This summer will undoubtedly be a bit different for everyone. Whether you’re not traveling at all or traveling a lot less, I’m sure you’ll still be spending more time in your hometown than you usually do in the summertime. I know this is the case for us. Getting outside is so incredibly important right now and just plain fun during the summer so I wanted to share some of my favorite spots to enjoy nature and fresh air in Charleston with this guide to the best parks in Charleston SC. I’ve broken Charleston’s parks down into two categories: parks on the Charleston peninsula (downtown Charleston) and parks off the peninsula. Both parts of Charleston offer gorgeous outdoor parks that make up the best parks in Charleston SC!
Best Parks in Charleston SC
Hampton Park is one of my favorite places in all of Charleston. It is a 60 acre park with the most gorgeous landscaping and walking paths (it’s the largest park on the peninsula). There is a pretty lake in the center of the park where it’s common to find children feeding the geese. No matter the month, something spectacular is blooming in Hampton Park whether it be magnolias, camellias, azaleas, jasmine, wisteria, or something else. I love going for walks and runs through the park and never ever tire of a picnic in the park here. Find Hampton Park here.
White Point Garden
White Point Garden is the Charleston park we spend the most time in because we head here so frequently on walks with and without our dogs. It is a little park at the very bottom of the Charleston peninsula that is filled with beautiful live oak trees. It is a marvelous place to stroll, read a book, or enjoy a picnic! Find White Point Garden here.
Waterfront Park is a picturesque 10 acre park that overlooks the Charleston Harbor. It is a beautiful place for a stroll or a quiet moment on a park bench on a gorgeous Charleston day. The Park is so beloved because it is home to the famous Pineapple Fountain! From Waterfront Park, you can see out to Fort Sumter (aka the location of the start of the Civil War) and watch boats go by all day long. Find Waterfront Park here.
Colonial Lake Park
In addition to White Point Garden, Colonial Lake Park is the other park we spend the most time in because we frequent it on our neighborhood walks. The park is, you guessed it, centered around a pretty lake. The grounds around the lake are landscaped to perfection. I love Colonial Lake at the holidays because the city puts a Christmas tree in the center of the lake that lights up every night. I also love it in April and May because the bright, beautiful Peggy Martin Roses are blooming all around the palm trees. Find Colonial Lake here.
Brittlebank Park is a 10 acre park along the Ashley River and just south of Charleston’s Riverdogs baseball stadium. The park has tons of open green space with beautiful water views (it’s a great place to take in sunset!). Brittlebank Park boasts a playground, a fishing pier, and a boat dock. You’ll always find people fishing and crabbing off the dock. Find Brittlebank Park here.
Marion Square is in the heart of downtown Charleston and the site of so many wonderful celebrations like Turkey Trots and Christmas kickoffs at the holidays, festivals like the Charleston Wine + Food Festival in the spring, and weekend farmer’s markets in the summer. Since Marion Square is so centrally located in town, it is surrounded by some of the city’s best hotels, restaurants, and shops so you’ll most likely find yourself here or walking by at some point on a trip to Charleston. P.S. Marion Square has recently been in the news because the city of Charleston removed the John C. Calhoun statue in the park this week. Marion Square is located between King Street and Meeting Street just north of Calhoun Street. Find Marion Square here.
Washington Square is one of my favorite parks in Charleston. It reminds me of a New York City park because it’s a quiet oasis tucked within the center of the bustling center of downtown Charleston. You could honestly walk by it and almost miss it! Washington Square is at the corner of Broad Street and Meeting Street nestled behind Charleston City Hall. It got its name because of the statue of George Washington on display within the park. The park is a magical place to steal a quiet moment on a bench under the shade of oak trees. So pretty! Find Washiongton Square located here.
Allan Park is the sweetest little neighborhood park in the Hampton Park Terrace neighborhood! It is centered around a beautiful fountain that is surrounded by oak trees, benches, and lots of vegetation. It’s parks like Allan Park that give Charleston neighborhoods so much charm. Find Allan Park here.
All of the above parks are in downtown Charleston. However, Charleston also has a wealth of wonderful parks surrounding the downtown area in every direction. Drive over a bridge in any direction and you’re there! In my opinion, the best parks in Charleston SC that aren’t right downtown are:
James Island County Park.
The James Island County Park is great because it is huge so it has tons of green space! It has a wonderful dog park with a lake in it that our dogs absolutely love to swim and play fetch in. We also use the park for its picnic tables and walking trails although there’s lots more the park offers too. Find James Island County Park here.
Angel Oak Park.
Angel Oak Park is a true South Carolina gem. I bet you will have never seen a tree as big and beautiful as the majestic oak tree that makes up Angel Oak Park. The oak tree is estimated to be a few hundred years old (some believe it’s over 1,000 years old!), stands 65 ft tall, and provides 17,000 square feet of shade. It is a gorgeous sight to behold and truly magical! Find Angel Oak Park here.
Charles Towne Landing.
Charles Towne Landing is a rare piece of Charleston history. Located about 15-20 minutes from downtown Charleston, it preserves the original site of the first permanent English settlement in the Carolina Colony in 1670. It sits on the Ashley River and is an absolutely beautiful piece of marshy land with a visitor center, walking and running trails, beautiful gardens and nature (oak trees, magnolia trees, camellia trees, etc.), and historical markers for settlements as well as the horrible realities of South Carolina’s past like slave quarters. Charles Towne Landing is an 80 acre park full of history (both good and bad) and natural beauty. Find Charles Towne Landing here.
Pitt Street Bridge Park.
Pitt Street Bridge Park is a hidden gem nestled in the Old Village Historic District of Mt. Pleasant. It was once a trolley bridge that connected Sullivan’s Island and Mount Pleasant, which I find so amazing (the bridge no longer stretches all the way to Sullivan’s). It is now a lovely place to soak in some sunshine. You’ll always find kids hunting for fish and crab and often see kayakers cruising their way through the Charleston Harbor. Find Pitt Street Bridge Park here.
Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park.
Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park is located under the Ravenel Bridge so it has beautiful views of the bridge and the Charleston Harbor. It is also one of the best places to catch a Charleston sunset from the 1,250-ft pier. Find Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park here.
Riverfront Park is located in North Charleston and is home to the wonderful High Water Music Festival. The park is nestled alongside the Cooper River with tons of green space, a large meadow, a performance pavilion (hence the music festival), and beautiful historic homes that were once used as naval housing. Find Riverfront Park here.
Since we’ll all be spending a lot of time home this summer instead of traveling, I hope this post on the best parks in Charleston SC gives you some inspiration for beautiful places to get outside! xx