Charleston, South Carolina is a metropolis steeped in historical past, tradition, and attraction. With its cobblestone streets, colourful row homes, and historic landmarks, Charleston affords guests a glimpse into the wealthy historical past of the American South. If you happen to’re planning a visit to Charleston, right here is the proper 3-day itinerary that will help you profit from your go to.
Charleston seems like stepping again in an outdated, but one way or the other acquainted, previous. Shielded from fashionable 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 stunning metropolis stuffed with a storied previous, southern attraction, and scrumptious delicacies.
This 3-day itinerary will information you thru the perfect 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 the planet for 2016! With virtually 400 years of historical past, Charleston is certainly one of America’s greatest preserved cities.
However, whereas some historic cities can really feel stale and outdated, Charleston is a school city (4 faculties are positioned right here), so there’s a hip nightlife scene and an vital historic previous that provides us context for right this moment.
Charleston seems like a world of it’s personal. However with this magnificence, it’s vital to notice that Charleston was constructed on slave labor and the close by plantations and museums give testomony to oppression of African People.
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 all the time 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 non secular freedom- you could possibly be any faith and denomination. Now nicknamed the “Holy Metropolis” due to the 400+ church buildings right here, you’ll be able to’t miss the steeples (not skyscrapers) that dot the skyline of this bustling port metropolis.
Life feels simpler if you stroll the streets of Charleston, meals tastes higher, and the plentiful sunshine punctuates the frilly houses and awe-inspiring bushes.
Right here’s every part you could know in an effort to plan the proper journey to Charleston.
3 Day Charleston Itinerary
This space of South Carolina is named “lowcountry” as a result of it’s within the southern a part of South Carolina and close to the ocean marsh. Whereas there’s tons to see and do, you are able to do all of it in about 3 days.
What I beloved in regards to the metropolis is the benefit of getting round. You may merely stroll, get misplaced, and run into one thing lovely and historic. Three streets to recollect are King Avenue, Assembly Avenue, and East Bay – which run parallel to one another and the place a lot of the most historic buildings are positioned.
Here is a map of every part I will be protecting:
Getting Round Charleston
I extremely suggest renting a automotive to get round Charleston. We truly 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, should you desire, 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 means of stately reside oak bushes, however the bushes remind of one thing a bit extra sinister. That is the place pirates had 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 ft 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 a number of the streets and soak up a number of the lovely mansions earlier than heading up East Bay Avenue.
You may’t miss Rainbow Row. These lovely, pastel coloured buildings appear like a rainbow. In-built 1680, Rainbow Row represents the longest cluster of intact Georgian row houses in the USA. Over time the buildings served as outlets and residences of metallic retailers and planters.
Sadly, the realm went into decay after the Civil Conflict. Within the Nineteen Forties, town of Charleston mounted up and painted the 13 homes in pastel colours to honor their sister metropolis Barbados. Higher but, Nationwide Geographic got here and took photos of the attractive 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 like the older type of Charleston houses. They had 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 cope with African American life within the early 1920’s.
After snapping some photos, preserve strolling up East Bay Avenue for the Provost Dungeon and Outdated Alternate Constructing. Whereas a good looking metropolis, Charleston does have some horrible historical past, notably 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 Alternate Constructing was some of the widespread websites of downtown slave auctions. 1000’s of slaves had been offered right here as early because the 1770s. Take a while to learn by means of the historic markers round this space, or head into the museum. This vital constructing has been the positioning of economic alternate, put up workplace, customs, metropolis corridor, navy headquarters, and now a museum. The Provost Dungeon was additionally used as a navy 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 the 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, preserve strolling up and hook a left on Market Avenue to move 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 without doubt 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 night time market has extra fashionable choices and even has reside music however normally 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 offered right here.
To circle again, we’ll stroll down King Avenue, aptly named for King Charles himself. Initially known as Charles City (as a substitute of Charleston) the road is taken into account to be the third greatest purchasing district within the USA! So should you’re seeking to store that is the proper spot. You’ll additionally discover lovely iron work, a good looking theater, and excessive finish shops.
As you stroll round, discover that no constructing is taller than 70 ft 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 areas 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 numerous 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 discovered a lot about a number of 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 non secular freedom, one of many different bigger teams that got here right here had been Germans. If you happen to discover the iron work, that is most actually hand performed 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 known as the “French Quarter” the place the French settled. That is additionally the artwork district on the town and also you’ll discover numerous artwork galleries and cocktail bars.
You’ll discover that there’s no fashionable structure allowed in Charleston Metropolis Middle because it’s required to construct in conventional single home type. However the entire homes appear slender then go straight again. There’s a cause for that. Property taxes had been on the width, not the size, which is why they’re constructed so slender and deep.
After a tour, hit the street to a plantation. It’s anyplace from 20 to 40 minutes exterior of town heart to go to those sprawling estates. Charleston was one of many richest cities within the USA and the rationale 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 house owners. Rising indigo, cotton, and “Carolina Gold” rice, was back-breaking labor. Visiting the plantations is, in fact, lovely, but it surely’s additionally vital to grasp the historical past right here.
Over time, plantations have refocused a lot of their tourism to extra closely concentrate on 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 counsel 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 the 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 affords loads of actions. You may take a tour of the home and the brick slave cabins which every inform a narrative of what the slaves endured. Lastly, I extremely suggest going to some of the talks provided. We heard a wonderful speak from a girl who spoke, sang, and educated on the Gullah folks and dialect. Gullah is a phrase used to establish sea island descendants of enslaved Africans who developed their very own language and customs which might be handed down by means of the generations. Their affect is way reaching, from the scrumptious flavors of Lowcountry delicacies, artwork, music, and language.
What I beloved 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 centered on their out of doors areas. There are lovely bridges and pathways you’ll be able to take to discover the gardens. There are excursions right here as effectively that share extra about slavery that occurred 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 without doubt one of the oldest and estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years outdated.
You may watch craftsmen work, hear in regards to the hardships of the slaves in addition to their escape ways, and be taught extra about plantation life.
For dinner, have barbecue at Rodney Scott’s. I had the perfect 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 operating 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 some of the haunted buildings in America. The tales listed here are downright a number of the creepiest.
Remember to take Charleston in at night- it is lit up superbly!
Charleston Day 3: Seashores & Angel Tree
One of many nice issues about being in Charleston is the entry to the coast. Folly Seashore is without doubt one of the hottest seashores (and closest to Charleston) with outlets and eating places. This lengthy and vast stretch of sand is simple to stroll and an excellent 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 some of the 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 effectively preserved 500 12 months outdated tree has a gargantuan trunk and branches almost so long as a soccer discipline.
Charleston is nicknamed the “Holy Metropolis” for a cause, 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 non secular 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 median of $2.5 million! You may take a tour of the sprawling Williams Mansion, the most important personal residence within the metropolis of Charleston. With gorgeous Italianate structure, 26,000 sq. ft, and 30 bedrooms you’ll be able to spend a pair hours wandering right here.
End your time in Charleston with rooftop drinks at Vendue. This spot with provide the greatest vantage level of town when 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 arduous pressed to discover a unhealthy meal so preserve your plans versatile or plan forward with reservations. Simply verify evaluations to ensure!
Our first night time in Charleston we discovered this the arduous approach. After making an attempt 4 totally different eating places, and even driving 20 minutes exterior of town, we merely couldn’t discover anyplace to eat that didn’t have a protracted wait. So… we headed to Walmart and had Ramen for dinner! Not best. 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 obtained from locals:
Rappahannock Oyster Bar– You can also make a reservation on-line. Begin with oysters, we obtained 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 a number of the greatest fish I’ve had in fairly some time. Then we cut up a shrimp po’ boy, on smooth bread with completely fried jumbo shrimp with tomatillo salsa verde and home made chips. Perfection.
Husk – You should make reservations right here weeks (if not months!) prematurely. Utilizing solely substances from Southern farmers, the menu modifications usually. Located in a restored Victorian period house you’ll be able to’t go fallacious with something on the menu.
Callie’s Scorching Little Biscuit – for a filling seize and go breakfast, however bear in mind, you might need to attend in line!
Rodney Scott’s – successful a James Beard award for BBQ, you’ll discover scrumptious, hardy parts and the perfect hush puppies round.
Chubby Fish – positioned 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 vivid restaurant affords a seasonal menu with a $5 champagne joyful hour.
Hannibal’s Kitchen – Lowcountry delicacies are served on this traditional restaurant. That is soul meals and seafood at its greatest in an informal environment.
Coast – tucked away on somewhat alleyway you will discover coast. Conventional seafood dishes. Skip the appetizers and follow 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 finest locations to remain in Charleston. This can be a Most popular Inns & Resorts property (which implies this is without doubt one of the greatest motels you’ll be able to keep in!) and is lush and wonderful.
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 simple alternative. Finest Western right here is a good price range pleasant possibility.
Grand Bohemian Lodge is in Charleston’s historic district and is an upscale, fashionable and artfully embellished lodge. There’s additionally a good looking rooftop terrace.
When to go to Charleston?
If you happen to don’t wish to soften, are available in late fall, winter, or spring. Spring is if you discover vivid 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 counsel avoiding Charleston then!
The very best time to go to Charleston is in late fall, winter, or spring, notably throughout the latter when the bushes and flowers are in full bloom, and the climate is pleasantly delicate. Nonetheless, if you wish to keep away from the scorching warmth and crowds of vacationers, it is best to avoid town throughout the summer time months. Now that you have 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 perfect time to go to is dependent upon your pursuits and preferences. Right here is extra info on the perfect time of 12 months to go to Charleston, making an allowance for 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 coloration to the panorama. In April, town hosts the Charleston Wine + Meals Pageant, which attracts foodies from across the nation.
Summer time: Summer time in Charleston might be scorching and humid, with temperatures within the mid-80s to mid-90s Fahrenheit. Nonetheless, town comes alive with out of doors festivals, live shows, and occasions, such because the Spoleto Pageant USA, which showcases performing arts from world wide. The summer time months are additionally the height vacationer season, so count on 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 attraction, and there are many out of doors actions to take pleasure in, corresponding to mountain climbing and kayaking. In November, town hosts the Charleston Meals and Wine Pageant, 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 an excellent possibility for individuals who desire a quieter environment. In December, town hosts the Charleston Christmas Parade and Pageant of Lights, which options holiday-themed occasions and actions.
Total, the perfect time to go to Charleston is dependent upon your pursuits and preferences. Spring and fall supply milder temperatures and seasonal occasions, whereas summer time is the height vacationer season with a vigorous environment. Winter is a good possibility for individuals who wish to keep away from the crowds and luxuriate in a quieter getaway.
Further Issues to Do in Charleston
The Frampton Home obtained its title from the proprietor and builder John Frampton who alongside along with his brothers shared hundreds 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 could be very straightforward to get to if heading to or from Savannah.
Carolina Cherry Firm is positioned simply off the aspect of the street in an cute espresso and bake store. You may attempt all kinds of house brewed ciders. We opted for peach- it was scrumptious! And we sipped on this for our complete 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 fireplace at Fort Sumter and these had been the primary pictures of the civil warfare. If you happen to’re wanting to go to, the fort is just 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 obtained to see the Resurrection fern in it’s full glory sprouting in bursts on the bushes.
Among the best methods to see a metropolis and be taught it’s historical past is by taking a meals tour. Study Charleston’s distinctive delicacies and pattern a number of the greatest meals with a reside information. This tour is about 2 and a half hours. I all the time love a superb meals tour!
Price range breakdown for a 3-day journey to Charleston, South Carolina:
Lodging: The price of lodging in Charleston can range relying on the kind of lodge or rental you select. Price range choices corresponding to hostels and price range motels can begin from round $50 per night time, whereas mid-range motels and trip leases can value anyplace from $100 to $200 per night time. For a three-night keep, the entire value of lodging can vary from $150 to $600.
Transportation: Charleston is a walkable metropolis, so most of the major points of interest might be reached on foot. Nonetheless, guests should still want to make use of public transportation, corresponding to buses or taxis, for longer distances. A one-way bus fare prices $2, whereas a taxi journey from the airport to town heart can value round $30. For a three-day journey, the entire value of transportation can vary from $6 to $100.
Meals: Charleston is known for its delicacies, however the price of eating out can range tremendously relying on the place you eat. Price range choices corresponding 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 entire value of meals can vary from $90 to $270.
Sights: Lots of the major points of interest in Charleston, such because the Battery and the Metropolis Market, are free to go to. Nonetheless, 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 entire value of points of interest can vary from $0 to $100 or extra.
Whole: Relying in your lodging, transportation, meals, and attraction decisions, a three-day journey to Charleston can value anyplace from $546 to $1,070 or extra. It is vital to price range 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 USA as a complete. Right here is extra info on the historical past and tradition of Charleston, together with its significance to the USA and the South:
Historical past: Charleston was based in 1670 by English settlers and rapidly grew to become an vital port metropolis for commerce and commerce. Town performed a big position within the American Revolution, with a number of key battles fought in and across the metropolis. Within the 1800s, Charleston grew to become a serious heart of the slave commerce, with hundreds of enslaved Africans passing by means of town’s ports. The Civil Conflict 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 thought for its distinctive structure, with colourful row homes and historic landmarks just like the Battery and Rainbow Row. Charleston can be well-known for its delicacies, which options conventional Lowcountry dishes like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and boiled peanuts. Town can be house to a vibrant arts scene, with galleries, theaters, and museums showcasing the perfect of southern tradition and creativity.
Significance: Charleston’s significance to the USA and the South can’t be overstated. Town performed a key position within the American Revolution and the Civil Conflict, 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 a complete, with Southern hospitality and attraction changing into a trademark of American tradition. At present, Charleston continues to be a well-liked vacation spot for guests searching for to expertise the perfect of Southern historical past, tradition, and attraction.
Stroll the dazzling streets, hearken to the lyrical accents, peek into historic houses and be taught in regards to the vital historical past of Charleston. Whether or not you’re all in favour of magnificence, historical past, artwork, or delicacies Charleston is the proper 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 repeatedly.