From the moving oceanside views, to the charming townsfolk and the perfect scenes about town, Charleston has warmed its way into the hearts of many a traveler. This historic and vibrant Southern City has been gracing the top tourism charts in recent years and for good reason, it combines a unique identity with the familiarity of one’s own hometown in such a way as to feel exotic and comfortable all at once. There are loads of things to do an see here, but here are ten recommended attractions.
1. Downtown Historic District. The environs of Charleston make it easily traversed and the most scenic parts of town are those bounded by Lockwood Boulevard, Calhoun Street, East Bay Street and the Battery area. Total the square area comes to 800 filled with nearly 2,000 historic homes and buildings.
2. Charleston City Market
To visit an authentic historic market is an understatement on this attraction. The Charleston City market is open year round except for one day. The best commodity sold here is famed sweetgrass baskets and one can also get loads of spices, handcrafts, baked goods and over four blocks of open air buildings.
3. Rainbow Row
This historically was the center of Charleston’s commerce district. The homes are several floors with storefronts on the ground and shop owners’ homes on the second. Currently it is residential only, but the unique facades of the architecture are incredible.
4. Battery Park
This is a must-see when in Charleston. Majestic homes and wide lawns adorn this piece of land which sits at the juncture of the Cooper River and the Ashley River. In addition to the historic homes it is the site of many war memorials and activities.
5. Isle of Palms
Beach volleyball, sleek sands and even surfing grace the wide beaches of the isle of palms. This island is a getaway for locals and visitors alike just twenty minutes from downtown Charleston. Still it is the ideal daytrip because you can easily squeeze a day at the beach here between breakfast and dinner. There may be no better place in Charleston to enjoy the proximity to the sea.
6. King Street
This is one of the downtown’s more majestic and picturesque thoroughfares. The most popular portion for restaurants, shops, boutiques and attractions lies between the crossings of Calhoun and Market streets.
7. Fort Sumter National Monument
From Charleston it is the perfect launch point to go out to Fort Sumter, the site of the first shots of the Civil War. To reach the historic island first make your way to the Ferry Terminal on Sullivan Island, its 20 minutes from downtown Charleston.
8. Hyman’s Seafood restaurant
This is a popular attraction for tourists and locals. The closeness to the sea and marshlands means seafood is abundant and fresh. Like many of the city’s small but popular restaurants the lines are generally long, so be sure you’re not too hungry when inbound for some sumptuous seafood.
9. Kiawah Beahwalker Park
Another day escape this park is about 28 miles southwest of Charleston. The wide beach is ideal for shelling and beachcombing. Also many find it a great place to walk and exercise. Parking is $8 per car and there are plenty of facilities and seasonal lifeguards.
10. Edisto Island
This rural island full of oaks and Spanish moss give a charming setting to a sanctuary of nature. Much of the place is undisturbed by development and amidst the silence one can hear the call of birds and marshland creatures. This is an ideal place to stroll, and search the beaches for shells and shark teeth.