Charleston on the Cheap: Free Things to Do in 'The Holy City'

Whether you're visiting Charleston, South Carolina for the first time or regularly stay in the Holy City, the draw of complimentary local attractions and free things to do are highly appealing. Luckily, Charleston has a lot to offer both its local residents and tourists in the way of free events, historic sites, beaches and parks, both on and off the downtown peninsula.

Make the most of Charleston's mild climate and coastal disposition - explore the city's public parks and beaches to get a true taste of the natural beauty of the lowcountry. Make a day trip to Wadmalaw Island for a factory tour at the Charleston Tea Plantation, or Hampton Park and The Battery and White Point Gardens downtown. Charleston's beaches are a main draw for annual tourist visitors, and are equally enjoyed by local students and longtime residents. Make a visit to Sullivan's Island if you're traveling with a young family, or hit Folly Beach for bigger waves, surfing, and jet ski rentals. Both beaches have free parking!

Try out Charleston's art scene by joining in the fun of a free French Quarter Art Walk, which take place four times each year and include free food and wine at each participating gallery! Indulge the history buff in your group with a quick trip to the Charles Pinckney Historic Site, or plan for the fitness enthusiasts among you to enjoy a walk or run across the Ravenel Bridge, where anyone can enjoy some of the best views of Charleston around.



This National Historic Site, located in Mount Pleasant, is named for Charles Pinckney, an author and signer of the U.S. Constitution. The site is managed by the National Park Service, and is what remains of the Pinckney plantation, known then as...  Read More



Are you in search of a free attraction or outdoor space that's close to downtown Charleston for a romantic day trip or sunset viewing? You're in luck - Mount Pleasant's Pitt Street Bridge, as it is typically referred to, is located just a short...  Read More



This beautiful 127-acre farm and plantation, tea factory and gift shop are all a part of the country's only tea plantation, producing American Classic Tea in flavors like Governor's Grey, Charleston Breakfast, and Plantation Peach. Visitors to...  Read More



Organized by the Charleston Gallery Association with more than 40 local art galleries, Art Walks are a free and delightful way to experience Charleston's burgeoning art scene with wonderful company. These art walks take place four times each...  Read More



This nearly 70-acre green space, named for General Wade Hampton, a Civil War general and governor of South Carolina, is located just north of Charleston's bustling downtown, close to The Citadel military college. Hampton Park has been popular...  Read More

Sullivan's Island


The Town of Sullivan's Island boasts some of most pristine beaches in the Carolinas, with light grey to white sand and wide stretches of uncluttered shoreline. Alcohol and pets are both prohibited on this beach, keeping it a family-friendly...  Read More

Johns Island


Have you ever seen a tree that's more than 1,000 years old? How about one that's dated to more than 1,500 years of age? Visit the Angel Oak tree on John's Island, an ancient Live Oak located within an easy 30-minute drive from the Charleston...  Read More

Folly Beach


Located just a 20 minute drive from downtown Charleston, Folly Beach, also dubbed "The Edge of America," is a family-friendly beach town popular with college students, surfers, and out of town vacationers year round. Choose Folly as your...  Read More



This magnificent cable-stayed bridge carries U.S. Highway 17 North and South across the Cooper River, connecting downtown Charleston with the city of Mount Pleasant. The bridge, which is host to an annual spring 10K road race called The Cooper...  Read More

Battery Park & White Point Gardens


Hit up a nearby bakery or sandwich shop on Broad Street and bring your lunch over to the White Point Gardens at the Charleston Battery for an afternoon well-spent out of doors! Widely considered to be one of Charleston's most iconic historic...  Read More


Meet Clare Sweeney

A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare is always venturing between traveling abroad and her beloved Lowcountry. 

Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days...  More About Clare