Water, water everywhere. Charleston’s coastal setting among a string of barrier islands is a hydrophile’s wet dream. But if you’re not into paddling, don’t fret. The marshy interior has something for you, too. Blake Matheny of Half-Moon Outfitters shares historic Chucktown’s best outdoor spots.
– greenway commute –
The West Ashley Greenway is a popular rail trail that connects schools, city parks, and historic districts. It’s a great spot for trail running and cycling, but it runs parallel to Route 17, so it’s also big for commuting.
– Navy Singletrack –
There is fantastic singletrack at Marrington Plantation on the Naval Base in North Charleston. It’s surprising how fun it is for being in the Low Country. There’s nothing too steep, but the trails are never boring and you really build some speed in certain sections.
– Marshy Hiking –
This area isn’t known for hiking, but there’s a section of the Palmetto Trail—which runs for 400 miles across the state—that you can pick up 20 minutes outside of Charleston called Swamp Fox. It a marshy 43 miles that runs from Route 17 to Moncks Corner, but it’s also very dog and bike friendly. You can see alligators and all kinds of birds.
– Ride the Islands –
A great cycling route starts at Sullivan’s Island and rides all the way across the peninsula to John’s Island and then Maybank Highway across the bridge to Kiawah Island. The islands are great for riding because the traffic is relatively slow.
– Get Up, Stand Up –
Stand-up paddleboarding is starting to explode in this area. Half Moon recently started a summer race series that starts at Shem Creek. It also holds regular social paddles at Station 30 on Sullivan’s Island, which is a great place to come out and learn.
– Kayaking Everywhere –
Sea kayaking opportunities are everywhere. The Ace Basin is a great spot just south of Charleston that is very marshy with a lot of rivers. Another popular destination is Edisto Island, because there are cabins that you can rent along the way. I like to paddle to Capers Island, which is north of Isle of Palms, because you can pitch a tent and camp for the night with no fee.
– Post-Paddle at Poe’s –
A great hangout is Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island. Edgar Allen Poe was stationed on Sullivan’s Island, so all of the burgers are named after his poems. You’ll see all kinds of Charleston locals in there—especially boaters and kayakers.