coastal wilderness, a beautiful ferry ride, and a “boneyard” beach. Bull Island is part of the 66,267 acre Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge which was established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge. The 30 minute ferry ride departs from Garris Landing and takes you through salt marsh creeks with plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities. Once on the island enjoy the 16 miles of trails through maritime forest.
Directions from Charleston: Take Hwy 17 N for 10.8 miles to right turn on to Sewee Rd. Head 3.4 miles to right onto Bull Island Rd. Follow this to Garris Landing.
Paddle Around Crab Bank Island Preserve (Mt. Pleasant):An easy paddle out Shem Creek and around Crab Bank Island in the Charleston Harbor with great views of Fort Sumter, Ravenel Bridge, Patriot’s Point, and Sullivan’s Island. Crab Bank Island is home to thousands of nesting shorebirds and is not meant to be disturbed. In other words, it’s illegal to walk on the island. There is a very accessible self put-in right at Shem Creek with rentals available at Nature Adventure Outfitters.
Directions from Charleston: Take Hwy 17 N towards Mt. Pleasant over the Ravenel Bridge. Exit onto Coleman Blvd. and at the 4th traffic light turn right in to parking lot on Shem Creek.
Explore a Waterfront Park: Boasting epic views of the harbor, downtown, and the area’s longest pier at 1,250 feet, the Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Park is an ideal family friendly destination. The 22-acre park is cast in the shadow of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and includes a playground and paved path to explore by foot or bike. For a longer run, walk, or bike ride head under the bridge towards Patriots Point. Bring a fishing pole (or rent one there) or just relax on the pier while soaking in the views and ocean breeze.
Directions from Charleston: Take Hwy 17 N across the Ravenel Bridge to the first left in Mt. Pleasant. Signs guide you through another left turn into the newly opened park.
Family Adventure Expert: Audubon Center at Beidler Forest / 843-462-2150 / www.sc.audubon.org