If you’re thinking of visiting the southern part of the United States, Charleston, South Carolina should be the first travel destination you consider. Even if you spend 5 days in Charleston, the Southern charm and hospitality will make you want more.
There are loads of fun things to do in this part of the state, so plan a trip to Charleston SC today!
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Whether you’re a solo traveler or with the whole family, you can find something for everyone.
From Mount Pleasant to James Island to Folly Island, you’re bound to find something to add to your Charleston itinerary.
At night, downtown Charleston has lines out the doors of the local bars and restaurants. And you can catch the lit up Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
Tips for Your VIsit
- The weather can get HOT, so check the weather forecast and slather on some sunblock, wear sunglasses, and put on a hat to prevent sunburn.
- In the US, the plug types are type A (two flat pins) and B (two flat pins and grounding pin) at 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.
- Credit cards will be accepted in most places. There will be ATMs around town if needed.
About Charleston SC
The city is located on the southeast coast of the US.
Charleston South Carolina is the state’s port city that was founded in 1670.
It is known for its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and pastel houses. See the Battery and French Quarter as you take a walk around Waterfront Park. The Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter are also close by. Fort Sumter is where the first shots of the Civil War were.
You can fly into the Charleston International Airport (CHS), which is located about 19 kilometers (12 miles) northwest of downtown Charleston.
Amtrak’s Palmetto and Silver Meteor lines that run through New York and Miami stop at the North Charleston Intermodal Transportation Center. This option will land you 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of downtown.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
The most favored times to visit are during the spring or fall. The average temperature can get from 16°C (61°F) in September to 25 °C (78°F) from March to May and 27°C (82°F) and 15°C (60°F) from September to November.
The wintertime is also a great time to visit as it is less crowded and the weather can still be nice with the temperatures around 4 and 15°C (40 and 60°F)
How to Get Around Charleston
- Public transportation
If you are just staying in downtown Charleston, you can easily walk from place to place but if you want to venture out of downtown, you will most likely need a car.
You can rent a bicycle through Holy Spokes and there are many locations downtown to do so.
Uber and Lyft are available through the apps.
Taxis are available around downtown. It might be difficult to find a taxi outside of downtown so it is best to either call ahead of time or use other means of transportation.
If you decide to rent a car, parking can get a bit expensive downtown and if you go during the busy season it can be difficult to find parking.
Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) has bus transportation throughout the city, although it is not too useful when it comes to visitors.
There is a free trolley that you can use for transportation throughout the historic district. It will go from downtown to the visitor center. You can find more details on their website here.
Things to Do During Your 5 Days in Charleston
Whether you’re taking a day trip to Charleston SC or staying for a week, you will never get bored of this adorable area.
Plan your itinerary for Charleston SC with some of these activities (they are not listed in any particular order).
Some of the historic sites in the state are located in the center of the city or close by. Not all of these places are within walking distance from downtown.
If you don’t want to plan your trip, you can always book a few tours and have the guides take you around to learn about the history of the area.
- Walk along King Street
- Visit the Historic Charleston City Market
- Go to Magnolia Plantation
- Walk across Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
- Visit Fort Sumter National Monument
- Walk through Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
- Swim at Folly Beach or Sullivan’s Island
- Walk around Rainbow Row
- Go kayaking at Shem Creek
- Take a walk through Middleton Place
- Visit the Charleston Museum
King Street crosses through the middle of the Charleston peninsula.
It is divided into three parts:
- Lower King Street is the Antique District
- Middle King is the Fashion District
- Upper King Street is the Design District
Historic Charleston City Market
If you’re taking a stroll through King Street, you will come across this huge market. This 4 block market is over 200 years old. You will find food vendors, sweetgrass baskets, along with arts and crafts, souvenirs, and just about anything else you can think of!
Take a train through the plantation and learn about even more history. The gardens date back to pre-Revolutuionary War times. You can take a train or boat tour through the grounds.
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
See some great views of Charleston while you bike ride or walk along this bridge. This bridge connects Charleston and Mount Pleasant.
Fort Sumter National Monument
Take the Fort Sumter Ferry from either downtown Charleston or Mount Pleasant. The ferry ride will take about 20 minutes. You will see where the first shots of the Civil War happened while viewing the ruins and monument.
The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center is located on Concord Street in Charleston.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Located to the east of downtown Charleston in Mount Pleasant, you can explore this retired Naval aircraft carries, destroyer, and submarine. They’re docked all year round.
Inside you will see the Medal of Honor Museum and the Vietnam Experience Exhibit.
You can purchase your ticket(s) online or when you get there. But be sure to check their website before going because the museum’s hours depend on the season.
Spend a day at Folly Beach. It is a city that’s located on Folly Island. Although it is south of Charleston, it is only 20 minutes away from downtown. The Folly Beach Pier stretches 305 meters (1,000 feet) into the Atlantic Ocean.
Center Street is loaded with restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops, and surf shops. Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve has views of Morris Island Lighthouse which was completed in 1876.
Sullivan’s Island is a town and island in Charleston County. This beach offers the same views as Folly Beach but the area is less busy and more secluded.
If you relish history, then Rainbow Row is the place to go. You will find a cluster of 13 pastel-painted Georgian-style rowhouses dating from 1748 to 1845 on E Bay Street.
Rent a kayak or bring your own! You can float in the water, park your kayak and do some bar hopping. If you’re lucky you might see some dolphins.
Stop at Mt. Pleasant at Nature Adventures to rent your kayak. If you have never gone kayaking before, you will be shown how to use your kayak and navigate through the creek.
While you are kayaking, you can try to stop at the bars along the way to take a break. Head to Muddy’s or Vickery’s Bar & Grill and sit out on the patio, grab a Bloody Mary and relax for a bit.
Just make sure you can leave your kayak on the dock or tied up so it doesn’t float away. Also, be sure to check the signs because some areas might now allow you to have your kayak on the docks.
Middleton Place National Historic Landmark is home to the country’s oldest and most important landscape gardens.
The historic site today is 45 hectares (110 acres) and includes gardens, stableyards, Eliza’s house, and a House Museum. If you want, you can take a guided or self-guided tour.
There are a few places to eat around the property, including a cafe/market when you first walk in from the parking lot.
The museum is on Meeting Street and it is one of the oldest museums in the United States, founded in 1773.
Bars/Restaurants in Charleston
The Holy City has numerous restaurants that will make you appreciate the city that much more. Along King Street and Meeting Street, you will find many types of cuisine to choose from. There are multiple rooftop bars, ice cream shops, seafood restaurants, and many small boutiques.
- The Cocktail Club has tasty drinks, live music, and outdoor seating.
- Charleston Beer Works is a sports bar with occasional live music and a number of beers on tap
- If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, stop at Insomnia Cookies.
Other Bars/Restaurants Outside of Downtown
- Tattooed Señorita is along Folly Beach Road. You can grab some tasty Mexican food while you sip on your Paloma and enjoy the outdoor seating. You can get a single taco for around USD 5 each and an appetizer of guacamole, queso, and salsa for USD 12.
- Order poutine at The Southern General off of Maybank Highway. The southern fish po’boy and Greek salad are tasty too.
- Take a look at the writing on the walls inside the Tattooed Moose. This is on the opposite side of the road from The Southern General.