Craig and I had such a wonderful visit to Charleston last week with JetBlue Vacations. When Charleston came up as an option in our partnership to experience one of their vacation destinations it was a no-brainer. Having visited the city for the first time during my girls trip last fall, I was really excited to go back with Craig. It’s such a quick and easy flight, about 2 hours from Boston, just enough time for me to post an Instagram and watch a movie, haha! Seriously though that JetBlue free WIFI and personal TV situation is THE BEST. The perfect long weekend or mid-week escape, Charleston is a great getaway, particularly as the weather gets colder. Charleston has such wonderful southern hospitality. If you’re headed south, here are some of my favorite things to do and see, and of course where to eat, in Charleston.
*For those of you looking for outfit details I’ve linked to everything I’m wearing at the very bottom of the post!
Charleston South Carolina Travel Guide
Best Time To Go To Charleston SC
Charleston is truly a four season destination and has so much to offer every time of year. Check out this Charleston Travel guide to help you decide the best time to visit.
Charleston winters are fairly mild and make it a great destination if you are looking to escape cold New England weather. You can expect highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Charleston see’s it’s peak tourist times between spring and fall so visiting during the winter actually allows for more opportunity. You may have opportunity to make reservations at popular restaurants and enjoy museums and events without all the crowds. A few favorite Charleston winter events include: Charleston Restaurant Week, Charleston Food + Wine Festival, Lowcountry Oyster Festival, Second Sundays on King Street, Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, and of course ride on horse drawn carriages in the city.
Many say the best time of year to visit Charleston is in the spring when temperatures are just right– ranging in high 70s to low 50s. Spring is the time of wisteria and jasmine in Charleston which blooms in beautiful shades of purple. Visiting Charleston this spring? Check out the Festival of Houses and Gardens, North Charleston Arts Fest, Charleston Country Parks and Recreation Spring Events, Charleston City Market (in the French Quarter), Charleston Spring Antiques Show and Charleston Jazz Festival.
Summers in Charleston are most popular for their beautiful beaches. With temperatures in the 80s and 90s and high humidity you will want to be close to the water! Check out Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms and Edisto Beach. There is so much opportunity for walking, biking, boating, sailing and more! Don’t miss a craft beer at Holy City Brewing. Not to mention there are an abundance of walking tours for history and art lovers. Check out one of the excellent Civil Wars tours. Check out the farmers markets or take a sunset cruise.
You are beginning to see you truly can’t go wrong visiting Charleston any time of year so you won’t be surprised to hear that fall is a great time to head south the Charleston as well. Similar to Spring, temperatures average in the 60s and 70s and make it a prime time to enjoy this beautiful historic city. Fall is a great time to head to the Charleston Farmers Market, Hot Air Balloon Festival, Steeplechase of Charleston, Fort Sumter and The Boon Hall Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze for family friendly fun. Don’t miss fall in Charleston!
Getting Around Charleston SC
Charleston is a wonderful walking city. Truly the best way to see a city is to walk it. So the more walking you can do, the better! There is so much you can see and do within close walking distance in downtown Charleston.
Bike taxi’s are a fun way to get around while enjoying the sights of the city. This could be a fun way to get to dinner or drinks in the evening.
Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH)
DASH is a wonderful free service in Charleston. The DASH buses have three routes and can be viewed on this map.
CARTA buses are a great option for destinations not included in DASH routes. For maps and more about CARTA check out this guide.
Charleston Water Taxi
If you’re looking to get to Patriots Point from downtown Charleston Harbor, the water taxi is the best way. It’s $12 for a day pass.
What to Do In Charleston SC
If you only do one thing in Charleston, make sure it’s somewhere South of Broad. The charming historic district neighborhood is so fun to explore. Walk around and get lost on the cobblestone streets and hidden alleyways amongst gorgeous oak trees. We spent hours discovering little side streets and admiring beautiful aging stucco homes and historic architecture. The city has done a great job of placing informational signs throughout so you can read about the history of the homes and buildings. It’s also a great city to explore by bike, you can rent them or most hotels have them available for guests. We didn’t get the chance to visit any plantations this trip but there are several only a short drive outside the city, last trip I visited Middleton Place which was absolutely beautiful. There is a ton of great shopping in Charleston, much of it right outside our door at Belmond Place. My absolute favorite store is Candlefish, a must visit in the city.
Where to Eat In Charleston SC
This basically deserves its own blog post. There are SO many good restaurants in Charleston it’s unreal. You could spend a week there and not even scratch the surface. From cafes, to coffee shops to bakeries and restaurants there is no shortage of amazing places to eat. We fit as many restaurants as we possibly could into our three day trip but there are so many more on our list we want to try. Here are some of my favorites:
- Sugar Bakeshop – A must visit in Charleston, and I’m not even a sweets person
- Black Tap Coffee – Order the lavender latte, you won’t regret it
- The Rise Coffee Bar – I tried the rosemary latte and it was so good. A cute little coffee shop in the Restoration Hotel.
Lunch & Dinner
- Minero – Delicious Mexican food, order the queso!
- Callie’s Hot Biscuits – We had a quick lunch here on our last day. Can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. We hear the fried chicken is delicious!
- The Obstinate Daughter – We had to take a cab here because it’s on Sullivan’s Island but SO worth the trip. The food is SO good.
- Basil Thai – We were craving Thai so walked here from our hotel. I had the red curry and Craig ordered the basil duck. It was delicious.
- 167 Raw – Expect a wait here, we went for lunch and there was a line out the door. But it wasn’t that long and it was WORTH IT. Delicious fresh seafood!
- Leon’s Oyster Shop – We had a great lunch here sitting outside on their patio. Craig had the frozen G&T and it was out of this world. Definitely order the fried oysters.
Where To Stay In Charleston SC
I loved our hotel this trip, the Belmond Charleston Place, because it was SO convenient. We walked practically everywhere, and the location couldn’t be more central. Close to shopping, restaurants, the historic South of Broad neighborhood and the harbor you can really fit a lot in with such close proximity to everything. We stayed on the Club Suite level which gave us access to complimentary breakfast starting at 6:30 every morning (we are early birds so we LOVE when we can eat early). They also had water, snacks and happy hour available everyday for guests to enjoy. We also took advantage of the rooftop pool and jacuzzi during our stay. If you want convenience, I definitely recommend staying somewhere in that area.
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