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CharlestonUnited States of America

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

Charleston

Charleston Historic District

4.5/5Wonderful!(3,245 area reviews)

The fantastic nightlife and popular shops are just a few highlights of Charleston Historic District. Make a stop by Charleston City Market or Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal while you're exploring the area.

Charleston Historic District
Charleston

Downtown Charleston

4/5Very Good!(643 area reviews)

Travelers to Downtown Charleston praise its fantastic nightlife. If you've got some more time to explore, be sure to make a stop by Charleston City Market and Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal.

Downtown Charleston
West Ashley, Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America

West Ashley

West Ashley is popular for its abundant dining options, and if you're looking for more to see and do, you might think about a trip to Citadel Mall or Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site.

West Ashley
Charleston

French Quarter

Travelers to French Quarter praise its popular shops. If you've got some more time to explore, be sure to make a stop by Waterfront Park and Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal.

French Quarter
Watch the sunset from Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Kiawah is a golf-centered resort island with lots of palmettos, pine trees, and waterbirds. The dolphins practice "strand feeding" here, which is the act of herding the fish up on the beach along with a wave and wriggling up on the sand to retrieve them.
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West Beach

4.5/5Wonderful!(3 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in West Beach, Kiawah Beachwalker Park and Beach are top sights worth seeing.

West Beach
The private part of the beach is the way to go if you can swing it, but the public beach is just as nice. It's just more crowded.

Vanderhorst Plantation

5/5Exceptional!(1 area review)

While visiting Vanderhorst Plantation, you might make a stop by sights like Ocean Course and Beach.

Vanderhorst Plantation

Top Hotels in Charleston

The Francis Marion Hotel
The Francis Marion Hotel
4 out of 5
387 King St, Charleston, SC
The price is $107 per night from Nov 29 to Nov 30

Located in Charleston Historic District, this spa hotel is steps from Marion Square and College of Charleston. Charleston Music Hall and Charleston Museum are ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,396 reviews)

"Staff wonderful! Rooms very clean! Close to many restaurants!"…"

Reviewed on Oct 22, 2020

The Francis Marion Hotel
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
3.5 out of 5
560 King Street, Charleston, SC
Free Cancellation
The price is $109 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of PURE Theatre and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Medical University ...

4.4/5Excellent! (905 reviews)

"excellent. love the location. nice, clean big room"…"

Reviewed on Oct 26, 2020

Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District
Cambria Hotel Charleston Riverview
Cambria Hotel Charleston Riverview
3 out of 5
84 Ripley Point Dr, Charleston, SC
The price is $97 per night from Nov 29 to Nov 30

Situated on the waterfront, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Harborage at Ashley Marina, Charleston City Marina, and Hampton Park. American Theater and PURE ...

4.3/5Excellent! (488 reviews)

"beds were very comfortable, window sill and window was quite dirty, glass partition in shower leaked"…"

Reviewed on Oct 24, 2020

Cambria Hotel Charleston Riverview
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.

Vacation Rentals in Charleston

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Charleston-North Charleston
TownePlace Suites by Marriott Charleston-North Charleston
2.5 out of 5
7535 Northside Drive, North Charleston, SC
The price is $64 per night from Nov 15 to Nov 16

Situated near the airport, this aparthotel is 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Northwoods Mall and within 6 mi (10 km) of Charleston Southern University and Charleston Tanger ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (658 reviews)

"Nice newer hotel… Spacious rooms with everything you need"…"

Reviewed on Oct 26, 2020

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Charleston-North Charleston
Vacation Rentals at Wild Dunes Resort
Vacation Rentals at Wild Dunes Resort
3.5 out of 5
5757 Palm Blvd., Isle of Palms, SC

Situated in Isle of Palms, this beach aparthotel is 0.3 mi (0.4 km) from Front Beach and within 3 mi (5 km) of Isle of Palms Marina and Isle Of Palms Recreation ...

4.4/5Excellent! (243 reviews)

"I had a very good time. Very clean and quiet place. I felt cozily. Wild dunes beach is so beautiful. I will try to come back with my family."…"

Reviewed on Oct 13, 2020

Vacation Rentals at Wild Dunes Resort
Staybridge Suites Summerville
Staybridge Suites Summerville
3 out of 5
225 Holiday Drive, Summerville, SC
The price is $107 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

Situated in Summerville, this aparthotel is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from Nexton Square and within 3 mi (5 km) of Summerville Dorchester Museum and Roper Hospital. Wassamassaw ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (74 reviews)

"The suite was clean and spacious. They did not have my reservation, but were able to provide the suite I wanted at the cost I had reserved."…"

Reviewed on Oct 10, 2020

Staybridge Suites Summerville
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.

Popular places to visit in Charleston

Top things to do in Charleston

Reviews of Charleston

4.7

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
2479
5 - Excellent 70.52631578947368%
4 - Good
926
4 - Good 26.344238975817923%
3 - Okay
96
3 - Okay 2.731152204836415%
2 - Disappointing
12
2 - Disappointing 0.3413940256045519%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 0.05689900426742532%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 2, 2020

One of the best and most beautiful cities in the nation!

5/5 - Excellent

RnB

May 30, 2020

Beautiful city, beach is quite, locals are friendly

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

May 28, 2020

Great shopping. I am coming back to explore more

5/5 - Excellent

Diana

May 27, 2020

Our best place to vacation

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

May 26, 2020

The beach was amazing

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

May 26, 2020

Carriage ride was great. Beautiful place to see

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Charleston

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Cities near Charleston

Folly Beach which includes a beach and general coastal views

Folly Beach

Photo by Caroline Nunez

Moncks Corner

USS Yorktown showing aircraft

Mount Pleasant

Magnolia Cemetery featuring signage, religious elements and a cemetery

North Charleston