Stroll: The wide beaches of Sullivans Island and Isle of Palms are perfect for sandy strolls.
From tidal tributaries to the Atlantic, the pristine waters surrounding Charleston produce a bounty of fresh seafood, including shrimp, fish, oysters, clams and crabs. Picturesque Shem Creek in the town of Mount Pleasant is home to a fleet of hard-working shrimp boats that ensure fresh seafood is abundantly available in the Charleston area. You’ll will want to stroll both sides of the creek in search of the restaurant featuring the freshest catch.
Mount Pleasant’s Patriots Point Maritime Museum (www.patriotspoint.org) makes for a great stroll, including the decommissioned USS Yorktown aircraft carrier that stands watch over the harbor. Vintage aircraft line the flight deck, while the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum is located inside the cargo bay. You’ll will also want to stroll to the USS Clamagore submarine, the USS Laffey and see the “Vietnam Experience” exhibit and the Cold War Memorial.
Shop: Mount Pleasant’s Southern Season (www.southernseason.com) is the perfect place for everything gourmet. The sprawling emporium features fresh foods, prepared items, gifts and gift baskets, coffee and tea, wine and beer, kitchenware, renowned cooking classes and a locally-focused restaurant.
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Since 1967, Gwynn’s (www.gwynns.com) of Mount Pleasant has been the ultimate, luxury shopping destination in the Lowcountry. The 25,000-square-foot store includes the best lines in men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, cosmetics and skincare, and upscale gifts and home accessories. Also in Mount Pleasant, Elizabeth Stuart Design (www.esdcharleston.com) is a design emporium and eclectic boutique that features furniture, jewelry, home decor and more.
Hike: Among many options, Coastal Expeditions (www.coastalexpeditions.com) features a ferry trip to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge (www.fws.gov/caperomain), a 62,000-acre maritime wilderness preserve that includes Bulls Island. More than 275 species of birds make the refuge their home, along with sea turtles, dolphins, bald eagles and much more. Bulls Island’s three-mile Bone-yard Beach make for a great beach hike, including hundreds of oaks, cedars, and pines that have been “skeletonized” by the salt and sun.
Barrier Island Eco Tours (www.nature-tours.com) offers a 3 1/2-hour boat excursion to Capers Island, one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands on the East Coast. You’ll cruise through winding tidal creeks to find diverse wildlife in this salt marsh environment. Common sightings include bottle-nose dolphin, osprey, pelicans, bald eagles, herons and egrets. Along the way, visitors employ various nets and habitat traps for an up-close look at some of the rarely seen marine creatures that thrive below the surface. On Capers, hike along pristine Bone-yard Beach and interior freshwater ponds.
Bike: Wild Dunes Resort (www.wilddunes.com) and the rest of Isle of Palms is a great place to bike, thanks to miles of bike trails and quiet streets and lanes. Sullivans Island is equally bike-friendly.
Southern Season’s Southerly (www.southernseason.com) is the place to head for a seasonal menu that highlights local fare from nearby waters and farms. Red Drum (www.reddrumrestaurant.com) offers up the creative South-by-Southwest cuisine of chef Ben Berryhill, with a lively local vibe in the restaurant and the bar. Charleston Harbor Fish House (www.charlestonharborfishhouse.com) has unparalleled views of the Charleston Harbor and downtown skyline from the main dining room or rooftop bar. The menu features a variety of options from both land and sea; a daily market board features seasonal fresh catches of the day. Inside the Boardwalk Inn at Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms, Sea Island Grill & Lounge (www.wilddunes.com) is the perfect spot to enjoy a casual breakfast, lunch or dinner inside, alfresco on the terrace or pool deck, or at a new private poolside cabana.
In Mount Pleasant’s historic village, Old Village Post House (www.oldvillageposthouse.com) is part tavern, part restaurant and part inn. It a great place to head for a drink, a tasty meal, or the night (thanks to inn rooms upstairs). SOL Southwest Kitchen & Tequila Bar (www.solmtpleasant.com) serves more than 50 different tequilas, hand-crafted cocktails, and from-scratch dishes with Southwestern and Southern influences, plus hand-crafted cocktails. Liberty Tap Room & Grill (www.libertytaproom.com) features lots of beers on tap, including several of their own brews.