Charleston, South Carolina is one of the hottest vacation destinations in the country right now. It offers a rich background of American history, world-class dining, and unmatched beauty. While it is tempting to plan a vacation just in the historic downtown, you’re really missing out on a big part of Charleston’s culture if you skip the beach.
You can’t beat restorative time on the beach. Bring a kite or a Frisbee to toss around while you soak up the South Carolina sun. Enjoy the sweet briny waters and the distinct charms of all of the local beaches to really take in the coastal cultures surrounding Charleston and connect to the unique personality of every beach retreat. (more…)
Dewees Island is a hidden gem located about 11 miles north of Charleston, where some people live and where others, including our fellow Charlestonians, love to visit. And simply put, it is where peace and solitude reign supreme.
On this small, secluded barrier island, there are no paved roads, no cars, no restaurants, and most importantly, no stress. Technology, computer screens, and phones can be ignored for the duration of your stay in favor of outdoor fun and relaxation. It is two-and-a-half miles of pure nature: beaches, dunes, an undisturbed maritime forest — a private paradise.
The homeowners of Dewees, ever aware of the conservation needs and uniqueness of the island, strive to leave the tiniest of footprints. The island is truly among the last of untouched places around, where all is unspoiled by the developed world. Since the island is full of Lowcountry wildlife, and it is not uncommon to share your visit with dolphins, turtles, eagles, and an enormous variety of sea and marsh birds.
The island is accessible via a ferry that leaves from 43 41st Street on the Isle of Palms. The ride lasts around 20 minutes, and you must be preregistered with Dewees Island Rentals or personally know a current Dewees owner in order to board. There are two boats- one smaller and faster, and one a bit larger for holding more people, luggage, groceries, and other deliveries. They decide which one to take based on the number of folks signed up to ride and the amount of stuff that’s going over. The ferry is often escorted by dolphins or a variety of seafaring birds and offers curious views all around. Even if you didn’t have the beauty and adventure of the island waiting for you, the ferry ride alone would be worth it. Be sure to call 30 minutes before leaving the island to make sure you get a spot on a returning boat.
Where to stay
Huyler House includes suites that are available for lot owners to stay on the island and homeowners to use for overflow house guests however, you do not have to know a Dewees owner to enjoy all Huyler has to offer. You can rent one of the suites, or choose from a variety of other homes from Dewees Rentals. The amenities are amazing: swimming pool, two tennis courts, billiards table, foosball table, shuffleboard table, screened picnic area with a grill, and wifi in the Great Room and suites.
Dewees is a wildlife preserve, so as we said before, you’ll encounter a variety of living creatures. Our resident Dewees Island expert, Judy Fairchild, is a naturalist who loves to show and tell all about Dewees Island, and especially the wildlife. A short cart ride around the island with Judy feels like a master class. It’s not uncommon to see a few baby raccoons, a basking alligator, or perhaps even an otter or bald eagle on a quick jaunt. While it is truly a thrill to be close to so much undisturbed nature, but there are some critters – like mosquitoes – you’ll want to prepare for in advance. Make sure you pack your bug spray. And, although this should go without saying, don’t feed the wildlife – including those pesky mosquitoes!
Once you step off the ferry and onto the tranquil island, don’t be surprised if you feel a weight lifted off your shoulders as your troubles subside. The roads are made of dirt and your only vehicles are your feet, a bike, or a golf cart. If you’re renting through Dewees Rentals, you’ll find a cart clearly marked for you when you exit the ferry. If you’re visiting friends, do what I do, and hitch a ride on one of their carts and then rely on your own two feet to get you around while exploring We think the best way to travel the length of the island is by foot on the sandy beach! The paths are clearly marked and the beachwalks extend through the maritime forest all the way to the sand.
There are no restaurants or grocery stores on the island, so if you’re going for longer than an afternoon, you’ll want to prepare and package your food in advance. Or, you can catch your dinner!
What to do
Fishing spots abound at Dewees, and there’s even a crabbing dock — but only take what you can eat in a single meal. Remember, conservation is key on Dewees. Other fun outdoor activities include kayaking, golfing, birding, beach walking, swimming, biking and golf carting. Lounging around with a good book is always a good idea, and you’ll find more one perfect spot on Dewees Island.
At every turn, there’s a breathtaking marsh or beach view and there are unparalleled sunrises on the beach and sunsets on the marsh. Views over the Impoundment, the old diked wetlands that can be flooded or drained as necessary, are amazingly serene. The shores are pristine, expansive, and gloriously empty, allowing Dewees to offer an almost private experience unlike any other on the Charleston Coast.
Looking to hear great live music at the beach? Downtown Charleston may be known for its many venues and bars with music spilling onto King and Market streets, but the islands of the Lowcountry know how to put on a good show, too. From dirty blues at Sullivan’s Island Home Team BBQ to legendary rock shows at the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms, there are several sweet spots nearby — both new and old — with plenty of music you can kick back and sip a beer to. Here are just a few of our favorite venues for live music on Sullivan’s and IOP.
Dunleavy’s Pub | 2213 Middle Street
If you love a good, old-fashioned pub, you’ll love Dunleavy’s, where Guinness lovers have cheers’d their beers for over 20 years. Outside are picnic tables for pints in the sunshine, while inside you can enjoy some of the best Irish folk music in Charleston from well-loved local artists like Carroll Brown.
High Thyme | 2213 Middle Street
At High Thyme, Southern seafood fare is always the catch of the day, but you’ll also love all the live music this restaurant/venue has on the menu. Local Celtic folk favorites the Hungry Monks play here on the reg, as do guys like Moon Dog, Carroll Brown (you really can’t get enough of Carroll!), and the Reckoning, the latter of which is a lovely, local Grateful Dead strings cover band.
Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ | 2209 Middle Street
Known for their BBQ and arguably more so for their wings (best in town, y’all), Home Team has more than good grub — it puts on great live music, too, particularly blues, folk, Americana, and country artists.
On the IOP:
The Windjammer | 1008 Ocean Blvd.
Even most new islanders know about the Windjammer — a Charleston, not just an IOP, institution for over 40 years. Legends like Hootie & the Blowfish, the Blue Dogs, Drivin’ N Cryin’, and Southern Culture on the Skids have performed here for decades, both inside and out — the back features a deck majestically overlooking the beach action and the sea. Inside you’ll find the main stage and an open-air bar perfect for ocean breezes that constantly remind you that life is good.
The Dinghy | 8 J C Long Blvd.
The Dinghy is relatively new to the island, having come on board the scene only three or so years ago. Locals love it for the live music you can consistently catch nightly here. Artists are local and much loved by the regulars, making this special spot a lively, neighborly kind of place. Oh, and FYI their Dirty Elvis Fries are a dream.
Morgan Creek Grill | 80 41st Ave.
Situated on the water with brilliant sea breezes aplenty, Morgan Creek Grill is the definition of chill, particularly when you add live music to the mix. Morgan Creek recently added a recurring event called Wintertide: Songwriters in the Round, featuring local singer-songwriters every week along with an oyster roast. Head to morgancreekgrill.com for more details.
What’s your favorite local music venue on Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms?
Mount Pleasant may be look small on a map, but the town packs in a lot of punch with countless shopping areas, restaurants, and places to watch the sunset throughout the area. From Shem Creek’s offerings along Coleman Boulevard to the possibilities aplenty at Highway 17’s Mount Pleasant Town Center, adventure awaits at every turn.
Spa time at Woodhouse
Anyone who’s been to Woodhouse Day Spa knows this place doesn’t hold back in its offerings of luxurious pampering. The spa gives all a little TLC, relieves stress, and nurtures your well being. Everyone gets a robe and reflexology sandals upon arrival before unwinding in the quiet room, where loose-leaf teas await to begin the day of everything from waxings and skin care to massage therapy and sleep treatments. Woodhouse also offers a girls getaway weekend package, complete with hot stone and four-handed massages, facials, microdermabrasion, pedicures, and more. Learn more at charleston.woodhousespas.com.
Shop at Mount Pleasant Town Center
Spoil yourself with a day at Mount Pleasant Town Center, where not only can you update your wardrobe at Copper Penny Shooz, Banana Republic, Teal Boutique, White House Black Market, Victoria’s Secret, Belk, Chico’s, and Apricot Lane Boutique, and more, but you can also grab some tea at Teavana, some wine at the Wine Cellar, a pedicure at Sandals Nail Spa, and a Margarita at Qdoba Mexican Eats. To reward yourself even more, top it off with a film at the onsite cinemas.
Eat in the Old Village
Surrounded by beauty and charm, the six-room Old Village Post House Inn is a sweet wee spot for a staycation night away, but the restaurant is what makes the building renowned. Most days you’ll find seafood bliss with specialties like crawfish soup, broiled oysters, crispy calamari, chili-rubbed ahi tuna, grouper, crab cakes, shrimp & grits, lobster, crab-crusted salmon, and much more. But for Sunday funday, get brunch dishes, like deviled crab cake benedict and the Shem Creek omelet, with shrimp, crab, cheddar, and spinach. Don’t forget to start with a Sunrise Sparkler, a carafe of cava with peach nectar, blueberry pomegranate juice, and OJ.
Sunset drinks on Shem Creek
Speaking of Shem Creek and drinks, nothing says ‘this is the life’ quite like a sunset cocktail on Shem Creek. Whether you want live music at Red’s or a quiet view of the water at Vickery’s, there are plenty of places to perch and pass the hours. Tavern & Table, Shem Creek Bar & Grill, Water’s Edge Cabana Bar, and RB’s are just a few more spots where you can not only sip to the best sunset view in Charleston but you can also grab some of the freshest seafood around.
Dolphin watch cruise
The Charleston Water Taxi is always a fun way to travel on days you’re focused solely on adventure and relaxation, but the company also offers a dolphin watch cruise on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The ultimate way to unwind, the dolphin watch cruise lasts for an hour but $10 gets you an all-day pass so you can while away all the hours your heart desires. Departs from Patriot’s Point and the USS Yorktown.
There are so many ways to bring in the holiday season throughout Charleston, but here are a few holiday celebrations going on in the area for 2016. From jazz to a cruise to the hood’s own inaugural holiday fest, there’s plenty to do without traveling far if you’re one of the many who call Charleston home. Happy holidays, and enjoy!
James Island County Park’s Festival of Lights
This one’s a no-brainer, but if you haven’t gotten in on probably the most popular Charleston tradition, here’s what you need to know. The Festival of Lights is magical, and everyone should witness it. Even with traffic, the drive through doesn’t take more than half an hour at most — and that’s driving slowly so you can see it all. It’s $20 per car, so load it up! If you go Mon-Thurs, it’s only $15/car with a canned food donation. Be sure to park your car in one of the three lots and walk around the lit paths and to the winter wonderland (near lot A), where you’ll see everything from Santa to sand art and have the opportunity to roast marshmallows — oh yes: don’t forget to pack the marshmallows!
Charleston Sleigh Ride
This unique tour embarks at West Ashley’s Ripley Light Marina but its travels are predominantly on the Ashley River through James Island’s Intracoastal Waterway, where they say you’ll have a good chance of viewing holiday lights! The cruise is nearly two hours long and is spent listening to Christmas music and stories about Charleston’s most storied holiday traditions. There’ll be plenty of hot chocolate to go around, but guests are also welcome to bring their own cooler full of drinks — and yes, that means adult beverages, too. This has been a tradition of Pegasus Charters for eight years and counting, and it’s the perfect way to ring in the season — Charleston style. Dates run from Dec. 9 until Dec. 26.
The Pour House’s Christmas Party with the Hungry Monks
If you want to relax and have a chill celebration outside on the laid-back deck of one of Charleston’s best music venues, head to the Pour House on Thurs. Dec. 22 for the Hungry Monks’ Christmas Party. Doors open at 4 p.m., so you can grab some grub from their onsite food truck before the music starts at 6:30 p.m. The Hungry Monks features the guys who run the music school of the same name in West Ashley and have been playing their genius blend of folk, jam, Celtic, and bluegrass tunes for many years. Oh, and children and dogs are also welcome.
It’s just not Christmas without a viewing of White Christmas, the classic from 1954. It’s hard to imagine the Christmas season even existing prior to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” While it’s fun to see the film at home, it’s extraordinary on the big screen, and that’s why the Terrace Theater is offering two chances with its screenings on Tues. Dec. 6 and Wed. Dec. 7 at 7:15 p.m. And let’s face it — this is the closest us Charlestonians will ever get to a white Christmas.
Dec. 11 Oscar Rivers and Sam Singleton Christmas show at How Art Thou
Fans of music from eras gone by will love this top-shelf jazz event coming to How Art Thou Jazz Cafe on Maybank Highway. Soul singer Sam Singleton joins jazz great Oscar Rivers (who has worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, BB King, The Temptations, Etta James, and much more) the second Sunday of every month at this intimate local jazz club, but on Dec. 11 the session will be extra special, and extra Christmas-y. This is their Holiday Season Special, so expect to hear holiday tunes performed in the jazz idiom as well as some with a touch of rhythm and blues, plus a few jazz standards. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and showtime is at 6:30.
Thrifters and Drifters
Find gifts for everyone on your list this holiday at the Royal American from 12pm-5pm on Sunday, December 11th. Thrifters and Drifters features unique vintage gifts and handmade creations from your favorite Charleston artisans. If you love vintage art, jewelry, crafts you will not want to miss this!
Charleston Parade of Boats
‘Tis the season to jingle and mingle on the harbor front! Join the Rotary Club of Charleston to celebrate the holiday season with a viewing party of the Holiday Parade of Boats at the Maritime Center on December 10th from 5-8pm. Enjoy savory foods, holiday music and a view of spectacular boats decorated for the season as they cruise across the harbor.
What holiday outing are you excited about this year?
Date Ideas for James Island Couples
Don’t let everyday stress get to you and your partner — get out and about in your own ’hood and get refreshed! From day dates outside to late, groovin’ nights, there’s a lot you can do in James Island that’ll have you and your significant other forgetting your troubles in no time. Here are a few ideas:
Looking for a great day date? We suggest:
- Wild Blue Ropes
Feeling adventurous? Head to Wild Blue Ropes for some scary good fun with its high-climbing ropes course. WBR is not only known for its team building courses for corporate clients, but also its Couples Climb, which is $50 a pair.
James Island County Park
What CAN’T you do at James Island County Park? We recommend the climbing wall to really get you out of your head, but if it’s hot outside and you’re in the mood to relax, head to Splash Zone Waterpark. If it’s closed, check out the pedal boat and kayak rentals. You can even bring Fido so the whole family can enjoy the fresh air at the best dog park in Charleston.
- Brewery Hop
Yes, James Island has not one, but two breweries now! Go have some fun with a brewery tasting at Low Tide Brewing and Tradesmen Brewing. Low Tide also offers fun events from time to time, like live music, Pints and Painting nights, and more, while Tradesman Brewing is known for its Bendy Brewski Yoga in addition to Hot Dogs and Pints happy hours.
For the more traditional late date:
Terrace Theater + Zia
Dinner and a movie is still the perfect date night, after all these years. Located on Maybank Highway, Zia is a cool little Tex-Mex spot with a delicious margarita menu and some of the city’s most talked-about quesadillas. Go early and then head next door to the Terrace Theater, which is Charleston’s art house theater. Featuring independent films you won’t find at a blockbuster cinema, the Terrace also serves beer, wine, and nifty snacks — if you’re still hungry!
- Pour House + The Lot
There’s a lot to do in this little corner of James Island. Located across the street from the Terrace (and near Riverland Terrace neighborhood), the Pour House is one of Charleston’s most prominent music venues. There’s music here every day of the week: free shows on the back deck at 6:30 p.m. and regional and national/international acts — all genres, like Charles Bradley, Of Montreal, Blackalicious, Sturgill Simpson — on the inside stage later on. On Sundays, there’s an all-day Sunday Brunch Farmer’s Market out back while a soul/gospel band plays on the deck stage. They serve Cuban-fused food at the Pour House via their own food truck attached to the deck as well as next door at the Lot, a renowned farm-to-table restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.
Charleston Performing Arts Center + Stereo 8
Stereo 8 is relatively new to the island. It’s known for being themed around music, which is why local artists perform there on the patio every week. The menu is varied and includes duck confit, pad thai, a burger, tacos, and ramen. In the mood for a musical? Located on Folly Road — not far from the restaurant — the Charleston Performing Arts Center presents stage productions performed by mostly locals, like the recent Dreamgirls,The Revue. Disco, “a celebration of those boogie nights and moves that gave us all Saturday Night Fever,” will run until Oct. 23 and will be followed by Holiday Cabaret, just in time for Christmas.
Wagener Terrace is where downtown locals love to live. Away from the bustle of the more touristy parts of downtown, Wagener Terrace is an oasis filled with wide sidewalks, Spanish moss-covered live oaks, quiet living, and friendly neighbors, the latter of which range from families to young professionals. Still on the Charleston peninsula, Wagener Terrace is biking distance to the city’s theaters, antiques, shopping, and nightlife.
But there’s still plenty of fun to be had within walking distance inside this serene pocket of the peninsula. These are just a few of our favorite things to do in and around Wagener Terrace:
Play: The biggest highlight to living in this area has to be the accessibility to Hampton Park, which is below Wagener Terrace in the Hampton Park Terrace neighborhood. The largest park on the peninsula, Hampton Park is 60 acres of green space where locals jog, bike, walk dogs, picnic, and play. Weddings are held in the park’s picturesque gazebo, books are read by the fountain, and there are plans for an abandoned concessions stand at the park to be restored by the neighboring Park Cafe.
Eat: Speaking of Park Cafe, the bright, airy, and simplistic Rutledge Avenue restaurant is a neighborhood favorite for quality farm-to-table food, wine, and coffee. Just up the street, you’ll find Rutledge Cab Co., another popular local eatery and bar that’s half-owned by actor and Charleston local Bill Murray and features live local music each week. Very close to Wagener Terrace and Hampton Park Terrace is a trendy new spot called NoMo, where you’ll find tons of live music and great wings at Home Team BBQ, a killer brisket at Lewis’ Barbecue, a bar menu and brunch you won’t forget at Edmund’s Oast, and duck-fat fries, taxidermy, and good times at the Tattooed Moose.
Drink: Also close to Hampton Park is Moe’s Crosstown Tavern, a buzzing local dive bar with great grub and a casual, unpretentious atmosphere. For a local craft beer, head straight to Wagener Terrace’s own Cooper River Brewing Co. on Mechanic Street, where you can get anything from a glass of Nitro Stout to a growler of IPA. If you’re in the mood for the lighter stuff, check out Huriyali Gardens, a vibrant wee juice haven on Huger Street with nutrient-rich, organic foods and juices and an adjacent garden that will make you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a magical hidden gem.
Dance: If you’re in the mood for a boogie, head down to the nearby Faculty Lounge on Huger Street. Not only can you find a reason to dance on weekend nights, the Faculty Lounge also features a quality cocktail menu and a chic, local vibe every single evening.
Shop: Locals can bike to Food Lion on King Street, the only large-scale grocery store near the neighborhood. As far as any other types of shopping — be it organic foods or clothes or antiques — there are plenty of great spots a short drive away in either the Historic District or over the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant.
If this sounds like your kind of neighborhood, stop by the Real Estate Studio and see what adorable bungalows are for sale!
Looking for things to do in West Ashley? From the always fun West Ashley Park to the brand new farmer’s market and Higgins Pier, there’s a lot of inexpensive (and free!) ways to spend your time outside west of the Ashley River. Here are four of our favorites:
The West Ashley Bikeway starts at Wappoo Road, crosses Highway 61/St Andrews Boulevard, and continues all the way to the beautiful Ashley River, connecting residential neighborhoods along the way, like Sherwood Forest, Maryville, and Ashleyville. And this is a particularly exciting time for the Bikeway, since this summer, Higgins Pier officially opened at the end of the path on the River. The last stretch of the path before the pier is a peaceful one surrounded by forests before giving way to the magnificent view of the marsh. At the pier, you may fish, launch a kayak, or simply meditate with a book under the covered pier head and while away a lovely Charleston Day.
The West Ashley Greenway is a sacred thing for nearby residents, who use the part-asphalt, part-dirt trail for running, walking dogs, and biking. The path is over eight miles long, extending from Wesley Drive (the South Windermere neighborhood) and nearly to Main Road, Johns Island. Along the way is everything from lush, wooded areas, where you can still find fireflies if you go at the perfect hour, to the breathtaking Lowcountry marsh. Go for a walk around 5.30 p.m. and you’ll likely pass many of your neighbors as it’s the most popular time of day to venture out. Don’t forget your bike lights if you go after dark, since the area is not well lit.
Ackerman Park – 55 Sycamore Avenue
This is a two-in-one spot, since you get both produce galore in the great outdoors, plus there’s a dog park — so everyone’s happy, pups included. Launching today, Wed. Sept. 21, 2016, the West Ashley’s farmer’s market is a huge, welcome addition to the area, since with it comes boocoos of both established and fresh, new producers and food products. Get in on the action while you can, because this farmer’s market only goes every Wednesday until October 26.
3601 Mary Ader Avenue
Off Glenn McConnell Highway, you’ll find an oasis from the freeway at West Ashley Park, one of Charleston’s largest recreational parks. The park is 260 acres large, comprising everything from playgrounds (two) and a basketball court to a soccer field and an 18-hole disc golf course, which brings sports lovers of all ages and levels of expertise. Walk on the lush path past gorgeous swamps to a serene pond, where fishermen cast their lines and watch wild birds wander about. Bring your pups, too, because the park also boasts a dog park.
What’s your favorite outdoor spot in West Ashley?
Charleston is nothing if not a city that brunches. On East Bay Street alone, the variety of eggs and breakfast-y booze available is abundant — and most of it is pretty wonderful. But while locals on a budget love a High Cotton jazz brunch or the gospel brunch at Hall’s Chophouse on King Street, we have to save those spots for special occasions. That’s not to say we deny ourselves of the benefits of brunch, but we stick to places in our neighborhoods that won’t do too much damage to our bank balances. Here are a just a few local favorites downtown and in West Ashley, James Island, North Charleston, and Mt. Pleasant — all are delicious and easy on the wallet!
132 Spring St.
This newbie cafe has it all — records, coffee, alcohol, and a delectable food menu. One recent brunch involved chili cheese lobster on a grilled crouton with two sunny-side-up eggs and a slice of thick-cut heritage bacon — which is all you really need to know. Oh, and mimosas are $3.50 all day on Sundays.
17 Lockwood Drive
The best view downtown can be found at this hidden gem: the Marina Variety Store. Located on the harbor, this nautical treasure has everything from crab benedicts to gator and grits. It’s favorite amongst locals, who also love to sip on cocktails later on at the downstairs Salty Mike’s.
1977 Maybank Hwy.
You can’t beat the Pour House on a Sunday afternoon. Dine outside at the Lot next door or grab grub from behind the Pour House with a local food truck. A Motown band provides the tunes every week, and lots of local vendors — you’ll find everything from local eggs to art to records — provide a cool post-or-pre-brunch shopping experience.
801 Folly Road
Oh the wonders that await at Sweetwater for a fraction of the price you’re used to. Chocolate chip pancakes. Cheese grits. Square biscuits. Corn Flakes French toast. Need we say more?
817 Savannah Hwy.
Not a single tourist would think to venture to this popular neighborhood dive in West Ashley for brunch, but that’s all fine for local residents — we don’t mind keeping the goodies like the crawfish omelet as our little secret. They claim to be “Charleston’s oldest bar, by far,” and that alone is can speak to locals’ loyalty to this roomy spot that comes complete with a shuffleboard table.
1644 Savannah Hwy.
The brunch lines at Early Bird are long, but for good reason. You’ll be scarce to find a better, or cheaper, menu of refined favorites, like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, curried scramble, and an always-unique pancake special. No booze is served here, so those lines do move fast, y’all.
427 W. Coleman Blvd.
This relaxing locals haunt is known for its great range of draft beers and killer burgers, but the brunch is popular, too. Here, you’ll love the steak and eggs, fried-green tomato benedict, huevos rancheros, biscuits and gravy, chicken biscuits, Med scramble, and more — but our favorite has to be the crab, asparagus, and cream cheese omelette.
1313 Shrimp Boat Lane
While Vickery’s is located in Shem Creek, where tourists often flock, it’s also a staple amongst locals. The restaurant’s Bloody Mary’s alone have driven locals here for well over a decade, and the view is hard to beat on any day of the week. The menu hasn’t changed a lot, if at all, over the years, because it’s that good: sandwiches and salads galore plus brunch specials, including the famous “big, ugly biscuit.”
LoLa 4830 O’Hear Ave.
The Lowcountry meets Louisiana at LoLa in Park Circle. During Sunday brunch, it’s all about the chicken and waffles, omelets, benedicts, duck confit hash, and the gator, eggs, and grits. They also do mimosas and bloodies — and oyster shooters for the truly adventurous.
4438 Spruill Ave.
Park Circle’s The Junction doesn’t mess around when it comes to brunch. Here, you’ll find it hard to pass up the Mexican Hash (cactus-braised pork, black bean pico, cheesy hashbrowns, over-easy egg, house jalapeno-honey hot sauce) or the brownie pancakes with strawberry jam and whipped cream! They also serve wine and such, should you be in the mood for it.
So many more great places to choose from, what’s your favorite local brunch spot?
Folly Beach is where Charleston locals and tourists alike flock to for a slice of paradise with a side of fun. More so than any other beach in the area, Folly, though small as it may be, is packed with stuff to do for the whole family.
One of our favorite things to do while on Folly is to hang a left at the end of Center Street, following Ashley Avenue all the way to the end, park, and walk the 15 or so-minute stroll to the Morris Island Light House. Once there, behold the most secluded part of Folly Beach, a shore covered with beautiful driftwood, and the Morris Island Light House. You’ll love the desolate feeling out there, the staggering beauty all around. Bring a camera, because photo opps abound. To actually get in the water and explore, we recommend a kayak adventure through the meandering creeks we love so dearly in the Lowcountry. Folly Beach Adventures is one of many companies that will facilitate the rental of everything from kayaks and golf carts to stand-up paddle boards and surf boards. They also do guided boat tours.
There is definitely no shortage of great food on Folly. We love the Asian-infused food and craft beers at Jack of Cups, the shark tacos at Chico Feo’s outdoor oasis, more Asian-infused goodness at The ‘Wich Doctor, Tex-Mex at Taco Boy, and pizza from Woody’s. Oh, and you can’t miss the tuna watermelon nachos at Rita’s — trust us!
For all-things seafood, the Crab Shack has got you covered, but if you get in the car and drive up Folly Road for less than five minutes, you’ll find another local favorite, at Bowen’s Island (your GPS will get you there just fine!) The restaurant is likely to have a line because it’s that good, but you’ll also find some of the best views in Charleston and a place with a down-home, down-to-earth, casual feel.
For a killer view of the sea to go with your cocktail, go to the rooftop of Snapper Jack’s, a bright, blue-colored building on Center Street that’s unmissable. For fun sake cocktails and delicious beers, make your way to Jack of Cups. Don’t miss the frozen screwdrivers at Taco Boy, beachfront pina coladas at BLU‘s beachfront bar, or pineapple jalapeno margaritas at Rita’s. If you’re one of those people who gravitates to the Irish pub in every city, St James Gate is where you need to be.
Sure, you can find plenty of your run-of-the-mill beach stores on Folly in case you need anything from sunglasses and bathing suits to tacky magnets and tees, but shop with the local surfers at Ocean Surf Shop for all your surf wear needs (located right above our Folly Beach office). For anything from gourmet to-go sammies, boiled peanuts, cool hats, beer, groceries, coffee, and hotdogs, go to the beloved Folly institution of Bert’s Market. It’s actually a must, so put this at the top of your list and thank us later.
Nothing says, “This is the good life” better than live music and an ocean breeze. Luckily, Folly is full of great local talent, and you’ll undoubtedly be able to catch some live tunes one of these spots: Loggerhead’s, Planet Follywood, Chico Feo, Surf Bar, or Drop In Deli.
There’s not a lot of choice when it comes to hotels, but there’s plenty of beach rentals — with either the gorgeous marsh or the Atlantic Ocean as your backyard — where you can make yourself right at home. We recommend stopping by our Folly Beach Vacation Rental office or browse our website for all our vacation properties. Summertime books up quick, but the Fall and Spring are still beautiful times to enjoy the Charleston Coast.
And in the off-chance that you’re in town on a Wednesday during the summer, check out the Folly Farmer’s Market, where you’ll find locally made goodies you can take back home with you. Also on Wednesdays in the summer months, we do movies on the beach! Bring a blanket and watch a movie in the sand behind the Tides hotel. Seeing something like Top Gun while the waves crash behind you — well, it doesn’t get much better than that, folks.