Are you planning a trip to Summerville, SC, and looking for the best things to do there? No worries! You've come to the right place!
Nestled in the heart of the charming Lowcountry of South Carolina, Summerville is known for its rich history, natural beauty, and an abundance of family-friendly activities. The Ashley River enhances the beauty of this charming town, also known as the “Flower Town in the Pines.” Just a short drive from the bustling town of Charleston, Summerville offers a relaxing escape where time seems to slow down. Whether you're a nature lover, a history buff, or looking for wholesome family fun, Summerville has something for everyone.
You can explore historic sites, check out art galleries, visit attractive parks, follow the Sweet Tea Trail, view wildlife, go on river excursions, join exciting festivals, or find play areas for children. With so many things to do, it might be challenging to decide where to begin.
To help you make the most of your trip to Summerville, SC, we've compiled a list of the 13 top things to do there. Let's get started!
1. Visit the Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site
Location: 300 State Park Rd, Summerville, SC 29485
Operating Hours: Daily, 9 am – 6 pm during Daylight Saving Time, and 9 am – 5 pm for the rest of the year
Admission: Adults; $3; SC Seniors; $1.50; and Kids aged 5 and under are free
The Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site is a fantastic place to start your exploration of Summerville. This 325-acre park is located near the Ashley River. The park was a bustling trading town from 1967 until the start of the Revolutionary War. When you visit the Historic Site, you can travel back in time and experience what life was like in early colonial South Carolina in the 17th and 18th centuries.
One of its standout features is the well-preserved ‘oyster-shell tabby forts' from the history of downtown Summerville. The park also has an “archeological zone” with many artifacts that have been meticulously excavated and conserved.
If you want a relaxing experience, the park has a fishing center, hiking trails, and interpretive kiosks. Camping is also available for those who want to spend the night.
The site also features shaded spots where nature lovers can sit and observe the local fauna, which includes foxes, raccoons, American alligators, bald eagles, white-tailed deer, and numerous hawks. You can also enjoy a wonderful picnic spot in the park.
2. Visit Summerville Farmers Market
Location: 200 S Main St, Summerville SC 29483
Hours: April – November, every Saturday, 8 am – 1 pm
While there are several farmers' markets in South Carolina, downtown Summerville has a unique small-town charm that is hard to find elsewhere. Summerville Farmers Market is a hub of over 70 vendors selling a variety of items at the market, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, honey, seafood, dairy products, baked goods, spices, crafts, handmade jewelry, and more. Whether you want to grab a quick bite or take home some treats for later, this market has everything. The best part is that the prices are reasonable, so you can have a good time without breaking the bank.
Enjoy live music from local musicians at the Market Café as you shop. Don't forget to bring your furry friend and support local farmers and artisans. Whether you're there for the delicious food or the enjoyable atmosphere, the Summerville Farmers Market is an experience you won't want to miss!
3. Visit Azalea Park
Location: 500 S Main St. Summerville, SC 29483
Hours: Daily, 6 am – 10 pm
If you're in Summerville and need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the quiet and scenic Azalea Park. It is ideally located just a few blocks from Summerville's historic downtown. Azalea Park has lovely flower beds, winding walking trails, tennis courts, and ponds. If you have children, they will love the spacious playground. The park is home to turtles, birds, and butterflies. The bronze sculptures enhance the park's beauty, while the blooming crepe myrtles bring brilliant hues to the landscape.
Azalea Park hosts two major annual events: the Sculpture in the South Festival and the Summerville YMCA Flowertown Festival. What's the best part? It's all free! It is open year-round from dawn to dusk, ensuring that you have a fantastic time whenever you decide to drop by.
4. Explore the Outdoors on Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail
Location: E Richardson Ave. Summerville, SC
Hours: 6 am – 10 pm
Are you looking for a peaceful way to unwind and recharge? Take a stroll along the Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail, a beautiful walkway! This walking and biking trail goes alongside the Sawmill Branch Canal and is popular among locals and visitors. It's around 6.5 miles long and is known for its many side trails that connect to multiple neighborhoods in Summerville. The trail's starting point is E Richardson Ave., and the endpoint is Crosscreek Dr. The trail is a versatile option for outdoor activities. Whether you want to walk, run, or bike, Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail is an ideal way to reconnect with nature and rejuvenate your energies.
5. Join the Sweet Tea Festival
Location: 200 S Main St. Summerville, SC 29483
Summerville, or the”birthplace of sweet tea,” hosts the Sweet Tea Festival in September every year. You can find “The World's Largest Sweet Tea,” a Guinness World Records site on the Sweet Tea Trail. This festival is a tribute to this Southern favorite beverage. A huge 15-foot-tall mason jar holds over 2,000 gallons of sweet tea. It took 1,700 pounds of sugar and 210 pounds of local tea to make this iconic brew.
This event attracts thousands of visitors. It offers many activities, including live music, food trucks, sweet tea-related games, yoga sessions, arts and crafts displays, and scavenger hunts. You can also participate in festival-themed activities such as sweet tea-tasting competitions. This is a must-see site if you're seeking an incredible vacation experience in Summerville, South Carolina.
6. Explore the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Location: 3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Hours: Open Daily
Magnolia Plantation, founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, is one of the oldest plantations near Summerville, South Carolina. It is located near Charleston along the beautiful Ashley River.
This site features a wildlife area, a nature train, and marsh boat trips. There's even a wonderful petting zoo with joyful animals. The site is adorned with an indoor tropical garden, plantings, and lovely azaleas. During your visit, you can view the beautiful views of the Ashley River and discover the unique tupelo gum and cypress tree ecosystems in the Audubon Swamp Garden.
The Swamp Garden is another fantastic area to explore. It features Summerville's native plants and rich ecosystems, along with native animals and exotic birds like Malayan jungle fowl, guinea hens, and peacocks.
If you can only visit one plantation in Summerville, make it Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.
7. Play a Round of Golf at Legend Oaks Golf Club
Location: 118 Legend Oaks Way, Summerville, SC 29485
Hours: Mon – Fri: 7 am to 7 pm, Sat-Sun: 7:30 to 7 pm.
Golfing is one of the best things to do in Summerville, SC. Legend Oaks Golf Club is a semi-private tennis and golf club that welcomes golfers of all skill levels. The natural beauty of 300-year-old live oak trees, lofty pines, and a variety of Lowcountry species surround this gorgeous golf course.
Whether you're a member or a visitor, Legend Oaks Golf Club welcomes all golf players at their Scott Pool championship golf course. After your game, you can unwind at the clubhouse and enjoy lunch and dinner at Bistro One18. In addition, the club has a pool where you can take swimming lessons or enjoy pool parties, making it a popular Summerville hangout.
8. Visit Middleton Place to Recall History
Location: 4300 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC
Hours: Mon-Sun, 9 am – 5 pm.
Tickets: Adults (14 and over): $28 online ($32 in-person), Students (14 and over with a valid student ID): $15, Children (6-13): $10, and Children under 5: Free
Visiting Middleton Place is a perfect way to explore Summerville's history. This plantation was the home of the Middleton family in the 18th century and is today one of Summerville's most popular attractions. It has historic buildings, beautiful gardens, an inn, a museum, and other attractions. Notably, it boasts the country's oldest landscaped gardens.
You can tour the Stable yards on the plantation. They feature a pottery shop, textile shop, carpentry shop, blacksmith shop, and a freedman's residence. The house museum still displays its original decorations, furniture, and paintings. Middleton Place is also an ideal location for special occasions such as weddings.
Stroll through the beautiful gardens, filled with trees and vibrant flowers, and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Ashley River beside the plantation.
9. Shop at the Summerville Antique Gallery
Location: 901 N Main St, Summerville, SC, 29483
Hours: Mon – Fri: 10 am – 6 pm, Sat: 10 am – 5 pm, and Sun: 1 pm – 5 pm.
If you're looking for unusual things to do in Summerville, SC, head to Summerville Antique Gallery. This antique emporium has nearly 10,000 square feet of goodies, so plan to explore for a whole day. You don't have to be a collector to enjoy the large selection of antiques at the Summerville Antique Gallery. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to guide you through their extensive collection of gems.
Over 70 vendors present and sell their unique vintage items at affordable prices. You'll find everything here, including home decor, apparel, furniture, cutlery, toys, kitchen items, art, books, jewelry, and other vintage artifacts. It is best to visit on the weekdays to avoid the weekend crowds.
10. Explore Local History at Summerville-Dorchester Museum
Location: 100 E Doty Ave. Summerville, SC
Hours: Tue – Sat, 10 am- 4 pm.
Admission Tickets: $5 for Ages 13 and above, $2 for Ages 4 – 12, and free entry for Ages 3 and under
A visit to the Summerville Dorchester Museum is an opportunity to learn about the history of Summerville and the surrounding area. This small and educational museum is located in downtown Summerville, right near the renowned Icehouse Restaurant. This museum was founded in 1991 with the help of local residents concerned about preserving local history for present and future generations. The museum has a beautiful enclosed courtyard with unique exhibits, lovely flora, and trees. It houses a diverse collection of historical relics, such as artwork, rocks, antique weapons, a centuries-old cart, and furniture. The exhibits provide insight into the Native American way of life. Educational programs are also offered. They also organize a kids' history club with exciting monthly activities.
11. Enjoy Playing Different Games at Ultimate Esports Gaming.
Location: 975 Bacons Bridge Rd Unit 202, Summerville, SC
Hours: Mon – Fri, 10 am – 8:30 pm; Saturday – Sunday, 12 pm – 8:30 pm.
Are you an avid gamer looking for a top-notch gaming center in Summerville? If so, go to Ultimate Esports Gaming. This top-notch gaming facility offers several enjoyable activities, including ping pong, foosball, and video games. Whether you like the Xbox or the PlayStation, you can show off your gaming skills or even host a tournament with fellow gamers.
If you're planning a birthday party, this esports arena is the perfect venue for a birthday celebration. Its vast 1,600 square feet can accommodate up to 60 kids, making it the ideal location for a special event.
So, why not book your visit today and find out what all the buzz is about?
12. Explore Unique Gems at the Auction Charleston Antique Mall.
Location: 592 Orangeburg Rd, Summerville, SC
Hours: Tue – Fri, 10 am – 6 pm; Sat-Sun, 10 am to 5 pm; and Monday: Closed
Do you love antique shopping? If so, don't miss the Auction Charleston Antique Mall, a unique Lowcountry attraction. It is the only antique mall in the area that features live auctions. This Antique Mall includes a 6,000-square-foot structure with room for more than 50 vendor stalls. During their live auctions, you can browse and bid on various items, including vintage items, furniture, antiques, jewelry, household goods, artwork, equipment, toys, and other unique sale items. You can even find consignment items available for auction.
13. Sample Beer at Oak Road Brewery
Location: 108 E 3rd N St, Summerville, SC
Hours: Wed – Thu: 4 pm – 9 pm, Fri: 3 pm – 9 pm, Sat: 12 – 9 pm, Sun: 12 – 6 pm Monday – Tue: Closed.
After exploring the Lowcountry, a stop at this Summerville taproom is the ideal way to wrap up your journey.
If you enjoy beer, you'll love Oak Road Brewery in Summerville. Oak Road Brewery is unique in that it is Summerville's only microbrewery. It is also the first brewery in South Carolina that exclusively makes beer in small batches. They offer a variety of classic beers in their taproom, as well as new and different brews that change regularly to keep things exciting. You can pair these brews with a great meal in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.
Well! Summerville, SC, offers a wide range of activities for both visitors and residents. From sipping sweet tea at the annual festival to exploring the oldest landscaped gardens at Middleton Place and enjoying quality family time at Ultimate Esports Gaming, every moment in Summerville is a cherished memory in the making.
I hope this list of the 13 best things to do in Summerville, SC, has inspired you to explore this hidden gem in the Lowcountry. Happy Travels!
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.