While it doesn't have a main strip of bars, shops and restaurants like downtown Charleston, you can definitely find a good time throughout West Ashley. Here are some of the best spots to go bar-hopping, catch some fresh air, or to max out your family time.
This little area around Savannah Highway and Magnolia Road has become a hot nightspot over the past few years with its diverse collection of bars, restaurants, shops, artists and musicians. Try some locally brewed craft beer at Charles Towne Fermentory or go exploring for vintage garb at the area's many consignment shops.
2. Charles Towne Landing
This marshy point on the Ashley River is where a group of English settlers landed in 1670 to establish the original Carolinas colony. Today the Charles Towne Landing State Park depicts life in Colonial Charleston, showing the hardships of starting the colony. Interpretive rangers and a self-guided history trail and audio tour are ways to absorb the park, along with a recently modernized Visitors Center. Other sites to see are the sailing ship Adventure, a 17th-century replica of the vessel that brought Colonists across the Atlantic. An Animal Forest Natural Habitat features animals native to the state, including otters, bison and an elk. Charleston County is planning a park next to the state park.
3. West Ashley Park
If you're looking for a reason to get your kids off their devices, venture out to this local park off the Glenn McConnell Parkway across from West Ashley High School. It has lighted fields for soccer, baseball and softball, an 18-hole disc golf course, playgrounds, a fishing area, a dog run and a wooded nature trail by the marsh.
4. Citadel Mall
Charleston's only indoor mall is off Orleans Road, and while many traditional retailers have moved out in recent years, it still has plenty to offer, such as the area's only Target store, Dick's Sporting Goods and the large updated Southeast Cinemas movie theater. Parents will enjoy the new OutSlide In, an indoor playground opening in the mall sometime in 2018.
5. West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway
Both the Bikeway and the longer Greenway are former railroad rights-of-way that were repurposed into bike and pedestrian paths a few decades ago, and are now in the process of being updated with more connections and new features such as public art. They're both a great way to commute without a car, or to just get outside for some exercise.