The 5 Best Piers To Enjoy Around Charleston

Sunrise over the Isle of Palms Pier.
Sunrise over the Isle of Palms Pier. Brad Spry
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The pier is the ocean’s back porch. Lie out on it during sunny days, watch a storm roll in from underneath the pergola when it rains, and watch the furious gray water of Charleston Harbor during those cold winter days. Hanging out on a pier is always a good idea, and fortunately for Charleston locals, this city has plenty of them—varying in size and pretty much on every island surrounding the city.

It’s easy to take the pier for granted in Charleston. It seems like they’ve always been around, but no one realizes the potential they carry for an awesome day on/above the water. Below are five of RootsRated’s favorite piers in and around the Holy City. Check them out the next time you’re looking for something fun to do around town.

1. Charleston Waterfront Pier  

Standing on Charleston Waterfront Pier and looking toward the city gives you a feel of being in the 1700s.
Standing on Charleston Waterfront Pier and looking toward the city gives you a feel of being in the 1700s. Micah A. Ponce

In the midst of all that downtown Charleston has to offer, the waterfront pier still stands as one our favorite places to read, eat a meal, and relax no matter what it feel like outside. Park on Queen Street, pick up an amazing crepe from Queen Street Grocery , and walk east until you’re standing on the end of the pier. The best time to go is when it’s cold outside. There are very few people around, plenty of space underneath the pergola, and you have free reign over the entire waterfront park. There’s something awesome about hanging out on the edge of Charleston Harbor on an overcast winter day. The backdrop of the city’s Federal architecture adds to the feeling that you could be standing in the 1700s.  

2. Isle of Palms Pier  

The Isle of Palms Pier is a great spot for fishing on or surfing around.
The Isle of Palms Pier is a great spot for fishing on or surfing around. Ted Kerwin

The IOP pier is fun to fish off of, surf around , and kick back with a cold beverage. This pier offers a great view of Sullivan’s Island and Morris Island off to the right, and if you get restless, just walk down to the beach and catch a few waves. IOP is a large tourist destination, meaning the people-watching from the pier is second to none. Give it a try sometime and thank us later.  

3. Folly Beach Pier

Folly Beach Pier offers great amenities for a day at the beach.
Folly Beach Pier offers great amenities for a day at the beach. Adrianne Behning Photography

The pier at Folly Beach has everything you need—great food on shore, all the necessary equipment for fishing available to rent, and the best view of the ocean in all of Charleston. If you don’t surf, but like to watch the sport, the Folly Beach pier is where you want to be. Try to make it out to the pier on a day when the waves are pumping, and you’ll have front row seats to watch Folly’s best tame the waves with their surfboards  

4. James Island County Park Pier

The JICP pier is actually more of a long dock, but as far as we’re concerned, it beats most piers in the southeast. The pier stretches out about a hundred yards into the marsh surrounding the Stono River , and when you finally get underneath the overhead structure, you can look back out onto the pristine edges of James Island . Launch your kayak from the dock, or just hang out in your hammock in the shade of the overhead structure. During flood tides, the water rises up to the walkway to the dock, it’s like walking on top of the water surrounded by Spartina grass.  

5. Pitt Street Bridge

Pitt Street Bridge is a cross  between a pier and a park, with great views of the harbor.
Pitt Street Bridge is a cross between a pier and a park, with great views of the harbor. Mogollon_1

The Pitt Street Bridge is your go-to destination to watch anything going on in the harbor. Watch fireworks from the RiverDogs  games or the 4 th  of July, boat parades during the Christmas season, or just watch container ships slide in and out of the harbor. This pier is also just a fun place to hang out with your crew. It’s halfway between a pier and a park—a grassy, elevated walkway if you will. Bring lunch, throw the Frisbee, and toss a crab trap from the bridge, and you’re all set for quite the lowcountry afternoon.

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