Local Hotels

Hotels

For postcard-perfect long weekends, or full week stays that have exceptional access to indoor and outdoor pools, restaurants, and amenities, there's nothing quite like the convenience of a stay at a local hotel or motel. A number of area hotels have been welcoming guests for decades, and as a result, vacationers have come back year after year for the fantastic service and the million-dollar views.

Vacation Rental Homes

Vacation Rentals

Visitors are often surprised at the number and variety of weekly vacation rentals throughout the area.. Vacation rentals are, in fact, an increasingly popular accommodation available to vacationers, and visitors will find that the sheer number of rentals available allows them to find an ideal retreat to fit their crew, from quiet condo complexes to brightly colored oceanfront sand castles.

Charleston Waterfront Park

Charleston Waterfront Park

Life in the Lowcountry is all about slowing down and taking a moment or two to relax, and locals and visitors both agree that Charleston's Waterfront Park is the perfect venue to stretch out and soak up the scene. With a prime location overlooking Charleston Harbor and the Cooper River, and more than 10 acres of room to roam, (most of which is waterfront), Waterfront Pak is essentially a romantic, engaging, serene, and perfectly picturesque destination that will make any newcomer fall in love with this unique southern city.

Sullivan's Island Lighthouse

Sullivan's Island Lighthouse

The Sullivan's Island Lighthouse, also commonly known as "Charleston Light" holds a unique title in Carolina Lighthouse lore as one of the most modern lighthouses in the country. The unique triangular and slim structure, which is broken up into two black and white color blocks, is hard to miss, and is a distinctive local landmark that hovers over the beach scene.

Washington Square

Washington Square

Washington Square Park, with its seasonally blooming azaleas, trickles of Spanish moss hanging off of ancient live oaks, and quiet setting in the heart of the city, is a romantic, serene destination that brings the inherent laid-back charm of Charleston, South Carolina to vivid life.

Firefly Distillery and Irvin Vineyards

Firefly Distillery and Irvin Vineyards

High-spirited visitors will adore a tour of Firefly Distillery, a 48 acre vineyard and winery that is located on Charleston's "back porch," also known as neighboring Wadmalaw Island. As the only domestic winery in the Charleston County Lowcountry region, the locale has a little something for everyone, regardless of legal drinking age, including walking trails, a petting zoo, a spectacular seasonal garden, a scenic large pond, and of course the winery itself.

South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium may be one of Charleston's newest local attractions, but it is certainly making waves as one of its most exciting and entertaining venues in an already packed southern destination.

Folly Beach

Folly Beach

The seaside town of Folly Beach, and the barrier island of the same name, has a lot of lovingly applied nicknames from long-time locals and visitors alike. Known as "One of the last real American Beach towns," and "The Edge of America," this family-friendly destination features a world of outdoor fun, entertainment, shopping and dining, conveniently located around every sand dune.

Johns Island

Johns Island

Johns Island is a unique region that sits almost directly in between the popular city of Charleston and the barrier island beaches that border the Atlantic shoreline. Technically the largest island in the state of South Carolina, this isle has more of a down-home, Lowcountry feel with acres of flat terrain, a spread out population, and a surprisingly large number of natural, historical, and altogether entertaining attractions that can be found well off the beaten path, under Spanish moss covered live oaks, lush vegetation, and South Carolina's signature Palmetto trees.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Mt. Pleasant, SC

The sunny community of Mt. Pleasant is often overlooked by its more famous neighbor to the south, Charleston, but this large suburban town has a wealth of authentic southern charm, history, activities and dining options that are sure to keep any South Carolina newcomer completely entertained.

Charleston History

Charleston History

Charleston County and the city of Charleston, its county seat, are the most historic locations in the state. English settlers arrived in the colony of Carolina in 1670 and established a town at Albemarle Point on the west bank of the Ashley River. The settlement, named Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England, was subsequently moved a few miles away to a peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper rivers. Charles Town (renamed Charleston in 1783) was the political, social, and economic center of South Carolina throughout the colonial and ante-bellum periods, and it served as the state capital until 1790.

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

The Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue, a famous icon just off of Market Street, has a fitting place among Charleston's long list of historical churches and buildings as the county's second oldest Synagogue, and the oldest Synagogue that remains in continuous use. The Grecian structure, one of the many hallmarks of Charleston's blossoming 19th century architectural era, is more than enough to grab a passer-by's attention, but the astounding details within, including an ornate domed ceiling and walls of tastefully appointed windows, will surely take anyone's breath away.

The Citadel

The Citadel

Like many of Charleston's institutions, The Citadel is an impressive nationally recognized landmark that both serves an instrumental community function, while boasting a long and fascinating history. This South Carolina military college, one of the six Senior Military Colleges in America, churns out hundreds of military leaders every year, a tradition that has been faithfully adhered to since the college was founded in 1842.

Freshfields Village

Freshfields Village

Freshfields Village, located at the crossroads of Seabrook Island, Kiawah Island and Johns Island, is more than just a shopping Mecca for visitors who want to give their wallets a little exercise. It's also one of the hottest spots along the South Carolina coast for great cuisine, great brews, and a gorgeous setting that takes advantage of the Lowcountry's scenic outdoors. With a relaxing "Americana" feel, and tons of boutiques, restaurants, services, and accompanying little local attractions, Freshfields Village has just about everything a visitor could possibly need for a perfectly accommodating seaside vacation, and then some.

I'on Village Mt. Pleasant, SC

I'on Village Mt. Pleasant, SC

New low country residents in search for a postcard-perfect place to call home should dedicate a portion of their house hunting adventures to I'On Village. The revolutionary community which put a new face on national urban development in the 1990s is a surprisingly quiet little place to call home in the heart of the Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, SC areas.

Patriot's Point

Patriot's Point

The Patriots Point Museum gives naval history fans and curious sightseers of all tastes a glimpse into life on board a world class World War II aircraft carrier and beyond. The expansive complex, which includes the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, (permanently docked at the harbor), a collection of military aircraft, submarines, other vessels, and a wide range of separately housed exhibits which chronicles in detail America's wartime history, is nothing short of impressive. Requiring a full day at least to explore all the time-honored exhibits both on and off the water, the Patriots Point Museum gives visitors a thorough overview of South Carolina's military history, while honoring its veterans with a grand salute.

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter, a historic site which can be viewed from virtually any point along the Charleston Harbor, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in this history-rich southern city. Easily one of the most famous forts of the Civil War, the Fort Sumter National Monument is internationally known as one of America's most important coastal landmarks, and cements Charleston's long and legendary role in American History.

White Point Garden

White Point Garden

The White Point Garden public park certainly provides a scenic slice of Charleston life, with incredible views that span across the intersections of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse can all be spotted in the distance from this downtown region, however, like most public parks and gathering spaces in Charleston, this wide open patch of green space is equally known for its centuries of historical events as it is for its sheer beauty.

Hugenot Church

Hugenot Church

If it weren't for the telltale palmetto trees and notable landmark neighbors, like the historic Dock Street Theater, a visitor might mistake this church for an authentic French house of worship, tucked away in a European countryside of decades ago.

Angel Oak

Angel Oak

Visitors do not necessarily have to be a horticulturalist or garden lover to appreciate the toweringly impressive Angel Oak Tree, one of the most significant and oldest trees in Johns Island, if not the entire East Coast. With far-reaching branches that produce an estimated 17,200 square feet of shade, the almost mythic-looking Johns Island landmark is easily one of the most photographed sites in the Lowcountry.

Folly Beach County Park

Folly Beach County Park

Spend a full day by the seashore at scenic, sprawling Folly Beach County Park. This expansive park which takes up the entire portion of the southwestern end of Folly Beach features plenty of room for multiple towels and umbrellas, with well over 3,500' feet of ocean frontage, and 200' feet on the opposite side of the island along adjacent Folly River.An easy-to-access and easy-to-enjoy stretch of sand that features anything a beach lover could possibly need on a long, lazy outdoor vacation day, a visit to this Charleston County Park is, quite literally, a day at the beach.

Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie, one of the oldest still-standing forts along the Eastern Seaboard, is a "must see" destination for history buffs. The low-laying coastal structure, which encompasses a large parcel of Atlantic Ocean bordering beaches on the southern tip of Sullivan's Island, began as a Revolutionary War defense before being transformed into a secondary Confederate stronghold during the Civil War.

Middleton Place

Middleton Place

Enchanting gardens, interactive history, and breathtaking views abound at Middleton Place, one of the top-ranked attractions by Charleston newcomers and seasoned vacationers alike.

Johnson Hagood Stadium

Johnson Hagood Stadium

On a sunny Fall Saturday afternoon, the Johnson Hagood Stadium may very be one of the most popular and exciting spots in the city of Charleston. Home to the Citadel Bulldogs, the official football team of the world-renowned Citadel, the stadium can squeeze in 21,000 football fans to cheer on their favorite cadets and players, enjoy the action, and celebrate one of Charleston's favorite local sports teams.

Charleston Tea Plantation

Charleston Tea Plantation

The Charleston Tea Plantation is a unique attraction along secluded Wadmalaw Island, with an equally unique claim to fame. As the proclaimed "only tea garden" in the United States, and the country's only tea plantation, the site has a long history of churning out America's only locally grown brew, a legacy that modern visitors can still enjoy on any sunny Charleston County afternoon visit.

St. John the Baptist Church

St. John the Baptist Church

The towering Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is one of Charleston's premier religious structures, and arguably one of its busiest. With daily mass, multiple Sunday masses, and a heavy schedule of calendar of events, this gothic chapel is likely to be occupied during any quiet tour or visit. Distinguished as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, the unique and impressive structure belies a stormy history that involves not one, but two such magnificent chapels, that is sure to fascinate visitors or all denominations.

Marion Square

Marion Square

For Charleston locals and frequent visitors, Marion Square is much more than just a pretty block of green space in between Meeting Street and King Street. Like many of Charleston's attractions, beneath the surface lies a history of stories that date back to the colonial era, and transform this pretty park into a verified national landmark.

Hampton Park

Hampton Park

Even cadets at the Citadel need to relax every once and a while, and there's no better place to escape the everyday drills than at neighboring Hampton Park. This historic park – one of the oldest in the city – boasts 60 acres of natural beauty on the western edges of Charleston's downtown, with plenty of features and amenities to keep any outdoor lover perfectly entertained. An ideal locale for a pick-up game of baseball, an afternoon picnic, or just a quiet stroll amidst the shaded gazebo and southern gardens, Hampton Park is sure to entice anyone into a stress-free, Lowcountry state of mind.

Gibbes Museum of Art

Gibbes Museum of Art

Art lovers will want to reserve an afternoon or two to explore the acclaimed Gibbes Museum of Art, a stunning addition to Charleston's historic district that is simply impressive both inside and out. Home to an ever-rotating and permanent collection of 10,000 priceless works of art, the historic building exudes prestige, and invites visitors of all ages and interests to peruse at their leisure, and discover something beautiful, historic, and inspiring at this distinguished and massive Charleston County collection.

Joseph Manigault House

Joseph Manigault House

A treasure of a home that is managed by The Charleston Museum, the Joseph Manigault House is a prime example of Charleston's hardworking efforts to protect the relics of its lush, although often somber, past. The grand three story home is considered one of the best representations of Adam style architecture, (a typically 18th-century neoclassical design), and despite its central location on Meeting Street, is well known for its quiet and unpopulated tours. A true delight for interior designers, with ornate touches and authentic furnishings, this sprawling Charleston showpiece paints a complete portrait of typical pre-Civil War Charleston life, from the decadent rooms and finishings owned by the city's wealthiest residents, to the hardworking but enslaved hands that crafted them.

Nathaniel Russell House

Nathaniel Russell House

The Nathaniel Russell House Museum has a reputation that has garnered it both regional and national familiarity and significance, and which has earned it a place of honor as one of the most distinctive buildings in Charleston. Serving as the home base for the Historic Charleston Foundation, this notable collection of small hidden offices and gloriously restored 1800s grandeur is a worthy stop on any historical home tour through the streets of Downtown Charleston.

Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation

Visitors will be wowed by the authentic antebellum charm and hardworking farming lifestyle at Boone Hall Plantation, a stunning complex that combines history, natural scenery, and freshly grown or homemade wares on the outskirts of modern Mt Pleasant.

H.L. Hunley

H.L. Hunley

On February 17th 1864, the city of Charleston, deep in the throes of the Civil War, made history with a small 8 men crew that was stationed in a revolutionary new vessel in the Charleston Harbor. The H.L. Hunley was an experimental new addition to the Confederate's fleet of warships, but on that clear but chilly evening, it would land in military history books for generations to come as the first submarine to successfully take down another wartime vessel.

Hibernian Hall

Hibernian Hall

Many of Charleston's most notable public buildings once served as a launching point for some of the biggest events in our country's history, and the stately Hibernian Hall is certainly no exception. The modest Greek-style columned structure holds a distinctive role in both Charleston and American's legacy as the meetingplace for a faction of the 1860's National Democratic Convention, and ever since, this once marginally notable structure has risen to fame as one of the most important meeting venues in the South.

Wadmalaw Island

Wadmalaw Island

Despite its expansive size and proximity to the major tourist destinations of Charleston, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, and Folly Beach, Wadmalaw Island is a refreshingly unpopulated, quiet, and authentically local realm of the South Carolina region, with just a couple of surprises for visitors hidden under acres of live oaks.

James Island County Park

James Island County Park

The expansive James Island County Park has a unique distinction as being one of the most entertaining and diverse destination in the Lowcountry. Able to accommodate a world of interests, from camping and fishing to splashing around in a seasonal spray play fountain, outdoors fans of all tastes will find something to love about this exquisitely fun outdoor oasis.

Brittlebank Park

Brittlebank Park

Located at the edge of the Ashley River, next to the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. minor league baseball stadium, Brittlebank Park is a refreshing breath of fresh air that serves up some of the best water views in the region, while serving as an occasional venue for some of Charleston's most beloved events.

City Market

City Market

New Charleston visitors are often advised to start their regional tour with a visit to the historic City Market, a massive four block meeting place that sells homegrown goods and exquisitely crafted arts and crafts from all over the low country. A Mecca for commerce for well over 200 years, and anchored by the historic Market Hall which gives the ensuing indoor / outdoor shops a worldly entrance, City Market is sure to wow visitors with endless stations of vendors, and keep avid shoppers busy for hours, if not for days.

City Marina

City Marina

The Charleston City Marina is often deemed the "Mega Marina," as it is easily one of the largest marinas in the southeastern United States. Conveniently located at mile marker 469.5 along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), and just a stone's throw away from the historic downtown, the marina is one of the most visited spots and temporary homes for mariners from all across the country. Accommodating for both travelers by land and by sea, with a host of amenities and incredible views of the harbor and the Ashley River, the expansively grand marina is sure to make any visitor yearn for an evening or afternoon on the water, and an adventure on the high seas.

Miles Brewton House

Miles Brewton House

The Miles Brewton House may seem, at first glance, one of many impressively grand and antique southern mansions that line the downtown streets of Charleston, but this home is a favorite among any guided or self-led walking tour for both its story and its local prestige. Considered one of the finest national examples of a "double house" or "town home" of the Colonial Era, the massive brick house with dual levels of white pillars has been the temporary home for some of Charleston's most famous, but undesired residents.

Dock Street Theater

Dock Street Theater

Charleston, South Carolina is well-known as a city of "firsts," but one of the most remarkable first sites in this town is the toweringly impressive Dock Street Theatre. Located in the French Quarter of the Historic District, this well-renowned landmark, still operational and freshly back in business after a $19 million dollar restoration, has the distinction of being the oldest theater in the country - a title which it proudly honors by hosting a seasonal arsenal of plays to seasoned theater goers and Charleston newcomers alike.

Memorial Waterfront Park

Memorial Waterfront Park

The Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park is so much more than just a pretty patch of grass to enjoy coastal South Carolina's waterfront views. The expansive 14 acre site is home to countless amenities, including a stunning war memorial, a kids' playground, a cafe and gift shop, a bait and tackle store, a pavilion, and one of the longest fishing piers in the Charleston area. With all of these amenities and stunning views of the overhead Arthur Ravenel Bridge, it's no wonder that this already-legendary landmark ranks at the top of Mt. Pleasant's "Best Places to Visit."

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

The Old Exchange is one of the most visited historic sites in Charleston, both for its grand stature as one of the colonies' earliest statuesque public buildings, and its unique array of interior assets - including the famous Provost Dungeon in the basement of the building.

Magnolia Plantation

Magnolia Plantation

The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is easily one of the most spellbinding sites in the city of Charleston, with acres of wildly growing gardens that have captivated visitors for generations. A romantic and altogether enchanting destination located far away from the downtown distractions, the distinctive plantation house, rich in history, and the famed acres of free-flowing gardens are sure to be a favorite local attraction for any visiting naturalist.

Pitt Street Park

Pitt Street Park

Considered a hidden gem in Mt. Pleasant by locals and longtime visitors in the know, the Pitt Street Bridge Park is a unique little spot where sightseers can enjoy incredible and uncrowded views of the miles of water that surround this coastal community.

South Carolina's oldest city is arguably also one of its most charming, inviting, and altogether purely fun. A collection of historic structures that pre-date the birth of America, opulent gardens and mansions open to the public, and some of the best shopping, dining, and lodging options in the southeast, it's easy to see why this ancient southern town is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the state.

In return, Charleston welcomes visitors with arms wide open. The term "southern hospitality" was seemingly designed for this area, as the city has earned the reputation of being one of the most hospitable destinations in the country - a reputation that was cemented by recent accolades in Travel + Leisure magazine, naming it "America's Most Friendly [City],"and Southern Living magazine, which honored Charleston as "the most polite and hospitable city in America."

Certainly, visitors are welcome to come and experience the city for its friendly nature, slightly-coastal vibe, and blocks upon blocks of world renowned restaurants and boutiques, but the big attraction in this city is the abundant history that can be found, quite literally, around every street corner. Hundreds of buildings in the historic downtown and Lowcountry outskirts have been deemed a national historical landmark, and with quiet streets that are flanked with towering Palmettos - (the city and the state's signature tree) - and centuries-old live oaks, an impromptu stroll can easily turn into a detailed tour of some of the East Coast's most historic, and altogether beautiful, famed national and regional sites.

In Charleston, a rich history, phenomenal collection of architecture, and a unique southern style all combine to make this major city one of the premier tourist destinations in the south. Easily enjoyed by visitors of all interests and from all regions, Charleston should rank at the top on any travelers list of beautiful places to see in the southern United States.

The city of Charleston began in 1670, as the English Colony of "Charles Town," named after and founded by King Charles II of Great Britain. The colony was an end result of English expeditions to this region of the New World that began in 1663, and cumulated in 1670 with the establishment of a new settlement.

As the southernmost colony in the country at the time, this newly established community was subject to a number of potential attacks. Spain, France, and the suddenly displaced Native Americans were all threats to Charles Town, and forts and arsenals, (some of which are still standing), were quickly constructed to protect the small new population.

However, despite this veritable range of threats from the get go, the new settlement was quickly and perpetually a resounding success. The site of Charleston or "Charles Town," bordering the Ashley and Cooper Rivers and located just several miles away from the barrier islands along the Atlantic Ocean, made it a prime locale for a shipping industry to thrive. In addition, the humid Lowcountry terrain that surrounded the area proved to be very fruitful for agricultural ventures, and within a few decades of its initial establishment, Charleston was churning out tons of Indigo and rice to export to ports all over the world. In fact, by the mid-18th century, it's estimated that nearly half the nation's rice was grown and shipped from the now major city of Charleston.

During its early establishment and expansion, the city also became well known for its diverse group of residents - a distinction which would lead to some of the oldest churches, chapels and synagogues in the country. In Charleston, French Huguenots, Jews, Catholics, and other denominations could all escape religious persecution and live in peace, and as a result, a number of some of the oldest structures and congregations related to each religion in America can be found within the historic downtown city blocks.

Of course, despite this relative prosperity and religious freedom, Charleston was not without its flaws. Slavery was at the backbone of this thriving industry, and the city had some of the largest plantations in the states, (with some of the highest numbers of slaves per property.) The majority of current sites and attractions like the Rice Museum or the Magnolia Plantation have special exhibits on this dark but clearly accurate chapter of Charleston's history, and a number of testaments to this forced lifestyle - like some of the oldest slave cabins in the south - can still be found in and around the city.

Also, while Charleston was a hero during the American Revolution, and a wealthy and beautiful landmark during the antebellum period, it would became a shamed and occupied city during the Civil War, with Union troops marching in and overtaking the Southern stronghold in its entirety in 1865. A great fire and massive hurricanes would follow, destroying a number of the original landmarks, but thankfully not all of them, and today visitors can stroll through the small streets and find literally dozens of buildings that pre-date this tumultuous period.

Today, Charleston is a friendly and diverse town that is chock-full of restaurants, antiques, historical attractions, golf courses, art galleries, farmer's markets, expansive gardens, and virtually anything a traveler would need to stay entertained.

The dining scene alone in the city is staggering, with over 700 restaurants in the city and surrounding regions to explore. Ranging from French bistros to easy-going BBQ joints and delis, virtually every palette and appetite can be accommodated in this southern city. Fresh seafood is almost always on the menu, as the water-locked region, that's close to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, is well-known for having some of the freshest SC shrimp, crabs, and fish available.

Boutiques, galleries, and shopping centers are always in season, as are the wide range of golf courses that inspire visitors to play at their best among some of the most gorgeous landscapes along the coastline. History buffs will want to look into the large number of tours available via a number of mediums, like narrated bus rides or romantic horse and buggy strolls through the historic downtown, and everyone will enjoy the fantastic seasonal celebrations that have become a hallmark of the city, like the yearly Seafood Festival or Charleston's own Oktoberfest.

For accommodations, the city has a sprawling range of nationally-recognized chain hotels, however, most folks find the best places to stay are the intimate inns, bed and breakfasts, and individually rented condos or homes that can be found scattered throughout the downtown area. Appropriately priced, luxurious, and close to all the action, visiting groups of all sizes - from couples to large families - can easily find plenty of inviting room in this southern city during any time of year.

Perhaps best of all, there is no "off-season" in Charleston - the city is always wide open and accommodating for guests throughout the year, with a warm climate that will shake off the winter blues or infuse a summer vacation with an added dose of fun and southern style.

Easily one of the most historically grand cities in the south, Charleston is a stunning destination that is sure to leave visitors smiling. Warm, hospitable, history-rich, and simply beautiful, this southern city is always worthy of exploration, and is always ready to wow newcomers with its deep-seated legacy, incredible modern amenities, and world renowned southern hospitality and downhome charm.