Where to Stay and What to Do in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina. (photo via Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images Plus) (Sean Pavone /iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Lauren Bowman
by Lauren Bowman
Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Fri March 29, 2019

Life in the Lowcountry

Charleston, South Carolina has a rich history and vibrant city atmosphere. From beaches and shopping to breweries and delicious eats, Charleston is packed with things to see and do. Make the most of your time by checking out these places on your next visit to the Holy City.

Take Pictures of the Iconic Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row is a line of vibrantly colored row houses in the historic area of Charleston. Just a short walk up cobblestone streets from Waterfront Park, and you'll be greeted with the beautiful line of pastel-colored homes. The homes themselves can be dated back to the mid 18th century, although the brightly colored exterior was not added until after the Civil War.

Walk Across Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge connects Mount Pleasant, South Carolina with Charleston. Visitors and locals alike can traverse the bridge on foot along Wander's Way. The footpath is about two and a half miles, and participants will be rewarded with beautiful views of the Charleston Harbor.

Get a Tasty Meal at 5Church

The Holy City got its nickname because of the numerous churches located throughout its principality. Some of those churches have even been converted to other uses, like 5Church in downtown Charleston. With its own spin on Lowcountry cuisine, visitors are sure to get their fill of scrumptious dishes and original desserts. Trust the daily specials, especially if they include the arancini appetizer.

Kayak on Shem Creek

Get up early and kayak along the coast and Intracoastal Waterway along Shem Creek. Take a guided tour or just find an outlet that allows you to rent on your own. Either way, you're sure to get a great workout and might even see some dolphins!

Stay at Charming Hotel Bennett

Charleston is full of Southern Charm and Hotel Bennett embodies this lifestyle perfectly. Located next to Marion Square, it is perfectly situated to make almost everything a short walk away. Lounge around at their rooftop pool or enjoy a signature cocktail at the Pink Bar.

Stroll Through Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park is one of my personal favorites. Spend some time on the pier, swinging on one of the benches or trying to spot dolphins. Locals may even make you a flower out of palm leaves. And don't leave until you get a picture of the iconic Pineapple Fountain.

Explore Patriots Point

Wanting to add a little history to your next vacation? Be sure to check out Patriots Point, where you can tour a real battleship. Get a headset to hear firsthand stories from World War II veterans or explore the boat at your own pace. You can even make arrangements to stay the night on board.

Get Your Fill at Lewis Barbeque

Lewis Barbeque may have only opened in 2016, but it soon assembled a cult following. We got here shortly after it opened on a Sunday and already there was a line. And the food definitely lives up to the hype. By the end of our meal, I was already planning on what items I wanted to get to go. There's plenty of inside seating and bar areas to watch a game, as well as outside picnic tables to enjoy some downtime with friends.

Fort Sumter

Here is where the Civil War started, on a small island in the Charleston Harbor. You'll need to make arrangements to get to the island as it's only accessible by boat, but once ashore, you are sure to learn some interesting facts about our nation's history and can even adopt a canon.

Have a Relaxing Stay at Wild Dunes Resort

Just a short drive from downtown Charleston is the Isle of Palms and one of Charleston's most renowned overnight stays-Wild Dunes Resort. From award-winning golf courses to relaxing beach views, Wild Dunes has everything you and your family could want in a beach vacation.

Take in the History at the Charleston City Market

Built in 1804, the Historic Charleston City Market claims to be 'The Cultural Heart of Charleston.' Shrouded in a not-so-pleasant history, the market was once the site of slave auctions. Now vendors line the market with local goods like paintings, wood carvings and jewelry.

Tour Historic Homes

Charleston is dotted with historic buildings that visitors can explore. One of the best ways to do so is by using the Charleston Heritage Federation passport, which will allow you entry to nine different sites including the Edmondston-Alston House and Nathaniel Russell House. You may even get to see a shiny Model T parked outside one of these homes.

Go on a Brewery Tour

Charleston has 27 breweries dotted throughout its region. With so many, every craft beer lover is sure to find their favorite, but it's best to taste all of them just to be sure. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Start out your tour at South Carolina's best brewery-Westbrook Brewing Company.

Meander Through the Beautiful College of Charleston Campus

Located in the heart of Charleston is College of Charleston Campus. Lined with historic buildings and picturesque courtyards, you may forget you're on a college campus or even that you're only one street over from one of the main Charleston thoroughfares-King Street.

Shop Along King Street

Lined with high-end retail shops, and even some more affordable options, King Street is the place to shop in Charleston.

Go to a Festival in Marion Square

Located between Meeting and King Street is the welcoming greenspace of Marion Square. Oftentimes filled with festivals or a farmer's market, it's important to check out events that are happening before booking your stay. Most notable is perhaps the Food + Wine Festival in the spring.

Eat at Gabrielle

One of Charleston's newest restaurants, Gabrielle, is Hotel Bennett's signature restaurant. It is worth stopping by even if you're not staying at the hotel. The menu is filled with delicious meals inspired by the chef's time in New Orleans.

Visit the Charleston Museum

Walking around you know you're surrounded by a lot of history, but to really learn about everything that happened in Charleston, you need to check out the Charleston Museum. Did you know this was America's first museum? Kids will even get hands-on experience through the Kidstory Exhibit.

Relax on a Rooftop Bar

Dotted throughout the cityscape are rooftop bars. Spend some time relaxing after a long day in the sun with a cold beverage just marveling at this gorgeous city.

Spend the Day on Folly Beach

Folly Beach is a favorite for tourists and locals alike. During the summer, traffic can back up on the only way on/off the island, so be sure to give yourself ample time. The Folly Beach Pier is a favorite spot for fishermen and there's even an offshore lighthouse known as Morris Island Lighthouse.

See Angel Oak Tree

Located on John Island, just south of Charleston, Angel Oak Tree is one of the most recognizable trees in the south. With sprawling limbs and hanging moss, Angel Oak is over sixty feet tall and is thought to be 400-500 years old.

Charleston, South Carolina is loaded with Southern Charm, delicious food and a dreamy low country lifestyle. Here are some can't miss experiences for your next trip to the Holy City.

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CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me