Year-round Charleston is just too pretty to go inside and workout in a gym. It's really never a hard choice for us to pick a morning run on Sullivans Island over a morning run on a treadmill. We're pretty certain you would also agree.

So, from beach runs to surfing, we rounded up our favorite outdoors activities to help us stay fit, active, and all while experiencing the stunning Lowcountry nature that our hometown offers. (And we're sorry fishing... you didn't make the cut on this roundup, but we still love you.) 

 

Outdoor Charleston

Surfing

You might have heard it said before, “surfing is not a sport, it’s a way of life”, and as cheesy as it sounds, this statement resonates with many of us who grew up riding waves in the Lowcountry. The ocean provides an escape from the troubles of life while demanding the utmost respect from those who enjoy it’s beauty in such a unique way.

East Coast waves can be fickle, so you have to do some serious homework to score a good session. Keep an eye on the swell forecast and pay special attention to local wind projections. Offshore (NW) wind is ideal, but strong wind from any direction can be a killer. Last but not least: tides. As a general rule of thumb, incoming tide will have a little more energy and consistency that an outgoing tide.

Swimming is often regarded as the ultimate full-body workout, but surfing takes it a step further. You get a great leg burn from wave riding, but its the paddling, popping-up and duck-diving that makes surfing an incredible upper body workout as well.

Where We're Going: 

  • Folly Beach, South Carolina
  • Isle of Palms, South Carolina
  • Outer Banks, North Carolina
  • St. Augustine, Florida

 

Outdoor Charleston

Paddleboarding

If surfing isn't your thing, then no worries. One of our favorite activities to do on the water and ways to keep in shape is paddleboarding. SUP (as the cool kids call it) offers a unique way to explore our expansive Lowcountry waterways. This activity improves your balance, provides a full body workout, and is low impact on your body. It also is a great cardio workout and allows you to connect with nature and get some extra vitamin D. 

Many of places that a paddleboard can take you will afford you low boat traffic and an opportunity to paddle waterways where river channels meet the ocean. This means first class access to marshes, creeks, tidal flats, and barrier islands. This also means squirrely tides and currents. So don't forget, just like surfing, it's critical to keep an eye on the tides and the winds as an easy casual paddle can turn into a dangerous and challenging event really quickly. We use the Tide Graph app to stay in the know. Additionally, with the point of view that standing affords, paddleboarding creates a great way to view Lowcountry wildlife like dophins, osprey, sea turtles, and of course fish. 

Be sure to bring plenty of water along the way, a pfd, leash, and wear some sort of footwear in case you fall off, as oyster beds are a frequent and very sharp to fall or step on. For footwear, we recommend an Astral or Chaco footwear. 

Where We're Going:

  • Shem Creek, South Carolina
  • Folly Creek, South Carolina
  • Intracoastal Waterway, South Carolina
  • James Island, South Carolina
  • Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Charleston_Fitness

Beach Runs and Walks

We don't have tons and tons of trail systems in Charleston, but we do have plenty of miles to enjoy on our beautiful beaches and that's just perfect for us when it comes to running and walking in nature. Enjoy the beauty of the beach and the strength-enhancing workout that running on sand provides. Especially on loose sand, beach running strengthens your arches, ankles, and other leg muscles more than running on harder surfaces. There's also much less impact force when you on sand, which is an added bonus.

Local tip: If you're bringing your pup, be sure to keep an eye on the beach rules, as they change with the seasons. Keep in mind that Low tide creates the most level, hard-packed surface for running, creating hardened sand that is similar to a soft trail. 

Where We're Going:

  • Sullivans Island, South Carolina
  • Folly Beach, South Carolina
  • Edisto Island, South Carolina
  • Isle of Palms, South Carolina

 

Charleston_Outdoors

Beach Yoga 

There is no better space to connect with the body and mind and tune out the stresses of daily life than the beach. Whether it’s a few sun salutations before a sunrise surf session or taking a sunset class to close the day we find that the beach is the one of the best places to practice yoga.  

Best part - there’s no judgement in the sand. Whether you’re a handstand pro or just working on getting a little closer to touching your toes - the beach is a place where we can all find a little relaxation and let go.

Where We're Going:

  • Folly Beach, South Carolina
  • Sullivans Island, South Carolina
  • Isle of Palms, South Carolina
  • White Point Gardens, South Carolina
  • Hampton Park, South Carolina