Summerville’s official nickname is “Flowertown,” but an alternative slogan could easily be “Parks Central” or even “River Town.” For lovers of outdoor recreation, the offerings—on an off the water—are many.
Perhaps the town’s best resource for physical activity is the Ashley River, a lovely, gently flowing waterway perfect for whatever watersports strikes one’s fancy. Not far away is the Edisto, one of the nation’s finest blackwater rivers.
Veterans of kayaking and canoeing can head to Givhans Ferry State Park, where they can put their craft into the tranquil waters Edisto—or, if they’ve arrived without gear, visit Edisto River Adventures to rent what they need for a relaxing, fun-filled day on the water.
To explore the Ashley—a designated South Carolina Scenic River—locate the access sites on the Ashley River Blue Trail, a 30-mile section where large motorized craft are not allowed to disturb paddlers. A waterproof hard copy of the Blue Trail map can be obtained via an email link at the website.
For those who prefer recreating on dry land, there are plenty of options in and around Summerville. You want parks? The town has parks galore.
Foremost, for ease of access and landscaped views, is Azalea Park located in a residential area in the heart of Summerville. Talk about “Flowertown,” the spring display of blooms in this park is spectacular—and even in other seasons, the series of pathways winding through the park, past ponds, statues, trees and creeks, is a relaxing way to spend a day.
Gahagan Park offers several large fields set up for soccer and baseball, plus a large playground for younger kids. The park also serves as a summer host for fireworks displays and movies on the green.
Looking for tennis courts? Visit Doty Park. Like Azalea Park, it's located in the middle of the town. Hutchinson Square, a newly revitalized tree-heavy area, has added a water fountain and a large stage for band performances. Another large park with a performance stage is Brown Family Park located near the town’s Volvo facility.
For biking and walking, the go-to destination is the Sawmill Branch Trail, a 10-foot wide paved pathway winding alongside the old Sawmill Branch canal into town. Plans are in the works to extend the trail at each end, a project that will afford access to Colonial Dorchester Historic Site.
Summerville also offers a great skate park that's a hit with the skating and skateboarding crowd.
Golfers will enjoy Summerville's three excellent courses. Legend Oaks, located south of town on U.S. Highway 61, plays across rolling terrain with plenty of water hazards; Pine Forest Country Club is a true hidden gem among South Carolina golf courses, known locally as “Little Augusta” for its Masters-like architecture; and Summerville Country Club is a fun layout operated by the Blanton family, one of the Lowcountry’s traditional golf tribes.
Recreational runners will want to visit Summerville in the fall for the Sweet Tea Half-Marathon and 10K Run, a well-attended, 13.1-mile event held each November on a USATF certified course. Running through several areas of town, the race is known for its lively water stations and live entertainment along the route. Makes the long trek so much more fun.