Azalea Park

In the middle of town, the 12-acre park has ponds, paths, fountains, a gazebo and a collection of permanent sculptures. The park is enjoyable any time of year but is especially beautiful and in full bloom each spring, just in time for the annual Flowertown Festival. Open daily 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site

This site is the only one of the “lost towns” of the 1600s where some structures remain above ground: the bell tower from the St. George's Anglican Church, one of the oldest standing structures in the Lowcountry, and the oyster-shell concrete tabby fort, the best-preserved tabby fortification in the country. Visitors can see other remnants of a once vibrant community, or just enjoy the nature and beauty of this 325-acre site along the Ashley River. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (5 p.m. in winter). Admission is $2 for adults and $1.25 for seniors. 

Downtown Summerville 

Here, in historic downtown Summerville, you can take in a play by the Flowertown Players, visit some of the area’s top local bars and restaurants, shop at a smattering of specialty stores, or just take a casual stroll. Hutchinson Square, in the heart of downtown Summerville, is currently undergoing a revitalization that will bring the area back to its former glory as the jewel of the town. 

Jessen Boat Landing

This boat landing on the Ashley River also includes a fishing pier, walking trail and boardwalk area overlooking the picturesque river. Just off the north end of the parking lot, users will find the trailhead for Rotary Centennial Park, a short nature trail with a boardwalk and observation deck area. A planned expansion project will soon allow paddlers a separate area to launch their kayaks and boards.

Ashley River Blue Trail

The Ashley River Blue Trail winds its way through 30 miles of a tidally influenced ecosystem from the Great Cypress Swamp in upper Dorchester to Charleston Harbor. Its banks include settlements dating back centuries, including Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site, Drayton Hall, Magnolia Plantation, Middleton Place and Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site.

Dorchester County’s new launch, the Howard Bridgman River Access at Bacons Bridge, is a carry-down facility for canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and small jon boats. It is part of Ashley River Park, which is still in the planning stages but will include walking paths, a dog park, event space, a ropes course and more on an 85-acre tract off Bacons Bridge Road.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 843-937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.