by Mary Gallagher
One of the best days we’ve spent in the Charleston area was visiting the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site near the Ashley River. Here English settlers landed in 1670 and founded the Carolinas colony. This is a great multi generational experience but with 80 acres of gardens alone it’s huge! Kids can run off a weeks steam without disturbing anyone. Benches dot the area for those that need to rest.
At different days and times during the month interpretive rangers depict life in Colonial Charleston as well as a calendar of other special events. The day we visited was an ordinary day and it was still wonderful. There is a self-guided history trail with an audio tour ($5) and a very informative 12 room, interactive museum in the Visitors Center that is good to go through before you start out.
This 663 acre state park is close to the city and features 7 miles of paved biking and walking trails, a zoo like nature walk with animals including bison, bear, deer and otters in very large open areas – which allows them to hide in the heat of the day!
There are wonderful views of the river and marshes, you can step on board and tour the historic Adventure, Charleston’s only 17th-century replica sailing ship and see cannons fired (check website for days and times). The grounds also include 80 acres of gardens, with an elegant live oak alley and the Legare-Waring House. Call for house tour days and hours.
There are no picnic shelters at Charles Towne Landing but two picnic areas that are available free of charge on a first come, first-served basis. One area has 25 picnic tables and four grills and the second area has 10 picnic tables and two grills. There are lots of green spaces to plop down on a blanket or toss a Frisbee. One can also leave the park to eat lunch nearby and return again for another round, just save your receipt.
Dogs on leashes are allowed (except for the animal forest area) and you can even have a children’s birthday party here with a program by the staff (a fee). A beautiful site for weddings too.
Then to accommodate visitors even more, they have free wheel chairs and strollers. There are a few areas that you need a little strength to push a wheel chair or stroller up a hill or two but those can be avoided if necessary. There is also a shuttle bus that runs on a nice route doing pickup and drop-offs. Unfortunately the bus is like a large golf cart and frequently there isn’t room to pick up additional passengers especially large family groups. I faded before covering the full 7 miles and rode the shuttle route too.
Reasonable admission prices for an entire days outing $7.50 adult $3.75 senior $3.50 6-15. Open 7 days a week 9am – 5pm except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Free parking.
We will be returning with guests!