WHEN TO VISIT
The best seasons to visit Charleston are during the fall and spring when the temperature is nice. If you go between April and May, you’ll get to enjoy the beautiful spring blooms at many of the surrounding gardens. Between September and October there will be less crowds and it’ll be a bit cooler as you walk around the charming city.
I should note that the one season it’s recommended to skip is summer as it can get unbearably hot and humid. The downtown is best explored by foot and if you are power walking it trying to find AC, you can easily miss some of the charm.
BEST PLACES TO EAT
If you’re in the mood for a truly unique southern breakfast, look no further than Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit! This Charleston staple serves up some of the best (and unique) biscuits in the city. Their cinnamon biscuits were my favorite but you can’t go wrong with any of their 8 unique flavors. They also sell some delicious biscuit sandwiches for those looking for a heartier breakfast.
You can’t visit the South without stopping to get some BBQ and Lewis serves up some of the best in town! Everything from the turkey breast to pulled pork was outstanding and so worth the wait. Pro tip: get there around 30-60 minutes before you plan on having dinner because there will most likely be line.
Whether you’re looking for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or wanting to sit down and dine, Daps Breakfast has something for everyone. Have a sweet tooth? Try their fruity pebble pancakes (you’ll thank me later)!
Located just outside of Charleston in Mount Pleasant lies a quaint cottage turned coffee shop. If you’re wanting more than just coffee, they also have some delicious açaí bowls as well as breakfast sandwiches, bagels and other sweet treats.
BEST THINGS TO DO
Rainbow Row is a must-visit while in Charleston. It refers to the 13 colorful houses on East Bay Street. They’re one of the most photographed spots in the city but there is more to them than just bright pastel colors. The houses were first built in 1740 and after the Civil War, the area was very run down. In 1931, “Rainbow Row” as it’s known today began as people starting painting the houses in bright and lively hues.
Located in the Charleston Waterfront Park, Pineapple Fountain first opened in 1990 after Hurricane Hugo. The symbol of the pineapple represents hospitality and it’s become an iconic part of the city. The unique fountain is worth a visit especially because you can enjoy Waterfront Park located on the Cooper River.
At an unbelievable 300 years old, King Street has preserved its history but has also welcome modernity. In the late 18th to early 19th century, King Street became more of a retail and commercial center for the city. In the early 2000s, the city funded an enhancement of King Street and it’s now one of the trendiest and most vibrant spots. It has some of the best shopping, hotels, galleries, a lively nightlife, and more. King Street can be broken up into three districts including Lower King Street Antiques District, Middle King Street Fashion District, and Upper King Street Design and Dining District.
Visit a plantation
Before the Civil War, you could find hundreds of plantations around Charleston, but many were destroyed during the war. Visiting a plantation is a great way to learn about the past and see what it was like to be a slave during the pre-abolition period. A few of the plantations you could visit include Boone Hall Plantation, Magnolia Plantation, Drayton Hall, and Middle Place but there are others as well.
Angel Oak Tree
Known as one of the oldest living things in the country, Angel Oak Tree is estimated to be 400-500 years old and it stands 28 feet tall with branches that extend over 100 feet. It’s a must-see while in the city. It’s actually located on John’s Island which is just 11 miles out of the city and can be accessed by public transportation or car.
Established in the 1790s, City Market once was a place where farms and plantations could sell beef and produce. Today, there are over 300 vendors who sell souvenirs, goods, and more. It’s one of the oldest public markets and at the heart of Charleston.
Broad Street is one of the most historic streets in the city and its history has been well preserved. It’s full of 18th-century architecture and it’s a great place to walk around and marvel at what life might’ve once looked like years ago.
The Battery is both a promenade and fortified seawall starting at the Charleston Peninsula. It’s a great place to walk around for amazing views of the water. Many historic mansions line this area and overall there is a ton to see and do around The Battery.
Charleston has some beautiful beaches and whether you only have an hour to spare or an entire afternoon, I recommend taking a visit! There are quite a few beaches around Charleston, but a few of the most popular ones include Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms