What to Do and See in Charleston, SC
My husband and I recently took our first child-free vacation! I didn't have much of a preference when we were deciding where to go because, honestly, anywhere for a few days without a toddler around 24/7 sounded amazing. I'm not exactly sure how we even decided on Charleston but I'm so glad we did!
Ben and I vacation very differently. His idea of a vacation is getting up at 6:30AM, working out, and then exploring new places and experiencing new things until bedtime. I want to sleep in till 10, go to a coffee shop, drink coffee, and lay on the beach for the rest of the day. Let's just say this has made for some interesting travel experiences. However, Charleston was the best of both worlds. We spent a day and a half leisurely exploring the beautiful city and eating incredible food, and then we spent a whole day on the beach.
Here's a few things that we did, ate, and saw
Charleston is known for it's beautiful architecture and ornate gate designs. My favorite way to see the city was by bike. Since we went in June it was very hot and walking was borderline unbareable for me. But we road bikes for over four miles and it was surprisingly pleasant.
Architectural Walking Tour
If you're a history buff like my husband, I'd highly recommend taking a walking tour. We found one that was free but you could pay the tour guide what you wanted at the end of the tour. It was incredibly informative and even I appreciated the city more even though I'm not super into history. I'd also recommend taking the tour at the beginning of your stay, they let you know about a lot of other sites to see so it will help you decide what to do for the rest of your vacation.
If you've heard of Charleston, you've probably heard of the Market. It has a lot of history behind it because it's where slaves used to sell goods. Now it's a fun place where locals sell their art, crafts, and local goodies. For my souvenir, I bought a tiny hand painted picture of a rainbow row. It's absolutely beautiful and it's already sitting in our living room. Most of the items here are also pretty affordable.
Kings Street is a shoppers paradise. It has every store you can possibly imagine on one stunningly beautiful street. I will say that the majority of the stores were way out of our price range but if you happen to have some money to spend, this is the place to go.
I'm not sure how Ben found this tree but I'm so glad he did. You're probably thinking, "why would I take the time to go see a tree?" Well, this tree is over 400 years old and it's truly magnificent. It doesn't cost anything to see it and it's only a 30-minute drive from downtown Charleston. You can almost just feel the history that this Oak has witnessed. A picture doens't do it justice but I would highly recommend seeing it.
We spent our second day at Folly Beach. We spent most of the day lounging on the beach and walked a short distance to see a lighthouse. After we ate at Bowens Island (see more about this restaurant below) we took a sunset paddleboarding tour. It was AMAZING. Paddleboarding is surprisingly not very hard and it came as a surprise to my husband that I never fell. We boarded out to a little area where we saw about five dolphins within 100 feet of us! What was super cool was one the way back a storm was heading in, on our left was the beautiful sunset, and on our right was pitch black. You can kind of see what it looked like in the second picture. Such a fun adventure!
One of the awesome things about Charleston is that you can't find a bad restaurant. I've been asked what my favorite restaurant was a lot and I honestly can't pick one. They are all so good and different in their own way. I will say we did not go to any super expensive restaurants. There were so many that looked amazing but weren't in our price range. We stuck to places that were about $20 an entree and under. We also ate breakfast at our air bnb and ate a packed lunch on the beach.
Our first dinner spot was Leon's Oyster Bar. They are obviously known for their oysters but also have incredible fried chicken. We got a seafood platter and the chicken. The vibe here is cool and fun and definitely one of my top favorite spots.
The Tattooed Moose
This little hole in the wall was featured on the food network show "Divers Drive-Ins and Dives," the sandwiches are unreal and is definitely the perfect lunch spot.
One night we wanted to mix it up so we got a beer and charcuterie board and Edmunds Oast and went to Evo's for pizza. This place is beautiful inside and outside. Ben even went on for about 5 minutes about how perfect the design and architecture was. And the beer was amazing.
If you want a local authentic Italian pizzeria, Evo's is your place. It's a few minutes outside of downtown Charleston but worth the drive and wait.
This was our last dinner spot. We went to Folly Beach for the day and stopped by Bowen's for dinner. We got there at 5 when it opened and byt 5:15 there was a line out the door. That tells you how good and how popular this place is. It's located on the harbor and beautiful to sit outside if you're lucky enough to get a spot. The seafood is incredible and you really can't go wrong with anything there.
On our way out of Charleston, we decided to stop at one more restaurant. This bbq spot is to die for. You can order a regular sandwich or get a sample of different meats like we did. They have the best brisket I've ever tasted and I've eaten at a lot of bbq places. This is a must!
Have you ever been to Charleston? I would love to hear about some of your favorite spots!