Quality of Life

Charleston, South Carolina is considered to be America's most beautiful city with historic attractions, lovely churches, museums, and galleries. Everywhere, its old streets are lined with picturesque and architecturally significant homes. The surrounding areas offer world famous gardens, elegant plantations, and superlative white sand beaches.

Quality education, transportation, health care, a variety of affordable housing, and low taxes combine to create an ideal environment for personal and business endeavors.

Tri-County Recreation

Charleston offers a variety of recreational activities, from the coastal beaches to the freshwater lakes in upper Berkeley County. The moderate climate allows the sports enthusiast year-round outdoor activities.


Beaches

There are public and private beaches scattered along the coast. In the East Cooper area, you can sun on the beaches of Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms or in the more secluded area of Wild Dunes. To the south of Charleston is Folly Beach, popular with area surfers. Kiawah Island offers a public beach with limited parking and Seabrook Island is private.


Fishing, Boating, and Sailing

Sailing is one of Charleston's favorite year-round sports with regattas sponsored during the season by the College of Charleston and area yacht clubs. Fishing opportunities are abundant whether from a chartered boat for deep-sea fishing, a local pier, or the surf. Freshwater fishing is at its best in Berkeley County's Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion, highly regarded by the nation's recreational fishermen. Crabbing and shrimping are also popular leisure time activities. Endless creeks and rivers provide the best boating, waterskiing, or just exploring available in South Carolina. Public boat landings abound in the Metro area with Charleston being home to some of the finest marinas along the Intracoastal Waterway.


Golf, Tennis, and Swimming

Golf is one of Charleston's most popular sports. From Patroit's Point Golf Course to the nationally ranked course at Wild Dunes, there is a course for everyone. Tennis can be found at private residential clubs, as well as in the city's parks. Numerous invitational tournaments throughout the Metro area attract pro players, and also involve local residents. Novice swim teams, formed in neighborhood pools, are extremely popular with young people.


Hunting

Sportsmen enjoy hunting quail, dove, duck, and deer at local reserves. Organized hunts are provided by hunting clubs.


Scenic Attractions

Nature and history enthusiasts will find an abundance of wildlife refuges and pre-Civil War plantations. For bird watchers, the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Bull's Island, and Drum Island offer over 250 species. Among the plantations open to the public are Middleton Place, Magnolia Gardens, Drayton Hall, Boone Hall, and Cypress Gardens.

The Arts

The Metro area offers a wide variety of cultural events year-round. The Charleston Civic Ballet, Charleston Community Concert Association, Charleston Opera Company, Dock Street Theatre/Footlight Players, Greater Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Robert Ivey Ballet, and the Workshop Summer Theatre perform seasonally.

The Charleston Museum, Gibbes Art Gallery, Historic Charleston Foundation/The Preservation Society, and the South Carolina Historical Society are just a few of the organizations offering workshops and tours throughout the year.

The Spoleto Festival is an internationally recognized and acclaimed comprehensive arts festival held throughout Charleston annually for two weeks at the end of May/early June. Symphony, dance, theatre, jazz, opera, chamber and choral music, and visual arts are included in both Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto, a simultaneously held regional arts festival.

Education

Schools are often a major consideration for families moving to a new community. During the past few years, a renewed sense of pride and enthusiasm for public education has bloomed as a result of some positive steps taken by South Carolina's state legislators.

The passage of the Education Improvement Act of 1984 changed the face of public education in South Carolina, making it a top priority statewide. Called "the most comprehensive single piece of legislation of 1984", this $218 million education reform package provided the guidelines and funds for improvement of the public system.

Although the three counties in the Metro area administer their own public schools systems, each with its own programs and emphasis, the high quality of public education is assured in part by state law. Recently, schools in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties have all earned a number of incentive awards for exceeding educational goals under the Education Inprovement Act, demonstrating the remarkable commitment local educators have made to achieving excellence in public education.

Children must be 6 years old by November 1 to be accepted into the first grade. A birth certificate and an immunization certificate are required. The school year in the Metro area is 180 days long and begins the end of August or early September and concludes the end of May or in early June. School bus service is available from the respective schools.

In addition to the standard curriculum, all counties offer a variety of programs to meet the needs of both the gifted and talented student and the mentally, physically, emotionally, or speech handicapped.


Private/Parochial Schools

The Metro area is home to a number of outstanding private schools, both independent and religious. These schools offer a wide variety of educational options.

There are 6 parochial elementary schools and 1 parochial school in the area. for more information contact the Catholic Schools Office at 114 Broad Street, P.O. Box 818, Charleston, SC 29402, or telephone (803) 724-8370.

There are 25 private and parochial schools in the Metro area. For more information contact the South Carolina Independent Education Association in Columbia at (803) 736-0346.



Community Services

Contributing to the area's economic well-being as well as th health of its citizenry is a major medical complex, the heart of which is the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Founded in 1842, MUSC is the first medical college to be established in the South and heads a list of nine hospitals serving the Tri-County area. The Tri-County area's hospitals and clinics offer top of the line health services which are supported by highly trained technicians. There are a number of nursing homes and convalescent centers available, along with a large Emergency Medical Service (EMS).


Churches

Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties have over 250 churches and synagogues representing over 24 denominations and 4 non-denominational churches. Consult your Prudential Carolina Real Estate agent for the nearest church meeting your requirements.


Parks

The Charleston County Parks and Recreation Department manages numerous parks. The most popular are Beachwalker and Folly Beach County Parks, along the coast; and Palmetto Islands County Park offering year-round enjoyment for the whole family with miles of bicycle trails, paddleboats, and canoeing, an old fashioned "watering hole" for swimming, along with picnic facilities and wide open spaces for favorite outdoor games. Charles Towne Landing allows its visitors to experience the same wilderness beauty that the early settlers enjoyed. A natural habitat zoo, landscaped gardens, and a replica of a 17th century trading vessel provide a full day of fun for the entire family. Neighborhood and small city parks offer tennis, golf, and swimming for the family. In downtown Charleston, the new waterfront park on the banks of the Cooper River is a treat for visitors and Charlestonians alike. Plans are in progress for a nearby aquarium.

Population


1980

1990

Est. for 2000

Metro Area

430,346

506,875

622,500

Berkeley County

94,272

128,776

183,600

Charleston County

276,556

295,039

314,200

Dorchester County

59,045

83,060

124,700

Area Facts

The Charleston metropolitan area of South Carolina is a region where making history means both preserving the past and having a vision for the future.

Comprised of three counties-Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester-the 2,600 square mile area is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the Southeast. In 1990, Charleston was ranked 5th in the nation in economic growth and 7th in INC. magazine's ranking of the most entrepreneurial metropolitan areas in the United States.

The region enjoys a stable, thriving economy that includes one of the nation's finest ports, a skilled labor force and an outstanding quality of life.

Other Annual Events


January

Lowcountry Oyster Festival

February

Southeastern Wildlife Expo
Festival of Wines

March

Flowertown Festival (Summerville)

April

Cooper River Bridge Run

May

May Day

May/June

Spoleto Festival

Sept/Oct

A Taste of Charleston
Scottish Games
Annual Fall House and Garden Candlelight Tours
Worldfest

October

Moja Arts Festival

November

Charleston Cup

Nov/Feb

Visitor Appreciation Days

December

Christmas in Charleston


For more information on annual events, contact
The Charleston Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau at 853-8000.