There are few places in the world that, no matter how much they change and grow, always welcome you back like an old friend. Even if this is your first time traveling to Charleston, the comforting cornucopia of zesty South Carolina barbecue and savory shrimp and grits will make you feel like a local…one bite at a time. Like a long-lost cousin, share in the memories of a city seemingly set back in time, where things move a bit more slowly, parks and gardens are a stately affair, and the streets seem to breathe history as the timeless tide laps against the shore. As old buddies are wont to do, Charleston is always brewing with new possibilities. Whether you’re eager to taste the latest craft gose—a tart, herby beer—or settle in for an evening of captivating performing arts, book hotels in Charleston and make yourself at home.
Things to Do in Charleston
When you’re building an itinerary of things to do in Charleston, finding that balance between historic and modern as well as scenic and metropolitan is key. To begin your journey along the footpaths of history, venture out to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens on the northern edge of town. Sidled up to Ashley River, Magnolia is like a living portrait of the region’s storied past spanning several centuries—from the sprawling rice fields and somber slavery museum to whimsical gardens and even a zoo. Explore the past, then walk toward the future across a gently arched bridge and through fields of wildflowers blooming in perfect disarray. If you’ve never said “Later, gator” to a real alligator, now is the time. Stay at one of the historic hotels in Charleston and weave your way through the centuries even as you dream.
You could spend days peeking into the corners of times gone by in old manors and plantation spring houses, but don’t miss the gorgeous Carolina Coast. Brought to life with Revolutionary War reenactments and a family-friendly greenspace, Waterfront Park is a refreshing place to dip your toes in the cool currents. In the middle of the park, catch some mist from the pineapple fountain—the universal symbol of hospitality—before sliding onto a picnic table bench with a basket of pimento cheese sandwiches and fresh peaches. With one bite of these Carolina classics, you’ll settle right in with the lowering sun. If home is where the heart is, Charleston is home if only for this moment.
With the sound of the sea humming in your ears, wander away from the water a few blocks to one of the best places to stay in Charleston—the historic city center. Collect handcrafted baskets and treasures at Charleston City Market and peruse charming art galleries along Bay Street. The southern end of Bay Street is splashed with a refreshing range of colors, from sky blue to deep blush. No, you aren’t seeing the world through rose-colored glasses; that’s just Charleston, setting scenes you’ll want to revisit again and again.
Eating and Drinking
On the inland blocks downtown, you’ll find beautiful boutique hotels in Charleston that put you within easy reach of tasty offerings from intimate pubs and fine restaurants. Charleston is always putting delicious ideas on the smoker to ruminate, and Upper King Street is just one of the city’s famed culinary corridors. Upscale bistros and crafty cocktail bars line this thoroughfare with gourmet seafood, unbeatable burgers, and ingenious sips—all against the backdrop of renovated vintage haunts.
When you crave Southern comfort food with a sea fare flair, follow the scent of butter to the heart of downtown, between Broad Street and Wentworth Street. Perfect for following an afternoon at Waterfront Park, restaurants in this area are beyond luxurious and the views of Charleston Harbor only add to the ambiance. Dine on roasted duck, succulent scallops, and biscuits and gravy in the Victorian houses that fill these palm tree-lined streets. Dream of that last slice of pecan pie in lovely Charleston lodging and rest up for a morning at the park.
If we pulled your heart strings with mention of stately parks and gardens, we apologize for keeping you waiting, but once you’re looking out over the water from a blanket on the lawn at White Point Gardens, you’ll feel like time stands still. Located on the southern edge of the city, at the terminus of the battery, this green space hosts cannons, statues, and old stately mansions. Today, the grounds are quite serene, but close your eyes, and you can almost hear cannon fire on the sea breeze.
Are you still wondering where to stay in Charleston? If a scenic setting is what you seek, stay in the northeastern reaches of the city. Near Francis Marion National Forest, you’ll find Charleston’s forest-lined drives and secluded docks on the Wando River. Shoot across the water on a kayak, hike through the thick woodlands, and encounter quaint cabins along the way. It will be hard to believe you’re only 20 miles from downtown Charleston…
Escape for a Day
Before you start booking Charleston hotel deals, remember that a trip through the Low Country may be the highlight of your next adventure and you’ll want to plan accordingly. If you drive directly to Savannah, you’ll cross just 120 miles. Even General Sherman knew to march to the sea, so begin your journey at Fort Sumter near James Island and wind your way along the waterways on your way to Savannah. Stop to get some sun on the smaller islands as you amble onward to "The Hostess City of the South." We told you this trip would be filled with warm welcomes.
Whether you’re reconnecting with your roots or discovering new adventures in a historic city, book cheap Charleston hotels with Travelocity. With 271,000 hotels worldwide and a promise to match the best price you can find, we’re here to help roll out the welcome mat while your next bowl of Frogmore Stew simmers in Charleston.