From the small green spots in downtown Charleston surrounded by modern urban architecture to the vast green spaces of James Island, Charleston has a park for any season and any expectation. Most parks offer sport fields, children’s playgrounds and picnic areas. Some are hidden neighborhood green spaces where locals come for a picnic or to walk their dogs. Others are historic spots with important monuments and even forts.
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Allan Park is a small square park in downtown Charleston, in the Hampton Park Terrace neighborhood. It is a popular spot for neighborhood events such as music concerts and social celebrations and gatherings. The park was developed in the early 20th century on a piece of land donated to the city by the widow of James Allan, the developer of a large part of Hampton Park Terrace. Allan Park is a great spot to slow down, relax, have a picnic, read a book, or catch up with a friend. It has a lovely fountain in the center surrounded by thousands of plants, shrubs and trees. There are plenty of benches for the neighbors or tourists to sit and enjoy this tranquil oasis in the heart of the city.
365 Ashley Ave, Charleston, SC 29403, Phone: 843-724-7327
2.Bees Landing Recreation Center
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Opened in 2010, the Bees Landing Recreation Complex is located in the West Ashley neighborhood of Charleston. It offers a range of opportunities for recreation such as tennis courts, boardwalk, athletic fields, and a fenced dog run. It is a popular spot for neighbors and youth groups to come for a game of basketball, football, baseball, or soccer. The center also provides fitness classes for seniors, summer camps, and special events. The dog run is surrounded by several trees that provide pleasant shade for the whole area. There are also park benches and drinking fountains for dogs and humans. The area is intersected by a network of hiking and biking trails.
1580 Ashley Gardens Blvd, Charleston, SC 29407, Phone: 843-402-4571
Brittlebank Park is a ten-acre park located next to the Joe Riley Stadium overlooking Charleston’s Ashley River. The park has a kids’ playground with climbing structures and two piers that extend out over the Ashley River. Fishing, shrimping, and crabbing are popular activities in the park, which has several paved walking and biking trails running through it. There is an off-leash area at the north side where dogs can roam freely. While on the edges of Charleston’s historic downtown, the park is one of the most scenic and charming green spaces in the area. There are popular live music concerts in the park during the summer music festival.
185 Lockwood Dr, Charleston, SC 29403
Located on Calhoun Street near the Medical University of South Carolina and sandwiched between Rutledge and Ashley Avenues, Cannon Park is one of Charleston’s most outstanding parks. In the shade of large live oaks there is a small playground that kids love. The grassy area is very popular with dogs and dog owners. A sidewalk around the park is used extensively by runners and joggers. The park is located at the site of a sawmill pond that was later converted to a convention hall, a museum, and a hospital. The remnants of the hall, destroyed by fire in 1981, are still visible in the form of four large columns, the most visible features of the park.
131 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone: 843-724-5003
5.Charles Towne Landing
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Charles Towne Landing is a State Historic Site located on a marshy point off the Ashley River. This is the spot where in 1670 a small group of English settlers landed and established the future Carolina colony. Charles Towne Landing Visitor Center offers hands-on exhibits, knowledgeable staff members answer questions, and visitors can take a self-guided audio tour on the history trail. They can also tour the Adventure, a replica of Charleston's 17th-century sailing ship, watch cannons fired, or observe bears, otters, bison, and other animals at the Animal Forest zoo set in a natural habitat. The Landing grounds include 80 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, a magnificent live oak alley, and the historic Legare Waring House.
1500 Old Towne Rd, Charleston, SC 29407
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Historic Colonial Lake is one of the most popular Charleston parks. For the last 150 years it has been a favorite place for gathering of friends and families, outdoor recreation, afternoon strolls, and dog-walking. Walkers and joggers can be seen running around the park at all times of the day. This scenic tidal pond is also very popular with fisherman. The park has a seating wall along Rutledge Avenue, many benches scattered throughout the park and plenty of wide open green space. Colonial Lake Park is also known as a favorite spot for wedding proposals and other big announcements. Visitors will notice a small rose bush planted below every palmetto tree in the park. The bush is known as the Peggy Martin Rose, one of two plants to survive Hurricane Katrina in Mrs. Peggy Martin’s Louisiana garden after being submerged for two weeks under 20 feet of saltwater.
46-54 Ashley Ave, Charleston, SC 29401
7.Gadsdenboro (Concord) Park
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Gadsdenboro Park is one of the newest parks in downtown Charleston. The five-acre park is located on Concord Street just across from the Charleston Maritime Center and not far from the South Carolina Aquarium. The park was formerly called Concord Park and includes a large green space with a range of sports fields and plenty of amenities such as a nautical-themed playground, a walking path, a bocce court, chess tables, game tables, and public restrooms. The recreation spaces are broken by beautiful flower gardens. The park is located in the heart of the Concord Park mixed-use development.
303 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401
8.Corrine Jones Playground
Located in the heart of the Charleston’s Wagener Terrace neighborhood, Corrine Jones Playground is a friendly neighborhood park with picnic tables, plenty of benches, a tennis court, a basketball court, and a soccer field. There is also a large playground that was added during the big makeover in 2011, as well as a shade structure constructed by Clemson students. The park, which was previously called Hester Park, has free Wi-Fi access as a result of a partnership with the Speedwell Foundation, the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation and the Charleston Parks Conservancy. The Conservancy also plans to add a community garden, which will be created, as other Conversancy projects, mostly by local volunteers.
36 Marlow Dr, Charleston, SC 29403
Melton Peter Demetre Park is a municipal waterfront park on James Island in Charleston, South Carolina. The park was named Melton Peter Demetre Park after the landowner who deeded the land to the city for the use as a park. Among locals, the park is known as Sunrise Park. The park has two large sandy beaches, a covered picnic area, a large pond, marshes, fields of green grass, and a hiking trail. There is also a 190-foot long fishing pier that extending into the harbor. At the end of the pier is a 20-by-20-foot long pier head, a 40-foot long floating dock, and steps leading to the beach. The park offers spectacular views of Patriots Point, the Ravenel Bridge, the Battery, Sullivan's Island, Fort Sumter, and Mount Pleasant in the background. The park is one of the most popular public landmarks on Charleston Harbor and is visited by thousands of locals and visitors every year.
640 Wampler Dr, Charleston, SC 29412, Phone: 843-724-7327
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Located on the western borders of Charleston's downtown near the Citadel, historic Hampton Park is one of the largest and oldest parks in the city. The 60-acre green oasis is a perfect neighborhood spot for a pick-up game of baseball, a family afternoon picnic, or a leisurely stroll under the shade trees. There is a lovely relaxing pond full of ducks, a romantic gazebo, and plenty of green space for a nap. What is today a relaxing spot has a long and turbulent history that dates from 1700s when it was part of an orange grove plantation owned by local John Gibbes. In 1835, part of the plantation was converted into the Washington Race Course. During the last days of the American Civil War, the entire area was used as a prisoner-of-war camp. Over two hundred Union soldiers died and were buried in the camp.
30 Mary Murray Dr, Charleston, SC 29403
11.Hazel Parker Playground
Located in the historic downtown Charleston about halfway between the Battery and Waterfront Park, Hazel Parker Playground is a great little neighborhood playground mostly known to the locals but rarely visited by outsiders. There is a dog park where dogs can run off leash, basketball and tennis courts, a ball field and lot of playground equipment. The playground has different sections for kids of different ages. The section for toddlers is gated so that they do not wonder off. A recreational building offers a range of activities at different times of the year. The park also has picnic tables with benches and a drinking water fountain.
70 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone: 843-958-6485
12.James Island County Park
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James Island County Park on James Island is one of Charleston’s largest parks. It has something for everyone, any time of the year: open grassy meadows, a splash park, ropes course, the climbing wall, running trails, a little pond for swimming, a spray play fountain, miles of paved trails for hiking, biking and skating, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, 18-hole disc golf course, Splash Zone seasonal waterpark, picnic tables and grills, a dog park, and much more. The campground has 124 sites and ten rental vacation cottages near the Stono River marsh. There are meeting and reception facilities and a covered shelter for rent. Visitors can also rent pedal boat, kayak, or bike.
871 Riverland Dr, Charleston, SC 29412, Phone: 843-406-6990
Located in the heart of Charleston and surrounded by some of the city's most prestigious buildings, Marion Square is a beautiful block of greenery and flowers between Meeting Street and King Street, frequented by the students from nearby College of Charleston as well as tourists taking a break from touring the city’s landmarks. From April to November, the square is home to the seasonal Charleston Farmer's Market that turns the square into a giant dining patio. Marion Square is permanent home to some of Charleston’s most important monuments such as the Holocaust Memorial and a statue of South Carolina native John C. Calhoun. Marion Square’s public bandstand is used seasonally for outdoor concerts.
329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403, Phone: 843-724-7327
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Martin Park is a public park in Charleston, South Carolina between Lee, Jackson, Hanover, and America Streets. This fairly small neighborhood park has a softball field, a kids’ playground, a basketball court, several tennis courts, a community center, and a 50-meter swimming pool, the largest public swimming pool in Charleston and one of the only two pools open year round. Community Center offers a range of activities for all ages. Once a month, their staff provides basic art supplies and teaches kids how to create their own art piece. The art program takes place the first Monday of the month, and kids of all ages are welcome.
155 Jackson St, Charleston, SC 29403, Phone: 843-973-7222
Mcmahon Playground is a multi-use park located near the recreational building for programmed activities and a multiuse field of the Hampton Park near the park’s entrance. The park has a big playground, athletic field, basketball court, baseball field, picnic tables, plenty of benches, and beautiful flower gardens. The playground building offers board games and help with homework and reading during working hours. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the staff teaches kids to read music and play their favorite instrument. Kids have to bring their own instruments.
55 Cleveland St, Charleston, SC 29403, Phone: 843-724-7327
Located in front of Mitchell Elementary School, Mitchell Playground is the oldest playground in Charleston and South Carolina. The original park was just a turf field surrounded by a green hedge and shade trees. The gates led into the playground at each corner and paths crossed the park diagonally. Equipment included monkey bars, swings, and joggling boards. The playground had tennis courts, a football field, and a basketball court. Originally Mitchell Playground did not allow black children. Later into the era of segregation, Mitchell Playground was reserved to black children only. The park has been renovated several times since and it still has a full basketball court, large playground, a ball field, wide-open space, picnic tables, and bike racks.
145 Fishburne St, Charleston, SC 29403, Phone: 843-724-7404
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Moultrie Playground is located near Colonial Lake on an area of mud flats close to the west bank of the Ashley River north of Broad Street. The authorities were looking at that piece of land as a possible playground since 1912 after the success of the first city playground at Mitchell Elementary School caused a lot of interest in playgrounds for city kids. The park opened in 1930 and today has a playground, six lighted hard tennis courts, a basketball court, and a ball field. A recreational building is open during working hours and offers a range of programs for children.
41 Ashley Ave, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone: 843-724-5003
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Northbridge Park is a public park in the West Ashley area of Charleston under the Cosgrove Bridge on the Charleston side of the Ashley River. The area has long been a favorite local spot for residents to enjoy fishing and crabbing. The park opened in 2014, and its main feature is the 271-foot aluminum pier with the 15-foot by 30-foot pier head, the 24-foot by 30-foot gathering platform, and the 80-foot long gangway that leads to the launching deck for canoes and kayaks. There is also a picnic area, a network of trails, a pet station, and 16 parking spaces.
Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston, SC 29407
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Located on the banks of the Cooper River, Riverfront Park is a popular destination for locals and residents any time of the year. The park is bordered on one side by historic homes that were once occupied by the Charleston Naval Base officers, surrounded by mature oak trees, and enjoying beautiful river vistas. On another side, the park is bordered by Noisette Creek. A magnificent contemporary Performance Pavilion is located in the park. There is also a beautiful green meadow and a long promenade along the river. North Charleston holds many of its musical and public events and annual festivities in the park such as the 4th of July Festival. Riverfront Park is also home to the Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial.
1061 Everglades Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405
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20.The Battery Park
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The Battery is a defensive seawall and promenade as well as one of Charleston’s main landmarks. The park stretches along the lower shores of the Charleston peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, which form Charleston Harbor. The park is named for a civil-war defense artillery battery located at the site. Battery Park extends from the beginning of the seawall to the intersection of today’s Murray Boulevard and King Street. From the higher part of the promenade known as High Battery, there is a wonderful view of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, Fort Moultrie, and Sullivan's Island. The Charleston Battery Park is shaded by large oak trees and lined with Palmetto trees. It has plenty of park benches and a picturesque gazebo.
Charleston, SC 29401
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Located in Charleston’s historic Ansonborough neighborhood, Theodora Park adds a unique touch to a city world-famous for its historic buildings and gardens. With its imaginative integration of art and nature, Theodora Park is one of the city’s favorite places to rest, read a book, people watch, or just soak up the unique flavor of Charleston. In the heart of the park is a 32-foot-long fountain pool lined with handmade ceramic tiles. The fountain was created by the noted artist Paul Heroux. The park also has a gate, a stand-alone piece of art made by local blacksmith Philip Simmons. The park is considered a beautiful “outside room” of the nearby Charleston Gaillard Center.
94 Anson St, Charleston, SC 29401
Located in the heart of downtown Charleston, Washington Square Park is a serene, romantic spot with vivid blooming azaleas and Spanish moss hanging off of magnificent ancient live oaks. Nearby you will find modern downtown offices and buildings, including Charleston City Hall, the historic courthouse, and the South Carolina Historical Society. The park links the historic district's urban landscape with half a block of lush green space. The park is a perfect spot to sit on a bench and enjoy a breath of fresh air or taking a break from one of the city’s historical tour. The park was originally the location of the "Corbett's Thatched Tavern" before it was repurposed in 1818. Known as the Charleston "city square," it was renamed to honor the first American president in 1881.
80 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone: 843-724-7327
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Waterfront Park is an eight-acre park along the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina. The park received the 2007 Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Open in 1990, it is one of city’s most popular parks, with spectacular views of the Charleston Harbor. It offers manicured gardens, fountains, shady walking paths, and plenty of benches to enjoy the surrounding nature in pleasant shade. The park was designed by Stuart O. Dawson of Sasaki Associates. It is divided into distinct areas that combine riverfront and inland walking paths, all tied together by a magnificent fountain topped with a statue of a Palmetto tree. Stately palmetto trees create shaded barrier only yards away from the edge of the water.
1 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone: 843-724-7321
24.West Ashley Park
Located in the West Ashley area of Charleston, 260-acre West Ashley Park is one of the city’s largest recreational areas. It consists of four championship soccer fields, 18-hole disk golf course, two kids’ playgrounds, two lighted basketball courts, two youth softball fields, and plenty of green space for kids to run around and families to have a picnic. The park has lovely scenic views of the waterways and a fishing area. There is a designated dog run where pet owners can let their dogs have some fun off the leash. The park has a network of hiking trails and boardwalks that go through the forested wetlands in the surrounding area.
3601 Mary Ader Ave, Charleston, SC 29414
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25.White Point Garden
White Point Garden is a 5.7 acre public park located at the southern tip of Charleston peninsula, at the point where the Cooper and Ashley Rivers meet and merge with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the southern end of the Battery, Charleston defensive seawall and promenade. White Point Garden provides incredible views of the two rivers, Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse. This beautiful, wide open green space is also known for its turbulent history. Today, it is an ideal space for a shaded stroll under tall oak trees and palmettos. Here, you can experience a pleasant moment of respite from one of many benches or contemplate the city past while taking in the local monuments and markers that honor the park's distinctive moments in history.
2 Murray Blvd, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone: 843-724-7327
25 Best Charleston Parks
- Allan Park, Photo: sergey makarenko/stock.adobe.com
- Bees Landing Recreation Center, Photo: maureen rigdon/stock.adobe.com
- Brittlebank Park, Photo: LFRabanedo/stock.adobe.com
- Cannon Park, Photo: the_lightwriter/stock.adobe.com
- Charles Towne Landing, Photo: South Carolina Parks
- Colonial Lake, Photo: Patrick Hall/stock.adobe.com
- Gadsdenboro (Concord) Park, Photo: Azaliya (Elya Vatel)/stock.adobe.com
- Corrine Jones Playground, Photo: alisseja/stock.adobe.com
- Demetre Park, Photo: Pakhnyushchyy/stock.adobe.com
- Hampton Park, Photo: Threephet/stock.adobe.com
- Hazel Parker Playground, Photo: minianne/stock.adobe.com
- James Island County Park, Photo: Creativa Images/stock.adobe.com
- Marion Square, Photo: gb27photo/stock.adobe.com
- Martin Park, Photo: K Stocker/stock.adobe.com
- Mcmahon playground, Photo: ilkercelik/stock.adobe.com
- Mitchell Playground, Photo: Sasenki/stock.adobe.com
- Moultrie Playground, Photo: molotok289/stock.adobe.com
- Northbridge Park, Photo: Azaliya (Elya Vatel)/stock.adobe.com
- Riverfront Park, Photo: Liliia/stock.adobe.com
- The Battery Park, Photo: Wollwerth Imagery/stock.adobe.com
- Theodora Park, Photo: Thinapob/stock.adobe.com
- Washington Square, Photo: Kristina/stock.adobe.com
- Waterfront Park, Photo: eurobanks/stock.adobe.com
- West Ashley Park, Photo: cooperr/stock.adobe.com
- White Point Garden, Photo: susanne2688/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: susanne2688/stock.adobe.com