Sunday Tour

What You’ll See on the Sunday Tour

We’ll start out at the Mt. Pleasant Town Center, which is close to the Isle of Palms Connector, and head toward Charleston, passing through a portion of the Mt. Pleasant “old village” to get to the base of the Ravenel Bridge.  

Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park   photo stop    6.1 miles

We'll ride into Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park and out onto the pier underneath the Ravenel Bridge, which connects Mt. P to Charleston.  The bridge opened in 2006 with a span of 1576 feet.   

The original bridge, the Grace Memorial Bridge, was built in 1929 by a private company charging a toll of $1 to cross, until SCDOT bought the bridge in 1943 and then in 1946 stopped charging the toll.  A second bridge, the Silas Pierman Bridge opened in 1966.  However, both became obsolete and were replaced by the Ravenel Bridge, the 3rd longest cable-stayed bridge in the western hemisphere.

A single concrete tower from one of the old bridges is still standing along our route.  See if you can identify it as we ride!

- Ravenel Bridge  photo stop at the top    8.7 miles 

At the top of the bridge, at an elevation of 186 feet above the Cooper River, you’ll have a fabulous view of Patriots Point with its naval ship museums, downtown Charleston, the harbor, Fort Sumter, Sullivans Island lighthouse, and possibly a cruise ship or container ship coming or going.  
Remember, the lane right next to the white railing is for pedestrians!

- Hampton Park  11.8 miles  
Once in downtown we’ll make our way to Hampton Park, the largest park on the peninsula.  It was once a horse race track and is named after a former SC governor.

- The Citadel  12.6 miles
The Military College of South Carolina, established in 1842, now has approximately 2,800 undergradutates. Graduates have fought in every war since the Mexican War of 1846.

The Citadel - Military College of South Carolina

- Joe Riley Park  13.7 miles  Named after a Charleston mayor who served for 40 years, it is a baseball stadium that holds 6,000 people, and is home to the Riverdogs.

- Brittlebank Park  13.9 miles  On the Ashley River.  Then passing the Charleston City Marina on the way to Colonial Lake.

Brittlebank Park looking towards the Ashley River
-Colonial Lake  
15.4 miles  A tidal lake in the middle of the city!

Colonial Lake seen from Broad Street

After leaving the lake we'll head back toward the Ashley River, passing the Coast Guard station and along the Low Battery, next to the Ashley River.

-The Battery and Whitepoint Gardens  photo stop   17.5 miles

At the south end of the Charleston peninsula, the battery is where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet to form Charleston Harbor, or, if you’re talking to a native Charlestonian, where the rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean!  Great views!  The wall along the Ashley River is currently being raised and rebuilt, so we may need to detour away from the river for a few city blocks to avoid it.
Heading north, we'll pass the Carolina Yacht Club as we approach famous Rainbow Row.

- Rainbow Row  18.0 miles  Iconic historical row houses on East Bay Street.

 The colorful row houses of Rainbow Row

We'll pass the splash fountain at Waterfront Park.

- The International African American Museum  19.0 miles.  This new, world-class museum has been open less than a year. It is a highly recommended experience if you have the time. It is built on the site where a large portion of enslaved Africans first landed in North America.

The International African American Museum.
Going north on East Bay Street will take us back to the Ravenel Bridge to head over into Mount Pleasant.
- Cigar Factory  20.0 miles
Just before going over the bridge, we’ll pass the “Cigar Factory”, a very large brick building on your left, opened in 1882 as a cotton mill which later produced cigars.  During a strike in 1945 the song “We Will Overcome” was sung by striking workers, which became a civil rights anthem.  It now houses several businesses, including Rappahannock Oyster Bar, a great seafood destination and a Coastal Cyclists sponsor.

The Cigar Factory

Going in this direction the climb up the bridge is longer but only half as steep as the other side.  Easy!

NOTE:  There is a shorter version of the ride that does not include Patriots Point and the Island but goes back to the start from here.

- Patriots Point    bathroom/water break/photo stop  24.2 miles
We’ll ride into Patriot’s Point, passing the field where the Charleston Battery soccer team plays, and out onto the pier, with views of the naval vessel museums, downtown and the harbor.  It’s common to see dolphins swimming near the pier and marina.


- Mt. Pleasant Old Village  27.3 - 30.0 miles    
On the way, we’ll cross over Shem Creek (26.9 miles), where you’ll usually see kayakers and paddle boarders, then into the Old Village, the oldest section of the historic town of Mount Pleasant.  This land was once inhabited by Seewee Indians. 

- Pitt Street Park  short water break  29.0 miles
We’ll briefly stop at Pitt Street, which officially is the Pickett Bridge Recreation Area. It's long and thin because it's the location where a trolley ran from Mount Pleasant to Sullivan's Island from 1898 until 1927.  After that it was a roadway until 1945 when the Ben Sawyer Bridge to Sullivan's Island opened. 

- Ben Sawyer Bridge  31.9 miles  We’ll cross this bridge to get onto Sullivan’s Island.  It’s a swing bridge that just might be open briefly for tall boat traffic when we get there.

- Fort Moultrie   bathroom and water break at the visitor’s center  34.2 miles  The fort across the street from the visitor’s center was attacked by the British Royal Navy in June 1776.
Just before we stop at the visitor's center, we'll go down a short road to the beach for a view of Fort Sumter and the Morris Island Lighthouse (34.7 miles). 
As we head north on Sullivan's Island, you'll see that many streets are named "Station" followed by a number.  When the trolley ran, these were numbered stops along the way.  We'll pass some WW I military housing, originally part of Fort Moultrie, that are now privately owned and occupied.

Charleston Light  35.3 miles   Generally known locally as the Sullivan's Island lighthouse; it went into service in 1962 as a replacement for the Morris Island Light.  It is the last onshore manned lighthouse built in the United States and is still in service.

- Breach Inlet  37.8 miles

Heading north we’ll cross Breach Inlet bridge which connects Sullivans Island to Isle of Palms, (once known as Long Island after its owner).  On your right, the ocean, on your left, the intracoastal waterway.  This is the location that the H. L Hunley submarine was launched to sink the Housatonic in 1861.  It was the first successful use of a submarine in combat.

- Isle of Palms Connector  photo stop at the top  40.2 miles

The 2.5-mile bridge will take us over the intracoastal waterway and salt marsh and back into Mount Pleasant.  It was built after hurricane Hugo (1989) damaged the Ben Sawyer bridge leaving no other way to get to the islands without a boat.  The V-shaped land on the left side of the Intracoastal Waterway is Goat Island, inhabited, but only accessible by boat.
We’ll approach the parking lot where we started at Mt. P Town Center, just off Hungry Neck Blvd, getting its odd name possibly from an historic plantation, or that the area was considered to have poor soil for crops!  No one is sure.

Back at Town Center where we started, you'll find several great places for lunch!
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