Per a recommendation from some fellow RV friends, we booked a few nights just outside of Charleston, South Carolina so that we could explore the city.
We were told by some fellow campers that there was a dog-friendly beach (in the winter months) on Kiawah Island, and that it was gorgeous! Always willing to take a recommendation, we arrived at Beachwalkers Park at 7:22AM for the sunrise. The island is very developed and I would say “ritzy” – gated communities full of big houses, lots of landscaping, and not a palm frond out of place.
But the Beachwalkers Park was quiet in the early morning.
We actually got there before the opening time of 10AM, so the huge parking lot (that I’m sure gets quite packed) was empty. After a short hike along the boardwalk path to the shore, we had a spectacular view of the morning sun!
We practically had the place to ourselves, and spent a leisurely hour or so here walking the beach and playing with the dogs.
This was the first time the dogs have EVER been to the ocean. Mocha, who LOVES the water, couldn’t figure out why the water tasted so weird… Other than that, they loved it!
Patriots Point Museum
Patriots Point Museum is an awesome place that we would highly recommend if you have any interest in military historic, WWII, or aircraft. If you go, plan to take an entire day here, and maybe even two! The museum is huge as it is comprised of several museums in one location, for one ticket price.
USS Yorktown is one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. She is 872 feet long and carried 90-100 aircraft.
Yorktown was commissioned in April 1943, and participated in several campaigns in the WWII Pacific Theater of Operations, earning 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation. She also participated in the Vietnam war and served as a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission. Now, she serves as an interactive walk-through museum.
The museum consists of:
USS Yorktown – Navy aircraft carrier built for WWII. It has six tour routes from the Flight Deck (with vintage aircraft on display) all the way down to the massive engine rooms that powered this great ship.
USS Laffey – destroyer battleship that supported the D-Day landings at Normandy in 1944
USS Clamagore – submarine used for 30 years in the Cold War
Congressional Medal of Honor Museum (onboard the Yorktown) – beautiful and moving museum that explain the origin of the Medal of Honor and tells the stories of brave recipients of this high honor.
Vietnam War Experience Exhibit – immersive 2.5 acre exhibit
Cold War Sub Memorial – tribute to the dedicated men who served in our naval submarines during the Cold War
We arrived at 10AM and didn’t leave until 6:00PM, and only made it through the carrier, battleship, and the submarine!
We took a short lunch break at Red’s Ice House around the corner for some water-side, Lowcountry dining, with a view of a dolphin playing in the water. This place was also very dog-friendly!
Pro Tip: Spend the night at one of these 7 Best RV Parks and Campgrounds Near Charleston, SC during your visit down south.
We took a day to explore downtown Charleston. It has a free trolley system that runs through the historic downtown. We peaked in the shops, walked the parks, and tasted some more of the local cuisine. We grabbed some cookies from the King Street Cookie shop and dinner and beer at Southend Brewery. The shrimp burger was delicious!
Tip: Be sure to hit up the Visitor Information booths dotted along the streets – they’ll give you coupons to some of the restaurants for free appetizers and the like.
We concluded the day with an after-dark stroll through the city and through Marion Square, where people gathered around and under a huge Christmas light tree and a Palm tree. I guess this is what Southern Christmas looks like!
Holiday Festival of Lights – James Island
Each year the James Island State Park sets up over 3 miles of Christmas lights that viewers can drive through and admire. We did this drive through, and it was amazing! Traffic was horrible, but definitely worth the wait.
Overall, we really enjoyed our time in Charleston!
Travel Stage: Spent 3 days in Charleston after leaving North Carolina
Date Range: Dec 20 – 23, 2015
Summary: We spend 3 wonderful days in the Charleston, SC area exploring beaches, the Patriot Point Museum, and touring around downtown.
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