Photo courtesy of South Carolina State Park Service
Charles Towne Landing
When English settlers first arrived in the Lowcountry, they chose a marshy spit of land in present-day West Ashley for their first settlement, naming it Charles Town Landing. While the site is relatively unknown to tourists, it’s often a first stop for locals showing friends around town. The sprawling area includes a fort, a state-of-the-art visitor center and museum, and, unexpectedly, an impressive zoo, which houses an array of animals native to South Carolina, including bison, pumas, and elk. On your visit, be sure to check out the waterfront, where you can find a replica of a 17th-century wooden ketch as well as real cannons that fire during live history demonstrations. You’ll also spot plenty of locals walking their dogs or riding bikes along the six miles of idyllic trails that circumnavigate the state-owned property.