For our visit to Charleston we camped at the James Island County Park Campground. It is about 15 minutes away from downtown Charleston and a fabulous facility for outdoor people. It is a 643 acre park with an outdoor centre, bike paths, dog park, playgrounds, canoeing and multiple activity centres where they hold programming. After 3 days of playing tourist, we needed some adventure time. We got up early on our last morning and headed over to the outdoor centre for a morning of playing. They have a slack line area, a portable climbing wall with self belaying, a large climbing wall and a frisbee golf course.
We started in the slack line area and had a great time. They had 3 different heights and we did pretty well on the beginner side. Tim and I did the intermediate but no one tackled the advanced (3 feet off the ground).
We moved over to the portable climbing wall. It has a self belaying system so we could all climb at the same time. After testing it out a few times in one on one climbs, Hunter decided we should have races. Everyone hooked up at the same time, taking 3 steps back from the wall and then GO – you have to get to the top of the wall, hit the button (which rings a bell) and then get back to the ground first to win. We probably did this 10 times and by the end were laughing so hard we had to rest.
The main wall was a pretty busy place so we chose to play in/on the scrambling hut. It is a smallish building and the idea is that you should be able to climb all the way around the walls without touching the ground, yet you are never more than 1-2 feet off the ground. A great learning environment for everyone and often harder than the big walls themselves.
The big wall was the last part of the park that we tackled. It requires that you are belayed by a staff member or that you take a test that demonstrates you can belay. Tim and I took the test (and passed) so everyone got at least one climb in on the big wall. After playing so much on the portable wall, the big wall felt really long in terms of climb time. We were all very tired, in a good way, after our morning here.
We would definitely recommend James County Island Park. The outdoor centre facility is impressive and has very friendly and helpful staff and incredibly reasonable rates ($12 pp for the day). The campground is very clean and well maintained with top notch internet but no cable.