My 5 Favorite Charleston Running Routes
Other than the route right out my doorstep, which is actually pretty damn awesome and includes running by the sound and through some beautiful neighborhoods (including two options with golf courses if I run long enough), I have a few other running routes around the city that I really like and also have some pretty spectacular views.
All of these runs are 3-5 miles in length and are out and back courses, and most you could easily extend by just running a little further out.
If you're coming for a visit, and want a good Charleston running route, try one of these.
The Cooper River Bridge
This is a must-do if you've never run this bridge. Be ready for a serious (and steady) incline, but the views from the top make it completely worth it.
I like to start on the Mount Pleasant side since parking is easier and run up and over, and back again. That should get you a solid 5-miler.
Where to park: Under the bridge off Wingo Way at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park
The route: Start at the base of the bridge on the Mount Pleasant side and run all the way to the base on the Charleston side, and back.
Mileage: 5 miles
Isle of Palms to Sullivan's
This run gives you a nice little tour of parts of Isle of Palms and then gorgeous views of Breach Inlet. I also enjoy grabbing coffee and breakfast at Café Paname afterwards.
While I prefer starting on the IOP side and running to Sullivan's and back, you could just as easily reverse this route. You can make this one as long or short as you want. The shortest option is about 3 miles and the long option can extend pretty far (10ish or more miles).
Where to park: At the Café Paname parking lot on Palm Blvd (or in the public beach parking off Pavilion Dr., but depending on the time of year, you'll have to pay if you park in that lot)
The route: Take Ocean Blvd toward Sullivan's Island, turn right on 4th Ave., left on Carolina Blvd, and left on Palm Blvd. Cross over Breach Inlet and turn around to go back the way you came.
Mileage: 3.5 miles
Isle of Palms Beach Run
You can't live in a beach town and not have an actual beach run on your list of favorites. I don't run on the beach nearly as often as I'd like, but when I do, this is my beach run of choice.
I usually park at the county park (or on the street at Palm Blvd. and run an out and back route toward Breech Inlet. That's about a 3-mile run. If you want to run longer, go the opposite direction.
Before you go out for a beach run, don't forget to check the tides. I once made the mistake of forgetting about the tides and ended up running in the ocean by the end of my run because the tide came all the way up to the dunes.
Where to park: The public lot off Pavilion Dr., on the street on Ocean Blvd., or Isle of Palms County Park (just make sure you check the hours and don't get locked in!)
The route: Get yourself to the beach using one of the boardwalk paths, then start from there. Head toward Sullivan's island from near Isle of Palms County Park, run to Breach Inlet, and back.
Mileage: About 3 miles
Charleston Waterfront Park to Battery
This run gives you quintessential Charleston views - from the Pineapple Fountain to the stately Southern homes along the Battery (plus it runs along the water).
Where to park: The garage at the corner of Cumberland and Concord
The route: From the garage, turn right on Concord, which will run right into Waterfront Park. Follow Waterfront Park along the water to the end, then get back onto Concord/S Adgers Wharf. Turn left on E Bay and follow that to Murray Blvd (you have to turn right). Run to Rutledge Ave and go back the way you came.
Mileage: 3 miles
Shem Creek to Pitt Street
This one will give you gorgeous views of Shem Creek and Charleston Harbor (and the Cooper River Bridge) from the Mount Pleasant side. And you'll run through Old Village, one of Mount Pleasant's original neighborhoods - beautiful houses and gorgeous Southern scenery.
When you're done running, there are a ton of restaurants on Shem Creek where you can grab a post-run beer and munchies.
Where to park: The parking lot for Shem Creek Park (where all the restaurants are)
The route: Run out the boardwalk at Shem Creek to the end and back, then turn right on Coleman Blvd., turn right on Mill Street, left on Church Street, slight right onto Venning, immediate (slight) left on Pitt Street. Follow Pitt Street out to the end of the bridge. Go back the way you came.
Mileage: 5 miles
And if you happen to like trail running, I have one more as a bonus -
Laurel Hill County Park
This is one of my favorite places to hit the trails. It's a somewhat extensive trail system and it's connected to the Mount Pleasant Recreation Complex (so there are bathrooms there). There are plenty of maps and signs. Just follow the color coded trails to pick your distance. And don't forget your bug spray.
Where to Park: The Mount Pleasant Recreation Complex, near the baseball fields
The route: Pick your distance, run the trail. You enter the trail end between the baseball fields from the parking lot.
Mileage: Distance varies, but there is both a 3 mile loop and a 5 mile loop (among other options)
No matter which one of these runs you choose, you'll get beautiful views and see some of the sites around the city and surrounding areas. Enjoy!
Have you run any of these routes in Charleston? What did you think? What are your favorite running routes in your city?