The Charleston-Trident area—comprised of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties—encompasses a 2,600-square-mile region located at the southern most end of Interstate 26, along the Atlantic Ocean. Berkeley County is the largest of the three and the third largest in the state with 1,110 square miles. Berkeley County has access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Cooper River and Charleston Harbor. Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie and the Francis Marion National Forest provide excellent outdoor recreation for area residents.
Charleston County is the most urbanized of the three and covers 939 square miles with over 90 miles of Atlantic coastline. Although Charleston and North Charleston are considered to be central cities in the county, other communities in the area are Mount Pleasant, Awendaw, James Island, Isle of Palms, Sullivan's Island, Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island.
A haven for traveling actors during the colonial days, Charleston became the undisputed center of artist activity of the age. Over the years, Charleston has held fast to a tradition of providing the finest in art, dance, opera, music and theater, and all these art forms thrive in the Trident area today. Fortunately for art lovers, a number of performing and visual artists call the Trident area home year-round. The crowning glory of the Charleston art scene is Spoleto Festival U.S.A. Founded in 1977, by the world famous Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, Spoleto Festival U.S.A. became the new world counterpart to his Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds) held annually in Spoleto, Italy. Spoleto Festival U.S.A. is held annually in Charleston during late spring.
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