Charleston City Guide

By: Janice McDonald

Relaxing and Unwinding in Charleston

©2006 Charleston CVB Charleston's Cypress Gardens, with 163 acres of beautiful plant life, is theperfect place for a relaxing stroll or a peaceful boat ride.

With its laidback atmosphere, Charleston is definitely a place to relax and unwind. In fact, you can't help but relax amid the Spanish moss laden oak trees and historic setting. And breathing in the salt air from the ocean will infuse a sense of calm without you even realizing it.

Within the city itself there are world-class spas from which to partake and world-class golf courses and tennis courts are only minutes away. Charleston also is home to several quality parks that feature breathtaking landscapes, serene waters, and interesting walking paths to help you get lost in it all.


Insider's Guide: The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Charleston

Insider's Guide: The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Charleston

Stroll through a 16th-century maze, an 18th-century herb garden, and nature trails on 50 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (3550 Ashley River Rd). You'll also can use the designated picnic areas or enjoy bike riding or canoeing.

Admire the gardens and rest under the live oaks and palmettos at White Point Gardens (Murray Boulevard and E Bay St), toward the tip of the peninsula. You'll find a breathtaking view in watching the Ashley and Coopers rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean as you take in the ocean breezes.

Cypress Gardens (3030 Cypress Garden Rd) features 163 acres of luxuriant dogwoods, azaleas, camelias, and daffodils. You can wander along four miles of walking trails, paddle a flat-bottomed boat on the water, or explore a freshwater aquarium on the property.

Enjoy fishing or a relaxing day in the sun at Folly Beach County Park (1010 W Ashley Ave). This location has 4,000 feet of ocean frontage, a 600-foot beach, and a 1,045-foot fishing pier on the six-mile barrier island of the same name. Just a few miles south of Charleston, this beach community is like stepping back in time. With a history dating back to the 1600s, this is where George Gershwin hung out when he wrote his musical "Porgy and Bess." Get there by Crossing the Ashley River Bridge (Route 30) and follow Route 171 or Folly Beach Road.

Local Day Spa Urban Nirvana has locations in Mount Pleasant (636 D Long Point Rd) and West of the Ashley (8 Windermere Blvd). The name says it all, you can spend a whole day here taking a variety treatments including "menage a trios," a massage in which two masseuses work on you at once.

Charleston operates 60 public tennis courts in areas throughout the metro region. The largest, with 15 hard courts, is simply called The Tennis Center (19 Farmfield Ave, in West Ashley). Other centers include the Maybank Tennis Center (1880 Houghton Dr) with eight lighted hard courts and three clay courts, and the six lighted courts at Moultrie Tennis Center (corner of Broad & Ashley Aves).

If golf is your game you have about a dozen golf courses to choose from in the Charleston area. Check out the Golf Club at Wescott Plantation (5000 Wescott Club Dr, North Charleston) or the Shadowmoss Golf Course (20 Dunvegan Dr, Charleston). In nearby Mount Pleasant, you can go to the Charleston National Country Club (1360 National Drive) or Patriots Point Golf Links (100 LO Bud Darby Blvd). The Charleston Municipal Golf Course (2110 Maybank Highway) is a public course and, as they like to say, has the lowest priced golf balls of any place in Charleston.

Beaches on Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms are located north of Charleston on the islands next to Mount Pleasant. Sullivan's Island is more of a beach community, but both offer wide Atlantic beaches. Take Highway 17 across the Cooper River and make a right on Coleman Boulevard through downtown Mount Pleasant and the follow the signs to Sullivan's Island.

If you'd rather not strike out on your own in Charleston, an organized tour might be just the thing.

Go to the next page for our guide to organized tours in Charleston.