The dozens of options for quality golfing in the Charleston area are no secret. Neither are the choice spots for fishing.

But if what you are looking for is a bit of DIY recreation, there are plenty of things to do that are a little more off the beaten path. 


To truly embrace the great outdoors, it may require an extended stay. That’s where the local camping options come into play. For starters, James Island County Park offers a little of everything. Doesn’t matter if you’re a traditional camper, if you need space for an RV, or require a recreational cottage. The park has space and facilities for all of the above. Plus, it has a great Splash Zone for cooling off all summer long.

Nearby, Bull’s Island, Edisto Beach and Hunting Island state parks are beachfront locations that are ideal for a night under the stars.

Riding horseback

Usually, folks think of downtown Charleston carriage tours when horseback riding is mentioned. But in the Charleston area, horse transportation extends beyond the historic district. Seabrook Island Equestrian Center offers trail rides on mainland and along the beach. And if you have your own horse, there are public equestrian trails at the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center on Johns Island. Middleton Place Equestrian Center has 6,000 acres to ride on through the forest, along with guided trail rides. Or take your own horse. Camping is available, too.  

Outdoor shooting range

Want to practice your aim? Visit Boggy Head, an outdoor shooting range east of Moncks Corner in the Francis Marion National Forest. The ranges include large sand hills behind the targets, as well as shooting tables. They also accommodate pistols, rifles or shotguns, so just take your pick. And if you’re not looking to drive in that direction, the Francis Marion National Forest offers two range facilities for still target shooting. In addition, there is a handful of shooting ranges to choose from in the Charleston/North Charleston area.

Take a hike

Let’s say all of the usual touristy attractions become too much, and you need something a little more serene. The Lowcountry has you covered with its array of hiking trails. A ferry ride to Bull’s Island will give you immediate access to some high-quality trails, which are also part of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. And don’t forget the Francis Marion National Forest or the Palmetto Trail, which extends 425 miles. Obviously a nice portion of that is in Charleston County. Other trails can be found at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel, and Edisto Beach State Park.

On the water

Throughout the summer, the College of Charleston sailing team offers cheap racing opportunities for beginners and regulars. And if sailing doesn’t do the job, kayak tours are offered at Shem Creek and the Charleston Harbor. In addition, blackwater and saltwater expeditions make for pretty fun experiences.

Look at the birds

Some prefer people-watching, but bird-watching is more popular in the Lowcountry. Cape Romain in Awendaw offers some cool bird-watching opportunities, and so does the Francis Marion National Forest in Huger. Also in Awendaw is the Center for Birds of Prey, which gives visitors insight into the lives of dozens of birds of prey. These include eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, kites and vultures. Finally, birding is a big feature at Santee Delta, which sits just north of McClellanville. The largest one on the East Coast, the popular delta is part of a state Wildlife Management Area.

Reach Andrew Miller at 843-937-5599. Follow him on Twitter @APMILLER_PandC

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