Explore Mount Pleasant’s Memorial Waterfront Park

By:Marie McAden

Date:2/12/2012

If you’re visiting Charleston this winter, you owe it to yourself to cross over the Ravenel Bridge and check out Mount Pleasant’s Memorial Waterfront Park. This beautifully designed and maintained green space offers all kinds of ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Built in the shadow of Charleston’s imposing cable-stay bridge, the park offers impressive views of the harbor and city skyline. But this little gem is more than just a Kodak Photo Spot.

The fishing pier — built on the pilings of the Pearman Bridge — juts out 1,250 feet over the Cooper River, making it the longest pedestrian pier in the Southeast. The 8,100-square foot pavilion at the end of the walkway is a great place to catch the sunset and watch freighters traveling through the shipping channel. Tables, swings and benches can be found all along the pier and in the pavilion.

If you’ve packed your pole, you can fish for Southern flounder, whiting, red drum, blue fish, black sea bass and spotted sea trout, among others. Rental gear and bait is available at the snack bar and tackle shop at the entrance to the pier. You can also pick up the required $8 fishing pass here.

The weekend I visited the park, there were families picnicking and playing Frisbee in the “great lawn,” a wide open grassy area in the middle of the park. I enjoyed sitting in the Mount Pleasant Memorial, a circular colonnaded plaza with a cascading reflecting pool.

Another hot spot is the Children’s Playground, cleverly designed with bridge-like structures that mimic the Ravenel Bridge soaring overhead.

Be sure to stop in the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Pavilion, a venue for local basketmakers to display and sell their wares. Kiosks and panels tell the history of this unique African art form handed down from generation to generation. Operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Now that you’re on the east side of the river, why not explore the area? The Mount Pleasant Visitors Center is located near the parking lot, offering information on area restaurants, shops and attractions.

Memorial Waterfront Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. On-site parking costs 50 cents an hour. Need more information? Call the Visitors Center at (800) 774-0006.

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