Charleston, SC

Travel Guide
Charleston

Steeped in history, this Southern town is an ideal spot for walking tours of antebellum mansions, beautiful gardens and fine restaurants. 

Charleston is best explored on a walking tour or in a horse-drawn carriage with your driver telling stories about city landmarks. Learn about military history and the Southern way of life. Sample local foods of shrimp and grits, Lowcountry barbecue, collard greens and sweet pralines.

The American Civil War began here, when the seceding Confederacy fired upon and overtook federal Fort Sumter in the Charleston River. A later Union attack reduced the fort to rubble. Take a ferry to see the historic site, which also contains a complete timeline of U.S. naval activities along the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Across the harbor, walk along The Battery and White Point Garden to gaze at the fort, now a national monument. Reflect on this pivotal moment in U.S. history. Turn around to view pretty antebellum houses surrounded by flowers in this neighborhood known as South of Broad. The writer Pat Conroy lived here. Many of his popular novels reveal not only Charleston’s geography, but also its cultural nuances.

To the west, the brilliant white Romanesque architecture of The Citadel gleams against a bright blue Charleston sky. Watch military cadets in dress uniforms during weekly parades or competing in weekend football games against other Southern colleges in the fall.

Nearby visit Middleton Place, a 1755 plantation with one of the nation’s earliest landscaped gardens. Something blooms here at any time of year. You might see an alligator sunning itself next to the Ashley River.

To the east, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is an impressive modern structure, especially with its triangular arches illuminated at night. Walk, bike or drive across for excellent views of the river and harbor or run across during the Cooper River Bridge 10K Run in early April.

Spring’s Spoleto Festival offers opera, theater, dance, music and artist talks. Throughout the year, visit the Charleston Historic Market to purchase locally made handicrafts. Famous hand-woven sweetgrass baskets, once used during rice harvesting, are still made by locals and treasured as artworks.

Where to stay in Charleston

Town & Country Inn and Suites
Town & Country Inn and Suites
3 out of 5
2008 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC
The price is $99 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in West Ashley, this hotel is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Citadel Mall and within 6 mi (10 km) of Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site and Harborage at Ashley ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (1,102 reviews)
"Very quiet and clean, comfortable and affordable."

Reviewed on Oct 21, 2021

Town & Country Inn and Suites
The Francis Marion Hotel
The Francis Marion Hotel
4 out of 5
387 King St, Charleston, SC
The price is $161 per night from Nov 22 to Nov 22
Located in Charleston Historic District, this spa hotel is steps from Marion Square and College of Charleston. Charleston Music Hall and Charleston Museum are ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (1,611 reviews)
"Loved the amenities in our room such as the magnifying mirror outside of the bathroom and the refrigerator with water in it."

Reviewed on Oct 20, 2021

The Francis Marion Hotel
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
4 out of 5
115 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
The price is $199 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Located in Charleston Historic District, this romantic hotel is steps from Gibbes Museum of Art, St. Michael's Episcopal Church, and Charleston County Courthouse. ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (1,377 reviews)
"Liked location"

Reviewed on Oct 21, 2021

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Charleston West Ashley
Home2 Suites by Hilton Charleston West Ashley
3 out of 5
1963 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC
The price is $118 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in West Ashley, this aparthotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Medical University of South Carolina, North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center, ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (413 reviews)
"Very pleasant stay with excellent employees from the front desk (day and night) to the sweet helpful ladies that cleaned and tidied up room and replaced my towels daily. They are even mailing my mom’s “My Pillow” that she forgot on the bed when we left ! Oct. 14-17 days extra Thank You !!!"

Reviewed on Oct 20, 2021

Home2 Suites by Hilton Charleston West Ashley
Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District
Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District
3 out of 5
415 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
The price is $165 per night from Nov 22 to Nov 22
Located in Downtown Charleston, this aparthotel is within a 5-minute walk of Upper King Design District and Charleston Visitor Center. Music Farm and Charleston ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (931 reviews)
"Convenient location to the historic district."

Reviewed on Oct 17, 2021

Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District
Home2 Suites by Hilton Charleston Daniel Island
Home2 Suites by Hilton Charleston Daniel Island
3 out of 5
120 FAIRCHILD STREET, Charleston, SC
The price is $153 per night from Nov 2 to Nov 2
Situated in Charleston, this aparthotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens, Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, and Palmetto Islands County ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (133 reviews)
"The staff was super helpful and definitely will stay there again"

Reviewed on Oct 17, 2021

Home2 Suites by Hilton Charleston Daniel Island
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Charleston

Much of Charleston is walkable, and this is by far the most enjoyable way to explore this historic city. When you do need to get somewhere fast, you have a few options. Make use of the trolley to get to popular attractions, or ride the bus to reach more residential areas. Taxis are another possibility. Note, though, that taxis aren’t easy to hail in the street, so should be booked in advance. Visit the Charleston Regional Transportation Authority website.Browse Charleston rental cars.

Best time to visit

The summer months in Charleston can get very hot, so most people will find a spring or fall visit more pleasant. Come between March and May or between September and November for sunny weather and temperatures that rarely climb above the low 80s F (20s C). One benefit of coming in spring is that you'll see the city’s pretty flowers in bloom. In fall, meanwhile, colorful foliage transforms the streets.

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