Are you looking for the best things to do while visiting beautiful Charleston? Take a look at our top five recommendations and start planning your trip today!
Year after year, Charleston repeatedly tops the list as the most charming, beautiful, and welcoming city. The Holy City, named for its unique history of religious tolerance immigrants enjoyed as the city was being settled, is filled with beautiful architecture, packed with history, traditional Lowcountry dishes and innovative, upscale cuisine, friendly locals, craft beers and distilleries, mild winters, beach days, and all the water sports you can imagine. Narrowing down what to do in Charleston is the biggest challenge for locals and visitors alike.
Something for Everyone and Every Budget
Charleston is an ideal destination for a getaway, whether you are traveling as a family, for work, for a girl’s weekend, a romantic couple’s vacation, or on a honeymoon. There is plenty to do for everyone and every budget. You can stay as busy as you would like when visiting Charleston, or you can enjoy lazy, laid-back Lowcountry days soaking up the sun and eating delicious food.
Our top five recommendations barely scratch the surface of all the things there are to do in the United States’ best small city.
1. Gullah Geechee Tours
Charleston has a rich and varied history, and there are many tours that will offer you bits of insight into its illustrious history. Gullah Geechee Tours goes beneath the city’s polished surface and offers a unique take on the history of the city. Your tour guide, Godfrey Gullah Jac, is a Charleston Gullah historian who also happens to be a Gullah Geechee himself.
Gullah people comprise the African American communities living along the sea islands of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. They are made up of the descendants of enslaved Africans and have preserved many traditions from their African heritage, including their language, crafts, food, and music.
See a different side of Charleston through the eyes of a Gullah native and historian. This widely touted tour offers a less-seen side of Charleston’s history and the people who built the city. Hear the story of how they escaped the shackles of slavery and their contributions to the area.
2. Charleston Outdoor Adventures Marsh Kayak Eco-Tour
When visiting Charleston, you owe it to yourself to spend a day on the water, and Charleston Outdoor Adventures Marsh Kayak Eco-Tour is a great way to do just that. You will get close to nature and see the beauty of the South Carolina coast in a quiet, unhurried way. This tour is great for beginners as well as experienced paddlers.
You will paddle through the Lowcountry’s picturesque marshland, hammock islands, bays, and tidal flats. Your guide will navigate the maze of tidal flats and creeks located behind beautiful Folly Beach, where you will enjoy the home of over 70,000 various species. You will experience wildlife like dolphins, coastal birds, and sea turtles.
The area’s beauty will inspire you to do what you can to preserve the coastal wetlands. Your guide will offer information about the issues that threaten them and what we can do to conserve them. Just a few miles from the business of the city, enjoy this naturalists’ paradise.
3. In the Kitchen with Chef Bob Waggoner
No trip to Charleston is complete without enjoying a premier dining experience or three. Charleston has no shortage of those. The restaurants in the Holy City range from traditional fried seafood to some of the most creative dining around. For foodies, this is a splurge you must not miss.
In the Kitchen with Chef Bob Waggoner gets you cooking with the Michelin-rated chef. He blends Lowcountry cuisine with his roots in French cooking to create delicious meals in an entertaining environment. Cook, socialize, and enjoy a seasonal tasting menu and wine pairings in the chef’s teaching kitchen while enjoying dishes inspired by local farms, fish, and Charleston artisans. If you have too much wine, make sure to get a ride home. Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of Charleston car accidents.
Classes sell out quickly, so sign up early to ensure you get a spot.
4. Tour the College of Charleston
Travel and Leisure Magazine has named the College of Charleston “Most Beautiful College Campus.” If you have an up-and-coming student or if you just want to take a guided look at the historic campus to see how it blends modern education with its lovely surroundings, take a tour of The College.
Even if you are not interested in an organized tour, stroll around the charming campus. You will know you are on campus when the pavers beneath your feet are arranged in a herringbone pattern.
Take a walk through the Cistern Yard, where College of Charleston students graduate in their white dinner jackets and white dresses. Check out Bucky the T. Rex in the Addlestone Library Rotunda or lounge near the library’s fountain. You are sure to be impressed by this lovely campus.
5. Mrs. Whaley’s Charleston Garden
Located at 58 Church Street, enjoy Emily “Cheeka” Whaley’s garden. Homes around the peninsula often have lovely, yet private, gardens. Emily Whaley, the author of the 1997 New York Times best-selling memoir Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden, has a garden open to the public on Thursday through Sunday afternoons.
Put $10 in the honor box and go through her gate to enjoy the beautifully tended garden. It is a perfect way to refresh your soul while idling away the time in true Charleston fashion.
Only the Beginning of Your Visit to Charleston, South Carolina
While visiting Chucktown, you will surely enjoy touring the USS Yorktown and Patriot’s Point, taking a swim on some of the local beaches, visiting the South Carolina Aquarium, dining at the many delicious restaurants, shopping along King Street, enjoying the architecture on Rainbow Row, and strolling through The Battery.
While visiting, take in some lesser-known sights. Our five suggestions are an excellent place to begin. However, we have only scratched the surface of the wonderful things the city has to offer. Enjoy your time in Charleston. You will be planning your next visit before leaving.