The United States of America is the third-largest country in the world. It’s considered an impossible feat to even think about traveling around it and getting to see all the places. There are definitely the most recognizable cities or landmarks that you dream about seeing when you go there one day, like New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, but the most precious experiences may come from places you’ve never heard of. These are the places that have helped create today’s America, where the buildings and the streets still radiate that spirit of the American Revolution.
One of these cities is Charleston in South Carolina. If you’ve never been there, here’s a short guide that will initiate you to the charms of this beautiful place and make you want to visit it by any means possible. On that note, here are some useful tips for when you plan to visit!
Pick the Right Time
First of all, the best time of year to visit Charleston is in Spring or Summer. That’s because the image of blooming magnolias and blossoming flowers is captivating, but also the weather is ideally pleasant to help you move around without any problems. Summer is a good time as well, as you will have the opportunity to go for a swim at the beaches, but it’s best to visit quite early in the summer, as later on it gets very hot and humid. Aside from the right time, another tip is to travel lightly. Bring t-shirts and shorts with you, along with the occasional swimming suit (in case you decide to go swimming after all). As for means of transport, Charleston Airport has direct connections to the major cities on the East Coast and there are daily flights, so no worries there. From the airport, it’s only a 30-minute drive to the center of the city. You can either rent a car or take the downtown bus or taxi. They are all available at the airport. Plus near the airport, there is a train stop as well (for those traveling by rail).
Walk, Shop, and…Dine-in all the Right Places
Of course, when we think about a city, the first thing that comes to mind is to walk about it and get to feel the vibe and know the place. So, it’s only natural that you’ll want to take a walk along the historic King Street, where you’ll browse the shops casually and meet local people. You might even buy a thing or two, as there’s a wide variety of products and souvenirs for tourists. When you reach the northern part of the street, it will be time for a cold beverage or lunch, depending on the time of day. There are quite a few restaurants and bars there, like the Palmetto Brewing Company with its traditional local beer, Butcher & Bee, and Rodney Scott’s BBQ. Generally, the local cuisine covers all areas of food variety, from seafood to steak houses, so you will definitely find the one that will please you.
Attend the Most Famous Festival
One of the city’s most famous attractions is the Spoleto Festival USA, an annual arts international festival that takes place in May, attracting a lot of people. Among the events, you will find jazz concerts, theatrical plays, and even classical music and opera! It was founded in the ‘70s and the name Spoleto comes from the equivalent festival in Spoleto, Italy. But probably the most interesting part of this festival is Piccolo Spoleto, a little side festival that presents the local artists and their work. The best way to learn more about it is through a Piccolo Spoleto guide, which will introduce you to the beauty of local art and its variety of exhibits. You’ll have the chance to wander around the open-air market of Marion Square and meet the artists of the area, displaying their work and talking about it with prospective buyers. Who knows? You might like a painting and decide to buy it, after all.
Visit Museums and Attractions
That’s not all there is to see in Charleston though. While you’re there, it’s worth paying a visit to the Charleston Museum, the Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum, and the Gibbes Museum of Art. Another major event that you should visit is the South Carolina Aquarium, especially if you have a large family – it’s a must for children. As mentioned before, Charleston is a place full of history, so it goes without saying that you should visit Fort Sumter, the place that was the starting point of the Civil War. There is actually an organized tour that you can take, which will guide you around this historical monument and take you back in time to relive these extraordinary events that altered American history forever.
Plan Your Accommodation Early
Last but not least, let’s not forget about the most suitable places for you to stay. If you have the budget and you don’t want to stay far from the airport, there is a wide variety of chain hotels in North Charleston, which also offer direct access to further attractions, like Middleton Place and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Another lovely place to stay in Mount Pleasant, in the northern suburb of the city, with some other well-known hotel chains offering a unique view of the waterfront. From there you can move downtown through the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.
Of course you might want to stay in the Historic District and get a 24-hour noisy vibe of the city, in the grand Hotel Bennett or the Francis Marion Hotel, or in chain hotels located in the center of the city.
There are so many places around the city to visit and so many attractions that the ones mentioned here only cover the basics. The best tip is to make your own travel plan and organize your itinerary, which will take you to places that you will find invaluable. Don’t forget: the best trip is the one that you make for yourself, because, ultimately, you know the kinds of places that usually make your heart tick and the things you like doing while traveling. So, do your research online, pinpoint those perfect spots that you find intriguing, and prepare to fill your heart and mind with wonderful memories. That’s what matters in life in the end.