Boy, it sure does seem like the summer break is needed more than ever in 2020! As the world begins to open back up, summer getaways this year will be treasured more than ever. Charleston, South Carolina, remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, with its warm weather, ocean locale, and enough things to see and do to satisfy any family’s vacation needs.
Safety and social distancing are paramount during the summer of 2020. If your family is lucky enough to get away to Charleston this July or August, here are some fun and safe activities that would help make your vacation one you’ll cherish for years to come.
Let’s Hit the Beach—With Safety in Mind!
It’s warm in Charleston during the summer months, with average high temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! With ocean breezes and plenty of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, your family has plenty of options to beat the heat, and beaches provide plenty of space for social distancing. NPR recently did a broadcast on what summer activities were safe and unsafe amid the pandemic and listed outdoor beaches as low risk as visitors can easily control their proximity to others. Going in the water has very little risk as the sheer volume of the water mitigates the risk. Some of our favorite beaches in the Charleston area include:
- Folly Beach— often referred to as the “Edge of America,” Folly Beach is a barrier island on the front lines of the Atlantic, with the ocean all around it. It’s a very popular beach but retains its small-town character with very few chain restaurants. Funky eateries and bars are in abundance.
- Edisto Beach— Just over an hour drive from Charleston, but the calm and beauty of the area, along with the family-friendly environment, make Edisto Beach and its four-and-a-half miles of coastline a must-do. Along with spectacular suntanning, check out Jeremy’s Inlet at low tide where you’ll see tons of treasures including fossils, seashells, and shark’s teeth that have washed ashore.
- Isle of Palms— Boasting seven miles of crystalline shores, Isle of Palms is one of the Charleston area’s most family-friendly beaches. With plenty of activities like water sports, boat tours, fishing charters, and glorious white sands, there’s something for everyone in the family.
- Sullivan’s Island— Across the Ravenel Bridge from Charleston, marsh and wetlands give way to this enchanting island, with its public beach overlooked by the historic lighthouse. Be sure to check out Poe’s Tavern on Middle Street; the famous poet was stationed here during his military service.
- Kiawah Beachwalker Park— With ten miles of spectacular coastline, Kiawah Island is renowned as one of the most beautiful islands in the country. The majority of the pristine sands are under private ownership, but check out the beach at the southwestern tip of the island; the sands are as soft as anywhere else on earth.
As far as sightseeing goes, there are countless options in Charleston. Charleston Tours & Events has daily harbor tours that give you a close-up look at all of the beauty and grandeur of the city both on land and at sea. The whole family will enjoy an up-close-and-personal look at Charleston Harbor on any one of their memorable sailboat cruises. These two-hour sails are a must-do in Charleston, and you can choose from an afternoon Dolphin Sail or a Sunset Sail in the evening. There is plenty of room for social distancing on every deck to ensure a safe and satisfying tour.
The Charleston Lady is available for private cruising on the harbor—the perfect way to enjoy a cruise while avoiding crowds with just your family and friends aboard. Able to host groups from 2-45 passengers, the Lady features an open bow for fresh harbor breezes and an enclosed stern with windows that can open for a refreshing cross breeze. Picnic-style catering can be set up with beer, wine, champagne, sodas, and bottled water available for purchase.
Golf at Patriot’s Point Links
Golf courses were one of the first entities to open back up for public use because social distancing is engrained in the activity. If you’re a golfing family, you’ve certainly come to the right place in Charleston. With some of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet, you can find courses that are open and forgiving or more challenging for better players. We recommend Patriot’s Point Links on Charleston Harbor—it offers spectacular views of the city, Fort Sumter, and the harbor, with ships arriving from all over the world. If golf is your pleasure, you really can’t go wrong in Charleston, with plenty of courses to choose from and remarkable beauty their common trait.
Fun for the Whole Family
Walking Charleston’s historic Old Town streets, your family will find one of the friendliest and most charming cities anywhere in the world. The Big City Hunt is a memorable and fun activity, a city-wide scavenger hunt that takes you through incredible areas, including Waterfront Park, City Market, and Rainbow Row. For a more physical outing, head to Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park, a high ropes course. There are also 33 county parks to visit in Charleston.
To see an up-close look at the beautiful avian and marine life of Charleston, take in the South Carolina Aquarium and The Center for Birds of Prey: The Avian Conservation Center. If you have young children, we recommend The Children’s Museum of the Low Country, a hands-on museum for kids that gives families the opportunity to learn together with plenty of interactive exhibits.
All of these activities allow for social distancing and each entity is putting safety first and foremost for all of their visitors.
While eating out is a staple on family vacations, it’s also fun to make your own meals if you’re staying at a vacation rental property. There is certainly no lack of great local food shopping, and we’ll recommend a few farmer’s markets that can supply you with some fantastic local fare.
- Charleston Farmers Market— Each Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm in Marion Square in downtown Charleston, you can peruse the more than 100 local vendors, including farmers and growers, sweet and savory food concessions, artisans and crafters plus local music and activities.
- Mount Pleasant Farmers Market— Tuesday afternoons from 3:30 pm to 7 pm at the Farmers Market Pavilion, 645 Coleman Blvd. You’ll find a great bounty of just-picked vegetables, fruits, and fragrant flowers along with local seafood, fresh-cooked meals, baked and canned goods, and locally produced snacks.
- North Charleston Farmers Market— Thursday afternoons from 3 pm to 7 pm at the Felix C Davis Community Center, 4800 Park Circle, you’ll find an abundance of fresh, locally grown produce, arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, kids activities and live music from 5-7 pm.
- Evenings in the Market— Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm at the historic Charleston City Market in downtown, this street fair event showcases local artists, food vendors, and designers.
Any Visit to Charleston Has to Include Brunch!
Lastly, we simply had to include a weekend brunch as a fun, family activity for those of you visiting the Holy City. While brunch is popular everywhere, it’s nearly a way of life in this part of the country! All the deliciousness of southern breakfast foods combined with the lazy rhythms of late mornings on vacation is an irresistible combination. Wherever you’re staying, there’s sure to be plenty of restaurants nearby that offer spectacular brunch menus. Some of our favorite places in downtown include: The Macintosh, the Park Café, Hominy Grill, and the Rarebit.
Enjoy Your Summer and Stay Safe
As we said off the top, 2020 has been a rather strange year. We couldn’t be happier that things are edging back to normal, but we still want to encourage everyone to stay safe and to take all the precautions to keep your family healthy and happy. For those of you visiting Charleston for the first time, welcome, we promise you’ll enjoy your stay!