27 Mar 2022
You’re here at Isle of Palms for a fun, relaxing time at the beach. Sure, lying on the sand doing absolutely nothing is a great option. There’s an anonymous quote I spotted around the Isle - “The beach occupies the senses but doesn’t require any effort. You can do nothing very easily.”
That being said, it comes to a point where you might want to get up and explore the local environs. Especially if there are kids in your group, it’s good to come up with activities to burn off some of their youthful energy and have some fun together while you’re at it.
Enter the perfect activity that combines both: a scavenger hunt. It’s like an Easter egg hunt, but you’re searching for more than eggs, and you can do them all year long.
IOP’s own “Hatchling Hunt”
The Isle of Palms has developed its own unique spin on the typical scavenger hunt. As I’ve blogged about before, loggerhead turtles are huge around these parts. In fact, they are more or less the unofficial mascot of the IOP. They are also - quite literally - huge. Adults can weigh up to 400 pounds! Their life cycle is pretty fascinating, too.
Loggerhead turtles lay their nests on the beaches of the IOP from May through November. Hatchlings emerge at night and swim toward the light of the moon reflecting off the ocean. If they survive in the wild, females may return to the very same beaches 25 or 30 years later as adults, to lay their own nests. And they can lay up to six nests in a single season.
Here on the island, we have a dedicated Turtle Team that marks, tracks, and protects loggerhead nests, helping to study their habits and ensure their survival.
Well, the Turtle Team has teamed up with the island’s Exchange Club, as well as New York Times bestselling author and island resident Mary Alice Monroe, plus local artist Scott Penegar, to create a cool scavenger hunt all about loggerheads. It’s called the Hatchling Hunt, and it’s a lot of fun for all ages.
Scott created six life-sized hatching sculptures that are “hidden” around the Front Beach area along Ocean Boulevard on the IOP. There are plaques that correspond with each one, which reveals more about the life cycle of loggerheads. Your goal is to find them all.
Just pick up a copy of the scavenger hunt brochure at IOP City Hall, or download it here. It will give you hints as to where to start. Fill in the blanks on the form as you go.
When you have filled in all the blanks and have completed the Hatchling Hunt, just return the form to City Hall to collect a special prize!
Three Scavenger Hunts in Downtown Charleston…
If you’d like to explore downtown Charleston, there are several popular options. Some are quite elaborate, interactive, and involve a fee, while another is free.
1) Charleston Scavenger Hunt: Charleston Treasures
This first option is part of the ScavengerHunt.com and Let’s Roam folks who put these things together for a living, so you know they’re well done. This one starts at the Waterfront area downtown and ventures into the City Market and Rainbow Row.
The Charleston Treasures Scavenger Hunt takes about two hours, is all walking, and involves about twenty challenges, with interactive photo and trivia questions. It focuses on Charlestonian culture, art, and history and involves several local landmarks. The total walking distance is 2.2 miles, although there is a 1.5 Shortcut Hunt option. It’s ideal for adults and/or kids, team-building, and they describe the skill level as “Fun & Fierce.”
You’ll need a mobile device (iOS, Android or Windows). You don’t have to download an app, just open their website to play. You’ll take photos and receive texts during the hunt.
You can purchase tickets here. The regular cost is $28.87 per person, although they frequently run coupons and promos. Right now they’re 55% off, or just $12.97 per person. There are also annual passes and group ticket options.
2) Urban Adventure Quest: Charleston
This is another web-based option that’s a combo scavenger hunt, puzzle, and history tour all rolled into one. Urban Adventure Quest’s tagline is, “…where the city is your gameboard… anytime!” which makes the point that you can do these hunts more or less 24/7, whenever the spirit moves you, although they do recommend doing it during daylight hours.
Urban Adventure Quest Charleston lasts a bit longer than the last one, and you’ll see more sights and parts of the city. It starts and ends at the famous Four Corners of Law, namely at the Charleston County Courthouse. Along the way, you’ll see Washington Square, St. Phillips Cemetery, The Powder Magazine, Charleston City Market, Charleston Museum, Marion Square, Calhoun Mansion, White Point Garden, The Battery and Rainbow Row.
This hunt lasts three hours, covers 2.5 miles, has 17 challenges, four bonus challenges, and includes a free bus ride if you’d like one. Tickets cost $49 for a team of two to five people and are available through their website.
3) The Charleston Guide: Ultimate Scavenger Hunt
This last scavenger hunt was developed by local artist and lifestyle guru Rebecca Giese. Her website Southern ‘Spirations’ tagline is, “Inspired by a Southern State of Mind,” and she’s all about “sparking creativity and spreading joy.” Sounds like fun to me.
Rebecca’s put together a terrific list of 45 quintessential Charleston things to do or discover downtown.
You can download the list and carry it with you as your explore and search. It’s absolutely free, and you’re encouraged to do it at your own pace. In fact, she warns that you can’t do it all in a day. You also may need the help of Google, as some things involve a bit of sleuthing to find. Yes, it’s a scavenger hunt, but it’s also an excellent resource of top things to check out in Charleston.
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