Spring is a great time to cycle the southern Atlantic coast, before the onset of the hot, humid days of summer. And Charleston is a great place to use as a base.
We drove into Charleston in the late morning on a sunny Sunday, unloaded the bikes, and got right down to business. The Battery2Beach bicycle route makes for a long but doable out-and-back day ride. The route is still in development at this time, with some on-street sections. The first wow moment upon leaving the city proper is to cross the Ravenel Bridge. Traffic is whizzing by, but there is a concrete wall separating the vehicles from the bike/pedestrian path. Exciting, very noisy, but safe.
Once across the bridge, you are in Mount Pleasant. Riders find a mixture of paved paths, sidewalks, and streets.
Farther along, we stopped on the bridge over Shem Creek for a view of the fishing fleet and the busy recreational activities. There are great seafood restaurants here, but we were too early for lunch and cycled on.
Yet another bridge, this time over the Intracoastal Waterway, affords great views.
Once across the Intracoastal, you are on Sullivan’s Island.
Sullivan’s Island is very bike-friendly. Streets are quiet, and drivers coexist with cyclists.
Fort Moultrie is a good educational stop. There is a nice visitor’s center where you can rest and use the facilities.
Then it was back on the bikes for more leisurely touring around the neighborhoods of the island. When it was time for lunch, we had the choice of many popular spots with outdoor seating, including Poe’s Tavern.
One last bridge to cross, this one only a short causeway, took us to Isle of Palms.
After some riding on Isle of Palms, it was time to turn around and head for home. We simply reversed our route from the morning to return to Charleston. Of note, the eastern approach ramp to the Ravenel Bridge is much steeper than the Charleston side, so be mentally prepared to do some low-gear pedaling!
Once back in the city of Charleston, a classic spot to spend the night is the Two Meeting Street Inn.
Located near the tip of the battery and Whitepoint Gardens, the historic Inn provides a glimpse into the life of the wealthy in the 1800’s, but updated with current amenities.
The best feature of the Inn is the wrap-around front porch, perfect for an included afternoon cup of tea or glass of sherry. And a good place for tired cyclists to rest!
The next morning we enjoyed an included breakfast, then packed up and said goodbye to our innkeeper.
One last short walking exploration of Charleston seemed necessary, ending with lunch at The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits atop the new The Restoration boutique hotel.
Views from the restaurant include the gorgeous Ravenel Bridge across the Cooper River. Having just recently traversed the bridge on our bicycle route, seeing it brought back fresh memories.
No trip to Charleston would be complete without a stop at Market Street Sweets to sample their famous handmade pralines, and our personal favorites, their bear claws. We figured why not, since we surely burned some major calories on our ride!
And with that sweet ending, we close this post. Charleston is such a great city to visit, we know we will be back someday. Probably soon.