Situated on the outskirts of Charleston are the charming Johns Island and Wadmalaw Island, celebrated for their off-the-beaten path restaurants, fantastic farmlands and produce, artists, and beautiful landscapes. A visit to these neighboring islands is a must for Charleston locals and visitors who are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the quaint countryside.
Johns Island and Wadmalaw Island are approximately a 30-minute drive from downtown Charleston and are celebrate for their hundred-year-old oaks, friendly folk, and slow-pace lifestyle.
Below are five of our favorite things to do on Johns Island & Wadmalaw Island:
Visit Freshfields Village: Situated right where Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, and Johns Island meet up, Freshfields Village is a fantastic place to shop for gifts, enjoy delectable local cuisine, and explore Lowcountry culture. With a wide variety of apparel shops, art boutiques, island rentals, jewelry stores, and salons, it’s not unlikely to spend an entire day perusing the shops at Freshfields! And when you want to take a break from shopping, have a seat at one of Freshfield’s charming cafes or restaurants, which include Newton Farms Deli, King Street Grill, Ladles Homemade Soups, La Tela Pizzeria, and more.
Image above owned by and taken from the Freshfields Village website
Visit the Freshfields Village website for more information.
Enjoy wine and sweet tea vodka tastings: For some classic Southern wines, stop by the Irvin-House Vineyards on Wadmalaw Island and taste some of their award-winning muscadine wines (muscadine is a fruit native to the Southeast). The vineyard, which actually just hosted their annual Blessing of the Vines event, produces five different labels and offers both public and private tours and tastings. During the tours and tastings, which happen from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, you’ll have the opportunity to sample all five of their varietals, as well as learn about the history of the vineyard. Tastings are $4 per person and include a complimentary wine glass. The vineyards are closed in January.
Image above owned by and taken from the Irvin-House Vineyards website
Visit the Irvin-House Vineyards website for more information.
Also located on Irvin-House Vineyards is the Firefly Distillery, which produces vodkas using tea from America’s only working tea garden, just down the road. Some of the products produced at the Firefly Distillery include the original Sweet Tea Vodka, Skinny Tea Vodka, Raspberry Tea Vodka, Peach Tea Vodka, Mint Tea Vodka, Lemon Tea Vodka, Flavored Bourbon, and Southern Lemonade Vodka (a product that is ONLY sold at the Distillery), as well as liqueurs, which include Peach Cobbler, Pecan Pie, Banana Pudding, and Coconut Cake. Firefly Distillery tastings occur from Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 am – 5 pm at $6 per person (the Distillery is closed in January).
Visit the Firefly Distillery website for more information.
Stop by Rosebank Farms: Situated roadside, the Rosebank Farms is a traditional farmers market with fresh produce and flowers, grown right on Johns Island. The owner, Sidi Limehouse, has deep heritage roots in Charleston that date back to the 1700s! So, if you’re looking for the freshest produce in the area, stopping by Rosebank Farms is an absolute must! In fact, many of the restaurants in Charleston get their produce daily from Rosebank Farms.
For more information on Rosebank Farms, visit their website.
Dine at the Fat Hen or Wild Olive: You’ve heard of all the fabulous restaurants in downtown Charleston, but what about the hidden gems on Johns Island? Two of our favorite Johns Island restaurants include the Fat Hen and Wild Olive.
The Fat Hen restaurant produces unique dishes that have been inspired by Charleston’s Huguenot culture (it’s a combination of Lowcountry and French cuisine). Ask any foodie in Charleston and they’ll tell you that the Fat Hen is one of Charleston’s most fantastic restaurants! Some of their famous dishes include hickory smoked BBQ brisket, coq au vin, Shrimp and Grits, lamb shank, crab cakes, meatloaf, braised short rib, and much more.
Image above owned by and taken from the Fat Hen website
For more information about the Fat Hen, visit their website.
The Wild Olive, on the other hand, offers mouthwatering Italian dishes, using fresh, local ingredients, as well as imported Italian ingredients to bring the rich spirit of Italian cuisine to life. It’s also important to note that all of their pasta is in-house made. Some of the must-try dishes at Wild Olive include their house-cured salumi (as a starter), chicken parmesan, seared sea scallops and gnocchi, baked penne with sweet sausage, and ravioli (stuffed with collards and cheese, ham hock sugo, and spiced pecans).
Visit the Wild Olive website for more information.
Explore the Charleston Tea Plantation: As America’s ONLY tea garden, the Charleston Tea Plantation, situated on Wadmalaw Island, is completely unique to the area and offers visitors a deep insight into tea and plantation culture. The Plantations 127 acres of Camellia Sinensis tea plants can be explored via an educational trolley tour, which is narrated by the famous tea taster and founder of American Classic Tea, William Barclay Hall. During the trolley tour, you’ll learn about the plantation’s history and explore tea facts and information.
Image above owned by and taken from the Charleston Tea Plantation website
Visitors to the Charleston Tea Plantation can also enjoy leisurely walks through the garden, before visiting the Tea Factory to learn about tea production. There is also a Plantation Gift Shop that sells the Plantation’s locally produced teas, as well as tea trinkets, such as teapots and mugs. It’s also important to note that the tea from this plantation is used in the production of the Firefly Distillery products!
For more information about the Charleston Tea Plantation, visit their website.