During the 19th century, Charlestonians would flee inland to escape the insects and accompanying diseases that arrived during the sultry season. This settlement in a pine forest still holds true to its name, a bastion of small-town charm within easy reach of the city. Summerville’s bold claim of inventing sweet tea may be unsubstantiated, but we’ll forgive them: it’s a welcome tall tale that fits the hospitable vibe of the people that call this place home.
The Ashley River’s upper reaches meander past Summerville, and they’re easily accessible via the Herbert H. Jessen Public Boat Landing, which includes a fishing pier, a boardwalk, picnic shelter, and walking trail. Bring your own kayak to explore the waterway, dubbed the Ashley River Blue Trail (pictured above). 4820 Ladson Rd., www.visitsummerville.com
Twenty minutes west is the blackwater Edisto River, where you can rent a canoe and hire a shuttle from Carolina Heritage Outfitters for a day-trip or a multi-day float. www.canoesc.com
Eat & Drink
Coastal Coffee Roasters (pictured above): This hip hangout that roasts its own beans may be the region’s best kept coffee shop secret. Look for yoga/meditation classes every Thursday at 9 a.m. and local music every weekend. 108 E. 3rd N. St., www.coastalcoffeeroasters.com
The Icehouse (pictured above): This invitingly named farm-to-table stalwart offers creative daily entrées but isn’t afraid to keep it casual with Monday wing nights and burger Wednesdays. 104 E Doty Ave., www.theicehousesc.com
Third Thursdays: On the third Thursday of each month (June 21, July 19, and August 16), downtown Summerville’s Hutchinson Square transforms into an outdoor festival from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., coming alive with musical performances, food vendors, and arts and crafts classes such as jewelry making and quilting. www.summervilledream.org