Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC

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Visiting the Charleston area and looking for things to do outside the city? The South Carolina Sea Islands offer additional experiences to enjoy during your vacation. And, to really immerse yourself in the island culture, consider staying on Johns Island, a 30 minute drive from the Charleston airport.

I loved my stay at Sailor’s Rest Airbnb. From there I had access to many fun things to do on Johns Island SC. From exploring the Charleston Tea Garden to visiting one of the oldest live oak trees in the south, you can choose several…or all…of these activities to deepen your experience.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC title meme

Angel Oak Tree

This huge, ancient tree is a Lowcountry beauty. Considered the largest southern live oak tree east of the Mississippi, the Angel Tree, also called Angel Oak, is estimated to be 400 years old, although some accounts place the age at closer to 1500 years.

Located on Johns Island, Angel Oak Tree is 66.5 feet tall and has a trunk circumference of 28 feet. The Spanish moss draped canopy spreads over 17,200 square feet, creating sun dappled shade beneath the branches. One of the longest branches extends 187 feet from trunk to tip.

Some of the massive branches require support beneath them, to keep them from breaking. And some of the tree’s branches dive underground and then pop back up out of the ground as they continue to grow.

This park is free to visit, although donations are accepted to help preserve this protected tree.

The park is located at 3688 Angel Oak Road on Johns Island and open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sunday. The road to the Angel Tree is narrow and a bit rough so drive slowly. Parking spots are located outside the fenced area, with handicap parking available within the park.

There is a gift shop located within the park, along with porta-potties and picnic tables.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island tree
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC – Angel Oak Tree

Charleston Aqua Park

Located at 3050 Marlin Road, Johns Island, the aqua park is open daily from noon until 6:00 pm.

You can book 45 minutes sessions, for $18.90 per person, and enjoy the water park OR the ropes course. Book sessions online at this LINK. Bring your swimsuit and a towel, for the aqua park, plus closed toe shoes if enjoying the ropes course. Life jackets are provided.

The ropes course offers overwater climbing adventures for ages 6 and up. This fully floating course provides three difficulty levels from beginner to intermediate.

There are picnic tables and beach chairs located beside the lake, for spectators.

Freshfields Village

Freshfields Village sits at the crossroads of Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island and Johns Island, in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. It’s just 30 minutes from Charleston and minutes from anywhere on the islands.

Operated by Northwood Retail, this is an open air shopping community, designed for pedestrian traffic. Freshfields Village offers vacationers and residents a premiere shopping and dining destination with unique architecture, beautiful courtyard patios, and seasonal events that include cultural festivals, outdoor concerts and movies, plus a seasonal Farmer’s Market.

Although it is designed for walking the beautifully arranged streets and lanes, there is ample parking available in designated areas. Additional parking is available along the streets and behind the buildings.

The Village offers more than 60 stores, restaurants and services in one convenient location. And what a beautiful, relaxed space it is. You can easily spend a day here, shopping, dining and participating in events. Or stop by for lunch and a quick walk through the village. There’s something for everyone here.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC freshfields
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC – Freshfields Village

Captain Jack’s Kiawah Sailing & Dolphin Watching

Located on Johns Island, at 1880 Andell Bluff Blvd, Captain Jack’s is open 7:00 am until 7:00 pm every day.

You and five others in your private party depart from Bohicket Marina for a tour of the Edisto River or Atlantic Ocean. Watch dolphins swimming alongside the boat while the skipper shares the local lore and natural history of the salt marshes.

Sailing adventures include a private island picnic, sunset sail, family fishing, sailing lessons, dolphin watching, champagne cruise or a full day VIP cruise featuring all of the above.

Three hours of sailing costs $490 (group rate) or the sunset sail runs $530. Check out their website for more info.

Charleston Tea Garden

For anyone who enjoys drinking tea, hot or iced, the Charleston Tea Garden is a must see. They are the only such tea garden in the US, where hundreds of thousands of tea plants grow in the ideal South Carolina climate.

Owned by the Bigelow family, the farm offers guests an amazing tea experience.

In addition to many acres of tea plants, visitors enjoy an educational tour of the tea factory. And a 45 minute trolley ride around the property provides an up close look at the plants and a tour guide that shares interesting facts about the whole process.

The tea garden, located at 6617 Maybank Highway on Warmalaw Island,  is open daily. Hours of operation are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday and noon – 4:00 pm on Sunday. The garden is closed on major holidays. Please see their website for a list of those holidays. There is no fee to visit the gardens and tour the factory. The trolley ride costs $15.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC tea
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC – Charleston Tea Garden

St Johns Kayaks

Located at 4474 Betsy Kerrison Pkwy, Johns Island, St Johns Kayaks offers water tours of the Lowcountry.

Explore the salt marshes and estuaries of South Carolina, via kayaks or paddleboards, with knowledgeable tour guides who love sharing about the area and its natural beauty.

St Johns Kayaks also offers fishing charters, dolphin watching, beach combing, barrier island excursions and sunset cruises. Learn more at their website.

Visit Charleston Historic District

While you are close to this beautiful historic city, spend at least half a day exploring downtown Charleston.

Charleston is known for its cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, antebellum houses and a rich history that stretches back to the Revolutionary War. The downtown historical district includes the French Quarter, the South of Broad neighborhood, the Battery promenade and Waterfront Park that overlooks Charleston Harbor.

There are so many fun things to do in Charleston, from riding the free trolleys around town to walking along the battery to snapping photos in the South of Broad neighborhoods. Visit the iconic Pineapple Fountain or stroll through the City Market to hunt for treasures to take home.

The city is also an ideal place to grab lunch or dinner before returning to Johns Island.

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC charleston
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC – visit historic Charleston

Caw Caw Interpretive Center

Located at 5200 Savannah Hwy, Ravenel, this nature area offers trails with exhibits and rare wildlife. The Center is closed Mondays. However it is open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm every other day of the week.

Caw Caw was once part of several rice plantations where enslaved people applied their agricultural skills to create rice fields in cypress swamps. Today it is managed as a low impact wildlife preserve.

Caw Caw features six miles of trails with exhibits, elevated boardwalks through wetlands, environmental programs for all ages, habitats for waterfowl, songbirds, alligators, bald eagles and many other animals and early morning  bird walks. They also host festivals and special events during each season.

Admission is $2.

Enjoying Johns Island

I’ve visited Charleston and Johns Island, and there are things to enjoy in both places.

If your focus is on history, amazing architecture and exploring museums and historical sites, visit Charleston. And if your focus is on nature, outdoor fun and a more relaxed experience, visit Johns Island. Or, do as I did and spend time in both locations.

I dearly love Charleston. And I love the laid back vibes on Johns Island and the surrounding Sea Islands. There is an abundance of nature to appreciate throughout the area. And while I did spend time walking and exploring different parts of the islands, I also relished the downtime spent at Sailor’s Rest, soaking up sunshine, swimming in the pool and simply sitting in that tropical paradise, enjoying the beauty of it all.

Which of these fun experiences would you love to try, with Johns Island as your base?

Fun Things to Do on Johns Island SC caw caw center
Fun Things to Do on Johns Island – Caw Caw Interpretive Center

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Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina

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After dropping off my luggage at Sailor’s Rest, my accommodations on Johns Island, my next goal was to secure groceries for my stay there. While I had scou5ed out several possible grocery stores on Johns Island, I’m grateful my host recommended Harris Teeter in Freshfields Village. It turns out the store I thought about stopping at on my way to Sailor’s Rest, closes on Sundays.

Harris Teeter Market is located six miles down the road, from my accommodations. It was a quick drive. And what a surprise when I arrived. This grocery store didn’t look like any I’ve ever seen before. In fact, I drove past it, thinking I missed the building somehow. Driving around the block, slowly as I looked for the grocery store, I realized the “village” in Freshfields Village wasn’t simply the name of a shopping center. This beautiful village is a thriving community and the place to go for shopping, dining and services for those living on the islands or visiting.

Come with me. Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina. And add this charming community to your must see list when visiting the Charleston area.

Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina title meme

Freshfields Village

The Village sits at the crossroads of Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island and Johns Island Island, in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. It’s just 30 minutes from Charleston and minutes from anywhere on the islands.

Operated by Northwood Retail, this is an open air shopping community, designed for pedestrian traffic. Freshfields Village offers vacationers and residents a premiere shopping and dining destination with unique architecture, beautiful courtyard patios, and seasonal events that include cultural festivals, outdoor concerts and movies, plus a seasonal Farmer’s Market.

Although it is designed for walking the beautifully arranged streets and lanes, there is ample parking available in designated areas plus the large parking lot at Harris Teeter. Additional parking is available along the streets and behind the buildings.

Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina village
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina – one of the pretty streets in The Village

What Freshfields Village Offers

The Village offers more than 60 stores, restaurants and services in one convenient location. And what a beautiful, relaxed space it is.

Services

The Village offers all the essential services you might need, whether you are a local or a traveler. Services at Freshfields Village include:

  • banking – Bank of American, BB&T, FNB, Wells Fargo
  • post office and computer center
  • Buist, Byars & Taylor Law Firm
  • Charleston County Sheriff’s Department
  • Kiawah Island ARB
  • skin care – Bluemercury, Sweet Grass Plastic Surgery
  • Indigo Health chiropractic and massage services
  • Kiawah Island Club Biz Hub
  • Kiawah Partners Human Resources
  • real estate offices – Kiawah Island Real Estate, Timbers Kiawah, Kiawah Island Rentals by Vacasa
  • Kiawah Nail Studio
  • Urban Nirvana Hair Salon
  • Urban Nirvana Sap
  • Patricia Reno Huff Art Gallery and Studio
  • Roper St Francis primary health care/family care
  • Salt Marsh Animal Hospital
  • The Corner Drycleaners
  • The Station gas and convenient store
  • Village Dentistry
  • Village Optical
  • Vincent’s Drugstore
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina shopping
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina – Vacasa and Coastal Footwear
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina bluemercury
Bluemercury in Freshfields Village

Shopping

From clothing, shoes and accessories to gifts to sporting goods to home décor, Freshfields Village has you covered.

Apparel, Shoes & Accessories

  • Beaufort Bonnet Company – babies and kids
  • Coastal Footwear
  • Faherty
  • Holly & Brooks
  • Islands Mercantile
  • J. McLaughlin
  • Johnny Was
  • Luminary
  • Las Olas
  • Lilly Pulitzer
  • lululemon
  • Peyton William Jewelry
  • Showroom Kiawah
  • Southern Tide Kiawah
  • Spartina 449
  • TINA Stephens
  • vineyard vines
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina street
Shops in Freshfields Village

Gifts, Books & Art

  • Doin’ the Charleston
  • Indigo Books
  • Palmetto Scent Studio
  • Patricia Reno Huff Art Gallery & Studio
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina bookstore
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina – Indigo Books

Groceries, Beer, Wine & Liquor

  • Kiawah Spirits
  • The Village Market by Harris Teeter
  • The Station
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina grocery store
The store that drew me to Freshfields Village, The Village Market by Harris Teeter.

Home Design, Accessories & Services

  • GCD Home
  • Knight Residential Group

Pet Supplies

  • Doolittle’s

Sporting Goods & Fitness

  • SeaCoast Sports & Outfitters
Visit Fairfields Village in South Carolina sporting
SeaCpast Sports & Outfitters. Gorgeous store.

Dining

You can choose from a wide variety of cafés and restaurants, when you are ready to take a break from strolling and shopping.

  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Café Eugenia
  • Cantina 76
  • FortyEight Wine Bar & Kitchen
  • Fuji Sushi Bar & Grill
  • Hege’s
  • Java Java
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs
  • King Street Grille
  • La Tela Pizzeria
  • Ladles Soups
  • The Co-Op
  • The Village Market by Harris Teeter (salad & food bar + outdoor seating)
  • The Station Deli
  • Vincent’s Soda Fountain
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina cafe
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina – Café Eugenia offers healthy options.

Accommodations

  • Andell Inn
Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina hotel
Andell Inn in Freshfields

My Experience in Freshfields Village

After discovering what a delightful village Freshfields is during my grocery shopping trip, I made plans to return a couple of days later for lunch and exploring.

Checking out the village’s website, I selected Café Eugenia for lunch. There is a convenient parking lot close to this end of The Village. I left my rental car there while I enjoyed dining and then strolling around the area.

Café Eugenia suited me perfectly. The café uses locally sourced ingredients to offer an ever-changing assortment of salads, sandwiches, charcuterie boards, takeaway meals, drinks and more. I chose selections from their assortment of delicious salads, creating a plate with hummus and crispy pita bread, herbed potatoes and bean salad.

Appetite sated, I next did what I most enjoy doing while traveling…exploring. Wandering the beautiful streets of The Village I found exquisite buildings housing shops, restaurants and services, green spaces for playing and relaxing, courtyards with bistro tables and adirondack chairs facing a small lake.

The large green lawn at the center of the village is perfect for corn hole competitions…or hosting special events. Public restrooms are located in three spots in The Village plus the cafés and restaurants have them, if you dine in one of those. There are maps posted on boards throughout the area, so you can easily find what you are looking for.

While I peeked into several of the shops, I only purchased a novel from Indigo Books for the flight home. Since I travel with a carryon, I don’t have a lot of space for other purchases.

Courtyard
Courtyard with fountain, tables and chairs in Freshfields Village

Visit Freshfields Village in South Carolina

I highly recommend Freshfields Village as a stop if you are in the Charleston area. The Village is not only gorgeous, it is exceptionally clean and well cared for. Plants and flowers add charming touches to streets and buildings. And the architecture is so unique. The whole village has a tropical island feel.

I enjoyed spending several hours in Freshfields. Depending on how much shopping you did, you could easily spend an entire day here. Plus The Village offers special activities throughout the year. Check out the Event Calendar HERE.

I adore the Charleston historic district and spent half a day there this trip. And I love the more laid back island life on Johns, Wadmalaw and Kiawah Islands as well. Freshfields Village is a bright gem on the islands that I did not expect to find. What a wonderful surprise. I’ll definitely visit again the next time I’m in the Charleston area.

Have you heard of Freshfields Village?

Tranquil beauty
Tranquil beauty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor’s Rest Airbnb Johns Island South Carolina

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to Sailor’s Rest Airbnb for the hosted stay. All opinions are my own.

 

What a joy, to return to the Charleston area recently. I traveled to that charming, historic city for the first time last September, so there was a sense of familiarity this visit. However, this trip also provided opportunities for new experiences, something I dearly love.

Sailor’s Rest Airbnb served as home base for this adventure. Located on Johns Island, just outside of Charleston, this incredible property housed me during my stay and also offered beauty, sanctuary and restoration.

I’m excited to share this gem with you!

Sailor's Rest Airbnb title meme

The Story Behind Sailor’s Rest Airbnb

Neil and Ginny lived aboard a sailboat in the Caribbean and Bahamas for many years, island hopping and flowing with the ocean currents, literally. With hearts turned toward helping others, they sailed where they were most needed and gave freely from their resources and wisdom.

After daughter Sarah arrived, they decided to settle on Johns Island, South Carolina, to establish a permanent home and raise their child.

Neil and Ginny built a house reminiscent of those on the islands they so loved. They occupy the upper floor of the round house and offer the lower level as an Airbnb. Sarah co-hosts the Airbnb with her mother Ginny, while Neil continually works on the grounds, creating a hidden oasis.

Together, through Sailor’s Rest, they beautifully fulfill their desire to offer the gift of hospitality to others.

Sailor's Rest Airbnb welcome
Welcome to Sailor’s Rest Airbnb. I smiled over this sweet message.
Sailor's Rest Airbnb - pathway
Path winds through the gorgeous property, with a glimpse of the Airbnb in the background.

Sailor’s Rest Airbnb

The Airbnb apartment offers two spacious bedrooms, a full bath, a dining area, living room and a fully equipped kitchen.

As the welcome sign indicates, guests enter through the blue door, where a key awaits on the kitchen counter. The accommodations are all on one level, making it easily accessible.

The apartment is suitable for an individual, couple, two couples, or a family. Plus there’s a portable pack-n-play for a baby along with a highchair and a countertop bathtub. The property is kid friendly.

The apartment feels very secure. And while the owners live upstairs, and may be seen working on the property, they allow guests privacy and the freedom to enjoy the entire property. They are friendly, down to earth people who are willing to chat and share their fascinating story.

Take a Peek Inside

Let me give you a tour of the unique and inviting apartment.

Kitchen

The blue door opens into the large, fully equipped kitchen. To the right is a utility closet with a stacked washer and dryer unit. The kitchen provides everything needed to create meals onsite, with a full sized refrigerator and electric stove, microwave and cooking supplies, pots, pans and utensils. Essentials such as cooking oil, salt and pepper, plates, bowls, glassware and silverware are all there.

A kitchen is so important to me. Sarah graciously shared the location of the nearest grocery store, before I arrived. After dropping off my luggage at the Airbnb, I picked up groceries for my stay. I made full use of this kitchen and enjoyed the large windows above the sink. The views of the gardens and grounds inspired me to carry my meals outdoors to eat.

Sailor's Rest Airbnb kitchen
Sailor’s Rest Airbnb – full kitchen with a walk in pantry
Sailor's Rest Airbnb breakfast
What a view during breakfast!

Dining Area and Living Room

A dining area with table and chairs for four opens onto the large patio outdoors. Adirondack chairs in front of a fireplace provide additional seating and make a great spot for reading, sipping wine or toasting marshmallows in the evening.

Beyond the dining area a cozy living room invites guests to curl up with a good book and read or watch television. Artwork by Sarah and Ginny hang on the walls. These beautiful pieces are for sale.

Sailor's Rest Airbnb dining area and living room
Dining area sits in front of double glass doors that look out onto the large, flagstone patio with outdoor fireplace. Comfy living room beyond.

Bathroom

The full bath contains a walk in shower. The Airbnb provides conditioning shampoo, shower gel and lotion along with washcloths and towels. A toothbrush/toothpaste set is available if you forget to bring yours. And I found it so helpful that when I needed a small bandaid, the first aid kit in the bathroom had them.

For convenience, a second bathroom and infrared sauna room are located outdoors, between the pool area and covered biergarten. There’s also an outdoor shower by the pool.

Sailor's Rest Airbnb bathroom
Full bath with walk in shower.

Bedrooms

Two spacious bedrooms offer queen sized beds, closets and dressers with drawer space. I didn’t sleep in the second bedroom, however the bed in the room I slept in was extremely comfortable.

I chose the bedroom with the sliding glass door leading to a private patio…and a hammock! That hammock provided an ideal spot to relax, daydream and read. A table and chairs set on the patio gives another place to dine or sip a cup of hot tea while enjoying the view.

Sailor's Rest Airbnb bedroom
Bedroom with private patio.
Sailor's Rest Airbnb hammock
I think I clapped my hands when I saw the hammock! Enjoyed it very much.

Sailor’s Rest Gardens and Grounds

I’ve stayed at other Airbnbs. However, I’ve never stayed at one like Sailor’s Rest! The property surrounding the Airbnb is whimsical, exotic and so beautiful. I felt like I had an entire lush paradise all to myself.

Paths wind through tropical plants and beneath arbors and trellises covered with flowering jasmine. Water features splash and gurgle. Intimate nooks invite the wanderer to sit and reflect and little surprises wait around every bend in the path. I so enjoyed exploring the grounds and sitting on all the benches, chairs and swings.

Zen Garden and Bistro Table

The Zen Garden with its wall of towering bamboo plants, water feature and stain glass art is a serene place to reflect, meditate, journal and express gratitudes. A perfectly placed bench provides a spot to sit and appreciate the surroundings.

The bistro table set is tucked into a garden space near a play area for children. A cornhole set invites kids of all ages to play.

Sailor's Rest Airbnb zen garden
Sailor’s Rest Airbnb – Zen Garden
Sailor's Rest Airbnb bistro table
Bistro table and chairs

Patio Area

Just outside the apartment, the large patio offers multiple places to sit and visit, eat a meal, journal, read or reflect. I loved carrying meals out here to enjoy while surrounded by nature.

Koi fish occupy a large pond on the patio and an outdoor fireplace is the perfect spot for the evening.

Patio
Large patio area just outside the apartment doors makes a wonderful gathering spot.
Koi pond
Koi Pond
Sailor's Rest Airbnb fireplace
Such a wonderful spot for sipping wine or hot tea while reading a book.

The Biergarten and Pool

Walk by the fun yellow door and through the passageway to reach the covered biergarten. This space makes a great outdoor dining area, gathering spot or a place to play board games. The outdoor bathroom and sauna are located next to the biergarten.

Follow the path to the pool area for fun in the sun. And rinse off in the outdoor shower after a swim.

Doorway
Follow me to the pool!
Covered Biergarten
Covered biergarten lit up in the evenings. The whole property lights up at night!
Sailor's Rest Airbnb pool
Enjoy a swim in the pool.

My Experience at Sailor’s Rest Airbnb

I’m so grateful for the days I spent at Sailor’s Rest. While I used the mornings to explore Charleston and the islands, I spent my afternoons and evenings at the Airbnb.

The apartment is clean, comfortable and charming. Everything I needed was there to make healthy meals and enjoy downtime.

And the gardens and pool provided hours of enchantment. Creating this post and looking at the photos brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my time at Sailor’s Rest. The warm spirit of hospitality that permeates the property invited me to rest and to focus on myself.

And the beauty of the grounds called to me, “Come play and seek and find”. It was a call I joyfully answered.

Tree house
Get a higher view from the treehouse. And there’s a swing below.

Stay at Sailor’s Rest

I don’t want to keep this place a secret! In fact, I want everyone to know about this beautiful oasis on Johns Island.

Sailor’s Rest is conveniently located. Historic downtown Charleston is about a 25 minute drive from the property and the airport, 30 minutes away. I rented a car from the Alamo airport location and drove to Johns Island.

And it’s the perfect vantage point for discovering all that the islands have to offer. See the Angel Tree on Johns Island. Visit the Charleston Tea Garden on Wadmalaw Island. Nearby Freshfields Village is the place to go for shopping and dining. And Kiawah Island offers golf courses and beaches. Watch for my upcoming post for a list of things to do while on Johns Island.

Ready to enjoy a bit of paradise on earth? Check out Sailor’s Rest on the Airbnb site HERE. Plan that trip. Ask me questions about Sailor’s Rest, Charleston or the islands.

And when you visit, tell Neil, Ginny and Sarah “hello” from me!

Sailor's Rest Airbnb night view
All lit up at night!

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.