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CharlestonUnited States of America

Steeped in history, this Southern town is an ideal spot for walking tours of antebellum mansions, beautiful gardens and fine restaurants. 

Charleston is best explored on a walking tour or in a horse-drawn carriage with your driver telling stories about city landmarks. Learn about military history and the Southern way of life. Sample local foods of shrimp and grits, Lowcountry barbecue, collard greens and sweet pralines.

The American Civil War began here, when the seceding Confederacy fired upon and overtook federal Fort Sumter in the Charleston River. A later Union attack reduced the fort to rubble. Take a ferry to see the historic site, which also contains a complete timeline of U.S. naval activities along the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Across the harbor, walk along The Battery and White Point Garden to gaze at the fort, now a national monument. Reflect on this pivotal moment in U.S. history. Turn around to view pretty antebellum houses surrounded by flowers in this neighborhood known as South of Broad. The writer Pat Conroy lived here. Many of his popular novels reveal not only Charleston’s geography, but also its cultural nuances.

To the west, the brilliant white Romanesque architecture of The Citadel gleams against a bright blue Charleston sky. Watch military cadets in dress uniforms during weekly parades or competing in weekend football games against other Southern colleges in the fall.

Nearby visit Middleton Place, a 1755 plantation with one of the nation’s earliest landscaped gardens. Something blooms here at any time of year. You might see an alligator sunning itself next to the Ashley River.

To the east, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is an impressive modern structure, especially with its triangular arches illuminated at night. Walk, bike or drive across for excellent views of the river and harbor or run across during the Cooper River Bridge 10K Run in early April.

Spring’s Spoleto Festival offers opera, theater, dance, music and artist talks. Throughout the year, visit the Charleston Historic Market to purchase locally made handicrafts. Famous hand-woven sweetgrass baskets, once used during rice harvesting, are still made by locals and treasured as artworks.

Where to stay in Charleston

Charleston

Historic Charleston

5/5Exceptional!(35 area reviews)

Gourmet restaurants interesting history and top sights from Charleston City Market to Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal – discover Historic Charleston, a destination also famous for its shopping.

Historic Charleston
Charleston

Downtown Charleston

4/5Very Good!(6 area reviews)

Travellers to Downtown Charleston praise its fantastic nightlife. If you've got some more time to explore, be sure to stop by Charleston City Market and Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal.

Downtown Charleston
Charleston

French Quarter

Gourmet restaurants interesting history and top sights from Waterfront Park to Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal – discover French Quarter, a destination also famous for its shopping.

French Quarter
West Beach, South Carolina, United States of America

West Beach

While visiting West Beach, you might make a stop by sights like Kiawah Beachwalker Park and Beach.

West Beach
Vanderhorst Plantation, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, United States of America

Vanderhorst Plantation

While visiting Vanderhorst Plantation, you might make a stop by sights like Beach and Ocean Course.

Vanderhorst Plantation
Old Village, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, United States of America

Old Village

If you're spending some time in Old Village, Mount Pleasant Sports Complex and Pitt Street Bridge are top sights worth seeing.

Old Village

Top hotels in Charleston

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
The Francis Marion Hotel
The Francis Marion Hotel
4 out of 5
387 King St, Charleston, SC
£170
per night
3 May-4 May

Located in Historic Charleston, this spa hotel is steps away from Marion Square and College of Charleston. Charleston Music Hall and Charleston Museum are also ...

4.2/5Excellent! (2,435 reviews)

"Excellent experience. Great staff excellent dining experience."…"

Reviewed on 20 Mar 2020

The Francis Marion Hotel
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
4 out of 5
115 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
£168
per night
6 Apr-7 Apr

Located in Historic Charleston, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Gibbes Museum of Art and Charleston City Market. Waterfront Park and Port of ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,184 reviews)

"The location of this hotel was perfect. We were able to walk everywhere we needed to."…"

Reviewed on 17 Mar 2020

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
King Charles Inn
King Charles Inn
3.5 out of 5
237 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
£160
per night
10 Apr-11 Apr

Located in Historic Charleston, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church and Charleston City Market. Port of Charleston Cruise ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,192 reviews)

"The staff was so helpful and accommodating. The lobby was just redone and was beautiful. Centrally located and appreciated the free parking."…"

Reviewed on 20 Mar 2020

King Charles Inn

Popular things to do in Charleston

Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal
Image for Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal

Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal

4/5(3 reviews)

Explore the waterfront in Charleston with a trip to Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal. Amble around the area's beautiful beaches or seek out the local tours.

Charleston City Market
Image for Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market

4/5(21 reviews)

Purchase food, jewelry and handicrafts in the market and learn about local tradition, the Civil War and slavery at its museum.

Patriots Point
Image for Patriots Point

Patriots Point

4.5/5(9 reviews)

Learn about American military heroes, climb aboard the vessels in the harbor and sleep the night in the quarters of a ship.

College of Charleston
Image for College of Charleston

College of Charleston

3.5/5(2 reviews)

Enjoy the student vibe around College of Charleston, a top university in Charleston. Stroll along the beautiful beaches or visit the churches in the area.

Waterfront Park
Image for Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park

4.5/5(14 reviews)

Stroll the city’s waterfront esplanades at sunset, when the afternoon sun begins to dip and the harbor is lit with soft colors.

South Carolina Aquarium
Image for South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium

4/5(2 reviews)

See an array of aquatic creatures, including an albino alligator, in underwater habitats ranging from salt marshes to coastal plains.

Top activities in Charleston

Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston
Image for Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

96% of travellers recommend
£26
Per adult
Historic City Walking Tour
Image for Historic City Walking Tour

Historic City Walking Tour

96% of travellers recommend
£15
Per adult
Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour
Image for Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour

Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour

90% of travellers recommend
£29
Per adult
Historic City Landmarks Tour & Harbor Cruise
Image for Historic City Landmarks Tour & Harbor Cruise

Historic City Landmarks Tour & Harbor Cruise

88% of travellers recommend
£38
Per adult
Evening Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston
Image for Evening Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

Evening Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

96% of travellers recommend
£17
Per adult
Charleston Harbor Tours by SpiritLine Cruises
Image for Charleston Harbor Tours by SpiritLine Cruises

Charleston Harbor Tours by SpiritLine Cruises

92% of travellers recommend
£23
Per adult

Reviews of Charleston

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
18
5 - Excellent 56.25%
4 - Good
14
4 - Good 43.75%
3 - Okay
0
3 - Okay 0%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

15 Nov 2019

Lovely place with lots of history People friendly Food good Well worth a visit

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

28 Oct 2019

It is a unique City. Very fashionable while still historic. Walking in a city is a favourite for us.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

26 Oct 2019

Surprised that the Preservation Society house tours didn't come up on your list. The houses in down town Charleston are unique and the Historical and Preservation Society tours are a wonderful way of seeing them

5/5 - Excellent

Mike

11 Oct 2019

I’ve been going there for years - always a pleasure and great time

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

11 Oct 2019

Lots to see and do in one of USA's favourite destinations

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

26 May 2019

Not as good as Savannah but still a nice place to see

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Charleston

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Where to Go for Date Night in Charleston, SC

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Where to Go for Date Night in Charleston, SC
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How to Spend a Weekend in Charleston

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How to Spend a Weekend in Charleston
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Four fun day trips from Charleston

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Charleston two ways

Experiencing the charm of Charleston, his way and her way
Charleston two ways

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