Published: October 2009
Charleston, South Carolina
Plan a long weekend getaway with our Charleston adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.

Pop. 111,978
GPS: 32°47'N 79°56'W

Think of Charleston as the jock in the Southern belle set. With new offshore ecotours and surfing at nearby Folly Beach, the pretty city’s outdoor action now matches its good looks. Locals kayak the Ashley River, horseback ride from the historic Inn at Middleton Place, or hike among cypresses.

Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite Charleston adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.

Kayak the upper section of the Ashley River. The six-mile float trail beginning at Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site traces underwater archaeological and shipwreck sites, old river houses, and rice and indigo plantations. Or book a two-hour tour with PaddleFish for the highlight reel of Charleston’s waterfront ($45;

Slightly North of Broad (a restaurant lovingly referred to as "S.N.O.B.") serves Lowcountry organic fare like Carolina quail, Atlantic shrimp, and locally ground yellow grits ( For dessert, grab a warm praline from River Street Sweets (

You can take horseback-riding lessons on cypress trails right from The Inn at Middleton Place, an 18th-century landscaped garden on the bluffs of the Ashley River (doubles from $170;