5 Local Spots to Watch a Charleston Sunrise

January 10, 2024

Life in the Lowcountry is good, and even better when you catch a brilliant morning sunrise. Whether you’re staying at one of the beaches or downtown, there are some great spots that remain peaceful even during high tourist season and therefore popular with the locals.

Melton Peter Demetre Park

Tucked into a residential pocket of James Island, this park is nicknamed “Sunrise Park” for very obvious reasons. Take in panoramic views of the Battery, Patriots Point, the Ravenel Bridge, Mt. Pleasant, Fort Johnson, and Sullivan’s Island while listening to waves lapping along the small beach. To enjoy the sunrise like a true James Islander, pick up coffee and a fresh bagel sandwich from Bagel Nation on the way.

Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve

Walk all the way down on the lighthouse end of Folly Beach and you’ll be surrounded by marshland, ocean and maritime forest all while watching the sunrise. Keep your eyes out for nesting loggerhead sea turtles, and go check out local surfers riding Folly waves at the nearby Washout afterwards.

Joe Riley Waterfront Park

While this park is usually buzzing with tourists coming from the city market and kids playing in the fountains, it remains surprisingly tranquil at sunrise. Sit on the steps of the City Gallery and watch the sun come up from behind the Pineapple Fountain.

Treehouse Park on Daniel Island

Daniel Island is a largely residential island northeast of the Charleston peninsula best known for being home of the Volvo Tennis Stadium. Residents of the island largely benefit from the large network of parks and walking trails that run along the Wando River, although they are all open to the public. Getting to watch the sunrise from a treehouse on a quiet island will leave you feeling like a modern-day Robinson Crusoe!

North Charleston Riverfront Park

This waterfront park is located beneath groves of trees with Spanish moss on the old naval base that used to be the epicenter of work and commerce for the City of North Charleston. Today it is popular with local residents, music and food truck festivals, and the largest Fourth of July fireworks display in greater Charleston. Walk through the sculpture garden to watch the sunrise from the event stage on the north end, but also make sure to check out the Naval Base Memorial on the south end before grabbing breakfast up the road at Junction Kitchen & Provisions in Park Circle. This is a wildly popular neighborhood joint (the owner lives down the street and might be your server), but the Buzzed Donut breakfast sandwich is worth the weekend wait.

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