5 Free Things to Do in Charleston This Summer

Free Things to Do in Charleston: An aerial view of Charleston, SC, as seen from Waterfront Park.

One of the alluring things about the Lowcountry in summer is its budget-friendliness compared to other vacation spots. Likewise, many of the activities you’ll find in the “Holy City” are extremely affordable. Still, suppose you’re trying to responsibly allocate funds without compromising your getaway with Charleston Coast Vacations. In that case, you may be looking for free things to do in Charleston, especially with kids. 

What to Do in Charleston, SC, for Free?

Finding free things to do anywhere isn’t always easy. Thankfully, Charleston has plenty to offer frugal travelers hoping to maximize their vacation budget. In the spirit of saving money, here are five unique activities that won’t cost you a dime.

Shem Creek and Waterfront Parks

Since we’re talking about saving money, we’ll start things off with a two-for-one. One of Charleston’s amenities visitors love is its beautiful public spaces, and Shem Creek and Waterfront Parks are no exception. With over 2,000 feet of boardwalk, fishing, and beautiful sunsets, Shem Creek (technically in Mount Pleasant) is one of the best places to stroll at sunset. Meanwhile, Waterfront Park, arguably the crown jewel of the Charleston park system, has plenty of things for kids and adults, like cooling off at one of the shaded rest areas, picnicking on the pier, or splashing around in the historic fountain.

Rainbow Row

If you like going for walks and historical landmarks, visiting Rainbow Row might be one of your favorite free things to do in Charleston. Located on East Bay Street, just along the Battery, Rainbow Row presents a unique look into post-Civil War Charleston and attracts visitors from all over. There are many theories as to why the 13 houses were repainted in the iconic pastels that brightly decorate the street today, but all we know is that it’s worth checking out when you’re in town!

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, a non-profit organization, offers a unique opportunity to experience world-class art for free. Its public exhibitions, held at the prestigious College of Charleston, are a testament to its commitment to making art accessible to all. The institute also boasts an eclectic array of no-cost lectures, workshops, and guest speakers. While you’re there, you can also take a walk through the beautiful college campus.

Take a Bike Ride Along West Ashley Greenway

With over 10 miles (round trip) of flat, hard-packed dirt spanning South Windermere Shopping Center to Johns Island, the West Ashley Greenway offers a scenic corridor teeming with parks, residential areas, and natural marshes. Known for traversing a lush urban forest, some places on the greenway will make you feel like you’re out in the countryside. The West Ashley Greenway is an extremely easy trail, perfect for youngsters.

Charleston City Market

Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, the Charleston City Market is wonderful for people-watching and window shopping. Now, you may find this place a bit “touristy,” but there’s a reason so many visitors want to go there. First, it’s a historical gem as one of the nation’s oldest city markets. Secondly, the place is abuzz with people looking for souvenirs and keepsakes, making it a captivating way to experience Charleston.

Luxury Vacation Rentals Near Charleston, SC

Taking your vacation to the next level sometimes requires some crafty budgeting. The silver lining is that our five free things to do in Charleston merely scratch the surface, so let your imagination guide you through this beautiful and beloved city. And with a vast collection of rentals in the nearby communities of Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, and Sullivan’s Island, you’ll never be too far from the action when staying with Charleston Vacations!

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