Looking for something to do in West Ashley this weekend? If so, there is no shortage of options available. While Middleton Place and Magnolia Gardens are perhaps the area’s most well-known attractions, visiting these historic sites can be on the pricey side for a casual weekend outing (though they are both certainly worth a visit). Fortunately, there are also several free (and low-cost) things to do in West Ashley.
So, what should you do this weekend? Here are 10 free and low-cost options in West Ashley—as well as a bonus list of five free things you can do that are just a short drive away.
5 Free Things To Do in West Ashley
Let’s say you are looking for a free way to enjoy a few hours on a weekend morning or afternoon. Here are five options in West Ashley:
1. Walk or Bike the West Ashley Greenway
The West Ashley Greenway is a trail that runs all the way from Main Road to Folly Road in West Ashley. In total, the West Ashley Greenway is roughly eight miles long. But, the best section is the roughly 1.4 mile stretch from Main Road to Croghan Landing Drive. In this section, which consists mostly of smoothed out gravel, you will also cross two foot bridges where you will have a great view toward the Stono River to the south. On most days, you can expect to see great egrets, great blue herons, ibises, tons of mud crabs, and other local wildlife.
To get to this section of the West Ashley Greenway, you can either park in the small parking lot on Croghan Landing Drive or the larger parking area just off of Main Road. Turn right onto McLeod Mill Rd. at the sign for Stono County Park, then drive under Main Road and you will see the parking area on your left in about a quarter of a mile.
2. Visit Stono River County Park
If you have a Charleston County Parks Gold Pass, you can visit Stono River County Park in West Ashley for free. This relatively new park was just opened in 2020, and consists primarily of a trail that wanders out to two small islands in the Stono River. The total trail length is approximately 1.5 miles, and includes a paved path from the parking lot, a boardwalk across the marsh, and then crushed gravel trails around two small islands connected with a foot bridge. There are benches at roughly the halfway mark, and there are plenty of spots to stop and take in the views from the two islands.
To visit Stono River County Park, take Main Road toward Johns Island from Savannah Highway. You will see the Charleston County Parks and Recreation (CCPRC) sign for the park on the right just before you get onto the bridge over the Stono River.
3. Go Kayaking or Fishing (or Both)
If you have a kayak or fishing gear (and a fishing license), you can go kayaking or fishing in West Ashley for free. You can fish off of the foot bridges on the West Ashley Greenway or the pier at Limehouse Landing (which is technically on Johns Island, just across the Main Road bridge). Kayak put-ins in West Ashley include Pierpoint Boat Landing and the Wappoo Cut Boat Ramp. You can also put in at Limehouse Landing or Bulow Landing just a few minutes farther west on the Rantowles Creek.
4. Explore West Ashley’s Neighborhoods
Another good (and free) way to spend some time in West Ashley is to explore the area’s neighborhoods. You can view both new and historic homes, and many people go all out decorating for the holidays year-round. If you think you might like to move to the area (or try living in another part of West Ashley), it is definitely worth taking a morning or afternoon to scope out the various options that are available.
5. Go To a Public Library
West Ashley has three public libraries, one of which is new and two of which have undergone recent renovations. You can sign up for a library card and take some books home, or simply spend some time browsing the shelves and sitting in the library’s quiet and peaceful atmosphere. West Ashley’s public libraries are:
- Bees Ferry West Ashley Library located at 3035 Sanders Road
- Andrews Library located at 1735 N. Woodmere Drive
- West Ashley Library located at 45 Windermere Boulevard
5 Low-Cost Things to Do in West Ashley
In addition to these free options, there are several low-cost options for things to do in West Ashley as well. Here are five that we recommend:
6. Get a Coffee
If you want to go out for a coffee in West Ashley, there are several Starbucks throughout the area and a Biggby Coffee on Ashley River Road, but we recommend going out of your way to visit the Charleston Coffee Exchange at the intersection of Bees Ferry Road and Ashley River Road. The Charleston Coffee Exchange has been a local favorite since 2006. The owners source beans from small growers around the world and roast their beans in West Ashley, and customers can purchase fresh pastries and breakfast sandwiches as well.
Other local coffee shops and cafés in West Ashley that are worth visiting include:
- Annie O' Love's Cookie Café
- Highfalutin Coffee Roasters
- Second State Coffee
- The Gathering Café
- Wildflour Pastry
7. Go Out for Dessert
If coffee isn’t your thing, or if you are looking for an option for the whole family, then how about going out for dessert? Annie O' Love's Cookie Café and Wildflour Pastry are both good options here as well; and, if you are in the mood for ice cream or frozen yogurt, then Charleston Creamery in the West Ashley Place shopping center is the place to go.
8. Go To the Farmers Market
Ackerman Park hosts the West Ashley Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. The market is typically open from late April through late October or early November. You can go and browse the various vendor stalls for free, spend less than a dollar on a few honey sticks, or spend a few bucks on some fresh produce for your next meal at home.
9. Shop On a Budget
Another low-cost activity you can do in West Ashley (or just about anywhere) is shop on a budget. Give yourself or your child a small budget (say, $5 or $10), then pick a store where you know you can find something good. Maybe Barnes & Noble on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard or World Market on Orleans Road, or maybe one of West Ashley’s consignment shops. Wherever you choose to go, take your time, be creative, and see what you can find.
10. See a Movie
Maybe seeing a movie is more your pace. If it is, you can take in a new release at the Citadel Mall Stadium 16. Children’s tickets are discounted during peak hours, and early matinee shows are just over half the price of an evening adult ticket.
BONUS: 5 Things You Can Do for Free Within a Short Drive of West Ashley
Are you looking for more free things to do in the West Ashley area? If so, here are five options that are within a short drive:
- Visit Downtown Charleston – If you can find free street parking, you can visit downtown Charleston without spending a dime. Window shop on King Street or at the Charleston City Market, walk by the historic buildings on Broad Street and Rainbow Row, and watch sailboats from the Battery at the tip of the peninsula.
- Go To the Beach – You can park for free in various locations around Folly Beach, at Folly Beach County Park or Kiawah Beachwalker Park with a CCPRC Gold Pass, and in multiple areas on Edisto Island. While Folly Beach is closest to West Ashley, the road in can get congested on summer weekends. Kiawah Beachwalker Park and Edisto Beach are both less than an hour’s drive away.
- Visit a Museum or the Angel Oak – There are several museums in Charleston that offer free admission. These include the Fort Sumter Visitor Center and Mace Brown Museum of Natural History, among others. To visit another piece of history for free, you can also take the short drive from West Ashley to the Angel Oak on Johns Island.
- Walk or Bike the Ravenel Bridge – Walking or biking across the Ravenel Bridge is free, and you can park for free at Riley Waterfront Park just across the bridge in Mt. Pleasant. The bridge is approximately 2.5 miles across (and approximately 1.25 miles to the center). Spend some time on the bridge, and you can expect to see dolphins, cargo ships, cruise ships, sailboats, and numerous other vessels on the water while you are there.
- Tour Filming Locations from TV Shows and Movies – Several movies and television shows have been filmed in West Ashley and the surrounding areas of Charleston. These include the Netflix hit show Outer Banks, The Righteous Gemstones on HBO, and movies ranging from The Patriot to Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
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