Charleston is such a charming city. We hadn’t even planned on visiting it for a while but A had a business delivery (furniture) to make in the area and so he spontaneously suggested we make a long weekend of it and tour the city. I had already visited a few years ago (remember that delicious Charleston food tour I took??) but he had always wanted to go so it made perfect sense. We drove down Friday and left Monday morning. Just enough time for a short visit to this colorful town. So today I wrote up a post on 10 things to do in Charleston South Carolina for those of you wondering what it is exactly that draws hundreds of tourists to this South Carolinian town.
- VISIT A PLANTATION
Charleston has several plantations that you can tour including Middleton Place and Magnolia. For prime viewing, be sure to visit them in the spring when flowers are blooming and grass is lush!
- GO ON A CARRIAGE RIDE
Carriage rides are a lot of fun and are a great way to tour Charleston and learn about its history. However, that being said, be sure to choose a company that treats its horses well. The last time we were there I was saddened to see a horse foaming at the mouth, clearly over-worked and exhausted in the summer heat. Look at reviews and make sure the horses look well-rested and cared for before paying for a ride!
- FERRY TO FORT SUMTER
Fort Sumter is a must for any history lover. You can tour it on your own or you can arrange a tour with any of the companies that offer a Fort Sumter experience.
- CHECK OUT FOLLY BEACH OR SULLIVANS ISLAND
Both Folly Beach and Sullivans Island are laid-back beach towns. They carry the entirely opposite vibe of that of historic Charleston so it’s nice to visit either on the same trip that you’re headed to the posh historical district. While the historical area can be considered elegant and possibly even snooty, both beach spots are surfer towns with a completely relaxed come-as-you-are vibe. Be warned, prices are still very Charleston-esque so don’t expect cheap eats! Tip: If you’re in Sullivans, head to Poet’s Tavern for dinner but if you’re at Follys, head over to Chico Feo.
- TAKE A GHOST TOUR
Ghost tours are fun, a bit gimmicky, but you do get to learn even more history on Charleston from a superstitious POV. The jailhouse runs tours and I thought the tour was fun so I’d definitely recommend it!
- RELAX IN THE SHADE AND ENJOY WATER VIEWS (WHARF OR SWINGS BY PIER)
Not recommended during a cold day unless you’re bundled but I’d definitely suggest a shaded break during the height of summer. Find a swing (or wait for one) on the waterfront park/pier and swing away while the Charleston breeze keeps you cool. Possibly the only “cool” place in Charleston (except for maybe the fountain) that isn’t indoors. For a quieter area, head to the wharf by Rainbow Row and grab a bench.
- VISIT RAINBOW ROW
Get your camera out and start shooting. This colorful row of homes is probably one of the most photographed areas in Charleston with good reason, they’re the epitome of Charleston. Chic. Colorful. Elegant.
- RENT A BIKE TO EXPLORE THE CITY
I was thrilled that we got the chance to rent bikes on this last trip. We were going to opt for a private company but since it was closed (Sunday), we instead went with Holy Spokes. Holy Spokes is a bike rental company where you can rent and drop off your bike at any station that you come across in Charleston. Renting is so easy: just sign up for an account, input your code and bike away! It was nice not to have to return our bike to a specific starting point. We biked around for a bit, grabbed some Italian ices, and then dropped them off at the station nearest us.
- BRUNCH YOUR HEART OUT
Southern food may be heavy and fattening at times but it is delicious. For a true southern experience, order chicken and waffles (Poogan’s Porch makes a great one) and enjoy your southern delicacy in style. If you are anti anything fried (usually I am but I always make exceptions), there are plenty of other options to feed your cravings. Brunch is a big deal in Charleston so be sure to take advantage of brunch menus every day you’re there!
- GO SHOPPING
I was amazed at how many shops there are lining the streets of Charleston, everything ranging from accessories to antiques to clothing boutiques. This past visit I bought a few things from a small boutique and then on a whim stopped by the Steve Madden shop where I discovered some awesome clearance shoes.
- VISIT A PLANTATION