When it comes to fun things to do outdoors in Charleston, SC, taking a bike ride is hard to beat. With a wide range of places to go biking, from trails to bike paths, there’s something for everyone looking for great places to go biking.
Featured photo: This historic wooden pier known as Pitt Street Bridge is part of a modern greenway for pedestrians and bicyclists in Mt. Pleasant, Charleston, South Carolina
Marrington Plantation Mountain Bike Trail (Goose Creek): Hardcore mountain bicyclists will forever rag on any trail 20 miles from the Carolina coast, but don’t be mistaken — Marrington is a legitimate ride. Although the 12-mile perimeter loop never drops or rises more than 20 feet at once, the countless v-ditch crossings, sharp curves, and opportunities for jumps and drop-offs keep the ride challenging. Several technical offshoots are scattered along the ride and additional cut-throughs lengthen the total ride opportunity to 17 miles.
Directions from Charleston: From I-526, take exit 19 onto Rhett Ave. northbound. Continue 5 miles and to right on Red Bank Rd. Drive 2.9 miles through the Naval Weapons Station to the green “Marrington Plantation” sign on.Turn in and parking is on your right.
Cross the Largest Cable-Stay Bridge in the U.S. (Downtown Charleston): Forget the horse-drawn carriages: Charleston is best viewed by bicycle. Park at the Visitors’ Center on Meeting St., then head over to King St. and pedal north 1 mile to Huger St. Turn left, then turn right on Ashley Ave. Circumnavigate Hampton Park before turning into the Citadel, Charleston’s military college. Exit the school on Hagood Ave., then right onto Fishburne St. Fishburne becomes Lockwood Ave., which will lead you around the Charleston peninsula along the Battery. From there, continue along East Bay St. As you head north, a bike lane appears on your right, which then leads up the Ravenel Bridge. Cruise back down East Bay and take a right on Chapel St. to finish back at the Visitors’ Center.
Directions from Charleston: This ride starts right downtown at the Visitors’ Center at 375 Meeting St.
Swamp Fox Passage of the Palmetto Trail (Francis Marion National Forest): Revolutionary War General Francis Marion earned his “Swamp Fox” nickname by attacking British soldiers and then retreating into the wetlands and coastal pine forests. Mountain bikers can follow in his footsteps today, with the aid of raised railbeds and footbridges through the swampier segments of this 47-mile trail. Those seeking an overnight trip have five primitive campsites along the route to choose from. The Wadboo Swamp section at the trail’s western end can be saturated after rain, so inquire at the Hell Hole Outdoor Center in St. Stephen for conditions.
Directions from Charleston: Take Hwy 17 N to Awendaw to the trail’s eastern end. To start at Wadboo Swamp/ west end, take exit 199B (Hwy 17A) off I-26 to Moncks Corner. Pass through town and bear left on Hwy 52. Continue 3.6 miles to Canal Recreation Area.
Ride Between Civil War Battlefields (James Island): Not much remains of Fort Lamar on James Island, site of the Battle of Secessionville, save a few earthen mounds and an excellent views. Begin at the fort and pedal back towards Folly Rd. Take a left on Old Military Rd. and follow to Folly Rd. Turn left toward the beach. If you desire, take a 6 mile out-and-back side trip by turning right at Sol Legare Rd. The route borders the marsh for its entirety, passing through a historic Gullah community before opening up onto a vista. Back on Folly Rd,, continue to Center St. on Folly Beach. Turn left on Ashley Ave. and ride 4 miles to gaze across the inlet at Morris Island.
Directions from Charleston: Take the James Island Expwy to dead end at Folly Rd. Turn left, head 3.5 miles to Grimball Rd. Turn left, drive .5 mile to right on to Old Military Rd then left on Fort Lamar Rd.
Loop Through a Historic Sea Island (Wadmalaw Island): Just 20 minutes from downtown Charleston, the agrarian island of Wadmalaw still exists much as it has for a century. Liberia Rd. (SC 68) allows bicyclists to ride a 9.8 mile loop, or continue down Bears Bluff Rd. another 4.3 miles to White Point Landing and the confluence of the Wadmalaw and Edisto Rivers.
Directions from Charleston: Take Hwy 17 S and bear left toward Folly Beach. Cross bridge, take a right onto Maybank Hwy./ SC 700. Continue across James Island, cross a bridge, continue straight across Johns Island. Once on Wadmalaw, drive 2.5 miles to parking at Maybank and Bears Bluff Rd.