Updated: Apr 13
We spent the morning in the historic district. There were sites to see, souvenirs to shop, treats to taste, and history all around!
We walked from our accommodations to lower King St. for breakfast. We enjoyed a delicious meal at Millers All Day. The place was packed! We sat at the counter - great service, great coffee, and great food. Bonus - the inside is super cute too!
From our breakfast location on Kings St., we walked to Broad St. Walking along Broad St., we checked out the churches and graveyards. Most of the churches had greeters at their doors inviting guests into the church. We enjoyed hearing about their congregations, listening to the their history, and chatting about the "famous" people buried in their graveyards. Along the way we passed several instagram worthy photo spots!
The "hat man" - Painted in 1892 (and touched up throughout the years), the image was created using different 16 hats!
The view of Broad St. standing on the steps of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeons
The Tavern at Rainbow Row - the oldest liquor store in America
And all of the houses. We just really love the side porches, lush gardens, and incredible architecture found literally on every street and at every house!
While we chose the self-guided route, there are several tour options which include a guide providing the history as well as the stories. We recommend the following:
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, also known as the Custom House and The Exchange, is a historic building at East Bay and Broad Streets in Charleston. We think this is a must see for any visitor to Charleston, SC. Admission includes a self-guided exhibition and a 25-minute guided tour of the Provost Dungeon. The museum is open Monday - Saturday from 9am-5pm and on Sunday from 11am-5pm, tours are every half hour.
Completed in 1771, the Old Exchange Building is a Charleston landmark and the site of some of the most important events in
South Carolina history. Over the last two and a half centuries, the building has been a commercial exchange, custom house, post
office, city hall, military headquarters, and museum.
From the steps of the Old Exchange, we took East Bay St. towards the Battery and Whitepark Garden. We walked the Battery along the water then spent time looking at the homes in this area. Be sure to look out to the water to see Fort Sumter. Along the Battery and park, you will find the historic, stately antebellum homes often associated with Charleston. These homes are truly incredible! We highly recommend taking some time to check them out on foot (not just by car).
From here, it is an easy walk to the City Market. Although we could have spent the rest of the day shopping, eating, and sightseeing, we decided to spend our afternoon at the beach!
While there are several beach options relatively close to Charleston's historic district, we wanted an excuse to cross the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. The bridge is a cable-stayed bridge crossing the Cooper River connecting Charleston to Mount Pleasant, SC. In our jeep, with the top down, it was a really cool experience crossing this bridge under the cables.
Just over the bridge, we stopped at the Shem Creek Boardwalk because we had heard it might be a great place to see dolphins. While we didn't see dolphins, we did enjoy lunch and drinks on the deck of Saltwater Cowboys. We did hear from others that the dolphins had been in the area earlier.
After lunch, we continued on to the beaches of Isle of Palm. In Isle of Palm, along Ocean Blvd., there are several great places to stop for drinks, appetizers, or even a meal. We beach- and drink-hopped the rest of the afternoon - Islander 71 (great deck space overlooking the Instracoastal waterway), the Windjammer (drinks and live music on the beach), Coconut Joe's Beach Grill (fun cocktails, local beers, great back patio overlooking the water), and finally dinner at Papi's Taqueria (yum beach tacos, tiny but lovely deck, overlooks the water). All along this stretch there are multiple places to enter the beach and plenty of parking (both street and lot).
On our way back into Charleston we stopped at Revelry Brewing. The beer was good with a large selection of their craft beers. The rooftop deck with live music was a great way to end our day.
Know Before You Go:
We were able to walk into each of the restaurants listed above. We did have a 15 minute wait around meal times.
We purchased our tickets to the Exchange and Provost Dungeon tour on site at the ticket counter.
Although we wondered our way on a self-guided walking tour, I think a guided tour would have been great to hear the stories, history, and more about the culture. Book one here:
Wear comfortable shoes! Historic Charleston is all about walking and the streets are uneven.
Take full advantage of my love of travel and planning skills, connect with me here to book your travel and/or free quote for my planning services.
When to Go:
In our opinion the best time to visit Charleston is March to May or September to November. The temperatures are lovely - typically 60-80 degrees – without the humidity and heat of the summer months.
Is Charleston Safe?
Yes! Charleston is considered safe for visitors. However, Charleston is a city, so we recommend taking the typical city precautions – don’t walk alone at night, park your vehicle in well-lit locations, ensure valuables are stored out of sight, be aware of your surroundings.
We recommend using a rental car. For our adventures in Charleston, we loved having a jeep wrangler. It was a treat! Parking isn’t a problem if you know where to look. A full list of parking options can be found at Parking Information. This link includes parking locations, costs, as well as amenities like security or restrooms. We found both the Waze app and Google maps to be easy to use to navigate from one destination to another.