College of Charleston students have one of the world’s top cities to spend time in (when they’re not in class or hard at work studying in Addlestone Library).

And luckily, as an urban campus in the heart of the city’s historic downtown, it couldn’t be easier to get around. Here’s some of the best ways to get to class, that great new restaurant, or the beach while you’re at the College.

Charleston is one of the country’s most walkable cities, and hoofing it from campus to any of downtown’s many amenities is a piece of cake. It’s only a 10-minute walk from Cougar Mall to the Cooper River, where you can find the South Carolina Aquarium, Waterfront Park and some of the city’s top tourist destinations. It’s not a lot further to the Ashley River on the other side of the peninsula, where you can run along Lockwood Drive or catch a Charleston RiverDogs baseball game. Head over to King Street and you’re on one of the nation’s premier streets for shopping, eating and strolling.

Bikes on campus (Photo by Reese Moore)

Bike (or Skateboard)
Charleston, with its flat terrain, serene side-streets and bike lanes, is also a great city to explore by two wheels. Bicyclists can get around much of the downtown peninsula with ease thanks to a plethora of navigable streets from which to choose. And, you can easily access Mount Pleasant by bike, thanks to the exercise path over the Ravenel Bridge. Don’t have your own bicycle? You can take advantage of the College’s bike share program by visiting the Stern Student Center. Holy Spokes, the city’s newest bike share program, also has corrals throughout the city, including several on campus. Just be sure to follow traffic laws, wear a helmet and — perhaps most importantly — ride with traffic on the road.

A skateboard is also a great way to get around Charleston, and is permitted through certain streets on campus. Want to get to a skate park? The City of Charleston’s new skate park, SK8 Charleston, features multiple bowls and ramps and is managed by alum Josh McFadden ‘10.

Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority (CARTA) manages the bus system around downtown and the greater Charleston area. The system has routes that serve the Charleston peninsula, North Charleston, West Ashley, James Island and Mt. Pleasant — and CofC students ride for free. All you have to do is present your Cougar Card (College of Charleston ID) and you’re good to go.

For full information on CARTA schedules and routes, log on to the CARTA website. And, if you have any trouble determining the best route for your trip on CARTA, just use the CARTA trip planner online. All you have to do is plug in your departure area and your destination and – presto! – the website tells you what bus(es) you’ll need to take.

CARTA (Photo by Reese Moore)

Finally, all CARTA buses are equipped with bike racks so you can take your bike with you. Find out more about CARTA’s Rack and Ride program.


A car provides the greatest mobility around the Lowcountry, but students should be aware that they won’t be able to obtain a College of Charleston parking permit for campus parking facilities until you have at least 30 credit hours on record with the College registrar.

But, if you decided not to bring a car to campus, you can still take advantage of any of the modern ride-hailing apps available in the city or call a cab. Need a car for a little more than an A-to-B trip? The College has partnered with Enterprise’s CarShare service, which provides hourly, daily and overnight rentals for one rate. You pick the car up on campus and that’s where you leave it. To participate in this program, you need to register and pay an annual fee. For additional information, go to EnterpriseCarShare and click on “University.”

Feature photo by Reese Moore.