Charleston, South Carolina is a metropolis steeped in historical past, tradition, and appeal. With its cobblestone streets, colourful row homes, and historic landmarks, Charleston provides guests a glimpse into the wealthy historical past of the American South. For those who’re planning a visit to Charleston, right here is the right 3-day itinerary that will help you profit from your go to.
Charleston appears like stepping again in an previous, but in some way acquainted, previous. Shielded from trendy structure, the streets are lined with brick and stucco mansions and huge shuttered home windows. Dwell oaks drizzled with Spanish moss and palm bushes compete for house as horse drawn carriages go by.
Did we simply step again in time? No, it’s simply Charleston! A beautiful metropolis filled with a storied previous, southern appeal, and scrumptious delicacies.
This 3-day itinerary will information you thru the most effective issues to do in Charleston.
After spending a couple of days right here, I can see why Charleston was repeatedly named the primary metropolis in the U.S. and the primary metropolis on this planet for 2016! With virtually 400 years of historical past, Charleston is one in all America’s finest preserved cities.
However, whereas some historic cities can really feel stale and outdated, Charleston is a school city (4 faculties are situated right here), so there’s a hip nightlife scene and an necessary historic previous that offers us context for in the present day.
Charleston appears like a world of it’s personal. However with this magnificence, it’s necessary to notice that Charleston was constructed on slave labor and the close by plantations and museums give testomony to oppression of African Individuals.
Charleston is a vibrant and buzzing city that stole my coronary heart immediately. Whether or not I used to be strolling the historic mansions, consuming wealthy “Lowcountry” delicacies, or admiring the massive reside oaks swaying within the breeze with moss, there’s at all times one thing to see and do.
Charleston was began in 1669 when Captain West of England, set his websites on new land for financial acquire for the crown. However coming right here additionally meant spiritual freedom- you might be any faith and denomination. Now nicknamed the “Holy Metropolis” due to the 400+ church buildings right here, you possibly can’t miss the steeples (not skyscrapers) that dot the skyline of this bustling port metropolis.
Life feels simpler once you stroll the streets of Charleston, meals tastes higher, and the considerable sunshine punctuates the frilly houses and awe-inspiring bushes.
Right here’s the whole lot you want to know in an effort to plan the right journey to Charleston.
3 Day Charleston Itinerary
This space of South Carolina is known as “lowcountry” as a result of it’s within the southern a part of South Carolina and close to the ocean marsh. Whereas there’s heaps to see and do, you are able to do all of it in about 3 days.
What I cherished in regards to the metropolis is the benefit of getting round. You’ll be able to merely stroll, get misplaced, and run into one thing stunning and historic. Three streets to recollect are King Avenue, Assembly Avenue, and East Bay – which run parallel to one another and the place many of the most historic buildings are situated.
Here is a map of the whole lot I will be protecting:
Getting Round Charleston
I extremely advocate renting a automotive to get round Charleston. We really flew into the airport in Savannah, and it was just below 2 hours to go from right here to the Battery in Charleston. This additionally made it a lot simpler to get out to the plantations and Hilton Head. We additionally had the good thing about seeing alligators on, actually, “Alligator Alley” on our drive over.
Charleston Day 1: Self Guided Tour of the Historic District
Get to know town with a self-guided strolling tour. Charleston is compact, so it’s straightforward to stroll across the metropolis in a couple of hours and cease for lunch or dinner after your stroll.
Or, in case you choose, take a look at this guided strolling tour.
Begin your tour on the Battery, a jaw-dropping neighborhood with massive mansions overlooking the port the place the rivers Ashley and Cooper meet. In Battery Park you’ll stroll by stately reside oak bushes, however the bushes remind of one thing a bit extra sinister. That is the place pirates have been hung and left with their our bodies dangling as a message to different pirates. The Battery is the wall that protects town of Charleston and was 20 toes excessive to guard from invaders. There are some controversial accomplice monuments right here so that you may see folks protesting round this space.
Stroll round among the streets and soak up among the stunning mansions earlier than heading up East Bay Avenue.
You’ll be able to’t miss Rainbow Row. These stunning, pastel coloured buildings appear to be a rainbow. Inbuilt 1680, Rainbow Row represents the longest cluster of intact Georgian row houses in the US. Over time the buildings served as outlets and residences of steel retailers and planters.
Sadly, the world went into decay after the Civil Struggle. Within the Nineteen Forties, town of Charleston fastened up and painted the 13 homes in pastel colours to honor their sister metropolis Barbados. Higher but, Nationwide Geographic got here and took footage of the gorgeous buildings. When Rainbow Row was featured within the journal, this kicked off tourism to Charleston!
The nickname “Rainbow Row” caught, and now folks flock to see the colourful buildings. The homes appear to be the older fashion of Charleston houses. They have been portrayed in “Porgy and Bess,” George and Ira Gerswhin’s opera primarily based on DuBose Heyward’s novel “Porgy.” Heyward was a Charleston businessman fascinated by the Gullah tradition. The novel and play take care of African American life within the early 1920’s.
After snapping some footage, hold strolling up East Bay Avenue for the Provost Dungeon and Outdated Change Constructing. Whereas a good looking metropolis, Charleston does have some horrible historical past, significantly with the slave commerce. Charleston was one of many largest slave buying and selling cities within the US within the 1800s.
The realm across the Outdated Change Constructing was probably the most frequent websites of downtown slave auctions. Hundreds of slaves have been bought right here as early because the 1770s. Take a while to learn by the historic markers round this space, or head into the museum. This necessary constructing has been the location of business alternate, submit workplace, customs, metropolis corridor, army headquarters, and now a museum. The Provost Dungeon was additionally used as a army jail. The constructing has been visited by George Washington, and the US Structure was ratified right here.
As you make your approach up the road, you’ll begin to see many bars and eating places.
Ensure that to show to your proper, in direction of the water, and stroll out to Ravenel Waterfront Park. Right here you’ll see folks weaving baskets and roses out of candy grass. Stroll round for the view of the harbor in addition to the well-known Pineapple Fountain.
Now, hold strolling up and hook a left on Market Avenue to go to the Charleston Metropolis Market. It’s straightforward to get round when all of the names of streets are literal! Relationship again to 1680, Charleston Metropolis Market is likely one of the oldest public amenities in steady use in Charleston. Right here you’ll discover each a daytime and a nighttime market. The day time is extra conventional crafts, souvenirs, and handmade jewellery and opens day by day. The evening market has extra trendy choices and even has reside music however often solely opens on the weekend. When the Pinckney household ceded the land to the Metropolis of Charleston for a market, he had three guidelines: 1. Metropolis market 2. Closed on Christmas 3. No slaves might be bought right here.
To circle again, we’ll stroll down King Avenue, aptly named for King Charles himself. Initially referred to as Charles City (as an alternative of Charleston) the road is taken into account to be the third greatest buying district within the USA! So in case you’re seeking to store that is the right spot. You’ll additionally discover stunning iron work, a good looking theater, and excessive finish shops.
As you stroll round, discover that no constructing is taller than 70 toes excessive, which is the peak of the tallest steeple, St. Matthew’s Church.
Charleston Day 2: Day Journey to Plantations + Ghosts
Kick off with breakfast at Callie’s Scorching Little Biscuit for filling, scrumptious biscuits. There are a pair places in Charleston so that you’ll certainly discover one close to you.
Within the morning we opted for a shuttle tour – this was an effective way to cowl a lot of floor and acquire an understanding of town. There are additionally horse and carriage excursions in addition to strolling excursions. I’m an enormous fan of taking a tour in an effort to get my bearings and an understanding of a metropolis.
I realized a lot about among the buildings, the tradition, and even the delicacies, I might by no means know in any other case.
Whereas the English clearly had a large affect on Charleston, after settling right here within the late 1600s for spiritual freedom, one of many different bigger teams that got here right here have been Germans. For those who discover the iron work, that is most definitely hand finished by the Germans. An instance of that is on the 1734 St. John’s Lutheran Church, with handmade wrought iron by Christopher Werner.
The French additionally had a big influence. A lot of the downtown space is referred to as the “French Quarter” the place the French settled. That is additionally the artwork district on the town and also you’ll discover a lot of artwork galleries and cocktail bars.
You’ll discover that there’s no trendy structure allowed in Charleston Metropolis Middle because it’s required to construct in conventional single home fashion. However the entire homes appear slim then go straight again. There’s a motive for that. Property taxes have been on the width, not the size, which is why they’re constructed so slim and deep.
After a tour, hit the highway to a plantation. It’s wherever from 20 to 40 minutes exterior of town middle to go to those sprawling estates. Charleston was one of many richest cities within the USA and the explanation for that was slavery. Whereas slavery was not solely within the plantations, slavery performed an enormous position within the success and riches for the plantation homeowners. Rising indigo, cotton, and “Carolina Gold” rice, was back-breaking labor. Visiting the plantations is, after all, stunning, however it’s additionally necessary to know the historical past right here.
Over time, plantations have refocused a lot of their tourism to extra closely deal with slavery and its influence.
Over our 3 days we went to three totally different plantations: Boone Corridor, Magnolia, and Middleton. If I needed to solely choose one, I’d recommend Boone Corridor as I feel they did an outstanding job on sharing the historical past, it’s a good looking property, and you may even tour the home.
As you make your approach down the Avenue of Oaks in direction of the home an arch of reside oaks reaches out with a lacy cover of Spanish moss, it’s a jaw dropping sight.
Boone Corridor provides loads of actions. You’ll be able to take a tour of the home and the brick slave cabins which every inform a narrative of what the slaves endured. Lastly, I extremely advocate going to a couple of the talks provided. We heard a wonderful speak from a lady who spoke, sang, and educated on the Gullah folks and dialect. Gullah is a phrase used to determine sea island descendants of enslaved Africans who developed their very own language and customs which are handed down by the generations. Their affect is way reaching, from the scrumptious flavors of Lowcountry delicacies, artwork, music, and language.
What I cherished about Boone is that they don’t attempt to sugarcoat their previous however current an actual image of what actually occurred right here.
Magnolia Plantation is extra targeted on their outside areas. There are stunning bridges and pathways you possibly can take to discover the gardens. There are excursions right here as properly that share extra about slavery that passed off on the plantation.
Magnolia Plantation leads you proper by the marsh and pathways are dappled with daylight and moss strewn bushes waving within the wind as you go by. The bushes look as if they may whisper secrets and techniques from the previous and jasmine perfumes the air. However do be careful for alligators! We noticed one proper close to a path within the swamp.
That is America’s oldest public backyard full with a Carriage Home, Veranda, and Conservatory together with a beautiful pure panorama.
Middleton’s historic working plantation has reside craftsman and animals displaying the way it used to within the 17 and 1800s. Once more you’ll discover massive, lushes oaks on the property however the Middleton Oak is likely one of the oldest and estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years previous.
You’ll be able to watch craftsmen work, hear in regards to the hardships of the slaves in addition to their escape techniques, and be taught extra about plantation life.
For dinner, have barbecue at Rodney Scott’s. I had the most effective hush puppies of my life together with beans and a pulled pork sandwich.
Finish the day with a ghost tour within the Outdated Metropolis Jail. Open for 137 years and shut down in 1939, the jail NEVER had working water, AC, or electrical energy. The common life expectancy right here was 3 weeks. 14,000 folks died right here! Now, that is thought of to be probably the most haunted buildings in America. The tales listed here are downright among the creepiest.
Remember to take Charleston in at night- it is lit up fantastically!
Charleston Day 3: Seashores & Angel Tree
One of many nice issues about being in Charleston is the entry to the coast. Folly Seaside is likely one of the hottest seashores (and closest to Charleston) with outlets and eating places. This lengthy and vast stretch of sand is straightforward to stroll and a terrific place to hunt for shells. Nicknamed the “Fringe of America” this can be a laid again seaside that’s additionally nice for late nights.
We ate lunch on the seaside and watched because the early morning fog moved out.
Subsequent, head to probably the most magnificent bushes in all the world: the gargantuan Angel Tree. Whereas this can be a quick cease, it’s price it to make the journey. This properly preserved 500 12 months previous tree has a gargantuan trunk and branches practically so long as a soccer area.
Charleston is nicknamed the “Holy Metropolis” for a motive, 400 church buildings are right here alone! Head over to St Michael’s Church, the place George Washington and Robert E Lee and Teddy Roosevelt got here to worship. The church is the oldest surviving spiritual construction.
There are many church buildings across the metropolis, so take a peek inside a couple of.
If you wish to see the most costly houses in Charleston, head to South of Broad, the place the houses are a mean of $2.5 million! You’ll be able to take a tour of the sprawling Williams Mansion, the biggest non-public residence within the metropolis of Charleston. With gorgeous Italianate structure, 26,000 sq. toes, and 30 bedrooms you possibly can spend a pair hours wandering right here.
End your time in Charleston with rooftop drinks at Vendue. This spot with provide the finest vantage level of town whilst you sip chilled cocktails.
The place to Eat in Charleston
Make reservations or be ready to attend about an hour+ for dinner. I don’t like ready, even whether it is for scrumptious meals. Charleston jogs my memory a little bit of New Orleans or Paris, in that you’d be onerous pressed to discover a dangerous meal so hold your plans versatile or plan forward with reservations. Simply examine evaluations to ensure!
Our first evening in Charleston we realized this the onerous approach. After attempting 4 totally different eating places, and even driving 20 minutes exterior of town, we merely couldn’t discover wherever to eat that didn’t have a protracted wait. So… we headed to Walmart and had Ramen for dinner! Not superb. The remainder of our journey we made reservations and had completely scrumptious meals.
Listed below are my suggestions on the place to eat, in addition to suggestions I bought from locals:
Rappahannock Oyster Bar– You may make a reservation on-line. Begin with oysters, we bought two of every sort on the menu. Then cut up two entrees. First up, fish Milanese which was pan fried fish in panko bread crumbs with salad. This was among the finest fish I’ve had in fairly some time. Then we cut up a shrimp po’ boy, on delicate bread with completely fried jumbo shrimp with tomatillo salsa verde and home made chips. Perfection.
Husk – You have to make reservations right here weeks (if not months!) prematurely. Utilizing solely elements from Southern farmers, the menu adjustments usually. Located in a restored Victorian period house you possibly can’t go unsuitable with something on the menu.
Callie’s Scorching Little Biscuit – for a filling seize and go breakfast, however remember, you might need to attend in line!
Rodney Scott’s – profitable a James Beard award for BBQ, you’ll discover scrumptious, hardy parts and the most effective hush puppies round.
Chubby Fish – situated simply north of city in a neighborhood setting, this space jogs my memory of Uptown New Orleans. This small, intimate restaurant serves up nice seafood.
Jackrabbit Filly – an Asian-fusion restaurant began from a meals truck. This creative menu shall be a pleasant break from seafood and BBQ fare.
Maison – echoing the French heritage of Charleston, this shiny restaurant provides a seasonal menu with a $5 champagne pleased hour.
Hannibal’s Kitchen – Lowcountry delicacies are served on this traditional restaurant. That is soul meals and seafood at its finest in an informal ambiance.
Coast – tucked away on just a little alleyway you will discover coast. Conventional seafood dishes. Skip the appetizers and keep on with the mains. I went with braised grouper over truffle bacon and mushroom grits – divine!
The place to Keep in Charleston
Lodge Bennett – This landmark lodge is within the coronary heart of Charleston on Higher King Avenue and positively among the best locations to remain in Charleston. It is a Most well-liked Resorts & Resorts property (which suggests this is likely one of the finest motels you possibly can keep in!) and is opulent and beautiful.
Staying round West Ashley you’ll discover cheaper motels because you’re not within the coronary heart of downtown. Because it’s solely a 10-Quarter-hour drive to downtown, it makes it a straightforward alternative. Greatest Western right here is a good funds pleasant possibility.
Grand Bohemian Lodge is in Charleston’s historic district and is an upscale, trendy and artfully adorned lodge. There’s additionally a good looking rooftop terrace.
When to go to Charleston?
For those who don’t need to soften, are available late fall, winter, or spring. Spring is once you discover shiny inexperienced bushes and flowers in bloom so this tends to be my favourite time. Summer time is scorching and there are extra vacationers so I recommend avoiding Charleston then!
The very best time to go to Charleston is in late fall, winter, or spring, significantly throughout the latter when the bushes and flowers are in full bloom, and the climate is pleasantly delicate. Nevertheless, if you wish to keep away from the scorching warmth and crowds of vacationers, it is best to keep away from town throughout the summer time months. Now that you’ve got sorted out your lodging and journey dates let’s discover some additional issues to do throughout your keep in Charleston.
Charleston, South Carolina is a well-liked vacation spot year-round, however the most effective time to go to relies on your pursuits and preferences. Right here is extra info on the most effective time of 12 months to go to Charleston, bearing in mind climate and seasonal occasions:
Spring: Spring is a good looking time to go to Charleston, with temperatures starting from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit. Town is in full bloom, with azaleas, wisteria, and dogwoods including pops of colour to the panorama. In April, town hosts the Charleston Wine + Meals Competition, which attracts foodies from across the nation.
Summer time: Summer time in Charleston may be scorching and humid, with temperatures within the mid-80s to mid-90s Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, town comes alive with outside festivals, concert events, and occasions, such because the Spoleto Competition USA, which showcases performing arts from all over the world. The summer time months are additionally the height vacationer season, so anticipate bigger crowds and better costs.
Fall: Fall is a well-liked time to go to Charleston, with milder temperatures starting from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit. The autumn foliage provides to town’s appeal, and there are many outside actions to take pleasure in, akin to climbing and kayaking. In November, town hosts the Charleston Meals and Wine Competition, which celebrates the area’s culinary traditions.
Winter: Winter in Charleston is delicate, with temperatures starting from the mid-40s to mid-60s Fahrenheit. Town is much less crowded throughout this time, making it a terrific possibility for individuals who choose a quieter ambiance. In December, town hosts the Charleston Christmas Parade and Competition of Lights, which options holiday-themed occasions and actions.
Total, the most effective time to go to Charleston relies on your pursuits and preferences. Spring and fall supply milder temperatures and seasonal occasions, whereas summer time is the height vacationer season with a energetic ambiance. Winter is a good possibility for individuals who need to keep away from the crowds and luxuriate in a quieter getaway.
Additional Issues to Do in Charleston
The Frampton Home bought its identify from the proprietor and builder John Frampton who alongside along with his brothers shared 1000’s of acres in what’s now Beaufort & Jasper counties. Initially a King’s grant to the proprietor within the early 1700s, Frampton Home was divided into working plantations. This cease may be very straightforward to get to if heading to or from Savannah.
Carolina Cherry Firm is situated simply off the facet of the highway in an lovable espresso and bake store. You’ll be able to strive all types of house brewed ciders. We opted for peach- it was scrumptious! And we sipped on this for our total journey.
Fort Sumter is the place the American civil warfare started. On April 12, 1861, the accomplice troops gathered in gun ships and began to fireside at Fort Sumter and these have been the primary photographs of the civil warfare. For those who’re wanting to go to, the fort is simply accessible by boat.
Prince William Parish Church, or Outdated Sheldon Ruins is a historic web site about half-hour exterior of Charleston. It had simply rained, so we bought to see the Resurrection fern in it’s full glory sprouting in bursts on the bushes.
Top-of-the-line methods to see a metropolis and be taught it’s historical past is by taking a meals tour. Find out about Charleston’s distinctive delicacies and pattern among the finest meals with a reside information. This tour is about 2 and a half hours. I at all times love meals tour!
Finances breakdown for a 3-day journey to Charleston, South Carolina:
Lodging: The price of lodging in Charleston can differ relying on the kind of lodge or rental you select. Finances choices akin to hostels and funds motels can begin from round $50 per evening, whereas mid-range motels and trip leases can value wherever from $100 to $200 per evening. For a three-night keep, the full value of lodging can vary from $150 to $600.
Transportation: Charleston is a walkable metropolis, so lots of the major sights may be reached on foot. Nevertheless, guests should want to make use of public transportation, akin to buses or taxis, for longer distances. A one-way bus fare prices $2, whereas a taxi trip from the airport to town middle can value round $30. For a three-day journey, the full value of transportation can vary from $6 to $100.
Meals: Charleston is legendary for its delicacies, however the price of eating out can differ enormously relying on the place you eat. Finances choices akin to meals vehicles and quick meals can value round $5 to $10 per meal, whereas mid-range eating places and cafes can value $15 to $30 per meal. For a three-day journey, the full value of meals can vary from $90 to $270.
Sights: Most of the major sights in Charleston, such because the Battery and the Metropolis Market, are free to go to. Nevertheless, some museums and excursions might have admission charges. For instance, admission to the Charleston Museum prices $12 for adults, whereas a guided tour of the historic district can value round $25 per individual. For a three-day journey, the full value of sights can vary from $0 to $100 or extra.
Complete: Relying in your lodging, transportation, meals, and attraction selections, a three-day journey to Charleston can value wherever from $546 to $1,070 or extra. It is necessary to funds accordingly and plan forward to profit from your journey with out overspending.
Charleston Historical past
Charleston, South Carolina has a wealthy historical past and tradition that has formed town and influenced the US as an entire. Right here is extra info on the historical past and tradition of Charleston, together with its significance to the US and the South:
Historical past: Charleston was based in 1670 by English settlers and shortly turned an necessary port metropolis for commerce and commerce. Town performed a major position within the American Revolution, with a number of key battles fought in and across the metropolis. Within the 1800s, Charleston turned a serious middle of the slave commerce, with 1000’s of enslaved Africans passing by town’s ports. The Civil Struggle started in Charleston with the Accomplice assault on Fort Sumter, which nonetheless stands as a monument to town’s pivotal position in American historical past.
Tradition: Charleston’s tradition is formed by its historical past and geography, with influences from African, European, and Native American traditions. Town is understood for its distinctive structure, with colourful row homes and historic landmarks just like the Battery and Rainbow Row. Charleston can also be well-known for its delicacies, which options conventional Lowcountry dishes like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and boiled peanuts. Town can also be house to a vibrant arts scene, with galleries, theaters, and museums showcasing the most effective of southern tradition and creativity.
Significance: Charleston’s significance to the US and the South can’t be overstated. Town performed a key position within the American Revolution and the Civil Struggle, and its historic landmarks and monuments function reminders of town’s pivotal position in shaping American historical past. Charleston’s cultural and culinary traditions have influenced the area and the nation as an entire, with Southern hospitality and appeal changing into a trademark of American tradition. At this time, Charleston continues to be a well-liked vacation spot for guests in search of to expertise the most effective of Southern historical past, tradition, and appeal.
Stroll the dazzling streets, hearken to the lyrical accents, peek into historic houses and be taught in regards to the necessary historical past of Charleston. Whether or not you’re concerned about magnificence, historical past, artwork, or delicacies Charleston is the right place to discover. For greater than 300 years Charleston has impressed artists, writers, and folks from all walks of life. It’s straightforward to see why that is such a treasured city.
Even with it is far-reaching historical past, Charleston is a youthful metropolis you can go to time and again.