Charleston is as picturesque a city as they come, cobblestone streets, magnificent oak trees and stunning harbor views. Plus, it’s teh inspiration for one of my favorite songs, Charleston, Charleston, made in Carolina…But I digress. Charleston does the impossible, it retains it’s old-fashioned southern charm and gentility all while keeping up with modern times. The Charleston hotels, the restaurants, are as fabulous as any big city. But I’ve already covered that. There are a few things you must do in Charleston while you’re in town that don’t involve eating, drinking or lounging at one of the gorgeous hotels.
First things first, while I could have easily spent an entire week here, I think that a weekend will definitely give you plenty of time to experience a sizeable chunk of the city. Although you may not have time to see everything, you will be able to get a good taste–enough to wet your appetite for next time. Here are my picks for the best things to do in Charleston for your perfect weekend.
Marion Square Farmers’ Market
Head over to Marion Square and visit the farmers’ market, which will be buzzing bright and early. I recommend coming here first thing in the morning, browsing some booths, which sell adorable crafts, clothes, and souvenirs. There are also lots of fun food booths that sell anything from BBQ to organic kale smoothies to popsicles (King of Pops serves a mean chocolate sea salt popsicle). There are some tables in the shade as well as a bouncy castle if your’e feeling adventurous.
M. Dumas and Sons Bow-Tie Selection
Go Shopping on King Street.
They have everything here, from big name brand stores to charming boutiques, gift stores and food shops (definitely visit Caviar and Bananas right off King) that are worth popping by.My absolute favorite store was M. Dumas and Sons. This is a mecca for all things preppy! I think that you can’t say you’ve been to Charleston until you’ve bought something preppy. May I suggest a bow-tie or perhaps something with needlepoint? The entire city of Charleston is filled with a militia outfitted in seersucker and you can’t be inducted until you’re wearing something seersucker too.
Do a Carriage Ride
Nerd alert! I know this may sound a little cheesy but trust me, everyone does a horse-and-carriage ride in Charleston. Think horses with a side of history. I loved Palmetto Carriage, which I am told has some of the best guides in the city. Enjoy a leisurely ride while your guide regales you with the city’s rich history. You’ll see a variety of historical homes, churches and landmarks along the way.
Enjoy a Kodak moment in front of these historical colorful homes. Learn how and why these homes were renovated and preserved on your carriage tour. I won’t spoil the fun!
If you’re a history buff you must take a trip out to Fort Sumter, the island where the first battle of the Civil War took place. You’ll learn lots and the boat ride out there should satisfy those who are just looking to gaze into the gorgeous harbor.
The Charleston Aquarium
If you have little ones, this is a fun spot to stop by before or after your visit to Ft. Sumter as it’s right next to the boat dock
Haunted Jail Tour
Prepare to be seriously spooked as you learn about the infamous criminals housed in Charleston’s old, retired jail. I have seriously never been so scared in my entire life. The tours are at night and you stand in the dark in tiny rooms that used to house prisoners. There is no electricity and there are ghost sightings all the time. So creepy! We did our tour through Bulldog and loved it.
You simply must get to a beach when you’re in Charleston and there is nowhere more luxurious than Kiawah Island. I highly recommend a visit to the Sanctuary for some R&R and over-the-top luxury accommodations!
I’ll leave you with this…