6 of the Best Things to Do in Charleston, SC, for Free

waterfront park is one of the best things to do in charleston SC for free

A vacation doesn’t have to break the bank! Just because you’re looking for entertainment doesn’t mean you have to pay. There are tons of things to do in Charleston, SC, for free. Spend the day exploring the city without taking out your wallet.

6 of the Best Things to Do in Charleston, SC, for Free

1. See the Famous Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park

If you’ve seen photos of Charleston, you have probably seen the famous Pineapple Fountain. Waterfront Park is an eight-acre park along the Cooper River, so it’s a great place to take a stroll. After you’ve tired yourself out exploring, take a seat on one of the benches by the fountain and enjoy the view. 

2. Explore Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row is one of the most quintessential spots in downtown Charleston. This series of brightly-colored homes is one of the most photographed places in the city, and when you visit, you’ll see why. Each of the 13 homes is a beautiful, pastel shade, and each has a story to tell. 

3. Walk the Ravenel 

When the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was erected in 2005, a bicycle and pedestrian path was included on the side. The bridge itself connects Charleston and Mount Pleasant– park on the Mount Pleasant side to walk all the way downtown or park on the Charleston side to walk to Mount Pleasant. You’ll be treated to gorgeous views of the harbor below; we recommend walking at sunrise or sunset for even better scenery. 

4. Go on an Artwalk

On the first Friday of every month from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the art galleries of Charleston open their doors for the monthly Artwalk. Spend the night browsing gorgeous paintings, sculptures, and ceramics created by the local artists of the city. 

5. Visit a Farmers Market

The Charleston area has multiple farmers markets throughout the week from late spring to early fall. The Charleston Farmers Market is one of the biggest and is conveniently in the heart of downtown. Walk around and browse all of the vendors, and don’t forget to try some free samples along the way!

6. Hit the Beach 

While there is no beach in downtown Charleston, there are multiple beaches you can choose from in the Charleston area. Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, and Folly Beach all offer free parking as long as you know where to park. Stay within the parking signs on the side of the road and make sure your car is at least four feet off the pavement. 

Book Your Getaway Today

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Now that you know some things to do in Charleston, SC, for free, it’s time to book your stay! Charleston Coast Vacations offers gorgeous properties that will be your home base for your getaway. Browse our vacation rentals based on size and location, then book your stay! Booking directly through us always ensures you’ll get the best rate. We can’t wait to host you!

Book Now

Things to Do: April

Looking for things to do on the Charleston Coast this April? We’ve gathered some of our favorite local events and activities. Check them out and let us know which one is your favorite!

Migratory Bird Walk

April 14 & 21, May 12

Charleston Things to Do Birdwatching (2)
Photo: Instagram user @centerforbirdsofprey

Visit the Center for Birds of Prey for a Migratory Bird Walk with experienced birding guides. Recreational birdwatching is becoming a favorite past time across the country. Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera!

Charleston Outdoor Fest

April 21-22

Charleston Things to Do Outdoor Fest
Photo: Instagram user @charlestoncountyparks

April is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors in the Lowcountry. Head to the James Island County Park for a weekend of canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, rock climbing, and more! Enjoy live music and vendors all weekend. And even try your hand at archery or mountain biking with the Try It Pass!

Shaggin’ on the Cooper

April 28

Charleston Things to Do Shaggin on the Cooper
Photo via Facebook: Charleston County Parks & Recreation

Put on your dancing shoes and head over the Mt Pleasant Waterfront Park for an evening of shag dancing and live music. The Carolina Shag is a descendant of the Jitterbug and originated in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. You don’t want to miss this fun-filled evening! 

Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival

April 29

Charleston Things To Do Blessing of the Fleet
Photo via Facebook: Experience Mt Pleasant

Join locals and visitors alike for the Blessing of the Fleet. Spend the day celebrating the local fishing and shrimping industry. Watch the Boat Parade, enjoy delicious seafood tastings, and participate in a shag dance competition

The Charleston Coast is full of things to do year-round but things really amp up in Spring. What are some of your favorite Lowcountry events and things to do? Let us know in the comments!

Packing for the Charleston Coast

What do I bring?

The age-old question you ask yourself, your family, and your friends, when packing for the beach! Here is a list of our recommended items plus our must-haves at the beach.

Linens, Towels, & Toiletries

Packing for the Charleston CoastAll vacation rentals have standard bed and bath linens. The beds will be neatly made and towels will be nicely placed in the bathrooms. We recommend bringing any toiletries you will need during your stay. If a hair dryer is a must, toss it in your suitcase. Bring or plan to purchase your beach and pool towels.

Kitchen

Packing for the Charleston CoastKitchens are stocked with plates, silverware, glasses, cooking utensils, pots and pans, and mugs. Coffee makers and toasters, as well as blenders, are found in most rentals.

The type of coffee maker, 12-cup or Keurig, depends on the property. If this is important to you, check the amenity list for your property or send us an email! Special cookware items, such as crock pots, gravy boats, and large steamer pots, are not always provided.

If special cookware items are important to you please plan to bring or purchase them. Items like salt, pepper, and olive oil are not guaranteed but are often left behind by the previous guest.

Paper Products

Packing for the Charleston CoastA starter pack of items such as dish soap, dishwasher detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, and bin liners will be present at check-in.

Plan to purchase extras of these items or bring them with you.

 

 

Beach Equipment

Beach chairs and umbrella are not provided with every rental. We strongly recommend bringing any necessary beach equipment or planning to rent or purchase upon arrival.

You can rent all beach items, including games, from the Things To Do section of our website!

Our Beach Day Must-Have’s

Packing for a day at the beach should be a no-brainer. Here are our favorite items to when beaching on the Charleston Coast!

Let’s start off with the most important item, both on and off the beach: SUNSCREEN! The sun on the Charleston Coast is strong and no one likes getting a sunburn. Remember to apply sunscreen on overcast days, too!

Packing for the Charleston Coast

And don’t forget your beach towels. These are the second most important item at the beach. We love extra big, fluffy beach towels. And, if you want to sit on the sand or sunbathe without getting your towel sandy, bring a beach blanket with you! An old sheet, blanket, or even a huge old scarf or sarong work well as beach blankets.

Beach chairs & umbrellas, do you use them? Everyone is different. Some people swear by beach chairs, some only go to the beach if they can sit under an umbrella or canopy. Whatever your fancy, make sure you grab it on your way out the door. Beach carts and wagons are handy for transporting bigger items. If you don’t feel like lugging beach equipment on vacation with you, check out the Things To Do section of our website for rentals!

A visit to the beach with family or friends (or both) is always more fun with beach games. You can play bocce, volleyball, or bring a soccer ball or football for a quick game of pass.

If you prefer a more mellow beach trip, bring a good book.And don’t forget your sunglasses and hat so you can read the pages! Check back soon for our list of favorite beach reads!

Packing for the Charleston Coast

When packing for a beach day, snacks are of the utmost importance. Packing plenty of water, Gatorade, and seltzer is important. It’s good to have a balance of snacks: potato chips (we love Cape Cod!), fresh fruit, carrots, and pretzels are a few of our go-to’s.  Remember, alcohol is not permitted on any of the Charleston Coast beaches.

And finally, you have all your stuff together, now you need something to carry it in! A good, sturdy beach bag, sometimes more than one, is important to a solid beach trip. We love canvas bags or our Blue Dunes tote bags (you can pick up extras from our office!)

There is no way around it, we LOVE the beach! Our must-have lists evolve and change each year, so be sure to check back for more tips!

What are your beach must-have’s? Let us know in the comments if there is something we just HAVE to try!