pineapple fountain, charleston SC, things to do in Charleston
Charleston is overflowing with hospitality || Photo by David via Flickr

It’s all biscuits and gravy in Charleston, South Carolina. The city is synonymous with southern hospitality and the destination has been exciting people for years. Charleston is constantly evolving, a combination of new and old, and a great place to explore history, arts, and music. What’s truly interesting about the place is that it has more than one type of Southern charm — it’s got three.

Charleston Outdoors

Folly beach, Charleston SC, Surfing
Surfing at Folly Beach || Photo by Ron Cogswell via Flickr

You may not have thought it but Charleston is filled with outdoor activities and nearby beaches to enjoy. Walk around with the sand between your toes at Folly Beach, a casual area with warm water and gentle surf. Be sure to ask the concierge at your hotel in Charleston for directions–these places can be hard to find!

To experience the community of Charleston head to Marion Square, one of many city parks. There are farmer’s markets, local festivals, and people just taking a break from the daily grind. For a view, Waterfront Park is the way to go. On a hot day you can run through the fountains and admire the views over the harbour.

Don’t miss the Battery and White Point Gardens, in the south of Charleston. It has beautiful views over the Cooper River and historic mansions to enjoy.

Charleston of Old

Huguenot church, Charleston SC, things to do in Charleston
Old Huguenot Church || Photo by Hunky Punk via Flickr

A walk around Old Town Charleston is like taking a step back in time — the old-fashioned shops were used for scenes from The Notebook. It has vintage shops and bookstores, and classic restaurants all with a 1950s vibe.

For a more traditional history lesson, head to the Old Exchange Building and Provost Building. This was the site of major historical events, from the place where George Washington greeted Charlestonians to where the Declaration of Independence was read to the public.

It’s easy to take a self-guided walking tour around the city to learn more about historic sites, places of worship and points of interest. Stop at the local Visitor Center to find out more about the Charleston Museum Mile.

Foodie Charleston

Caviar & Bananas, Charleston SC, things to do in Charleston
Waffles at Caviar & Bananas || Photo by Mr. TinDC via Flickr

This town loves to eat and they definitely know how to cook. Food is a big deal in Charleston and they have a number of festivals celebrating their unique cuisine, including the Lowcountry Oyster Festival in January and the Taste of Charleston in October. If you really like your food, be sure to be around for the Wine + Food Festival that brings renowned chefs from Charleston and the rest of the world for a week of fine foods, craft beer, and delicious wine.

To experience dining like a local, head to the Farmer’s Market in Marion Square on a Saturday morning where you can try food from around the world with a Charleston twist. For something a little more upscale but still traditional, head to Husk — a restaurant that serves locally sourced food and one of the best fried chicken dishes in the South.

For a sweet treat, be sure to try the life-changing pralines at River City Sweets. Made on-site, you can eat the warm chewy treats in different flavours.

A trip to Charleston is one you will remember for a lifetime.

About the Author

Alyssa is a freelance writer, perpetual traveller, and lover of all things related to cheese, chocolate and wine — though never at the same time. Currently, she’s based in London and working with Hipmunk on their #CityLove campaign.

2 thoughts on “The Three Faces of Charleston, South Carolina”

  1. I have not been to Charleston since ’96 and I barely remember it as I was a young teenager. I do want to get back down there soon for the food though! Was thinking of doing a southern food tour this summer 😀

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