Charleston is the destination of multiple day trips. One day isn’t enough. Even two, three days won’t do if you want to see what it has to offer.
The first permanent settlement of English colonists relocated here from the original site upriver in 1680. They named their new home Charles Town in honor of King Charles II. Today the city is located between where two rivers, the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, flow into the Atlantic. Its seaport helped the city prosper along with the surrounding plantations of rice and cotton and indigo. Today it is the second largest city in the state.
Nicknamed the Holy City, Charleston offers a variety of things to see and do and a history that includes pirates, the start of the Civil War, and one of the most powerful earthquakes to rock the United States.
A good place to start your journey is at the Charleston Visitor Center on Meeting Street. Here you can find more information of what’s to see if you haven’t planned ahead. Even if you have, it is a nice place to visit and there’s usually an exhibit. Upon leaving the visitor center, hop on a trolley and head downtown. The free trolleys usually leave about every 15-20 minutes.
If the parking lot here is full, there are parking garages further in town although I do prefer the visitor center, but then I tend to get there early.
When I visit Charleston I love to visit the Battery with its large antebellum homes facing the harbor and nearby Rainbow Row with the colorful houses. On the trips I’ve made, I’ve seen Fort Sumter, walked around the university area, and visited the aquarium. Check its website before you go as it’s a bit pricey and I only went because I had a free pass.
The last summer I visited Charleston, we toured the old part of town. Even in the muggy heat of a Carolina summer, we didn’t get too hot especially after a nice treat of ice cream from a street vendor. We walked up E. Bay Street, passed some of the oldest houses in town, and took a break on a bench under some shade at Waterfront park before strolling past the Old Slave Mart Museum, past the French Huguenot Church, St. Philips Episcopalian Church, and Circular Congregational Church, three of on over 180 churches in Charleston.
There’s something in Charleston for pretty much everyone and at a variety of fees from free to pricey. I just prefer walking around and looking and when I get tired, I hop back on the trolley (get a map so you know where the stops are) and head back to the car.
Charleston sits in the middle of the South Carolina Coast. From I95, take I26 east.
What’s Close By:
Note: This is only a short list of what you can find near Charleston.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site