There are tons of things to do in Charleston all year round. The summer is one of the most popular times to visit the historic city and there is certainly not a lack of activities for friends and families to take part in. So as you make your plans to visit our wonderful coastal town, here are four things off the beaten path you should put on your to-do list.
1. The Birds of Prey Avian Conservation Center in Awendaw
This unique center is just about an hour away from Downtown Charleston and is totally worth the drive. The Birds of Prey center takes in injured birds and nurses them back to health to be released into the wild. If the bird is unable to be released, the center houses it, cares for it, and uses it to teach visitors. The organization's mission to care for injured birds and teach the public about birds; volunteers and employees inform the public about endangered birds and how we can help in conserving natural habitats. Prices for visiting vary depending on what you want to do at the center and the center is open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm.
2. Mepkin Abbey in Cordesville
This picturesque monastery is located an hour outside Charleston. It is home to beautiful waterfront gardens and religious art carved from fallen trees. Monks still live on the residence today. The hours for Mepkin Abbey are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 3 pm. The gardens are open daily from 9 am to 7 pm and guided tours of the church are available Tuesdays through Saturday at 11:30 am and 3 pm. Guests can visit the gift shop before they leave to get produce, books, and artwork from local, national, and international monastics.
3. Biggin Church Ruins in Moncks Corner
This Revolutionary War landmark is just up the road from Mepkin Abbey. The ruins were once part of the parish church of St. John's Parish. The original Biggin church was likely completed around 1711 or 1712; the church was used through the mid-nineteenth century and the adjoining cemetery is still in use today. During the Revolutionary War, British troops stored ammunition in the church and upon leaving it set it on fire. It was burned several other times, but was not rebuilt after the last time around the late 1800s. The spot is available to visit anytime as it is a small plot just off the road. It's the perfect place to get a glimpse of history and take great photos.
4. Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner
Santee Canal Park is also in Moncks Corner and is a former plantation. Sitting right on the Santee Canal, the park is the perfect mixture of history, nature, and beauty. There are walking and canoeing trails ideal for viewing wildlife. The Interpretive Center tells the history of the area, going as far back as 4,000 B.C.
It also includes a display of animals that one can expect to see around the region and a theater that plays informative films that detail the historical and natural significance of the area. Also on the property is the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center which chronicles 12,000 years of regional history.
The Stony Landing Plantation House still sits on the property; it is furnished with period reproduction furniture and is open for tours. The park is open from 9 am to 5 pm all week, the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 am to 4:30 pm and on Sundays from 1 pm to 4:30 pm. Park admission is $3 per person, $2 for senior citizens, and free for children 6 and younger; the park admission includes entry to the Interpretive Center and Berkeley Museum.
See you this summer!