This summer is already flying by. With our oldest starting kindergarten in a month and our busy work travel schedules, my husband and I decided that our normal week-long beach vacation would be too much for us to squeeze in this summer.
So what was our solution!? A quick visit to one of our favorite southern cities, Charleston, South Carolina.
Just a 5-hour drive from the Atlanta area, Charleston is a great place for families to visit or a getaway for just you and your partner, and believe me, there is more to Charleston than just the beaches! Here are just some of the fun things the charming city, nicknamed the Holy City has to offer.
Charleston has something for everyone in the family. Below is a list of just a few of the attractions, we recommend.
- Charleston City Market- One of the nation’s oldest public markets and the cultural heart of Charleston. Home to more than 300 vibrant entrepreneurs, and we are open every day of the year except December 25th. No matter what time of day or season you plan to visit, there is something to see, do, taste, and take home as a souvenir from the Charleston City Market!
- Charleston Riverdogs- When planning your visit, be sure to check if the Riverdogs are in town. This is the Single-A affiliate baseball team of the Tampa Bay Rays
- Charles Towne Landing- A State Historic Site that sits on a marshy point, located off the Ashley River, where a group of English settlers landed in 1670 and established what would become the birthplace of the Carolina colony. Charles Towne Landing introduces visitors to the earliest colonial history of Charleston. Interact with hands-on exhibits in the Visitor Center, talk to knowledgeable staff members, and take an audio tour on the self-guided history trail.
- Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry- The children’s museum of the Lowcountry is a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage young children’s potential by inviting families of all backgrounds to explore environments and experiences that spark imagination and stimulate curiosity through the power of play.
- Magnolia Plantation and Gardens- Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia Plantation has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry, and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870 to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens
- North Charleston Fire Museum- The North Charleston Fire Museum and Educational Center houses the largest collection of professionally restored American LaFrance fire apparatus in the country. With over 20 vehicles in our collection, dating as far back as the 1780s, the North Charleston Fire Museum has become renowned as a destination for fire history and the preservation of antique fire apparatus.
- Patriot’s Point & Maritime Museum- Patriots Point Development Authority was established in the 1970s to develop a naval & maritime museum on Charleston Harbor with the World War II aircraft carrier, USS YORKTOWN as its centerpiece. It’s also home to the Patriots Point Museum and a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, the Cold War Memorial and the only Vietnam Experience Exhibit in the U.S., the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and the agency’s official Medal of Honor Museum. Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum serves as a national destination of excellence for the preservation and education of current and future generations about America’s history, traditions, and values.
- Pineapple Fountain- Known as a symbol of hospitality, the city has many pineapples hidden throughout, but perhaps the most prominently known is the Pineapple Fountain on The Battery.
- South Carolina Aquarium- Sea the difference at the South Carolina Aquarium! From our over 5,000 animals to our award-winning education team, from the Sea Turtle Care Center™ to our conservation programs protecting local species, you’ll be struck with awe and inspiration as you journey through all our exhibits, representing the mountains to the sea of South Carolina.
- Rainbow Row- Rainbow Row refers to a row of 13 brightly colored, pastel homes along the Charleston waterfront. It’s one of Charleston’s most photographed attractions!
Not only do the attractions above offer plenty of fun and history for you to enjoy, but there are several walking, riding, and history tours you can take to learn more about the historic city.
With over 60 miles of beach, Charleston offers five different beachside towns for you to enjoy.
- Folly Beach- Folly Beach, South Carolina is one of America’s last true beach towns. Just minutes from historic downtown Charleston, Folly Beach is a 12-square-mile barrier island that is packed with things to do, see and eat. This is a funky, laid-back, come-as-you-are kind of beach.
- Isle of Palms- Originally named Hunting Island and then Long Island, it’s thought to be at least 25,000 years old, and first inhabited by the indigenous Seewee Indians. With its six miles of white, sandy beaches, the Isle of Palms remains a place of beautiful serenity for residents and visitors today.
- Kiawah Island- Kiawah Island boasts 10 miles of beaches, preserved maritime forests, sand dunes, marshes, and endless activities for your next vacation!
- Seabrook Island- A private, welcoming oceanfront community just miles from historic Charleston, South Carolina. Immersed in natural splendor, close to everything yet secluded, this gated coastal barrier island is home to miles of pristine beaches, serene marshes, and a lush maritime forest. Seabrook Island, a birders paradise, has won recognition as an Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community and is home to the acclaimed Seabrook Island Club and its Audubon Sanctuary Golf Courses.
- Sullivan’s Island- Sullivan’s Island is a two-and-a-half-mile-long barrier island near the entrance of the Charleston Harbor. It is home to a little over 2,000 residents in half as many households. Residents enjoy the small-town charm and relaxed lifestyle that the Island has retained since first being settled in the 17th Century. We are well known for our pristine beaches, award-winning restaurants, and close-knit community.
If you consider yourself a foodie, then Charleston is your town! There is no shortage of places to try during your visit. Here are just a few of our favorites.
- Butcher & Bee- Butcher & Bee opened on King Street in 2011 with the simple mission of serving honest-to-goodness sandwiches made with flavor combinations and food quality usually reserved for fine dining. Be sure to try the whipped feta, it’s my favorite!
- Fleet Landing- Check out this spot for waterfront dining and some of the best seafood in the city. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
- Home Team BBQ- A barbeque restaurant combining traditional processes and techniques of classical cuisine with the simplicity of comfort food, BBQ, and Southern fare. There are two locations one in Downtown Charleston and one on Sullivan’s Island.
- Mex1 Coastal Cantina- Mex 1 Coastal Cantina is inspired by our surf trips down the Baja Peninsula cruising down the Mex 1 highway, veering off towards the ocean on a small dirt road, and manifesting perfect surf in the cove it leads to. The entire experience is fueled by the light, fresh flavors of the Baja peninsula served up in the little cantinas that dot the coastline (and maybe just a bit of tequila)!
- Obstinate Daughter- A Southern restaurant that is influenced by French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine with a wood-fired oven, plancha, and island kitchen range. Pizza, pasta, small plates, and a raw bar are the focus of the menu. Changing seasonally, the menu also is rooted in the burgeoning farms and fishermen in the Lowcountry who all supply us with the superior products that make our region so special.
- Poogan’s Porch- Since opening in 1976, Poogan’s Porch has been a favorite of well-known celebrities, politicians, tourists, and locals alike who rave about this Southern institution. Whether it’s a warm homemade buttermilk biscuit and sausage gravy, a bowl of she-crab soup, or our signature buttermilk fried chicken, your meal at Poogan’s Porch will be unforgettable.
- Saltwater Cowboys- Established in 2017, Saltwater Cowboys prides itself on being Shem Creek’s finest. With a passion for delectable local seafood and bbq to boast about, SWC is sure to please any palate. Whether it’s the captivating concept, or the casual atmosphere featuring some of Charleston’s most scenic views, you’re sure to leave craving more.
- The Co-Op Frose’ & Eatery- Now with 4 locations in greater Charleston, The Co-Op wants the meaning of “local” to be closely intertwined with both comfort and recognition as well as quality freshness.
Are you convinced that Charleston needs to be on your places to visit list yet!? I hope so!
Be sure to check out Atlanta Mom’s tips for visiting Savannah, just a short trip from Charleston.