20 Best Things to Do in Summerville, SC

Summerville, SC
Lasting Shutter Studio / shutterstock.com

Summerville, also known as Flowertown, is a picturesque town that offers a perfect mix of art, culture, history, and natural beauty.

The mesmerizing Ashley River meanders through the heavenly landscapes of Summerville.

Tour the historical sites, admire nature’s beauty in the numerous scenic parks, browse outstanding artistic works at the galleries, explore the town using the Sweet Tea Trail, go on river adventures, get close to wildlife in the forest, and be a part of the vibrant festivals.

The town offers plenty of opportunities for a broad array of nature-based recreational activities, such as hiking, camping, kayaking, wildlife viewing, birding, fishing, picnicking, tubing, and more.

The town is also popularly known as ‘Birthplace of Sweet Tea.’

Be sure to taste the delicious iced tea that Summerville has to offer.

Visit this town in spring to feast your eyes on the magnificent views of the outrageously colored azaleas and camellias.

Summerville is the perfect destination to plan your next vacation.

Here’s an all-in-one list of the best things to do while vacationing here:

Try Water Adventures in Edisto River

Edisto River
James R Poston / shutterstock.com

Located 19 miles from Summerville, this beautiful river provides opportunities for numerous outdoor recreational activities, such as paddleboarding, kayaking, tubing, and picnicking.

Explore the waters of the enchanting river and feast your eyes on the spectacular views of the region’s wilderness.

Edisto River Adventures provides rental kayaks, tubes, and paddleboards on the site.

It is suitable for all skill levels.

Take a break from the monotonous daily routine and experience thrilling adventures on the Edisto River.

Go Beer Hopping at Oak Road Brewery

Summerville's Oak Road Brewery will delight beer connoisseurs.

A visit to this downtown Summerville taproom is the perfect way to cap off a long day of seeing the Low Country.

In Summerville, the only microbrewery is Oak Road Brewery, which is also South Carolina's first brewery to only brew in micro quantities.

Visitors and locals alike may enjoy each South Carolina-brewed tap beer at Oak Road Brewery together with a delicious dinner in a terrific, laid-back environment.

Go Trekking at Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail

Summerville's Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail takes you to a special kind of outdoor park experience.

The paved and level Sawmill Branch Canal Trail is a popular walking and bicycling route in the area.

A stroll along the path is approximately 6.5 miles long, maybe as long or short as you desire, because of the numerous side trails that link it to other Summerville areas.

This multi-use trail in Summerville, South Carolina, is a fantastic place to stroll to get some workouts and take in the sights.

Watch a Game at Gahagan Park

This popular park in Summerville features baseball and softball fields, a playground, picnic areas, beautiful sculptures, football fields, and more.

Many sports tournaments are hosted here all year round.

Enjoy watching a baseball or football game, relish a delicious meal in the picnic areas, check out the sculptures, and spend a relaxing day at this park.

Admission to the park is absolutely free, and it is open from sunrise to sunset.

Travel Back in Time at Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site

Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site
Lazyksaw, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the banks of Ashley River, this historic site was formerly a town that was abandoned at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

It features various historical structures, including a tabby fort dating back to 1757, a cemetery, remains of a church’s bell tower, an old shipping wharf, and more.

Hike on the trails that traverse this site and learn about the town’s fascinating history.

Bring along a nice picnic to enjoy while appreciating the park’s astounding natural beauty.

The mesmerizing river provides excellent fishing opportunities that attract myriads of anglers.

The park is also a famous site for wildlife viewing.

You can spot alligators, hawks, eagles, deer, foxes, and several others.

The park is open to visitors daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

The admission fee ranges from $1 to $3, depending on your age.

Children under the age of 6 can enter for free.

Visit this site to explore the ancient ruins of this abandoned town and feast your eyes on captivating vistas of the surrounding lush foliage and the serene river.

Admire Nature’s Beauty at Azalea Park

This picturesque park features enchanting ponds, gorgeous landscaping, beautiful sculptures, brilliantly colored flowers, tennis courts, verdant walking trails, picnic areas, a gazebo, and more.

This is an ideal place to enjoy a refreshing evening stroll and watch the setting sun paint a kaleidoscope of crimson, pink, and yellow.

The best time to visit is in spring, when the azaleas and camellias are in full bloom.

Feast your eyes to the views of the park covered in spectacular shades of magenta.

The tranquil atmosphere and scenic vistas make this is a perfect venue for your dream wedding.

Relish a delicious picnic against the stunning backdrops and read a good book under the shade of a tree.

Indulge in a fun game of tennis and admire the numerous beautiful sculptures placed throughout the park.

A multitude of events is hosted all year round, including Flowertown Festival and sculpture exhibitions.

The park is open to the public from 5 am to 10 pm, and admission is absolutely free for all.

Explore Fascinating Regional History at Summerville-Dorchester Museum

Located in downtown Summerville, this renowned museum emphasizes the town's history.

Its permanent collection features various historical artifacts and local memorabilia, including weapons, paintings, medicines, a carriage, rocks, furniture, and more.

The various exhibits focus on the history of Native Americans of the region, medicine, and plantation life.

The museum also houses rotating exhibitions and offers educational programs.

The admission fee ranges between $2 to $5, depending on your age.

Children under the age of 4 can enter for free.

Tour the museum and learn about the fascinating history of Summerville.

This is a famous shopping center for antiques with over 70 vendors.

You can find a vast array of vintage items here, including furniture, home décor, clothing, kitchenware, cutlery, toys, paintings, jewelry, books, and so much more.

Explore this fantastic place and shop for unique items and antiques.

The place is open from Monday to Friday between 10 am, and 6 pm, on Saturdays between 10 am and 5 pm, and on Sundays from 1 pm - 4 pm.

Kayaking in Ashley River

Ashley River
SKYTECH / shutterstock.com

Herbert H. Jessen Boat Landing provides access to the scenic Ashley River.

The site is a nature lover’s paradise featuring picnic areas, docks, the mesmerizing river, lush foliage, diverse wildlife, and so much more.

It is famous for many nature-based recreational activities, such as hiking, kayaking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, birding, and fishing.

The region is home to diverse wildlife, including bass, egrets, swallow-tailed kites, herons, and several others.

Hike on the verdant trails, enjoy the sounds of nature, catch fish in the river waters, relish a delicious picnic against the spectacular backdrops, experience kayaking, and appreciate nature’s incredible beauty.

The site is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm, and admission is absolutely free for all.

Experience the Vibrant Local Culture at Summerville Flowertown Festival

This vibrant festival has been a tradition in Summerville since 1972.

It is a 3-day annual event that forms a significant part of the local culture of this town.

It includes an arts and crafts exhibition featuring artists from across the nation, amusement rides, entertaining activities, mouth-watering food stalls and food trucks, farmer’s markets, live music, fun games, and so much more.

Be a part of the festivities, gorge on delicious food and drinks, shop fresh at the farmer’s market, have an exhilarating experience on the joy rides, and catch a glimpse of the great local culture of Summerville at this festival.

Shop Fresh and Organic at Summerville Farmers' Market

The farmer’s market in Summerville offers fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, flowers, honey, bakery goods, meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products, spices, crafts, jewelry, and so much more.

The place also features live music in the Market Café by local artists.

All products offered for sale at the market are sourced from local farmers and businesses.

Explore the market, shop fresh, groove the music, and experience the town's local culture here.

It is open every Saturday between 8 am and 1 pm from April through November.

Attend the Sweet Tea Festival

Summerville is popularly known as the “birthplace of sweet tea,” and the Sweet Tea Festival is one of the most significant events of this town.

It takes place in September every year and attracts thousands of visitors.

It features live musical performances, food trucks, sweet-tea-themed events, arts and craft shows, yoga classes, scavenger hunts, sweet tea tasting contests, and so much more.

Enjoy tasting delicious sweet tea, groove to the beats, explore art, try out mouth-watering food, participate in fun activities, and experience the vibrant local culture here.

Revisit History at Middleton Place

Middleton Place
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

Dating back to the 18th century, this is a historic plantation that was the former residence of the Middleton family.

Today, the site features a museum, historic buildings, elegant gardens, a fine dining restaurant, an inn, and more.

The plantation is also home to the nation’s oldest landscaped gardens.

The stableyards on the site include a blacksmith shop, textile shop, carpentry shop, pottery shop, and a freedman’s dwelling.

Enslaved Africans and African Americans used to work in these shops during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The house museum features original furniture, china, paintings, home décor, and more of the Middleton family.

Take a refreshing stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens with numerous trees and brilliantly colored flowers.

Enjoy the spectacular views of the gardens and the mesmerizing Ashley River that flows by the plantation.

Owing to its tranquil atmosphere and scenic views, the site is a popular venue for weddings, reunions, and other social gatherings.

Tour this place and learn about the history of the Middleton family and the enslaved people who lived here.

View Amazing Sculptures

Sculpture in the South has installed numerous remarkable bronze sculptures in various places throughout the town.

The sculptures include Follow the Leader, River Rapture, Boy of Peace, Flying, Dreamin’ of the Big Game, She’s a Keeper and several others.

Many of these sculptures can be found in Azalea Park.

Explore the town and view these outstanding artistic creations.

Sculpture in the South also organizes an annual show and sale in May.

Myriads of talented sculptors from across the nation participate in this event and showcase their works.

Explore the Sweet Tea Trail

Summerville is also known as “the birthplace of sweet tea.”

The Sweet Tea Trail features historical sites, plantations, gardens, museums, murals, art studios and galleries, the world’s largest sweet tea, bars, cafés, restaurants, jewelry stores, boutiques, antique stores, and plenty more.

It lets you explore this great town and experience the unique local culture.

The Charleston Tea Plantation offers plantation and factory tours and sampling of tea.

Antiques & Artisans Village features a wide range of antiques, gifts, and other products, including teapots, candles, sweet tea flavored body care products, and more.

Check out the remarkable Birthplace of Sweet Tea Mural and gorge on delicious meals at cafes and restaurants.

Be sure to taste the famous sweet tea of this town.

Check Out the World’s Largest Sweet Tea

The World’s largest sweet tea is named Mason, and it is a 15-foot-tall mason jar that can hold over 2500 gallons of iced tea.

It won the Guinness World Record in 2016.

Iced tea was brewed in it using 210 pounds of tea from the local tea plantations.

Check out this larger-than-life mason jar in downtown Summerville.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go on an Adventure in the Francis Beidler Forest

Francis Beidler Forest
DMS Foto / shutterstock.com

This site features dense foliage, towering trees, wetlands, swamps, hiking trails, picnic areas, diverse wildlife, and more.

The greenery here majorly consists of bald cypress and tupelo gum trees.

The forest is home to numerous beautiful birds that attract myriads of bird watchers.

Explore the wilderness by hiking on the verdant trails, enjoy the sounds of nature, watch the birds, and feast your eyes on the captivating views.

Bring along a nice picnic to enjoy against the stunning backdrops.

The site is open to visitors from Tuesdays to Sundays between 9 am and 5 pm.

The admission fee ranges between $4 and $8, depending on your age.

Children under the age of 6 can enter for free.

The forest is a 35 minutes’ drive from Summerville.

Learn About American History at Drayton Hall

Drayton Hall is an excellent site to explore American history.

Drayton Hall is a typical South Carolina Low country house from the 18th century.

It serves as a poignant reminder of the riches and power enjoyed by early American plantation owners, as well as the enslavement of those who labored on the estate.

Drayton Hall, completed in 1752 following John Drayton’s design, is now a great representation of Palladian architecture and those who lived in it.

Don't forget to take one of the Drayton Hall guided tours while you're there.

Guests can attend lectures and seminars about the estate's history, architecture, gardens, and the people and culture that formed early South Carolina.

If you're ever in the South Carolina lowlands, don't miss a visit to Drayton Hall.

Visit the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

View of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
I, Maveric149, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This man-made attraction in the greater Charleston region is among the state's most famous and frequented attractions.

The Drayton family built the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in 1676, making it the Low Country's first public tourist attraction.

If you visit the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, take in the beauty of the romantic scenery along the Ashley River or venture to the Audubon Swamp Garden to see the cypress and tupelo gum tree ecosystems that are unique to the area.

It is possible to wander through the gardens on your own, but if you'd instead pause from strolling and learning more about the grounds, there are guided tours available.

On a full or half-day trip, the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens provide an excellent opportunity to see the Low Country's various ecosystems up and personal.

Final Thoughts

Summerville, South Carolina, has something to offer everyone, whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or just seeking a peaceful vacation.

Consider going to one of the historic sites or parks along the breathtaking Ashley River in Summerville.

Whatever you decide to do, your trip will surely be one you will cherish for a long time.