Charleston, SC is my favorite city. Evan and I were engaged and married there. So, I’ve spent a lot of time there between vacations and wedding planning. Today I wanted to share my Charleston Travel Guide that includes restaurants, hotels, and activities.
(1) 82 Queen: This is hands-down my favorite restaurant in Charleston. After Evan proposed, he took me here for dinner. I have never been disappointed in the food at 82 Queen. I personally love the chicken and filet mignon for dinner. My close friend, Callie is a vegetarian but this restaurant had numerous options for her. 82 Queen offers indoor and outdoor seating. If you go on a nice night, ask for a table outside under the lights. You won’t be disappointed in the charm. This is a romantic place to enjoy Charleston’s best food.
(2) Poe’s Tavern: Poe’s is located on Sullivan’s Island (about a 10 minute drive outside of Charleston). This is an excellent place to grab lunch. The environment is casual, as the tavern is located across from the beach. As the name suggests, the tavern is dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe, the late poet. Edgar Allen Poe was stationed on Sullivan’s Island and wrote many of his works there. The decor is all Edgar Allen Poe related. Evan loves the cheeseburger here but I always opt for the Poe’s Tavern nachos (he usually steals a few bites). I would suggest going early because there is always a line. If you want to sit outside, the line is usually a little longer.
(3) Magnolias/Blossoms: I combined both of these restaurants together because they are sister restaurants and sit side-by-side on East Bay. I hosted my bridal luncheon at Blossoms back in 2012 and they did a fabulous job with everything from food to flowers. Both Magnolias and Blossoms offer southern-styled cuisine with a sweet, southern charm. I recommend these two for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Make sure you book early because reservations fill up fast.
(4) Glaze: Okay, so if you need a little pick me up… head over to Glaze doughnuts on King Street. They are similar to Duck’s Doughnuts here in Charlotte, NC. Glaze offers a variety of speciality doughnuts from maple bacon to peanut butter to plain glaze. Also, the coffee is AMAZING! I got the nutella coffee iced and it did not disappoint. If you are gluten free like me, they offer gluten free doughnuts one day a week (usually Fridays). You can always call ahead to check. This shop is located across the street from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. I didn’t try this place because they did not offer gluten free items but our friends, Callie and Nathan love it.
(5) Poogan’s Porch: If you are traveling with your furry friends… Poogan’s porch is a great place to dine. Poogan’s welcomes pets on the porch area because the restaurant is named after the owners beloved dog, Poogan. Poogan’s offers southern-styled food such as fried chicken and grits. Poogan’s porch is located in a Charleston style house.
(1) The Charleston Place: This hotel is a little more expensive but you are right in the middle of Charleston. Small dogs are welcome to stay with you as well. There are even shops in the lobby. I stayed here when I had my bridal portraits made and I had a few taken inside the hotel with a gorgeous chandelier. The Charleston Place hotel is historic and beautiful.
(2) Double Tree: I really love Double Tree hotels anyway but the Double Tree in Charleston is centrally located. The room was stayed in actually had two stories which was pretty unique. Unfortunately, this hotel is not pet friendly.
(3) Mt. Pleasant: If you want to save a little money, the hotels in Mt. Pleasant are perfect. You have to drive into the city but who doesn’t want to cross the picturesque Ravenal bridge often?! It’s is normally a highlight to cross the bridge! We often stay in Mt. Pleasant because it is near the beach, city and it saves us a little money. Parking at meters in Charleston is free on Sundays, and there are plenty of affordable lots if you did decide to stay outside of the city.
(1) Carriage Ride Ghost Tour: A few years ago, we did a carriage ride ghost tour at night. I loved every minute of it because we got to explore the city by carriage but also hear haunting stories. Charleston is one of the most haunted places in America, so what better way to learn a little history and folklore? You get to travel by graveyards, church, hotels, and taverns while hearing stories from a local.
(2) Sailboat Tour: If you want to see Charleston from a new view, hop on a boat and explore the harbor. There are numerous companies who will sail you around for a few hours. If you don’t love sailboats, there are other smaller tours on pontoons and ferry boats. We have always used the SchoonerPride for our rentals. The crew is always nice and makes sure you have a fun trip. One of my friends hosted her Bachelorette party in Charleston and we took a half day sail around the harbor!
(3) Aquarium: If it is a rainy day in Charleston… go here! This is a fun place to spend a rainy day. If you have small children, they will love the aquarium. The wildlife here includes an albino alligator. You can also hold and pet stingrays and other aquatic animals. The aquarium displays many local animals in hopes to preserve South Carolina animals for years to come. Evan took me here for my birthday one year and we had a lot of fun.
(4) Plantations: If you love history like I do, I recommend checking out some of the plantations in Charleston. I recommend McLeod Plantation, Magnolia Plantation, and Boone Hall. You can walk these plantations on your own or pay for a tour. On our latest visit, we went to McLeod Plantation and paid for the tour. The tour lasted about 30-40 minutes but we learned so much history. Being able to see and touch these once working plantations is surreal; you can easily imagine life during colonial and civil war life.
(5) Shopping: You didn’t think I was going to forget that one did you!? Charleston is an exciting place to shop. The market has hand-made knick knacks from locals which are great to explore. On the weekends, there is also a nighttime market. The nighttime market tends to be a little better in my opinion and it’s also a lot cooler! You can also shop King Street. King Street has your typical stores including Louis Vuitton, J Crew, and Forever 21. King Street also has smaller boutiques like Moon & Lola and Woof Gang, which is a bakery for dogs. Last time, I got Bella and Bo some homemade goodies.
I hope this guide helps you have an enjoyable trip to Charleston. You honestly can’t go wrong in this city. The charm, sweet tea, and history make this town unforgettable. I’d love to hear your favorite spots in my favorite southern hub!