In a city known for its rich history, haute cuisine and arts and culture, one might not expect to find a lot in the way of outdoor adventure. But Charleston has plenty to offer its thrill-seeking visitors.
Here are two fun outings sure to get your adrenaline pumping:
Fly through the treetops of a pine forest and experience the rush of soaring like a bird on a canopy tour with Charleston Zip Line Adventures. Located on 10 acres in nearby Awendaw, the attraction features seven zip lines ranging in length from 200 to 750 feet, along with three swinging bridges.
Led by two trained guides, you'll start the tour with an introductory zip just a few feet off the ground. After learning how to slow down and stop, you'll climb to the top of a 65-foot tower to make your first flight.
The shortest of the seven zip lines, it's the bunny slope of the canopy tour, offering a warm-up for the longer flights that lie ahead. But the distance will seem inconsequential when you're standing at the edge of the six-story platform with nothing but open air below you.
Of course, when you make the big leap, you're securely strapped in a five-point harness attached to an overhead cable by a trolley and two carabiners. The landing platform is built around the trunk of a sturdy pine, making you feel like a bird flying to a tree.
With each subsequent flight, the length of the zip lines increase. Because the system uses gravity to get flyers from perch to perch, you drop six feet for every 100 feet of airtime. After the fifth zip, you'll need to climb several flights of steps to gain some elevation for the last two zip lines on the course.
Stretching 650 feet through the forest, the penultimate zip is a fast flight designed to build up to the grand finale.
"In the summer when everything is green, it's like zipping through a tunnel of foliage," said Charleston Zip Line Adventures co-owner Matthew Canberg. "You can't see the other end."
If zip No. 6 doesn't take your breath away, the final flight will. At 750 feet - more than the length of two football fields - it offers the fastest run, allowing gliders to reach up to 26 miles per hour.
You have to be at least 10 years old and weigh a minimum of 70 pounds to participate in the canopy tour. For children ages 5 to 10, there's a kids' zip line course. Charleston Zip Line Adventures also features a 60-foot climbing wall - the highest in the region.
For more information or to make reservations, click here or call 843.928.3947.
If you're looking to test your mettle, try the Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park on James Island. With 72 elements on the aerial course, it offers adventurers of every skill level the chance to overcome challenges worthy of a celebratory chest thump.
"It's all about building self-confidence," said co-owner Gary Ladd.
Using the green, blue and black difficulty color ratings found on ski slopes, the course starts with easy and moderately challenging elements on the first level and progresses to tougher ones on the second-story level. To get from one platform to another, you'll need to navigate across 25 feet of shaky bridges, tight wires, rope nets and a variety of other balance-testing obstacles.
As the difficulty of the challenges increases, so does the height. At the 35-foot top level, you'll test your strength, stamina and skill - and your ability to develop problem-solving strategies on the fly.
At several platforms on the top two levels, you can use an automatic belay system to exit the course. While it allows you to avoid having to recross challenges and descend on rope bridges, it requires you to overcome the fear of scooching off a small platform seat three-stories off the ground.
Whatever route you choose to take, you're always safely locked to cables with the course's two-carabiner smart belay system. Should you misstep on any of the challenges, you won't drop more than a few inches. Three crew members are positioned on the course at all times to help, if needed.
The adventure park also features a seven-element, 15-foot high ropes course for young thrill-seekers, as well its own version of TV's "American Ninja Warrior" course, complete with warped wall, devil's steps and hanging bananas.
For more information on Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park, click here or call 843.225.1555.