You may have heard that nothing beats southern hospitality and Charleston, South Carolina can illustrate where the idea came from. Whether you are headed to the City Market, Dock Street Theater or Rainbow Row, the manners, food and people will astound you. Make sure to take in some history while on your trip and visit the Old Slave Mart, Fort Sumter, or Magnolia Cemetery. Take the kids to South Carolina Aquarium for a day of learning and experiences that they won't soon forget. Whether you are looking for nature or for city lights, Charleston, South Carolina is full of surprises.
This historic market complex is located right where it should be- in the heart of downtown Charleston. Here you can get in some of the best shopping you'll find in the entire area, and do it inside of the 200-year old brick market buildings. The selection of local goods and heritage crafts is quite eclectic, sea grass baskets and spices being some of these. There are also plenty of restaurants to check out if you work up an appetite, and this is also a great place to begin your City Walk Sightseeing.
Head to the coast and see the site on Charleston Harbor where the first shots that started the Civil War were fired. To stand where the battle of Fort Sumter took place is to experience that goose-bumps conjuring feeling which only places of this type of historical significance can give you. The Fort Sumter National Monument actually has three different sites, so once you see the harbor you're also encouraged to visit the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center and Fort Moultrie on Sulivan's Island.
Address: 1214 Middle St, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482
If you're looking for one of the days of your vacation to be filled with sand, ocean breeze and gulls, look no further than the road that will take you to James Island. It's one of South Carolina's most urbanized "sea islands" and it's just a stone's throw from the city. This is a great place to choose if you're planning to go to Fort Sumter, as it is located on an island just off of the east coast of James Island.
Known today as the Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens, this antebellum plantation can be found on the National Register of Historic Places and is a must-see. There is much to discover on site, from the slave cabins and the colonial revival plantation house to the famous "Avenue of Oaks" and the numerous flower gardens.
Address: 1235 Long Point Road,
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
This park stretches for about a half mile along the Cooper River in Charleston. It is lined up and down with beautiful walking paths, benches, trees and stunning fountains. Some of the best parts of this area besides the iconic fountains are the wooden piers that extend into the Cooper River and make for great picnic or sightseeing areas.
This is a great choice not only for the venue itself but also for its supreme location in the city's historic French Quarter neighborhood in Charleston's downtown area. It started out as a hotel in 1809 and was converted into a theater in 1935. It was actually the first place designed and built for use as a theater in the Thirteen Colonies and is therefore also on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Charleston Harbor is a popular area that houses plenty of tourist attractions including the South Carolina Aquarium, making this a great choice to visit since for its proximity to other famous venues. Since the more than ten thousand plants and animals here might be overwhelming, pick a few exhibits or animals that you won't want to miss, like the North American River Otters, alligators, loggerhead sea turtles or the Mountain Forest and Ocean exhibits.
Magnolia Cemetery is an historic cemetery for many reasons. For one, it was dedicated in 1850 by Charles Fraser. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here one can find the final resting place of old US Congressmen, US federal judges, politicians, authors, South Carolina representatives, and Confederate generals. The Vanderhorst Mausoleum is another big draw for visitors.
If you've ever seen pictures of Charleston, you may have already seen parts of Rainbow Row. It's one of the most famous parts of Charleston and a popular tourist site. Here there are thirteen historic, colorful houses in a row that share party walls with each other. Some date back as far as 1778 or 1784!
If you haven't tired of getting in your fair share of historical experiences and education while in Charleston, then the Old Slave Mart should be next on your list. The Old Slave Mart was once an antebellum slave auction gallery. It was built in 1859 and was the last slave gallery still in existence in South Carolina. Nowadays the building houses the Old Slave Mart Museum and is on the National Register of Historic Places.