15 Best Things to Do in Summerville, SC

15 Best Things to Do in Summerville, SC

Summerville, also known as Flowertown, is a picturesque town that offers a perfect mix of art, culture, history, and natural beauty. The mesmerising 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 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 to the magnificent views of the outrageously coloured 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:

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 which 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 mesmerising river provides great fishing opportunities that attract myriads of anglers. The park is also a very popular site for wildlife viewing and birding. You can spot alligators, hawks, eagles, deer, foxes, and several others. The park is open to visitors daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission fee ranges from USD 1 to USD 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 to 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 coloured 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 are hosted all year round including Flowertown Festival and sculpture exhibitions. The park is open to public from 5 am to 10 pm and admission is absolutely free for all.

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 mesmerising river, lush foliage, diverse wildlife, and so much more. It is popular for a broad array of 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 market, live music, fun games, and so much more.

Be a part of the festivities, browse art, 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 amazing local culture of Summerville at this festival.

Explore fascinating regional history at Summerville-Dorchester Museum

Located in downtown Summerville, this renowned museum emphasises on the history of this town. 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. Admission fee ranges between USD 2 to USD 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.

Shop fresh and organic at Summerville Farmer’s Market

The farmer’s market in Summerville offers fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, flowers, honey, bakery goods, meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products, spices, crafts, jewellery, 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 local culture of the town here. It is open on every Saturday between 8am and 1pm from April through November.

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 to 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 adventure on the Edisto River.

Attend the Sweet Tea Festival

Summerville is popularly known as “birthplace of sweet tea” and the Sweet Tea Festival is one of the biggest 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 the fun activities, and experience the vibrant local culture here.

Explore history at Middleton Place

Middleton Place
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

Dating back to the 18th century, this is a historic plantation that was formerly the 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 African and African Americans used to work in these shops during the 18thand 19th centuries.

The house museum features original furniture, china, paintings, home décor, and more belonging to the Middleton family. Take a refreshing stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens with numerous trees and brilliantly coloured flowers. Enjoy the spectacular views of the gardens and the mesmerising 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 have 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 organises an annual show and sale in May. Myriads of talented sculptors from across the nation participate in this event and showcase their works.

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 game of baseball or football, 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.

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 plenty 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 to 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 9am and 5pm. Admission fee ranges between USD 4 and USD 8 depending on your age. Children under the age of 6 can enter for free. The forest is  a 35 minutes’ drive from Summerville.

Explore the Sweet Tea Trail

Summerville is also known as “the birthplace of sweet tea”. The Sweet Tea Trail features historic sites, plantations, gardens, museums, murals, art studios and galleries, the world’s largest sweet tea, bars, cafés, restaurants, jewellery stores, boutiques, antique stores, and plenty more. It lets you explore this incredible town and experience the amazing 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 tea pots, candles, sweet tea flavoured body care products, and more. Check out the cool Birthplace of Sweet Tea Mural and gorge on scrumptious meals at the cafes and restaurants. Be sure to taste the famous sweet tea of this town.

This is a popular shopping centre 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, jewellery, books, and so much more. Explore this amazing place and shop for unique items and antiques. The place is open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 6pm, on Saturdays between 10am and 5pm, and on Sundays from 1-4pm.

Check out the World’s Largest Sweet Tea

The World’s largest sweet tea is named Mason and it is a 15 feet 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.