TRIPS: Free Things to do in Charleston, SC

If you’re new here, Creating Really Awesome Free Trips is a series that ihappens every Thursday (and some Tuesdays) this summer on C.R.A.F.T.! I love to travel, and hope this series inspires you to take a little road trip to somewhere near or far and explore!
Free things to do in Charleston, SC
Hi!  I’m Laura (my blogging alter ego is Smallgood).  I share small, good things about my life at Smallgood Hearth. Last year, I really enjoyed the Creating Really Awesome Free Trips series and showing you fun, free things to do in Raleigh.  I wanted to share some free things to do in Charleston, SC, another city that has captured our heart.
Bigbad and I went there for part of our honeymoon, and we’ve been back several times.  We love the vibe there that celebrates good food, good music, good gatherings.  Everything is draped in that gorgeous Spanish moss that creates the movie set landscape that almost makes the humidity forgivable. It’s easy to get caught up in the shopping and the food and all of the historical tours and museums and homes that you could easily spend far too much.  But even with a small budget, the city is still a wonderful vacation spot. These are some of our favorite locations and attractions:


1. Angel Tree: What’s the oldest thing you’ve seen? For me, my civics teacher is close second to this 300+ year old oak.  Supposedly it’s the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi.  It’s a beast.  But I like to stop and think of the stories she could tell.  She was here before the Declaration of Independence was signed.  She’s weathered a lot.  I don’t think she’s going anywhere.  The tree is on Johns Island and is free to visit.  There is a small gift shop and some picnic tables.
2. The Battery & White Point Gardens:  Iconic Charleston.  Enormous day dream fodder.  Go on your own walking tour.  Canons from Civil War for kids to climb on.

3. Charleston Tea Plantation:  If you’re heading out to the Angel Tree, you might was well make the trek to the Tea Plantation. The factory tour is free and informative (gift shop attached).  We didn’t go on the trolley tour because we were pressed for time, but it looks like gorgeous land.

4. Beach:  This goes without saying probably.  Hours of relaxation and fun can be had at the beach– swimming, fishing, shell collecting, sunbathing, sitting around practicing your stand-up comedy routine.  There’s nothing quite like it.

5. Arthur Ravenel Bridge: On a nice day, you could walk or bike the third longest suspension bridge in the Western hemisphere. It’s 4km long.  I’m not ready to try running it until someone can meet me on the other side.

Just married.

6. King Street: Yes, it’s primarily shopping.  A shopping mall stretched out along a nice stretch of road.  But even if you have no money, it’s still worth the walk for all of the people watching and the atmosphere.  Poking around cute boutiques is fun, but you have to stop and admire some of the old art in the architecture (Urban Outfitters is in a gorgeous old theater).

Accordion musician outside Charleston Library on King St.

7. Parks: There are several nice spots to relax and have a picnic.  Marion Square always has some activity going on no matter the time of year. Sometimes you’ll see farmer’s markets, festivals, or city Christmas tree. We had some photos taken of us atWashington Square Park which has monuments, pretty flowers, and most importantly, shade! 

8. Historic Homes:  Smallgood family did a tour of the Joseph Manigault House in Charleston in 2010.  Touring the inside of many of the historic homes cost a fee, but some like the House at Snee Farm are free for visitors.
the backside of the Joseph Manigault House

I hope one day you find yourself in The Holy City with the chance to take in all of its beauty, its stories, its culture, and its charm.

If you’re curious about why Charleston is called the Holy City, check it out here. And be sure to check out Laura’s blog for more fun stuff! 



  1. Hi Laura and Jamie,
    I hope you would consider adding our website to your blog post. Free Tours by Foot offers walking tours of Historic Charleston, including an architecture and food tour.

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