When the summer swelter settles upon downtown streets, you’ll spy bikinis and board shorts alongside business suits, as sunbathers spread blankets across Marion Square. The original settlers, who came from England via Barbados, knew a few things about staying cool in tropical climes. The design of our iconic single houses, for instance, exemplifies strategic cooling—the shaded piazzas on each floor face south or west to take advantage of prevailing winds. Harness that know-how by sticking to the shady side of the street and claiming a spot under the oak canopy at White Point Garden for a lazy afternoon.
On the Water
Look north up the Ashley River from Brittlebank Park and you’ll spy a conspicuous tiki hut floating in the water. It’s the home base of Hydrofly Watersports (pictured above) (www.hydroflynow.com), a locally owned outfit that puts a water-fueled jet pack to your feet and lets you soar through the air like an aquatic rocketeer. It’s a rush well worth the expense, and in July, you won’t mind all the crashing it requires to get your balance. Hydrofly also offers wakeboarding, tubing, parasailing, and Tiki Hut rentals for parties. Of course, if you just need a good soaking—right now—join the kids gleefully playing in the Spider Fountain at Waterfront Park.
Downtown parks are close allies, where you can slip off the sweltering sidewalk and cool down in the shade of a towering oak.
Theodora Park: This tiny Ansonborough haven is a newer addition to our green spaces, with benches, tables, and a small reflecting pool. 94 Anson St., www.theodorapark.com
Washington Square (pictured above): Behind City Hall at the Four Corners of Law, this attractive park has been a respite for nearly two centuries. 80 Broad St., www.charlestonparksconservancy.org
Hampton Park: This 60-acre, Olmsted-designed space is a favorite for residents north of the Crosstown for its shaded paths, floral displays, duck-filled lake, and pavilion. 30 Mary Murray Dr., www.charlestonparksconservancy.org
Cool Off Indoors
The peninsula is packed with fascinating museums—The Gibbes, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Aiken-Rhett House, to name a few—but a most intriguing one lies relatively under the radar: The Mace Brown Museum of Natural History. On the second floor of the College of Charleston’s science and math building, the school’s geology department displays dinosaur bones and fossils of cave bears, ancient mammals, and ocean creatures. There’s even the jaw of a massive Megalodon shark. 202 Calhoun St., www.geology.cofc.edu
There’s no American pastime more representative of summer than baseball, and Charleston is lucky to have its own minor league team playing right downtown. The RiverDogs are known for creative promotions, and summer 2018 is no exception:
Monday, June 11: Dog Day (vs. Asheville Tourists). Bring your pup and enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 beers.
Thursday, July 12: BuzzFeed Night (vs. Delmarva Shorebirds). You don’t have to like baseball to laugh at the viral videos displayed on the scoreboard.
Friday, July 27: ’90s Fireworks (vs. Greenville Drive). After the game, revel in ’90s nostalgia while a fireworks show lights up the sky over Charleston. Joseph P. Riley Jr. Ballpark, 360 Fishburne St., www.riverdogs.com
Eat & Drink
The Getaway: Remember, spice keeps you cool; so duck into this inviting Latin American restaurant for a top-shelf cocktail like the Lil’ Smoke Show, made with mezcal, pineapple tepache, lime, and habañero shrub. 541 King St., thegetawayonking.com
South Seas Tiki Lounge (pictured above): The only risk you take by ordering a Mermaid’s Milk (gold rum, lemon and lime, vanilla, and coconut cream) and sinking into one of the cushy chairs in this dimly lit escape is that you may not be able to convince yourself to venture back out into the heat afterwards. 23 Ann St., southseastiki.com
Pacific Box & Crate Farmer’s Market: What began as a wintertime way to keep a farmer’s market going downtown has blossomed into a year-round alternative, with local farmers like Ambrose Family Farm and Spade & Clover Gardens opting for the more chilled out, local vibe at this Saturday morning gathering outside the Workshop food hall. 1503 King St., www.workshopcharleston.com
When in town, dress as the natives do. And come summer, this means seersucker. Created with a loose weave that appears slightly wrinkled, the iconic blue-and-white stripe fabric allows air to flow and keeps you cool. For dapper men, a seersucker suit is a must, and longtime local clothier M. Dumas & Sons (pictured above) is the spot to get a perfect fit. 294 King St., www.mdumasandsons.com