Step back in time and Immerse yourself in the charm, hospitality, and culture of Charleston, South Carolina. Ranked as the number one city in the United States by Travel + Leisure for seven years in a row, this historic port town will wine and dine you and nourish your spirit and mind.
You need only to stroll down the cobblestone streets of the elegant French Quarter and Battery districts to find your fill of shopping, dining, museums, and sites, but make sure not to miss these seven must-sees.
#1 Charleston Harbor History Cruise
See 75 points of interest and landmarks on this scenic, relaxing cruise down the historically significant Cooper River. A USCG licensed captain narrates your ride aboard the 80-foot Carolina Belle. You’ll learn historic facts, as well as little-known trivia about Charleston’s culturally rich sites. Get up close and personal with sights like the USS Yorktown, Patriots Point, Rainbow Row and Fort Sumter.
#2 Museum Mile
History buffs and art enthusiasts won’t want to miss the unique concentration of cultural spots and museums that blanket Museum Mile. This one-mile section of Meeting Street boasts six museums, four scenic parks, and five nationally renowned historic houses, as well as historic churches and public buildings. Take a leisurely walk through waterfront park or a carriage ride through the cobblestone streets. During January, buy one ticket for $25 that’s good for entry into 12 museums and sites throughout the entire month.
#3 Spoleto Festival
Visitors and locals alike flock to downtown Charleston every spring for the Spoleto Festival. Spread over 17 days, this internationally recognized performing arts event brings a wealth of music, dance, theater, and shows by renowned and emerging artists. Downtown Charleston transforms into one big stage as performances fill the outdoor spaces, churches, and historic theaters. Senior citizens receive a 10% savings on selected performances.
#4 Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Experience tee time like in the stunning low country island setting. Regularly ranked as the top golf spot in South Carolina by the S.C. Golf Course Ratings Panel and recognized as one of the best golf courses in the world by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, this par-72 public course hosts major golf tournaments and boasts saltwater marshes, maritime forests, and rolling sand dunes. Spring and fall are the busiest times at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, so try to schedule tee time a couple of months in advance.
#5 Folly Beach
The sprawling, stunning coastline of Folly Beach is not to be missed. Relax on beach chairs. Cool off in the water. Fish off the pier. Grab a bite at the charming beachfront eateries. Sip on a cocktail at one of the watering holes. This family-friendly beach makes for a great day trip. Parking runs around $7 per day, but there’s no charge for the beach.
#6 Charleston City Market
Stroll the Charleston City Market and shop items unique to the city and state. Hand-crafted items vendors, food, clothes, souvenirs, and people-watching await you at Charleston City Market. Established in the 1790’s, this four-block market is where slaves bought food for the plantation. Home to the “basket ladies” for centuries, people come from all over to purchase the sweet grass baskets they weave, originally a way to transport winnow rice on the plantations. Open-air sheds are open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily. The Great Hall is open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm daily. The market holds nighttime hours from April through December.
#7 Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Peer into Charleston’s past at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. This pre revolutionary War plantation features a tour of the house and an award-winning “Slavery to Freedom” cabin tour. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens also offers a nature tour via boat or tram as well as a petting zoo, theater, conservatory, and historic azalea gardens. If you’re visiting between November 15 and March 15 don’t miss the Lights of Magnolia boasting 23-themed lantern displays. If history, great dining and southern hospitality are what you are looking Charleston has all of these things.