Charleston — the oldest city in the South Carolina famous for its Southern belle charm, historic architecture, cobblestone streets lined with palmetto trees and world-class culinary has all the power to entice its first-time visitor. In 2016, Charleston earns its reputation as the “World’s Best City” by Travel+Leisure magazine. It was on my wishlist for so long until next month I finally got a chance to visit there during Independence Day weekend.
Exploring the entire Charleston in 24 hours is a herculean task in itself but here is the list of some amazing things to do in a day that will make your entire experience memorable.
1) Start your morning strolling at the Liberty Square
Liberty Square is a beautiful urban park in front of the Cooper River. Its one side is South Carolina Aquarium and another side is Fort Sumter National Monument. I didn’t go to the aquarium as I already went to Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta which is the largest aquarium in the western hemisphere.
I went inside the Fort Sumter National Monument which is a getaway to Fort Sumter — a sea fort famous for American Civil War. You can buy ferry tickets from here that will take you to the fort.
Usually, there are 1-3 tours per day, depending on the time of year. The tours include a 30-minute ferry ride to and from the fort and 60 minutes on the island. The total length of the tour is about 2.5 hours.
However, I didn’t go for a Fort Sumter tour due to lack of the time but explored all the exhibits and displays from the Civil War inside the Fort Sumter National Monument. I was fascinated to see the original flag from Civil War wrapped inside the box as well as the replica displayed on the wall.
"Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better" – Albert Camus . This 4th July weekend couldn't have been just perfect for me without witnessing the replica of the Union Flag during Civil War as well as looking at the original flag kept wrapped in the exhibit today at Fort Sumter Historic Landmark, Charleston, South Carolina! . Happy July 4th and have a great time with your friends and family!☺ . . . . P.S. – Apologies for not posting since past few days as am in holiday mode and was too lazy to make Insta-stories! Though I posted today about historic Charleston. Do watch it and see how beautiful this city is! . . . . #fortsumter #charleston #visitcharleston #southcarolina #happy4thofjuly #happy4th #usflag #instaflag #historic #landmark #instafort #sheisnotlost #femaletravelbloggers #historybuff #independence #history #travelporn #travelingourplanet #traveldeeper #travelgram #radgirlslife #globetravels #historical #civilwar #unionflag #instaflag
2) Take Charleston Harbor Tour
I’d recommend this tour to everyone who is visiting Charleston for the first time. This scenic 90-minute tour gives you the glimpse of all the iconic landmarks and historical significance of the places that Charleston has to offer. You’ll board the Carolina Belle and your captain will narrate history and important facts about the Charleston Harbor as you’ll pass critical locations related to the history of the United States.
You’ll not only witness the beautiful architecture that the city has to offer but get an overview of all the amazing things in Charleston to explore.
You’ll get a glimpse of Fort Sumter, one of Charleston’s most popular landmarks, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
On your tour, you’ll come across Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum which is famous for submarines displays, retired naval aircraft carriers, and other exhibits. I wanted to visit this museum but due to lack of time, saved it for my next visit.
The most fun part of the harbor tour is once your boat comes under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, your captain will press the horn and you’ll hear its echo for the fraction of few seconds. Our captain did thrice on the recommendation and cheering of the crowd.
If you’re lucky, you can even see wild dolphins. I saw two dolphins but unable to click their picture as they were very quick in doing their act!
3)Take a carriage tour to experience the old world vibes
After enjoying the sea excursion, nothing can beat the experience of enjoying the Southern charm by a carriage tour. Hop onto one of the horse carriages to experience the old-world charms that Charleston has to offer. From its antebellum buildings to its cobblestone streets, from its historic churches to its art galleries, it will transport you to a different world.
There’re many carriage tours companies available but I chose Charleston Carriage Works and really enjoyed the ride. Our tour was an hour-long and covered 3-4 miles of Charleston’s residential Historic District. Our guide Allison was very knowledgeable and she shared various interesting facts and information about Charleston’s history.
The Charleston Carriage Tours are regulated by the City of Charleston. There are 4 routes (zones) in the historic district of the Charleston. So, all carriages are assigned specific routes (zones) at random upon departure in order to control the traffic. However, I came to know that all the routes are equally splendid with immense history to witness.
4) Explore the historic Charleston City Market
After enjoying the old-world charm of the Charleston’s Historic District, you must stroll at the Charleston City Market. It was established in the 1790s. In the nineteenth century, the market was a center of commerce and socialization but these days, you’ll get a glimpse of life in the South. The local artists and vendors are selling souvenirs, arts, pieces of jewelry and other gift items.
5) Shop and dine around the King’s Street
King’s Street in Charleston is what’s 5th Avenue in NYC is! It has been divided into three distinct areas; the Upper King Street Design and Dining District; in the middle, the King Street Fashion District and the Lower King Street Antiques District. Overall, the King’s Street is a hub of some amazing art galleries, high-end fashion stores and boutiques, bookstores, antiques, chocolates, gift shops and some amazing restaurants and fine-dining places.
I had my breakfast at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and lunch at Basil Thai Restaurant and enjoyed my food. Pardon me for not clicking the food pictures as I was too hungry and as soon as the food arrived, I literally gulped it! I also had few Ice Caramel Macchiatos and Lattes from the Starbucks that energized me to explore as much as possible in a hot and humid day when a temperature was above the 90s!
6) Stroll around the historic Rainbow Row
If you’re not tired yet, you must visit an iconic Rainbow Row — a series of thirteen colorful historic houses painted in bright pastel colors. This is one of the most Instagrammed sites in the Charleston for taking some amazing shots. Strolling around the Rainbow Row will make you feel as if you’re walking in a fairyland. Everything looks picture perfect and overloaded with cuteness.
PINK isn't just a color, it's an attitude! . A PINK house + A Pink Outfit = Cuteness Overloaded! . . Walking on the streets of Charleston was one of the most delightful experiences I ever had! There're so many cute houses that will leave you spellbound!😍 . . . Which is one of your favorite cities to stroll in this world? . . —————————————————————- Outfit details- The dress is from @hm and bag is from @grandboutiquestyle! —————————————————————- . . . . . #visitcharleston #charleston #southcarolina #visitsouthcarolina #sheisnotlost #femaletravelbloggers #radgirlslife #jetsettingchicks #globeletravels #usatravel #charlestononly #urban #instahouses #pink #colorstory #colorgram #colorhunter #streetphotography #ladiesgoneglobal #traveldeeper #travelnoire #travelgram #travelphotography #styletraveler #dametraveler #wearetravelgirls #darlingescapes #worldtraveler #whatiamwearing #instapassport
In a nutshell, Charleston is a unique and idyllic city with its old-world charms and elegance! After spending a day in Charleston, I realized that a day is not enough to explore what this charming city has to offer! While leaving, I promised the Charleston to return soon!
Tips to visit Charleston
- Nearest Airport: Charleston International Airport
- Best season to visit: March to May and September to November
- Mostly, Charleston has the sunshine throughout the year but Summers are pretty hot and humid. Check the weather before planning your trip.
- The temperature was above the 90s when I was in Charleston. Therefore carry an extra clothing for a day as you’ll sweat a lot. I had to change twice because of the humidity and sweating.
- Protect your skin with sunscreen and hats and eyes with sunglasses.
- For Harbor and Carriage Tours, try to book online to save time. Most of these tours allocate a certain time. So, you can plan your entire schedule in an advance accordingly.
- Charleston is a walkable city with most of its attractions in the vicinity. Therefore, carry a bundle of energy to explore and enjoy it fullest.
Do share your experiences if you’ve visited Charleston in the comments below? If not, what do you liked most about the Charleston?
Till then, happy wandering,
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