Charleston is a coastal city, so you probably think of relaxing on the beaches, touring the historic downtown area, and maybe visiting a plantation or two. But if you want the opportunity to go horseback riding in Charleston, there are some excellent equestrian centers that have plenty of fun nearby!
You don’t need to be an experienced rider, either. These centers cater to riders of all skill levels, so even if you’re never been on a horse before you can enjoy the beaches, forests, and open fields of Lowcountry South Carolina. And if you are ready to take your riding to the next level, they also offer horseback riding lessons.
Located outside of Charleston on private Seabrook Island, this Seabrook Island Equestrian Center is a great place for beginner riders as well as more advanced riders. With three miles of horseback riding trails, riders will be able to take in the picturesque views of marshlands, woods, and tidal creeks.
You’ll be able to see plenty of Seabrook Island, along with the chance to see alligators, deer, birds, and turtles. Or, take a beach ride on Seabrook Island’s North Beach.
This is one of the only places in South Carolina where both absolute beginners and advanced riders can go on the beach. During the beach ride, riders will go out to Captain Sams Inlet.
You’re likely to see lots of wildlife during low tide, like shorebirds, seabirds, and dolphins. Pony rides are also available for children ages seven and under and provides them with a thirty minute ride under the magnolias.
After horseback riding, enjoy the rest of what Seabrook Island has to offer. The gated community is the perfect Charleston beach getaway and has plenty of vacation rentals available.
Enjoy the four miles of beaches, the island’s wildlife, nearby dining and shopping, golf course, and racquet club. Seabrook Island is about 45 minutes away from downtown Charleston and is a great island escape!
Middleton Equestrian Center is perfect if you want to combine horseback riding with history. Here, you can take an hour long guided horseback tour and experience Middleton Place Plantation trails. Complete beginners are welcome, and the guide will teach you all about the plantation’s history and rice culture, along with pointing out spots of interest along the ride. This is one of the best places to learn more about Charleston’s rich history while also getting to experience a fun horseback riding excursion.
Middleton Place and the surrounding plantation area are wonderful to explore as well either before or after your horseback tour. Middleton Place has survived the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and is an impressive display of centuries of history.
A ticket at Middleton Place includes admission to the 65 acres of gardens, exhibits and displays about plantation life in the 18th and 19th centuries, animals in the stable yards, and daily outdoor tours. Right down the road from Middleton Place are Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and Drayton Hall. These plantations are also worth visiting and touring!
Mullet Hall, located in Johns Island County Park, has 738 acres of land. It is equipped to host competitive horse shows, along with a variety of equestrian related activities. The center is also one of the only public equestrian centers in the Charleston area.
Riders of all ages and abilities can enjoy Mullet Hall’s 20 miles of casual trail riding. Along the trails, riders will be able to delight in the Lowcountry scenery and see southern pines, mossy oaks, meadows, and farm fields.
Not too far from Mullet Hall is Kiawah Island. This is a great spot to relax and have a beach getaway. You’ll truly feel like you’re on a vacation here. Enjoy the island’s 10 miles of beaches, or take a visit to Freshfields Village for some shopping or a bite to eat.
Another spot to visit near Mullet Hall is the Angel Oak Tree. This tree is over 60 feet tall and estimated to be around 400-500 years old! It’s worth a visit on your way to or from downtown Charleston to Mullet Hall.
Located on Johns Island, Brickhouse Equestrian Center, part of the Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding, caters to children and adults with disabilities. They have plenty of programs led by therapeutic riding instructors to help with physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development.
These programs include groundwork, riding lessons, and interactive vaulting. CATR also has a public school program that partners with special education classrooms in the surrounding Charleston area.
For adults, CATR has a veterans program for veterans to move their muscles and build self-confidence. CATR is a perfect opportunity for those with disabilities to enjoy riding and live an active lifestyle.
Brickhouse is located on the same land as CATR. They have 43 acres for horse boarding and private lessons. Their lessons are suitable for beginners all the ways up to experienced riders. They also have dressage lessons, opportunities for showing, vaulting, clinics and summer camps. Meets are regularly hosted here as well, which could be fun to check out.
The Stono River Stable is one of the most popular venues for horseback riding located just 7 miles from downtown Charleston. Stono River Stable has been a part of the Charleston community for almost 50 years, and offers
They have one of the most extensive trail systems of any stable on this list. There are over 200 miles of private nature trails you can enjoy here. There are also large pastures and 3 very nice riding areas next to the barns. They also offer boarding services.
They don’t clearly advertise horseback riding tours, and the stable is primarily for those who own their own horses.
Eden Wind Farm is another gem for horseback riding near Charleston. This farm offers both riding lessons and trail rides. One really cool things they offer is a Horse Adventure for Kids, so it’s a great place for birthday parties if your child loves horses.
In addition to the kids horseback riding, they also provide adults lessons and have a boarding facility, if you have your own horse. And while it’s unrelated to horses, be sure to pick up some of their fresh eggs while you’re there!
Yet another fantastic option for horseback riding near Charleston is Green Bay Farm. They offer horseback riding lessons and you can also book them for parties. They are another great place for new riders to get comfortable in the saddle.
They are conveniently located near Goose Creek, Isle of Palms, West Ashley, and James Island, so if you’re visiting this area be sure to check them out.
Now Closed: A to Z Ranch
A to Z Ranch was a Dude Ranch in Charleston, but unfortunately is now permanently closed. You may see information about it online or be searching for it, which is why I wanted to include it on this list.
The Bottom Line
Horseback riding is a great way to see Charleston, and if you’re looking for a good place to go you’ll definitely want to check out one of the stables on this list. Enjoy the beach, ride through the forest, or take private lessons and learn more about horsemanship in historic Charleston!