I was originally going to post this last week, but I had to get some Super Bowl Sunday content for you all! Better late than never right? With Charleston being the #1 city to travel to in the US (and now the world, apparently), I knew I could be of some assistance. Since I lived in Charleston last summer, I wanted to put together a travel guide for the weekend warriors; the people who want to get in as much traveling as possible. The way I wanted to set this up is for a weekend getaway. Whether you are wanting to go on a Galantines Day road trip with your girls or a romantic weekend with your man, I have a bunch of different ideas for you all to do around the city. Without further ado, let’s get traveling!
First thing’s first, I’m going to be mentioning everything in relation to King Street. This street is the life of the city and if you want to embrace the Charleston vibes, this is where you should go! I must admit, at times it can be very crowded and touristy, but that’s what happens when the city is ranked as the #1 city destination. It’s fun to be a tourist though, because you get to fully embrace the culture and history of the city.
Where To Stay:
Anyways, my best suggestion is to go-through Airbnb or VRBO to find a place to stay. One, they are going to be wayyyyy cheaper than a hotel. Two, this way you get to have more of an authentic, Charleston experience. I actually went through VRBO and found the cutest little bed & breakfast carriage house. Just hop on one of those websites and start researching some cute places. Use King Street as a reference. To stock up on your beach snacks + drinks while your there, just go to Harris Teeter. If you want to stay in a hotel, I have listed a couple of super cute places to stay. Some of them are going to be pricey, but I wanted to provide you all with an assortment of options.
- Grand Bohemian Hotel
- Zero George Street
- Market Pavillon Hotel
- The Spectator Hotel
- The Vendue: Charleston’s Art Hotel
- Francis Marion Hotel (on King Street)
- The Dewberry (brand spanking new luxury hotel…)
[Views from my VRBO Carriage House]
If you are flying from out of town, the airport is about 20 minutes from King Street. In addition, it’s usually not too crowded and a pretty small airport. You won’t have to worry about making it back with enough time to tackle the crowds. Nobody’s got time for that! It’s actually a really nice airport, as well. Just take an Uber to your new place and if you want to save $15, you can use my code “bryannab177ue”. If you are driving, then you obviously don’t need to know that tid bit of information. Just know that everyone drives so slow in here, and that there are a bunch of one-way roads. I’d definitely make sure to follow your GPS to be safe.
Things To Do:
Charleston City Market & A Carriage Tour
Now for the fun stuff! I would definitely start off with some touristy things to get a feel for the city. I’d go by the Charleston City Market (on Market Street, easy enough) and check those out. They have a bunch of cool trinkets and pieces that are super unique to Charleston. Right outside the market are a bunch of carriage tours. My parents always wanted to do one of these and I actually regret not doing one. It’s a fun way to explore the city.
If you want to continue the shopping, there is a bunch of shopping on King Street and on its off streets. You name it, it’s there. I’d check out the Urban Outfitters for sure, because it was originally a theatre! Plus, they always have killer clothes. Also check out the Simply J Boutique right next door. They have a bunch of cute Charleston pieces, which is where I got my car key chain from!
[Keychain from Simply J Boutique]
Cat Cafe For Drinks & Snuggles
You are bound to get hot and need a refreshment. The best and fluffiest place to go to is Pounce! It’s a cat cafe that allows you to sip a beer, coke, or some coffee while playing with a bunch of cats for an hour. Does it get better than that?! Yes, it actually does. The goal behind this cat cafe is to help these little kitties to find homes. If you find one that you fall in love with, you can take it home with you! Within the first month that they had been open, they had found homes for over 80 cats! Such a genius and awesome company.
[Pounce Cat Cafe]
Betty Bridal Atelier
If you are getting married, possibly getting married, or like to look at stunning, high-end, bridal gowns, then stop by Betty Bridal Atelier! With designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Peter Langner, Sabrina Dahan, & Mira Zwillinger, you are bound to see some impressive dresses. If you do decide to go, make sure you tell the girls (+ the 3 puppies) that I sent you there!
[Doggies from left to right: Penny, Olive, Oliver]
You don’t have to be a tourist to explore the city though! There are a bunch of bike shops around the city, that will allow you rent bikes for about $20 a day. Definitely check out The Battery and explore all the colorful mansions in the city. On the other side is the seawall that has gorgeous views of the southernmost tip of the Charleston peninsula, where the Cooper River and Ashley River meet. That alone is just incredible and is such a cheap option to exploring the city.
Let’s Go To The Beach!
If you have a car, this is going to be much more of an adventure for you. My favorite thing to do in Charleston is to explore the beaches. Charleston has six main beaches, but I only went to three of them. If you are a college kid and looking to have a very social experience, I suggest going to Folly Beach. When my brother and his friend came, I would always send them here to “attempt” to pick up chicks. 😂 This one definitely has the most action going on of all the beaches. Although, parking is the most difficult here. I suggest just pay the $10 parking fee so, your car doesn’t get towed. I would also check out Taco Boy, if you decide to come to Folly. They have some killer tacos and margs.
If you want more a family friendly beach, I’d check out Isle of Palms (IOP). I do have a little secret for parking, if you decide to come here. After you cross the long bridge over the swamps, take a left at the stop light. Follow that road until you hit all the beach houses and then park on either side in their yards. Sounds a bit weird, but this way you don’t have to pay and it’s legal! Just make sure you are a foot away from the road, and make sure nobody tries to give you their parking ticket… it’s been done before.
For a more quiet and relaxed beach trip, I suggest Sullivan’s Island. This was the beach that I would always go to, mainly because the parking is easy and the food options. If you do go here, you have to eat at Poe’s Tavern. It’s a beach bar essentially inspired by Edgar Allen Poe! They have some killer burgers and beers of draft.
If you have to go out of your way for one thing on your trip, I suggest saving it for a plantation. My mom and I went to Boone Hall Plantation, which is home to the famous Avenue of the Oaks! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just invision the Notebook or Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds’ wedding. The Avenue of Oaks alone, is worth going. We ended up doing photoshoots there, so we didn’t do the plantation tour… #bloggerprobs. I highly suggest going to some sort of plantation though, while you are in Charleston!
[Boone Hall Plantation + Avenue of the Oaks]
Where To Eat:
There are a million and one places to eat in Charleston. I couldn’t even make it around to all the places, but I do have a list of some amazing and hyped up places to eat. I divided them up into the appropriate categories, so without further ado:
Southern Comfort Food
- FIG (If you are an early planner, try getting a reservation here. Usually it has to be months in advance, though…)
- Poogan’s Porch
- Hominy Grill (Brunch)
[Husk Restaurant + The Market Pavillon Rooftop bar ]
A+ Mexican Restaurant
Nightlife & Rooftop Bars
- Market Pavillon Rooftop Bar
- The Vendue Rooftop Bar
- Grand Bohemian Hotel Rooftop Bar
- 5 Church
- Fish (Opens up into a bar/club at night- collegiate)
- Queology BBQ (festive and huge mixed drinks)
- A C’s Bar & Grill (collegiate)
- Burn’s Alley (classic hole-in-the-wall bar)
These were all my favorite places to go throughout the summer in Charleston. Needless to say, it was a summer full of excitement and adventure. I hope that this will help you on your next trip to Charleston, and please let me know if you need any other recommendations or have any questions! If you have been to Charleston, let me know what some of your favorite places are. I go back frequently and would love to try them, as I’m sure everyone else would! Regardless, I hope you get the chance to go sometime soon, because I can truly see why it’s the #1 destination to travel to. Have a happy Tuesday you all!