This past October I enjoyed a long weekend in Charleston, South Carolina with my college friends. One of the group acquired a time share on the beach for us. Unfortunately, while we were there Hurricane Nestor brought a lot of rain and I never stopped foot on the sand. Regardless of the weather, we had a lot of fun together and we saw a lot of Charleston.
I’ve traveled to Charleston twice so far and I can honestly say I would go again. Here are my recommendations for 48 hour of FUN in Charleston SC.
Before you arrive in beautiful Charleston, I recommend that you do some research on where to stay. If you only have 2 or 3 days, stay in the city. The beach area is beautiful but if you really want to see the sights and enjoy the food scene, stay in the city. There are a lot of hotels and inns that you can investigate based on your price point.
My personal recommendations:
On a previous trip with my husband back in 2013 I stayed at Zero George. It is a restored inn with a lovely courtyard dating back to the 1800’s. The food and cocktails were great. They offer complimentary bikes to get around and our room was beautiful. I just checked out their blog and they made the Conde Nast Travelers 2020 Gold list which is truly a well-deserved honor. https://zerogeorge.com
When I was strolling around town with my friends this past October, I took note of the Mills House, a Wyndham Grand Hotel, that I would love to stay at next time I visit. Although I have not stayed there, I must say it oozes southern charm. For those of you who know my affinity toward the color pink…. it’s pink! https://www.millshouse.com
The architecture of Charleston is so interesting and charming. I suggest a guided walking tour. I really hate walking aimlessly through a new city. Take a tour and learn about the culture and history of a new city.
After doing some research for this blog, I discovered these walking tours:
My personal highlights of my rambles around Charleston:
Take a walk down rainbow row and check out these colorful homes that date back to the 1800’s. Best photo ops are here! Legend has it that drunken soldiers landed here and painted their homes to remember which home was their own. Whatever the story is, they are pretty and worth the stroll. http://rainbowrowcharlestonsc.com
Make sure to visit the Old Slave Mart Museum on Chalmers Street. It’s important to acknowledge this period of history that our country endured. The museum is located at Ryan’s Mart, which was one of the largest slave auctions in the south. All I can say is it was powerful and a must visit. http://www.oldslavemartmuseum.com/
You are going to get hungry for lunch after your walking tour.
I had one requirement when I went away with my girlfriends…. I HAD to eat shrimp and grits! I just love it. At Poogan’s Porch I enjoyed their Sunrise shrimp and grits and yes, it is served with a poached egg on top. https://www.poogansporch.com
Poogan’s Porch is located on Queens Street. For years, it was a private residence, but in 1976 the last homeowner left and for some reason left behind their dog. It’s unclear as to why the dog was left behind, but, the dog, a southern mutt, liked to hang out on the porch and soon became the beloved guardian of the new restaurant, greeting everyone and loved by all. The restaurant is named in his honor.
Another requirement when in the south is to eat AMAZING BBQ. All I can say about Lewis BBQ is plan to be hungry and eat a lot! https://lewisbarbecue.com
After lunch, it’s time for a tour. So much of the southern history lives on a plantation. There are a few to visit, but the one we toured was Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. Their website boasts ‘it’s a must see stop on any trip to Charleston, SC” and I couldn’t agree more. My friends and I walked around the beautiful property. It was hard to believe that there once were slaves working the land here. In 1681, an English Major, John Boone, settled in Charleston and established this working farm, best known for cotton and pecans. Make sure to learn about the Boone family and their influence on making South Carolina what it is today. Enjoy the Gullah performance in the Gullah Theatre. The Gullah are the African Americans who live in the low country of South Carolina. The Gullah culture was adapted by the slaves. Their customs and ways of life have been passed down through the generations. Refer to my day 2 when you will go to the marketplace to buy a handmade sweetgrass basket made by a local Gullah. https://www.boonehallplantation.com
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…. Cocktail time!
There are so many options but take a stroll over to the Vendue rooftop bar. The Vendue is a hotel, and yes, it is definitely another option to stay at while you enjoy Charleston. It is a restored warehouse beautifully decorated with antiques and reproduction furnishings. The Vendue rooftop bar has been awarded Charleston’s best rooftop bar since 2007.Enjoy the great views of the Charleston Harbor, Waterfront Park and The Ravenel Bridge while enjoying a delightful cocktail and light fare. https://www.thevendue.com/charleston-dining/the-rooftop/
It’s all about the food while you are in Charleston. I can do an entire blog about dining, but take a look at two of my personal favorites:
While researching for this blog, I came across this article about some new and exciting food establishments: http://: https://charleston.eater.com/maps/best-new-charleston-restaurants
After you have breakfast, get on a Carriage ride. This is a popular tour to do in town, so make reservations in advance. There are a lot of options but the one we took was: https://mycharlestoncarriage.com
You are going to learn a lot about this city on the tour. One of my favorites was the history of The Old Jail located at 21 Magazine Street. A landmark building now, it was built in the 1800’s and housed some of the most notorious prisoners. It is said that the ghosts of many of these prisoners still walk the floors of the Old Jail. I love a good ghost story and Charleston is full of them!
Bulldog tours offers a one stop shop for a lot of tours in Charleston. From food tours, walking tours and yes, the prison tour. https://www.bulldogtours.com
After that nice relaxing carriage ride, it’s time to walk again.
Make sure to visit the Historic Charleston city Market and support a local artisan. Here you will find the lovely Gullah weavers and their beautiful sweetgrass baskets, which are a real local treasure. At the market, be prepared to meander around and talk to the artisans about their handy-work. You really can find some wonderful treasures. Also, check out the food vendors. My personal favorite is the lemonade guy…the best!!! https://www.thecharlestoncitymarket.com
If the marketplace is not your idea of retail therapy, I highly recommend shopping on King Street. It has wide easy-walking sidewalks, bicycle friendly roads and tons of great shops, parks and other sites. The architecture is really pretty here as well.
The weather on day 2 cleared up for our group and we needed a cocktail! Our feet were killing us! We ended up at the waterfront and enjoyed happy hour at a restaurant/bar called Fleet Landing. Since we were having so much fun, we stayed and had a wonderful farewell dinner dining al fresco. Fleet Landing is a 1940’s naval building and has a lovely view of Charleston’s harbor. http://fleetlanding.net
Before I go…. I would be amiss to not mention a ghost tour at night. My Charleston roomie found Pleasing Terrors, Charleston’s most acclaimed ghost tour. We met our leader, Mike Brown, in Washington Square Park. Mike is such an interesting guy and he told us some really creepy stories. https://oldcharlestontours.com
Happiness is sharing a fun-filled weekend with old friends catching up on our lives and making new memories in beautiful Charleston, SC. Enjoy your trip.