The Spring Breakers Guide to Charleston: A New & Improved Spring Break!

Ah – tis the season. Those happy spring colors are returning to the Holy City, as well as lots and lots of visitors with Festival season kicking off last month with a roar! Everything outside is colored a beautiful shade of mustard yellow as the pollen coats every surface. The sidewalks and green spaces will soon be buzzing with school groups of all ages – shoulders, legs and faces sporting bright pink sunburns after being bundled up for a cold winter and eager to explore Charleston. Very soon, the Spring Breakers for a vacation in Charleston will join the mix of all the other visitors descending on the Lowcountry to welcome Spring and put their toes in the sand again.

Planning Spring Break trips for kids these days has got to be a bit more challenging than years ago when my parents packed us all in the station wagon and we caravanned to the beach – visions of sand spurs, fried shrimp and putt putt in our little minds. Once or twice, when daddy was really interested in reliving his Florida days, we’d venture further south and see Mickey and Minnie – one year we even went to Daytona! I had an earache the whole trip but remember how loud and fast the cars were at that track!

Now, thanks to technology and savvy teachers, young people might not be satisfied with a rollicking round of putt putt and a day on the beach. Their young minds and bodies want to be challenged and your adult minds want to keep them busy all day so they’ll sleep at night and you can also enjoy spring break perhaps with a nice cold beverage! Trust us when we say that there are a ton of fun things to do in Charleston and here’s a quick list of some of our favorites!

If putt putt – or mini-golf as it’s now called – brings back your sentimental spring breaks then Frankie’s Fun Park is the place to be down here.  Frankie’s, in North Charleston, offers so much more than the vintage putt putt courses – remember those pesky windmills? A visit to Frankie’s might include a championship game of mini-golf but you can also hit the Batting Cage, jump on the Bumper Boats, hit the Road Course or teach your kids those old school Arcade games. One stop shopping for every adventure level in your family.

two people mini golfing at Frankie's Fun Park in Charleston SC

*Photo courtesy of Frankie’s Fun Park

To keep the adrenaline pumping and fine tune those hand–eye coordination skills, why not hit the Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park on James Island? With 72 suspended obstacles – high and low ropes courses, this locally owned, family operated adventure promises lots of laughs and family fun for you as you visit Charleston.

Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park in Charleston South Carolina

*Photo courtesy of Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park

With all the games and green screens kids may find on line these days, why not take them to the places where history actually did take place – not the made up CG versions. Fort Sumter Tours will take you to the exact spot where the American Civil War started. A National Monument smack dab in the middle of the Charleston Harbor – only accessible by boat…..what’s not to interest a budding history minded young person?! Also, visit Fort Moultrie on Sullivans Island and explore bunkers carved into sand dunes and learn just how important a solid military and defense were to the history of South Carolina – and how cool a well built Fort can be!

Fort Sumter Charleston South Carolina - looking at cannons and the Atlantic Ocean in the background

*Photo courtesy of National Park Planner

The Lowcountry is so named because we are the lower half of the state of South Carolina.  It is a very marshy, swampy area filled with all sorts of critters who love to make their homes in a marshy, swampy area – snakes, alligators, turtles – mosquitoes! Since 1931, guests to the Lowcountry have gotten up close and personal with these critters and our swamps by visiting Cypress Gardens in Moncks Corner – just a few miles outside Charleston.

swamp lands at Cypress Gardens in Charleston South Carolina

*Photo courtesy of Cypress Gardens

Devastated by record flooding a little while ago, Cypress Gardens is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, April 13 with new and improved facilities and programs. What is a Swamparium you might ask?? Think snakes – lots and lots of snakes! How about a Swamp Boat tour through the 80 acre blackwater bald cypress and tupelo swamp? You might find some remnants of former movie sets back in those trees!

Now – I can’t in good faith not mention a day at the beach while you’re here for Spring Break.  Toes in the sand and that crunchy first sunburn of the year – salt for the soul of you cold weather dwellers. After a good dose of salt water and sand, some yummy fried shrimp and hushpuppies – you absolutely have to make a trip in town for a ghost tour with Bulldog Tours!

Nothing screams Spring Break like spooky ghost stories in a Revolutionary War era Dungeon, pirate tales along the dark waterfront, and superstitions about people being buried alive in the oldest Graveyard in this Holy City. And for the very brave…….The Old City Jail tours and investigations!

The most important part of Spring Break is quality time with your family and friends so no matter what you chose to fill your days – have fun!

Valentine’s Day in Charleston

This Valentine’s Day, think outside that heart shaped box!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Yikes! Have you made that very expensive, very romantic, hardest reservation in town to get – reservation yet?? If not, well… bless your heart.

The pressure to have the most romantic date night ever is always so intense and often leads to arguments, tears, hangovers and sometimes even breakups!

So we’ve put together some suggestions that might just take that pressure off this year and give you one memorable Valentine’s Day.

 

The Valentine’s Day Food

Do you really need/want to get dressed up, rent a limo, spend the $$$$ on a lavish Five Course Dining experience with wine pairings? If so, Circa 1886 at the Wentworth Mansion (maybe a room reservation for the night?) is one romantic option out of the many awards winning fine dining options we have here in Charleston. That is if – there are reservations to still be had!

Photo courtesy of Circa 1886.

If however, you’d like to mix it up a bit – think outside that heart-shaped candy box – why not head out to Bowens Island and get messy shucking some briny, fresh local oysters. Jeans, sweaters, and boots highly recommended. How about an oyster knife monogrammed for your love? That sunset over the marsh with a cold beer and hushpuppies… ahhh.

Think you might need to fancy it up a bit more than shucking oysters? A two-hour sunset cruise on board The Carolina Girl might be the answer. Light hors-d’oeuvres, music and BYOB… and that sunset!

Photo courtesy of The Carolina Girl.

Or for something really outside that box, how about a reservation for one of our Food Tours? Savor the Flavors Downtown or Savor the Flavors Uptown – meet some new people, learn a bit of history and sample some of the food we’re known for down here in the Lowcountry. And if sweet treats really make you think of Cupid, our Dessert Tour will give you a sugar rush fit for the Gods!

 

The Gift

More pressure here… huh? Naughty nighties? Ravishing rubies or perfect pearls? Another new YETI product? Tee times? Didn’t we just go through all this during the holidays?

Mother Nature can be a very helpful relative to have as we live in one of the most beautiful places around – and she’s usually very mild mannered so an outdoor adventure this time of year is not out of the question.

How about a kayak adventure – anywhere! Shem Creek, Folly Marshes, along the Ashley. That sulfury smell of pluff mud is perfume to many who call this part of the world home. Coastal Expeditions can help with your outdoor adventures.

Photo courtesy of Charleston Outdoor Adventures.

If pluff mud isn’t your thing, why not see the marshes, oyster banks, islands from above with a private Helicopter tour of the Lowcountry. Holy City Helicopters offers daytime flights, sunset flights (with an optional champagne add-on) and even flight lessons. To see the Lowcountry from the water is one thing but viewing it from above… priceless.

Thinking of something a bit more leisurely, but no less romantic, consider a Charleston Stroll. Two hour history walk through the Holy City’s Historic District. Walk along Church Street, voted American’s Most Romantic Street. Delve into the Charleston Renaissance – a time when poets and artists were telling the stories of this sultry Southern place. The tea olive is blooming now and only enhances the romance this place we love so dearly.

If you really want to have something in a pretty box to unwrap – King Street should be your answer. Stop by Croghans Jewel Box and check out their Gold Bug Collection. Nothing says Lowcountry love better than a gilded palmetto bug! Or the beautifully chosen feathers of a Brackish Bow tie found at the Preservation Society Gift Shop on the corner of King and Queen. Feathers and bugs will be all the rage at the Dock Dogs competition during Southeastern Wildlife Expo, Feb. 15-17!

Photo courtesy of Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

Not attached at the moment?

So, this year you just want to spend time with your friends – some are using the expression “galentines” day – you just want to laugh and plan and toast each other and the beautiful “tribe” you’ve assembled.

You can still have pretty flowers and dance at Republic Garden & Lounge on King Street. They’ve joined Fetes de Fleurs for a Flower Crown making party! Ticket includes a beautiful flower crown bar (and experts) to help you craft your own unique floral crown – to celebrate you! A glass of bubbles might help those creative juices!

Perhaps wear your Flower Crown, Saturday, February 16th for a very special Chocolate Tasting at Bar & Cocoa, Mt. Pleasant. This chocolate tasting adventure with chocolate experts – I want to be a chocolate expert but I digress – will teach you how to recognize good chocolate – bonus – this exceptional chocolate will be paired with sparking wines! Day drinking at its finest! (Remember to schedule your Uber/Lyft!).

Photo courtesy of Bar and Cocoa

And if flower crowns and chocolate tasting just aren’t your idea of romance – February 15-18, there will be a Paranormal Investigation at the Old City Jail to mark the anniversary of the hanging of Charleston’s most beautiful, most notorious serial killer, Lavinia Fisher! Join our ghost hunters as we commune with the dead and reach out to the other wolds to perhaps chat with or bump into those lost souls from the past. Reservations required for this witching hour midnight to 3 am investigation. Legend says her husband John was so in love with her he gave up his freedom to rescue her from this prison. After all, isn’t the true story of Valentine’s Day a bit darker than our present day celebration?!!

So, this year – take the pressure off. There is still plenty of time to come up with the perfect plan to dazzle that special someone. Take up Mother Nature on her offer to help. Grab your girlfriends and dance. Let Bulldog Tours make all this easy for you! And Happy Valentine’s Day!