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Best Things To Do In Charleston SC

by Pankaj Upreti
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Things To Do In Charleston

Charleston is a city in South Carolina founded in 1670. The cobblestone streets of Charleston are the city’s identifying landmarks, along with its horse drawn carriages. It has been named in the honor of King Charles II of England. 

The city has a strong and well defined history and has been a major hotspot for travelers and tourists, boasting a number of fun and great things to do. This article will bring you to some of the best things you can engage in while you find yourself in Charleston. Keep reading below to find out more.

The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum Postcard
The Charleston Museum Postcard | Photo Credit – Boston Public Library

This great museum has been the pride of Charleston since 1773. A great place for tourists and locals alike, the Charleston Museum houses exhibits from artifacts to a large whale that has been suspended in the lobby. The architecture of the place is great, featuring an inner courtyard that provides shade and comfort to heat stricken travelers and visitors. This is one of the best and most famous of things to do Charleston SC.

Visit the Joseph Manigault House, an attraction depicting plantation life in the 1800s. Another place is the Heyward-Washington House, the home of Thomas Heyward Jr. who was one of the four SC signatories of the declaration of independence. The museum offers combination tickets for both attractions, the museum as well as the historical homes.

Sullivan’s Island Beach

Sullivan's Island, Beach, Charleston
Sullivan’s Island, Beach, Charleston | Photo Credit – K Tao

Take a step back in time when you arrive at the pristine location that is Sullivan’s Island Beach. Known for its calm and peaceful beach front, beautiful sands and natural walkways in the surrounding vegetation.

Arriving at the beach after going through the vegetation is a great feeling, as the vibrant beauty of flora turns suddenly into a wide beach expanse that will clearly be one of the most beautiful sights you will ever come across. Located at Charleston Harbor, this beach has been lined with sandbars making the waves extremely peaceful, reflecting on your vacation at Charleston.

Angel Oak Tree

Angel Oak Tree | Photo Credit – Mike Norton

This is a rather curious entry on our list. The Angel Oak Tree is a preserved tree on John’s Island at Charleston South Carolina. The history goes that once a contractor wished to build apartments surrounding the tree which was followed by a public outcry leading to conservationist groups to raise money to save the tree.

While you are here, you are found to find little signs that say “Protected Forever: Lowcountry Open Land Trust”. This tree is over 400 years old and is just breathtaking to look at. There is a small visitor’s center as well as a gift shop surrounding the Angel Oak from where you may buy souvenirs for your trip to Charleston and the Angel Oak.

Mrs. Whaley’s Garden

The claim to fame for this quaint little place is a memoir called Mrs Whaley and Her Charleston Garden. It made the New York Times best seller list in 1997 and as a result, Emily Whaley’s garden still receives a lot of visitors. A great attraction while you find yourself in Charleston. Located at 58 Church Street, the garden is open to visitors all year long, Thursdays to Sundays.

Find beautiful plants here that provide shade and cool breezes, and flowers of all colors you can think of. Charleston is known for its gardens and while most of them are not open to visitors most of the time, this one is, and what do you know, it is certainly one of the best Charleston has to offer.

Bar at Husk

The Bar at Husk | Photo Credit – Nicki Dugan Pogue

Serving delicious drinks and even tastier food in the restaurant right next to it, the Husk has been a top tourist watering hole since its establishment. Enjoy wonderful cocktails here and if you’re up for it, try their bar only burger. Made of bacon and chuck, it is served with an assortment of toppings such as cheese, onions and pickles.

This order goes really well with the bar’s cocktails and a side of delectable fries. The Husk is a household name in Charleston, with many locals coming up with this name as soon as you ask them for a great bar in their city.

King Street

King Street, Charleston, SC
King Street, Charleston, SC | Photo Credit – Warren LeMay

In Charleston South Carolina King Street has been a tourist shopping haven for some time now. Over the years, the street has developed and opened up a variety of stores and has still remained a shopping haven. Some of the stores that you might find here are Hampden Clothing, Croghan’s Jewel Box and Joint Venture Estate Jewelers.

Find the Cos Bar and Blue Mercury for scents and there are even antique stores here for you to get the best out of. While you are here, be sure to visit the Hagan Fine Art and the Audubon Gallery.

Enjoy Kayaking in Charleston SC

Kayaking in Charleston
Kayaking in Charleston | Photo Credit – anoldent

Kayaking in the coastal areas surrounding Charleston is a really great way to spend time in Charleston SC. Saltwater marshes are a dime a dozen here and kayaks are a great way to explore them. Choose a singles kayak or even a double seater and paddle through the coastal regions for a variety of sights and experiences. You can even book a guided tour to explore the saltwater marshes in Charleston.

Apart from the flora that you will encounter in your paddle travels, you might even be witness to a manatee (if your timing is right) and you have a rather fair chance of seeing a dolphin with its mate, travelling in pairs to feed. Apart from Kayaks, there are paddleboards for you as well. Be sure to get the best out of your Charleston vacation by kayaking around the city’s water!

Preservation Society of Charleston

Seal of the Preservation society of Charleston
Seal of the Preservation society of Charleston | Photo Credit – Paul Arps

Reaching the end of your trip and want to cap it all off with a souvenir? Well, the preservation society of Charleston has you covered.  Grab the authentic items of Charleston at this place which is locally sourced. Everything you will find here has been made in the city, except for some books published elsewhere.

Run by preservation groups in Charleston, (hence the name) this place is a worthwhile visit while you are in Charleston. Enjoy free coffee on cozy couches after you are done walking around this place.

Schooner Pride

Sunset sailing in Charleston aboard the Schooner Pride
Sunset sailing in Charleston aboard the Schooner Pride | Photo Credit – U.S. Embassy London

A rather famous one of the many tours available in Charleston, this one is a replication of the schooners that used to line Charleston’s harbor in the 18th century. This tour features a rather mellow and relaxing sailing experience and has a crew that is willing to talk to you about the history of triple mast schooners in Charleston.

Watch dolphins as you go and feel the spray of the sea on your face as your vessel rides the waves. The boat features an area to relax and also a spot to watch dolphins. Getting aboard the schooner’s pride is one of the best things to do while you are at Charleston.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Around 45 minutes away from the city of Charleston, the Kiawah island is a great resort to spend time at while in Charleston. Although it is not that far off from the mainland, it location and setting feels like a supreme getaway. There are many many things to do here, from tennis to kayaking, golf, as the name suggests.

The resort also offers amenities such as spas and other avenues for rest and relaxation. Great for spending a few days while you visit Charleston, the Kiawah Island Gold Resort is the only five star resort in the state. Be sure to book a suite here and make the best out of your Charleston trip.

Robert Lange Studios

Built in a 340 year old grain house (formerly), the Robert Lange Studios drip of beautiful architecture. With the molasses colored floorboards to exposed rafters, there are amenities here that will let you relax as you stroll through the galleries taking in all the gorgeous art here.

A great place to visit with your family, the studios opens up for an art walk every first Friday of each month. Discuss some of the paintings here with the artsy people you will find in the gallery and trust us, the art critic inside you will not be disappointed.

Walking Tour of Charleston

Walking Tour of Charleston
Walking Tour of Charleston | Photo Credit – James Willamor

While you are here in Charleston SC, you will find so much the city has to offer. Known for its horse drawn carriages, you can also choose to take up a walking tour while you are here. You can get a map and choose to explore the city streets at your own pace or sign up for an official walking tour with your family.

This tour will take you all over the city, and you will see for yourself that this city has so much to offer, making it a top contender for your vacations. The official walking tour takes you around 2 miles starting at Waterfront Park and along the Colonial city wall to the east bay.

You will eventually reach White Point gardens and take a walk on Legare to scope out some of the most beautiful buildings in the city. From there you will make your way to the Pineapple fountain and finally end your tour at Washington square.

High Wire Distilling

This was the city’s first distillery after prohibition. They offer tours with up to 16 people and you are able to get close looks at the liquor making process. The tours are informative and provide you with information regarding all the processes that go into liquor production such as milling, mashing, fermenting etc.

At the end of the tours you get to enjoy a sample tasting of the hooch. You can take up a full tour of the place or even play short with some of the small and shorter tours they have to offer. Any way, visiting High Wire Distilling is certainly going to be a rather great experience and is one of the best things to do in Charleston SC.

The Charleston Music Hall

Charleston Music Hall
Charleston Music Hall | Photo Credit – lns1122

A place for crowds to enjoy delightful music from artists who have been Grammy winners. Indie music and well as jazz makes the scene here and coming here for Christmas is certainly going to be one of the best things to do in Charleston S.C. While you are here, be sure to see the Jazz orchestra.

Charleston South Carolina can be considered the second place for Jazz after none other than New Orleans. Located at 37 John Street Charleston South Carolina.

Charleston South Carolina Farmers Market

Charleston South Carolina Farmers Market
Charleston South Carolina Farmers Market | Photo Credit – North Charleston

Located at Marion Square’s north and western pathways, you can find the farmers market of Charleston South Carolina in full bloom from April to December. The freshest produce is gathered here for you and this is definitely the place to take in the authentic South Carolina experience.

Bring your family and reach the Lowland Farms booth for their specialty Pimento cheese spread. The farmers market will have everything for you, from asparagus to tomatoes to turmeric and more. Clearly one of the best things to do in Charleston SC.

While you are here, you must try the olive oil at Holy Smokes’ tent, which surprisingly tastes like bacon. Your tours of the place will be rather fruitful (pun intended) and get you in touch with the real experience of South Carolina.

Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter has a special place in American history has the place where the first shot was fired. Today, the tour of the monument recreates the experience for you. Just hop on a ferry and reach the fort. There is a museum here as well, making this a great place for all ages. The place is located on off the coast of Southwest Charleston.

The ferry ride makes for a really great way to spot dolphins and while the fort doesn’t offer any tours, you can DIY your own tour after taking part in the historical discussion that takes place here. Visiting Fort Sumter is probably one of the coolest things to do in Charleston South Carolina.

Folly Beach

Folly Beach | Photo Credit – Doug Anderson

Located around 12 miles from Downtown Charleston, the Folly Beach is one of the best beaches in South Carolina. This beach features a huge coastline that proves a much needed respite from the Bustle of the city. A lot of activities can be found here, like fishing, surfing, swimming (of course).

There are bars here and you can rent a beach chair to relax under the sun. There are a number of eateries here and hotels lining the beach. All in all, Folly Beach is a great travel destination in the city with rights reserved for fun only.

Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park - Charleston
Waterfront Park – Charleston | Photo Credit – Doug Kerr

Come to Concord Street, the Waterfront Park has been here since the 1980s. The park has been built strategically, with riverfront areas crisscrossing with off water pathways. This park is the most visited park in the peninsula and has also received Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Bring your camera as this place is great for photos and features beautiful river walks and pathways and gardens. Relax, enjoy and picnic here, enjoying your days at Charleston South Carolina.  Runners. bikers, walkers, people from all sorts of areas find their way into this haven in all seasons, Clearly one of the best places to be at while you explore the city.

Middleton Place

Middleton Place | Photo Credit – Davey Borden

Built in 1755, this place was the home of Arthur Middleton, one of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence. Housing historical furniture and artifacts, the place also offers visitors the opportunity to gather skills required on a 18th century plantation. The gardens at Middleton place are the biggest reasons why people visit the place.

The Aiken-Rhett House Museum

Aiken-Rhett House | Photo Credit – Onasill ~ Bill – 80M Views

Built in the early 1800s, the original style of the house has been preserved till now. The wallpaper as well as the chandeliers have been preserved as the original, as well the antique furnishings adorning the house. The grounds of the house are just as much of an attraction as the house itself. Admission to visit the house comes with an included audio tour which lets you explore at your own pace.

Visiting the Aiken-Rhett House Museum should definitely be on your list when you are visiting South Carolina. South Carolina has been a major historical area and there are many monuments as well as attractions the very same history. Charleston is one of those places that can be considered a hot bed of history in America. The Aiken-Rhett House is one of the crowning jewels of that history.

We hope you enjoyed our article about the best places to visit while at Charleston, South Carolina. The city, as has been mentioned above is a major historical attraction. There are many sights to see here for everyone, from history buffs to visitors hoping for a relaxing vacation.

While you are here, be sure to take care of all safety measures and norms in accordance to the COVID 19 pandemic. With this, we conclude our article about things to visit in Charleston, South Carolina.

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