United States

Charleston, SC

A Guide to running in Charleston and nearby Kiawah Island

A popular vacation spot, Charleston, South Carolina is known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, renowned restaurants, and friendly people. The main downtown and harbor area is known as The Battery. Running in Charleston is a treat, with numerous scenic and historic routes, taking advantage of the city’s waterfront setting, historic homes and buildings, and numerous rivers.

The best places to run in Charleston center around our downtown ‘runseeing’ tour, and the waterfront, including routes to the historic Citadel, over the bridge to Patriots Point. We also recommend the Sullivan’s Island for more waterfront running. For parks, there’s a great loop around Hampton Park and Brittlebank ParkJames Island Country Park, west of the city, has some scenic loops around a tidal marsh. For a great destination run, head to Kiawah Island, 25 miles southwest of Charleston, for 10 miles of fantastic beachfront running and 30 miles of bike paths. Further north, see our guide for Myrtle Beach.

The central part of Charleston is very walkable. The bus system is operated by the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA). The city and neighboring towns have developed along the Kanawha river to the east and west, though some residential areas can be found on the surrounding hills and nearby valleys. Note Charleston’s summer weather is very hot and humid, featuring near daily downpours and thunderstorms.

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Kiawah Island

Charleston, SC

This popular beach and golf resort is a barrier island 24 miles southwest of Charleston. It's a treat for running, with 10 miles of beach with packed sand, and 30 miles of bike trails. Private island but public can enter by foot.
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Charleston’s climate is influenced by a combination of its relatively low latitude, generally low elevation, the proximity of the warm Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, and the Appalachian Mountains. Often rainy, winters are mild and summers are hot and humid.charleston-sc-climate

Charleston has a fairly compact downtown, with numerous places to stay. The Downtown Route, The Battery Along the Water Loop, Waterfront to Citadel Route, and the start of Cannon Park to Patriots Point runs are all accessible from downtown hotels. There are also a few places to stay over by James Island, near the James Island County Park. Although not shown on the map, there are a few hotels over by Patriots Point as well.

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Here is a guide to a few running stores in and around the Charleston area. All stores are easily accessible on public transportation via bus, if you don’t have access to a car.

The Foot Store (North Charleston)

10 Miles outside downtown Charleston

Accessible via the green bus line 11 from the Mary St/ Meeting St stop to the W. Montague Ave/ Calvin St stop.

Holds a Park Circle Group Run every Monday at 6:00PM. Run leaves from the North Charleston Rec Center. 2 – 4 miles long.

Fleet Feet Sports (Mount Pleasant) 

Roughly 5 miles outside downtown Charleston

Accessible via the purple line bus route 40 from downtown the Mary St/Meeting St stop to the Houston Northcutt Blvd/Ann Edwards Ln stop.

Hosts a free group run on Mondays at 6:30PM. Leaves from store location. Both 3 and 5 mile route options. 

Hosts a free Saturday morning Summer group run at 7:45AM from end of May – end of July. Leaves from Mount Pleasant store location.

The Foot Store (North Charleston)

Holds a running clinic once a month (every third Wednesday) from 6:30 – 8:00PM, at North Charleston store location. Topics vary from running technique to medical conditions to new shoewear.

Fleet Feet Sports (Mount Pleasant)

Free 3-mile pub run: Second and fourth Wednesday of each month. 6:30PM. Different vendor sponsors run each month.