A popular visitor destination, Charleston, South Carolina is known for its rich history, antebellum homes, and attractive setting on Charlestown Harbor. The main downtown area is known as ‘the Peninsula’, separated by the Ashley River to the west and the Cooper River to the east, with The Battery at its southern end. Across the water, Fort Sumter is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Running in Charleston is a treat, with numerous scenic and historic routes, taking advantage of the city’s waterfront setting, historic architecture, and numerous rivers that spill into the harbor.
The best places to run in central Charleston are, naturally, the gorgeous streets of the historic district and some nice waterfront running as well. Just north of downtown, there’s a nice run combining historic Hampton Park and The Citadel campus. Another memorable route is to run from downtown Charleston to Patriots Point, using the imposing Ravenel Bridge, which has a wide, protected pedestrian path and great views. Just over the bridge near Patriots Point, the Mount Pleasant Historic District is a ‘hidden gem’ run. We also recommend Sullivan’s Island for more waterfront and beach running. A good nearby running ‘excursion’ is James Island Country Park. For a longer off-road run close to Charleston, the West Ashley Greenway parallels US 17 for 8 miles. For a great destination run, head to Kiawah Island 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). Note that Charleston’s summer weather is very hot and humid, featuring near daily downpours and thunderstorms.