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Mount Pleasant, USA: A Southern Retreat on the Ocean
Although the city has long been known as a weekend retreat for nearby Charleston's elite, Mount Pleasant is one of South Carolina's fastest growing municipalities and is quickly making a name for itself on its own. Its oceanfront location makes it the prime place to spend some time by the water and the history of the area means that it is a culturally-rich destination, as well.
Visitors to Mount Pleasant will find that although Mount Pleasant moves at a slower pace than its neighbour across the Cooper River, Charleston, that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty to do and lots to explore when spending time in this unique southern location.
War Memorials and Museums
Perhaps the most famous attractions in all of Mount Pleasant is the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. This museum is home to two former war ships, the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier, and the USS Laffey, a destroyer. It also houses the USS Clamagore, which is a war submarine. Once on the USS Yorktown, visitors will see the Medal of Honor Museum and 25 different aircraft that were used by the United States Navy, including the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and the Grumman F-9 Cougar.
On the shore at this museum, exhibits include a Civil War cannon and numerous vessels from the Vietnam War. Also on-site at Patriots Point is the Cold War Submarine Memorial and the opportunity to take boat tours. Each year, military re-enactments take place at the museum, as well. This is a popular event, so it is a good idea to book a hotel room in Mount Pleasant, SC early.
Parks and Green Spaces
There are parks and green spaces all over Mount Pleasant, but Memorial Waterfront Park is the most popular. This park features a nautical theme, much like many other things in the city, and includes a 380-metre long pier that jets out into the harbour. On this pier, visitors will find bench swings, restaurants, shops, and fishing opportunities. The pier also features fantastic views of the water and is very popular with locals and visitors, alike.
Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park is another favourite park with SC residents, as it is a massive natural area that is just north of the city's downtown area. Once at this park, visitors can walk along the paves hiking trails, have a picnic, or do some fishing. Splash Island Waterpark is found within this county park, so visitors are encouraged to pack their bathing suits when leaving their hotels for the day. Blackbeard's Cove Family Fun Park features a minigolf course, an arcade, and paintball fields, making it the perfect place to spend a day indoors if the weather isn't cooperating.
So much history can be found in Mount Pleasant that is can be difficult to narrow it down to just a few places to explore. No visit to the city is complete, however, without checking out Boone Hall Plantation and Garden. This location was originally settled in 1681 and is significant because it is one of the country's oldest working plantations. The original house was lost and later replaced in 1936, but slave cabins remain on the site. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and shows what life was like in America's past, particularly for African American slaves.
Another well-known historic site in Mount Pleasant, SC is The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. This farm house is important because it was the home of Charles Pinckney, who was one of the authors of the United States Constitution and a soldier in the American Revolutionary War. This area isn't far from the downtown area, so it is easy to visit from many of the city's hotels.
Festivals and events are held in Mount Pleasant all year round, so visitors can always find something uniquely local to experience. The Mount Pleasant Arts Festival is an annual event that features live entertainment and performances, in addition to art exhibits. It is held in the spring, along with the Blessing of the Fleet, which is a festival that is entirely dedicated to seafood. Shrimp eating contests, live music, and a shrimp boat parade headline this event and hotels tend to fill up early.
In the summer, Patriots Point hosts an incredible Fourth of July celebration. The Sweetgrass Festival is also held during the summer and it pays homage to the Gullah Geechee people, who are the descendants of slaves, and their basket making traditions. The Children's Day Festival is always a popular event in the fall, while the Christmas season bring a parade and the Holiday Farmers Market & Craft Show to the city.
A Day on the Ocean
As with other oceanfront cities, it is always possible to spend the day on a boat whilst in Mount Pleasant. Boat tours leave from Patriots Point all year around and explore the harbour and the coastline. It is also possible to see many the historic sites of the city and its surrounding area from the water.
Other tours leave from Shem Creek Park, which is close to the main harbour. These tours often take visitors out in search of dolphins, pelicans, and other wildlife. A lucky few might even be able to spot a whale during one of these tours.