Where can you take a well-traveled girlfriend to celebrate a milestone birthday? Charleston, South Carolina proved to be the perfect place! Spring in “Chucktown” is fabulous as the weather is gorgeous and the city is bustling.
Charleston is simply charming with it’s cobblestone streets, carriage lanterns and colorful, centuries-old homes. Loads of shopping, visiting historic houses of worship and eating fresh seafood along the harbor are also perks to coming to the Low country. Charleston is an amazingly walkable city too.
Here are 6 must-do’s when you visit this city of southern sophistication!
1. TAKE A CARRIAGE RIDE – Begin your visit to Charleston by taking a horse drawn carriage tour of the city. Don’t be overwhelmed with the number of companies to chose from as they seem to be on every corner. We were very happy with our tour with Charleston Carriage Works. A one hour tour will cost $25 a person but you can always search for deals and coupons online.
2. BROWSE THE CHARLESTON CITY MARKET- Walk through this historic market as it is the cultural heart of the city. As one of the nation’s oldest public markets, you will find everything from local produce to antiques. It’s fun to hear the dialect of the Gullah ladies as they weave and sell handmade sweetgrass baskets here. We enjoyed sampling different treats and loved our time wandering around the Charleston City Market! The Market is open every day of the week from 9:30-5:30 and it’s also open on special evenings as well.
3. TAKE A HISTORIC PLANTATION TOUR – History buffs will relish all the choices of historical plantations to visit in Charleston. We chose to tour Middleton Place which is a preserved 18th century rice plantation on the Ashley River and is also home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America.
Ticket prices are $28 for adults which includes admission to the National Historic Landmark as well as self guided tours of the Gardens and Plantation Stableyards, a guided Garden Overview, “Meet the Breeds” and “Beyond The Fields” walking tours.
From experience, we recommend renting a car for the day you want to visit the Plantation. We took a cab to Middleton Place and it was very difficult to get one to come back out and pick us up. We had to wait awhile plus we spent more in cab fare than it would’ve cost to rent the car. Renting a vehicle for the day is easy at the Enterprise not too far up the street from the Visitors Center. You can head over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to explore Mt. Pleasant and fit in beach time if you rent your own wheels for the day!
4. BOOK A COOKING CLASS – Our Taste of the LowCountry lunch class at Charleston Cooks was a highlight to our time in Charleston. Neither of us are gourmet chefs but we had a lot of fun watching, learning and especially tasting the meal of shrimp and grits followed by banana cream pie. Tickets for this are $29 and can be booked online.
5. STAY AT THE HARBOURVIEW INN- I will be honest the HarbourView Inn was not my first or even second choice for our lodging while in Charleston. We happened to have planned our girlfriend getaway on a very busy weekend and lots of places were already booked. My friend and I couldn’t have been happier with the HarbourView Inn, even though it was a little more costly than where we originally had planned to stay. It was worth it as our room was spacious and the beds were extremely comfy. We started every morning off on this rooftop deck where our breakfast, which was included with our stay, was delivered to us. We also enjoyed the complimentary happy hour each afternoon as well. The location was perfect and we were able to walk to everything that we wanted to from here.
6. SHOP and EAT ‘TIL YOU DROP- OK, so maybe eating and shopping should be number one on the list because it is a big reason of why we came here to Charleston. King Street, in historic downtown, has been named one of the 10 Best Shopping Streets in the Country and I have to agree. There are so many unique boutiques as well as some of the mainstream favorites to enjoy. If you need a sugary pick me up stop in Glazed Gourmet donuts on north King. I had the most amazing Salted Carmel Apple donut here and I’m still dreaming about it!
Love everything about Charleston and can’t wait for an excuse to head back there!
Amy Carney is a freelance writer and model living in the beautiful desert in Arizona. She is a lover of all travel that connects her with her husband, four children or girlfriends. The Carneys’ just returned from a 6 month family sabbatical around the USA by motorhome!