At 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the United States. It connects downtown Charleston to the city of Mount Pleasant and the beaches beyond, plus it provides bike and pedestrian paths that lead to unobstructed views of Charleston Harbor and the city skyline.
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, also known as the New Cooper River Bridge, is an 8-lane, cable-stayed bridge spanning the Cooper River. You can walk, bike, or drive across it—a sectioned-off portion protects people from cars during the slow-and-steady uphill climb—to reach gorgeous vista points of the Charleston skyline, USS Yorktown, and Charleston Harbor. Or you can pass right under the bridge while enjoying a harbor sightseeing cruise or stand-up paddleboard tour. No matter how you choose to see it, the bridge is worth a visit for its beautiful architecture and stellar views.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is a lovely sight for all visitors to Charleston, especially those particularly interested in bridges and engineering.
- A long and steady incline makes this walk a good workout.
- Dress in layers—it’s windy at the top of the bridge.
- Bring snacks, water, and sun protection if you plan to walk the whole bridge. There are no amenities along the way.
- Though technically wheelchair and stroller friendly, they’re not recommended.
How to Get There
The bridge is located on US Route 17 between Charleston and Mount Pleasant. From Charleston, access the bridge on East Bay Street; drive right up to it and park on the street, or park downtown and walk to the bridge. On the Mount Pleasant side, park at nearby Waterfront Park. You can also take CARTA bus 40 from either side of the bridge.
When to Get There
If you’re walking the bridge, plan to leave early in order to give yourself plenty of time and stay out of the midday heat. Sunset is a beautiful time on the bridge, too. Look out for special events at the bridge, too, such as the annual Cooper River Bridge Run, which interferes with regular public access.
Mount Pleasant Day Trip
Popular Charleston itineraries use a trip across the bridge as a great excuse to explore Mount Pleasant highlights such as Waterfront Memorial Park, the USS Yorktown, and Patriots Point. You can also drive across the bridge on your way back from Sullivan’s Island beach, Shem Creek, or other Mount Pleasant attractions.