The heat is on! Summer is here. School is out. And it’s time to enjoy the warm sunshine and cooling beach breezes. Sure, it can get a bit toasty in Charleston during the summer months, but there are plenty of ways to cool off.
Hit the beach! Charleston’s area beaches are the perfect places to splash in the surf and enjoy the cool ocean water on an especially hot day. There are four local beaches: Folly, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Kiawah Island.
Each beach has its own special vibe and unique characteristics. Folly Beach is a favorite among locals and surfers. And the beach is home to the Morris Island Lighthouse, first operational in 1876. This lighthouse, now just a few hundred yards offshore due to years of erosion, has served as inspiration for many paintings and photographs.
Isle of Palms is a popular spot for tourists with its hotels, restaurants and gift shops. Isle of Palms County Park offers parking for a daily fee, restrooms, showers and beach chair/umbrella rentals.
Sullivan’s Island is a quieter stretch of beach. It has no overnight accommodations but an excellent selection of restaurants for lunch or dinner before a walk on the beach.
Kiawah Island is largely private, but visitors can access is via Kiawah Beachwalker Park on the west end of the island. A Charleston County park, this facility has a picnic area, restrooms, beach chair/umbrella rentals, and lifeguards on duty during the summer.
It’s tough to beat a water slide on a hot, humid day. Charleston County Parks has three area waterparks. Splash Zone Waterpark at James Island County Park has a 200-foot tube slide, Caribbean play structure with slides, wheels and sprays and a 500-foot lazy river with an adventure channel featuring sprays and a waterfall. (photo/Gary Coleman)
Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark at Wannamaker County Park in North Charleston has a 27,000-square-foot wave pool, a tree house with 66 play elements and a lazy river. A kiddie pool area and toddler play area also are available.
Splash Island Waterpark is tucked into the trees at Palmetto Islands County Park in Mount Pleasant. The park features a 200-foot body flume, a swirling water ride and an area for small children and toddlers.
For refreshment and relaxation, book a sunset sail aboard the Schooner Pride, an 84-foot, three-mast schooner modeled after the classic coastal trading schooners. Take a leisurely sail through the Charleston harbor, purchase a glass of wine on board and soak up the beautiful views of the Holy City.
What’s your favorite way to stay cool during a Charleston summer?