Charleston, South Carolina has always been on my list of cities to visit. I’ve always found photos of Charleston to be charming and to evoke such rich US history. I finally got to visit Charleston, with my husband, in the fall. I fell in love with the city and would go back in a heartbeat. One thing I loved about the city is that I didn’t feel a huge need to overbook myself. I went on tours that led me around the city, on-foot, and we loved just taking the city in. During a short time there, Keith and I came up with the 8 best things to do in Charleston.
The Charleston Stroll – A Walk with History Tour by Bulldog Tours. I feel like this walking tour was a great introduction to the city and we did it right upon arrival to Charleston. I captured some of the best photos of the beautiful architecture, saw gorgeous wrought iron work and really learned a lot about the history of the city, all from this tour. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgable and very friendly. I fell in love with the beauty of the city through this tour and believe it’s a great way to start your time in Charleston.
Set sail via the Schooner Pride – Get a look at Charleston from the water, with a relaxing sailing experience. There are no stops on this ride, but I recommend a sunset sail so you can relax after your day’s walking tours, and just take in the beauty on the water. The staff is willing to answer any questions you may have about the city, or about sailing, and you can even get up and help with the sails! You can even get a closer look at the forts outside of Charleston. There are different tours of Fort Sumter should you decide to do that, but we opted to spend our time on land.
Head outside the city for an amazing plantation experience at Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens. There is a lot of debate over the best plantation to visit and I have zero regrets about spending some time at the Boone Hall Plantation. There are tours of the house and you can explore the slave quarters on your own. Each building is filled with information and artifacts, and there are a variety of activities and experiences throughout the day. so you can leave feeling educated and in awe. Can I just say this property is GORGEOUS?!
Savor the Flavors Tour of Downtown Charleston with Bulldog Tours. Another walking tour, but this time you’re taken from restaurant to restaurant/shop, and you’ll eat your way through the city with tastes of low country, and some sweets. I heard everyone on this tour just ooh and awe and talk about how wonderful the tour was, and how great the food was. We ate oysters, grits, pralines and more! If you’ve ever wanted to try a food tour, now’s the time!
Step into Kitchen 208 for breakfast or lunch with some casual dining. The portions are large, the food tastes great and the staff is very friendly. You can dine inside or out on the patio, and you’ll spot several local workers stopping in on their lunch break. This restaurant is clearly a local favorite. Be sure to get a big cookie, to finish off your meal.
Visit the Charleston Museum for a real taste of history. This is one of the oldest museums in the United States. Learn how early Charleston settlers dressed, lived and ate. I have to say, I was quite impressed with this museum, given how undersold I think it is. I loved the life-size giant animal artifacts and representations!
Pick up souvenirs at The Old Slave Mart. The Old Slave Mart is exactly what the name describes, an old slave auction gallery. In the building now are locals selling different goods, but one thing Charleston is known is the Gullah people and their sweetgrass basketry!
I picked up a bundle of sweetgrass roses, made right in front of me.
For a fun night out check out The Griffon Pub. Here you’ll get to experience a grungy, yet fun, dive bar near the Waterfront Park. Get tasty pub food like fish & chips, but also enjoy the atmosphere. Since the bar opened in 1996, patrons have been stapling money to the walls (and ceilings). While there, we were told they’ve estimated there to be $80,000-$100,000 stapled throughout the bar. Definitely a fun, and wealthy, tradition!
Whatever you do in Charleston, you’re sure to have a blast. It’s a charming city that I just fell in love with!