Often eclipsed by the popularity of Kiawah Island and downtown Charleston, Johns Island, the tributary-latticed expanse across the Stono River, is a booming eco-tourism hotspot in its own right.

Visiting the hundreds (thousands?) of years old Angel Oak Tree is an essential first stop, and best completed closer to 9 AM, before the crowds congregate. One of the oldest living things in the country, the gnarly, unfurling live oak provides an excellent backdrop for a photo. Angel Oak Park is free and open to the public. From there, it’s time to choose your ideal aquatic thrill. After all, the summer highs in Charleston hang comfortably in the 90s through late summer. 

Charleston Aqua Park

You're looking at your next favorite summer day trip destination!

Conquering the inflatable obstacle course and ninja warrior ropes course at Charleston Aqua Park

Perfect for families, friend groups, or large reunions and gatherings, a 45-minute Aqua Park session for $18 will challenge you to jump, crawl, slide, and shimmy through a deceptively benign-looking inflatable inflatable maze.

Book a back-to-back 45-minute Ropes Course session ($18 stand-alone) to unlock discounts and conquer a rare feat! Appropriate for ages 6 and up (and at least 4 ft. tall), it’s the first fully floating ropes course in the country! No experience? Don’t be discouraged! There are three difficulty levels ranging from beginner to intermediate.

Learn more about how to win a 4-pack of tickets to the Charleston Aqua Park

Charleston Aqua Park is open every day from 10 AM to 6 PM through the summer. Happy Hour takes place Fridays and Wednesdays from 4:30-6 PM.

Kayak expedition to Captain Sam's Spit

Look out for dolphin-stranding behavior on your kayak adventure to Captain Sam's Spit

Embark on a kayak birding adventure to a shape-shifting island

Your second option offers an eco-tour unlike anything else. On this excursion, you’ll do more than just see the beauty and wildlife of the Lowcountry. You’ll be a part of it. Long-time local outfitters Coastal Expeditions will guide adventurers through a web of tidal flats and salt marsh out to Captain Sam’s Spit, a constantly morphing island vital for endangered species such as bottlenose dolphins and diamondback terrapins.

On your 4.5-mile kayak excursion, you’re likely to spot many of these species, including spoonbills, herons, and other native birds. Comb the spit for surprising seashells and enjoy a leisurely packed lunch. This unforgettable day trip promises a full-day thrill for explorers undaunted by the elements. 

Bartender at Low Tide offering a beer

Kiddie pool not included in your flight…

Who needs a watering hole? 

Low Tide Brewing boasts a scroll-worthy list of accolades, including best bar staff, best locally brewed beer, and best Johns Island happy hour. Sit inside or enjoy a line-up of live music and food trucks outdoors. Low Tide runs an Avengers-like roster of beers for all preferences. In summertime, we recommend a flight of four pours, including the award-winning Aloha Beaches pineapple wheat beer and the Carolina Creamsicle sour.

Gnocchi dish at Wild Olive

You'll never forget your first gnocchi at Wild Olive…

The best food in Charleston isn’t downtown…

Locals tend to keep it hush-hush that Johns Island is the most densely concentrated area of unforgettably decadent Lowcountry cuisine. From mignonette-doused oysters at Royal Tern to heavenly gnocchi pillows at Wild Olive Cucina Italia, Johns Island’s eateries sing a powerful siren song to weary, river-weathered locals and travelers alike.

If your day trip has turned into an overnight trip at this point, don’t leave Johns Island without trying its newest outdoor bar and first “fire-to-table” restaurant: Lost Isle. What appears to be an abandoned fish camp in the front opens up to reveal a stringed light-ensconced fete. 

The logistics alone warrant a 3-star review – order all of your food and drinks, at your own pace, from a single matron’ d’etre and enjoy a front-row seat to a line-up of chefs grilling your meal over an open flame. Memorable dishes like curry braised collards, smoked cobia dip, and fire-roasted clams with chili chorizo butter and grilled focaccia are best enjoyed shared.

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