- Posted June 9, 2014 by
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
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Travel photo of the day
Going Wild in South Carolina
Much has been written about beautiful and historic Charleston, South Carolina, easily accessed by boat or by air into the Charleston International Airport (CHS). It’s also received high acclaims such as “#1 City in the US” three years in a row and “Best City in the World 2012” Conde Naste. All are true and it’s one of my favorite cities, visited by millions each year.
For this trip though, I wanted to escape the crowds and traffic the sultry southern weather is luring in right now, and go a little wild instead.
For that reason, I chose Patriots Point, located just a few minutes before entering the happy hustle and bustle of Charleston and a must see for anyone seeking a change from the mundane and typical vacations. It’s the perfect place to bond and have fun, while going wild in the lush natural environment abounding with wildlife that sets this paradise apart.
The Charleston Water Taxi stops at the Point, and also why I chose to stay there versus trekking by car into Charleston. From the Point, it’s a relaxing and short trip across the Cooper River to "The Holy City" with two other stops including the famous Waterfront Park and Maritime Center.
It’s currently $10 for all day, and as many times off and on as you wish. The first one leaves Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina at 9am, and the last one leaves the various spots at 15 minute increments after the hour just before dark daily and after dark on the weekends. Ask your crew for newly added stops and time changes. Once in Charleston, you can hop aboard the free trolley and get on and off to see all the sights iand scenes it has to offer and as many times as you wish.
Patriots Point is literally a point of land, jutting out into Charleston Harbor and is home to 28 historic aircraft, 3 vessels, the Medal of Honor Museum, and the Vietnam-Era Naval Support Base. From picnics on an authentic Flight Deck to intimate weddings, since 1975 the event planners have been evolving the sights and opportunities on and in these historic vessels.
Specialized activities and classes are available for schools, scouts, faith-based groups, and wherever your desire and their imagination can take you.
One resident vessel is The LAFFEY, a warship nicknamed, “The Ship That Would Not Die.” And die it didn’t. Its silhouette juts into the colorful sunsets where it shares its final resting place here on the Cooper River with the WWII Aircraft Carrier USS Yorktown, the Submarine Clamagore, and the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham.
What better place to celebrate Independence Day than here. Every year the Fourth of July Blast draws over 25,000 visitors enjoying the fireworks from the deck of the Yorktown. Tickets are available online now and a new VIP ticket has been added this year. Visit www.patriotspoint.org to purchase your tickets.
There’s always something happening in this neck o’ the woods and this year on the 70th anniversary of D-Day 1944 veterans from the area toured the Yorktown June 6 and shed tears and shared memories of that fateful day. The Yorktown’s still the most decorated WWII destroyer in existence and now includes a theater and a museum.
This is South Carolina, so of course there’s also an 18 hole golf course with a beautiful view. If you‘re looking for something nautical to take back home, there‘s a trendy shop next to the Fish House restaurant, and there’s plenty of free parking for all.
There’s a wide variety of accommodations with as large a variety of amenities that range from the Days Inn to the Quality Inn to the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, which is also home to the Freedom Boat Club. The resort is a full service resort with entertainment for young and old alike.
Three restaurants within the Point offer easy convenient access and are the Indigo Grill which is open for breakfast, the Reel Bar which is open from 11am -10pm, and the more upscale Fish House which is open 11 am - 10 pm this time of year.
The smallest and least expensive inland room at the resort has 2 Queen Beds that at the time of this writing is $178 per night. The Deluxe Queen (with a whirlpool) costs $234. July 4th however there is a 3 day minimum and the rate goes up to $490 a night for the Deluxe Queen. The most expensive harbor view 2-room suite is about $950 at this time, to give you an idea of the wide range of rates and amenities at the Point. Rates also change depending on availability. The $12 resort fee also includes discounts in Charleston, a 4 hour bike rental and the resorts shuttle which stops in front to take you into Charleston.
Bicycle rentals are a great way to enjoy the many wildlife paths, manicured landscape and beautiful views as you meander through the Point.
The Quality Inn & Suites is rated a midscale hotel, is well maintained to look new, and starts at about $125 for a double King or Queen Room at the time of this writing. It also offers it’s most expensive King Suites with 2 person whirlpools for $165 per night and a good free breakfast. They offer a limited number of bicycles to pedal for a breezy tour of the Point at $10 day.
Once in Charleston, take advantage of the fun and free trolley and hop on and off all day to enjoy this preserved and repurposed southern respite. Lodging rates on the Point and at Shem Creek reduce in September and October as a general rule.
After touring Patriots Point, hit the road. Simply take the one main road out and turn right onto Coleman Blvd. From there, it’s an easy 1 ½ mile drive to Shem Creek, which I highly recommend. If nothing suits your fancy along the boulevard - and locals tout that there are over 40 eateries enroute, turn at the third traffic light to get to Shem Creek where more restaurants, the Shem Creek Inn, and nightlife abound. There are a wide variety of eateries and they range from informal bars to more upscale but affordable restaurants. Both sides of the creek offer roof top dining, informal, or a tad formal, but all offer atmosphere and relaxed dining. Watermen, tourists, locals, and even bridal parties are seen frequenting the establishments, all looking for the priceless view and southern hospitality in which the area excels.
There’s plenty of outside seating, whether it be on the roof, a deck, or the boardwalk and this is the time of year to watch the new baby dolphins snuggling alongside mom as the pod cruises up and down the safe creek, learning to swim, dive and find food.
Boaters meander out into the marina past shrimp boats and then into the Atlantic Ocean so dolphins share the creek with a spirited band of brown Pelicans, various watercraft, and occasionally with a shy Manatee, all cohabitating respectfully in the no-wake zone of the creek.
Surprised boaters frequently stop to watch and photograph the social dolphins that will even dart playfully in front of their kayaks or canoes, and there are currently two babies residing there. Even the pelicans get in the act as they playfully nip an arm or shoulder of a kayaker with their wing, and skim beside paddle boarders.
Laughs erupt from onlookers when a pelican abruptly rises, when the playful dolphins swim underneath, lifting him up and out of the water.
There are lots of things to do to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and moderate weather, including excellent tours available throughout the area that offer everything from historic and beer to ghost or eco tours.
This is also the only time of year at the Point to see new Egret and Heron babies that keep parents busy dashing in and out of massive nests over alligator filled waters to feed them.
The next time you want to go wild and low, consider the exhilarating views and food at Shem Creek and the quiet beauty nature provides at historic Patriots Point, just a short Water Taxi ride away from historic and bustling Charleston, The Holy City.
1.Work and Play in Charleston Harbor
2.Historic USS Yorktown at Sunset
3.There are many dining options available at Shem Creek
4.Cruising the Creek
5.There are plenty of outside seating options for an exhilarating creekside view
6.New baby dolphins born this Spring swim and play close to their mothers
7.The dolphins appear to enjoy the company of the humans on the creek and frequently show off near them.
8.Near miss! Dolphins frequently swim under the pelicans, suddenly uprooting them from their watery perch
9.The social dolphins seem to delight in surprising unwary kayakers
10.A Great Egret prepares to take off for more food, after feeding her nest of young among other Egret and Heron nests.