Charleston Travel Guide

Welcome to the Charleston travel guide.

If you are looking for a vacation experience full of southern hospitality, look no further than Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is a charming, coastal city full of history, beautiful beaches, and five star accommodations. It has been recognized as the "best-mannered" city in the U.S. This city offers a gorgeous coastline, a historical downtown district where the streets are lined with grand live oaks, award-winning restaurants, shopping to fit any taste, and hotel accommodations to fit any budget. This destination is sure to have something for everyone.


Charleston has a total area of 134.2 square miles. It consists of six distinct areas. These areas are the Peninsula/Downtown, West Ashley, Johns Island, James Island, Daniel Island, and the Cainhoy Peninsula. This city boasts of their busy seaport, Charleston Harbor. It is the second largest container seaport on the Eastern seaboard and the fourth largest in North America.


Charleston has three distinctly different local beaches that each offers their own variety of watersports, shell hunting, fishing, and plenty of other activities for the whole family. Pamper yourself at one of the many day spas in Charleston that offer relaxation for both men and women. For the sports lovers, you can feel like a pro while playing a round at one of South Carolina’s famous golf courses designed for players of all levels, or have a friendly match with the family on top-rated tennis courts.


Charleston Weather and Best Time to Visit


The weather in Charleston is rather mild all year long, with only a few cold months from about November until March. The peak season for Charleston is from April until June so expect larger crowds and longer waits at popular attractions and tourist areas. The weather does make any trip here during the warm months incomplete without a trip to the beach.


Late summer in Charleston gets slightly hot and humid, so if you are planning a vacation for July or August be prepared. The two hottest and wettest months of the year are July and August with average highs of 89 and lows of 71 degrees, and monthly rainfall of around 7 inches. The shoulder season is from October to November and offers the Preservation Society of Charleston's annual Homes and Gardens Tour, which provides an opportunity to view and tour some of the Antebellum mansions in the historic district.


Experience Charleston


Charleston has something for everyone, whether you are planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a relaxing trip for one. This city is a great place to visit for those who enjoy beautiful, historic architecture. Established in 1670 Charleston was part of the original thirteen colonies. There are several historical landmarks including Drayton Hall, the Nathaniel Russell House, Boone Hall and Plantation, and the Aiken-Rhett House. Drayton Hall is the oldest example of Georgian Palladian architecture in the United States, and is one of the only pre-Revolutionary houses to remain in nearly original condition. These historical sites are sure to impress all who view them.


There are several types of tours to enjoy while in Charleston. Carriage tours through downtown are a visitor favorite. These tours allow you to enjoy the sights of the historic downtown district, which include the steeple dotted cityscape which has earned Charleston the nickname of the Holy City. Additionally, there are art tours which take you walking through the French District. Historical tours provide you with a glimpse into the struggles of our nation for over two centuries with dazzling landmarks and architecture. Water and nature tours are a great way to spend a day as well. These tours are offered as walking, boating, or flying tours. Ghost tours are another vacationer favorite, starting at sunset and visiting the locations of Charleston’s most famous haunts. Charleston even offers pub crawls. Whether by air, sea, or land, tours of Charleston deliver an enjoyable experience.


The beaches of Charleston total 15 miles of beautiful coastline. Folly Beach consists of 6 miles of beach, and is often referred to as “The Edge of America.” The atmosphere is laid-back and easygoing, stay near the pier and hotel if you enjoy crowds. The north end is referred to as “The Washout” and has stronger currents and better waves, so this is the destination for surfers. There is shopping, restaurants, and bars within walking distance. Alcohol is permitted, but must be in a cup, no glass or cans permitted.


The Isles of Palms is a barrier island offering 6 miles of white sand beaches. This beach is the most commercialized of the local three beaches, with luxury beachfront homes lining the scenery. This beach has restaurants, shopping, and bars within walking distance. Isles of Palms offer public restrooms, but alcohol is not permitted. Sullivan’s Island is 3 miles of natural coastline. This beach is the local’s favorite and the place to go if you want an undeveloped view and no crowds. This beach does not offer public restrooms, and also does not tolerate alcohol consumption. No matter which one you pick you will enjoy the beauty of the Atlantic coastline.


Charleston offers a diverse shopping experience and has everything from local home grown businesses to top of the line stores. The local businesses offer up casual apparel, chocolates, local recipes, and food specialties. There are art galleries and antique row to entice varied tastes. Tangler Outlet Center offers items from over 90 brand name manufacturer and designer outlet stores. There are also many gift and souvenir shops that provide vacationers with mementos of their vacation that can be cherished for years to come.