West Ashley is small enough to get around pretty easily but big enough to keep finding new areas to explore. To give you a head start, here are five places to take advantage of that you might overlook.

1. The Farmers Market

It's true that downtown Charleston has the area's largest farmer's market every Saturday, but if you want to avoid hunting for parking and long lines, West Ashley's weekly market is a great alternative. It's a little hard to notice from the street, as it's tucked behind a shopping center at Sycamore Avenue and Highway 61. But the park where it's hosted has plenty of space for kids to run around while you peruse the local food and artisan goods. It's held 3-7 p.m. every Wednesday from April to October.

2. Magnolia Park and Community Garden

Amid the close-set houses on Magnolia Road west of the Ashley just north of Sycamore Avenue is a place that surprises: It’s the Magnolia Community Garden, a series of orderly, rectangular garden boxes on a verdant 3.7-acre piece of city property where people can grow their own vegetables and learn about sustainable horticultural practices.

3. Northbridge Park

Tune out the sound of nearby traffic and focus on a beautiful sunset at this park that sits on the water between West Ashley and North Charleston. It includes an area to launch canoes and kayaks into the Ashley River, a dock, a 200-foot pier, picnic tables and 16 parking spaces.

4. Ethnic food

Restaurant-wise, West Ashley has a variety of ethnic cuisines to choose from, with Italian, Greek, Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Mexican food well-represented. It has two of the area’s only traditional Indian restaurants, Taste of India on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Nirlep on Savannah Highway. They’re both worth a trip, either for take-out or dining in.  

5. Bees Landing Recreation Center 

Tucked in the Grand Oaks neighborhood, this complex boasts an array of athletic fields and courts, a full schedule of indoor classes and activities, and space to relax and play outside, including a dog park.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 843-937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.

Abigail Darlington is a local government reporter focusing primarily on the City of Charleston. She previously covered local arts & entertainment, technology, innovation, tourism and retail for the Post and Courier.