The Waterfront Park on the Cooper River is a gem from the recent past that Charleston. The eight-acre park features a broad open grassy expanse perfectly designed for picnics as well as smaller, more private areas. The pier allows visitors to walk out by the river and watch mammoth cargo ships head to the nearby port terminals. There are also covered bench swings where one can pass a sultry afternoon cooled by the harbor breeze. The highlight for kids is a splash fountain at the park entrance - just the thing for cooling off, for free, on a hot Southern summer afternoon. The free shuttle stops at the park entrance.
THE RAVENEL BRIDGE
The $632 million Ravenel Bridge linking Charleston and Mount Pleasant across the Cooper River is stunning to look at and more stunning to look off. The bridge, since it opened almost eight years ago, has become a new Charleston area landmark with its two soaring diamond-shaped supports. There's a pedestrian walkway along the harbor side of the bridge offering stunning views of Charleston Harbor, the city, Fort Sumter and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. It's a 2.7 mile walk, but on Saturdays and Sundays the bridge carries a steady stream of walkers, joggers and bicyclists across the river. The easiest place to park for free is on the Mount Pleasant side.