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Charleston is the states second largest city and it is located near the middle of South Carolina's coast. Its historic downtown is on a peninsula formed by two rivers, Ashley and Cooper, flowing into the Atlantic, and protected from the open ocean by surrounding islands.
If you are trying to get around Charleston, one of the easiest ways is to take a taxi cab. Cabs are an inexpensive way to get around the city without the need to rent a car. Another fun way to get around Charleston is a Richshaw taxi, which is a bicycle taxi. You can get anywhere in the downtown peninsula for just a few dollars per person. The taxis run from early in the morning to late at night, seven days a week. The last type of taxi is the Charleston Water Taxi which transports people from the Charleston Maritime Center to Patriots Point, which is the home of the U.S.S Yorktown.
If you need to get around Charleston and don't want to wait for a cab or trolley, then you should consider renting a car. Personally I like to have a car because I enjoy driving to some of the nearby cities and beaches. If you are thinking about renting a car, you should check with your hotel to see if they charge for parking. If they do, then you should consider free street parking or check with some of the nearby parking garages to see how much they charge. You could save a significant amount of money parking somewhere else.
Historic Charleston Inns are generally establishments or buildings where travelers can seek lodging and, usually, food and drink. These Inns are located throughout the historic district and you'll find accommodations with four-poster beds, antique furnishings, oasis-like courtyards and wood-burning fireplaces.
The only Historic Charleston Inn I have stayed at is the Indigo Inn and I was very impressed. The rooms are quite large and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful. The Inn is located in the heart of the historic district so it was very accessible to shopping, restaurants, and attractions. The greatest feature of this Inn is the private courtyard complete with seating and lush greenery. All of the rooms overlook the courtyard and it is a really tranquil, beautiful place to sit and relax after a day of shopping and sight seeing.
Downtown Charleston Hotels also known as full service hotels are the most popular. Amenities normally include a restaurant, room service, a swimming pool and free WiFi. The hotels are less expensive and are a great value for families.
The last trip we took to Charleston we opted to rent a house for the week instead of a hotel and it worked out really well and we had a great time. By renting a house we could cook some of our meals at the house, saving money and we also didn't have to worry about our small dog barking or making noises while we were out sightseeing. Before we chose our house we researched quite a few rental properties on the internet. You can filter your results by where in Charleston you want to stay, how much you want to pay and how many rooms you will be needing. You can also view photos and read reviews posted by others who have stayed at these properties. There are a lot of sites on the internet that you can utilize to find rental properties but below I have listed the sites that I have always used.
The hardest part about dining in Charleston is figuring out where to eat. You can enjoy your favorite cuisine in one of the many award-winning restaurants. With so many choices like American, Asian, Caribbean, Italian, Lowcountry, Mediterranean, Seafood, and Southern, the possibilities are endless. From great Lowcountry cooking at Poogans porch to the fresh seafood at Hymen's, Charleston has some of the best cuisine in the world.
If you are looking for some good food but not wanting to shell out mucho bucks, then we have got you covered. Whether you are just wanting to grab a quick breakfast at Joseph's or you are wanting to feast on some delicious soulfood at Jestine's, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from.
Charleston has a semi-tropical climate with warm summers and mild winters. The hottest month of the years is July and the coolest month of the year is January, with July and August being the wettest. Hurricane season runs June 1 to December 1 each year. It’s not uncommon for the Charleston area to experience some level of tropical depression or tropical storm activity during the season, although major hurricanes are rare.
Charleston is one of the most popular southern destinations in the country because there are so many things to see and do. Charleston is home to charming cobblestone streets, guided walking and horse-drawn tours, beautiful parks and gardens, antebellum mansions, museums, and countless Charleston tourist attractions making it a great vacation destination.
A trip to Charleston must include a visit to the Charleston Aquarium at the edge of the harbor. The building projects over the water and has a really large deck that provides great views of dolphins, ships and the landscape of the Cooper River and Charleston.
There are 3 public Charleston SC beaches within 20 minutes driving distance of downtown. They are all clean and beautiful but a lot less commercialized than other South Carolina beaches. Folly Beach is my favorite because it is very laid back and they have a great pier. They also have a lot of shops, restaurants and bars within walking distance of the beach. All of these beaches are great for a day trip if you are staying in the historic district.
One of the things you must do when you visit is to take one of the many narrated Charleston boat tours. Charleston is such a beautiful city and there is no better way to experience it than from a boat. I have taken both the Charleston Harbor Tour and the Spiritline Cruise and they were both awesome. Some of he ships have an inside air-conditioned section and also a large open deck. Or if you want to get to Patriots Point but don’t feel like driving, you can catch the water taxi at the Charleston Maritime center and ride it over. Just remember, to do this on a nice sunny day so you can really enjoy the great views. You also want to remember your camera because you will have the chance to take some awesome photos. Another fun thing to do is to take an evening dinner cruise on the Charleston Harbor. The cruises are really fun, lasting about 3 hours, and they offer good food, dancing and some great views of Charleston.
When you visit ther city you must visit the Charleston Forts and Military Sites. I’m kind of a nerd, but I really think you will enjoy visiting these historic sites as much as I do. There are 3 main Forts and Military Sites to visit in Charleston: Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie and Patriots Point.
Patriots Point is one of the largest museums of its kind in the world and one of my favorite places to visit. Just about the entire ship is open for you to tour. You will get to see where these brave men, who fought to protect our country, lived, slept, ate and played. You can walk up to the top and see how large this magnificent ship really is and then you can go down and sit in the captain’s chair. There are lots of pictures and exhibits that will give you a true glimpse into what life was like on the ship. There are also several other small planes and a submarine for you to tour. You should expect to spend about three hours to tour everything and you should also plan to do a lot of walking and climbing steep stairs, but it is truly worth the workout. You will have a great time and get to see something really unique.
There are many Historic Sites to visit but one of my favorites is the Old City Market. As you stroll through this one of a kind market, you can shop for pottery, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, souvenirs and artwork depicting beautiful historic Charleston. You will also see women weaving the famous sweetgrass baskets and when you need a break from shopping, the market is surrounded by dozens of restaurants. The market is open from early morning to around 6 in the evening 365 days a year and they are open later on the weekends. Parking is often hard to find so if the weather is nice I suggest walking or parking at one of the nearby parking garages.
This is such a culturally rich city and there are a number of great Charleston museums to visit. Just a few of the things you will find are fine art, relics from the civil war and lots of historical manuscripts. The Gibbes Museum of Art is a really cool place even if you aren’t an art novice and the Karpeles Manuscript Museum has over 1 million historical manuscripts including the original draft of the Bill of Rights. The Charleston Museum is a great place to learn about the history of South Carolina and The Powder Magazine is a really cool one room museum that is housed in the oldest public building in South Carolina. So get out and enjoy some of the great museums this beautiful, historic city has to offer.
During your stay you must visit one of the numerous Charleston Parks. There are many to choose from but two of my favorites are Battery Park and Waterfront Park. As you stroll through Battery Park you will get a panoramic view of beautiful antebellum mansions, the Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse. The Ashley and Cooper rivers border the park that stretches along the waterfront of the Charleston peninsula and the park has beautiful oak trees, cannons, cannon balls, statues and a gazebo. The park is normally very busy unless you visit early in the morning and parking is sometimes a little hard to find, but not impossible. Waterfront Park is such a quiet, serene place to visit. They have a pier and large, wooden swings where you can sit. I love visiting at night because the Arthur Ravenel Bridge is lit up and you can sit on the swings and enjoy the night air and the gorgeous views of the bridge. If you don’t visit any other park when you are in Charleston, you must visit Waterfront Park.
There are several Charleston Plantations and Gardens that are open to the public. They each uniquely reflect various aspects of plantation life, as well as their vital roles in today’s Southern society. My two favorite places to visit are Middleton Place and Cypress Gardens. They are both interesting places to visit and have a lot to see and do. Any of the Plantations and Gardens you visit you will need to expect to spend at least half a day and do a lot of walking. Some of the plantation offer trolleys but you will still do a lot of walking. You should also try buying your tickets online because some of the plantations give discounts for doing so and you should also check the website or call ahead during the off season because hours of operation can change.
When I visit Charleston I normally park my car and spend the entire time walking but if you are one of those people who doesn’t enjoy walking, or if you just want to escape the heat, then I suggest seeing the city from a climate controlled bus. There are many Charleston Tours and most offer Historic City Tours, House Museum Tours and Plantation Tours. Most of the guides are from Charleston so you will learn some really great historical facts and hear lots of great stories. I recommend booking your tour in advance because space is limited and the tours often sell out.
Charleston shopping has something to offer everyone. Whether you are shopping for souvenirs, looking for a new outfit, or shopping for antiques, Charleston is the place to find it. My favorite place in Charleston to go shopping is the Old City Market because you will find great souvenirs and unique items that you will not be able to find anywhere else. I also recommend shopping on East Bay Street and browsing through the art galleries on Queen Street. If you are looking for antiques then you need to go to Lower Kings Street between Beaufain and Queen Streets, which has been dubbed “The Antique District”. There is also The Citadel Mall and The Tanger Outlets which are only a 15 minute drive from downtown Charleston. Just over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, Mount Pleasant offers great shopping from the Town Centre to the Shem Creek Village.
When you visit, you must take one of the many Charleston Walking Tours. One of my favorite things to do in Charleston is to take a night time Ghost Walk. You will learn about some of the most haunted houses, businesses and graveyards in Charleston. I’ve taken several of the Bulldog Tours and I have always had a great time and the guides have always been very knowledgeable and entertaining. There are also Historic Tours that are a lot of fun and take you places that carriages and motor tours can’t show you, and if you are interested in art then you will enjoy the Walking Art Tours. The wonderful thing about Charleston is that it is very pedestrian friendly so get out and tour this beautiful city on foot.