Let’s face it, most people come to Charleston, SC to soak up some serious United States History! I had heard of this awesome little city for years, and finally decided to take the trip here during our travel adventures. I absolutely fell in love with the historic charm of this city and how well they preserved everything. Most of the buildings are pre-civil war, or as they call it, Antebellum. How can you not fall in love with the cobblestone streets, gas lanterns, horse drawn carriage and every other little bit of history? If you are only visiting this city for the weekend or a few days, there is plenty to do without having to travel far! Here are some great activities for a weekend in Charleston, SC.
Visiting the plantations was certainly something I had to battle in my head. Should we go or not? Even though the plantations were supposed to be absolutely beautiful, they are a reminder of a dark past. I am happy to report that I am thrilled we took a trip to Magnolia Plantation. We found a deal on Groupon, which included a self-guided tour through the grounds amazing garden, petting zoo, orientation theater video, garden center and conservatory! For an additional cost, there were other tours and activities including the plantation house tour, nature trail, nature boat, Slavery to Freedom tour, and Audubon Swamp Garden. The tour through the garden was actually pretty lengthy, and we took some beautiful photos. This plantation was founded in 1697 by the Drayton family, and they opened their gardens up to visitors in 1870 and has been named “America’s Most Beautiful Gardens.”
2. Fort Sumter
If you are a history buff, this is an absolute must see in Charleston! On April 12th, 1861, the first shots were fired in the civil war, changing the history of the US as we know it today! We visited the Fort Sumter visitor center, but something I highly recommend is taking the boat over to the fort! This is such a great opportunity for the whole family to learn a bit more about what started the civil war, who the key players were, the different turning points, and more!
If you like to shop, you will not be disappointed in this market! They have both a day and a night market here. The day market is open Mon-Sun from 9:30am to 6:00pm. The night market is on Thurs, Fri, Sat and every second Sunday night from 6:30pm to 10:30pm. They have a little bit of everything here, including foods, the famous sweet grass baskets, souvenirs, and lots more.
4. Mount Pleasant
We visited Mount Pleasant, for a potential place to look for homes, if we chose Charleston for our final destination. This is a great area with really nice homes, proximity to the beach, and a lot of great restaurants. On one afternoon, I popped into Vintage Coffee and Cafe for a coffee and to get some blogging done. This was a great spot where people came to work or meet up with friends for coffee and breakfast or lunch. It appeared to be quite the hot spot! After that, I was able to meet up with a college friend at Mex 1 Coastal Cantina for some delicious Mexican! They have a few locations, but we went to the one on Sullivan Island and had a great lunch out on the porch.
5. Take a Carriage Ride
On one sunny day, I met up with a 2 friends from the Y where I worked, for some lunch and sightseeing. We were treated to a carriage ride and got a great history lesson of the city! We took our tour out of the Palmetto Carriage Works, which was such a unique way to see the city and learn about the history. This is the oldest carriage tour in town! The tours run for 1 hour and run every 15 minutes. Each trip is a little different. Some sights we saw on the tour included Rainbow Row, the Battery, City market and many beautiful historic homes!
6. Take a Free Walking Tour in Historic Downtown
If you are not looking to pay for a carriage ride that is ok! This is a very quaint and small, downtown to walk and see things and these tours are great! You will be able to see Rainbow Row on East Bay St, The French Quarter, Fort Sumter, St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, French Huguenot Church, Old Exchange Building, Pineapple Fountain and much more!
7. Folly Beach
If you are looking to escape from the heat a bit, head down to one of Charleston’s best beaches, Folly beach. This is a clean, wonderful beach with a historic pier. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and rental homes! There is a lot of street parking, and other affordable parking options at this beach which is great. You can also drive south on Ashley Ave to Folly Beach County Park for some amenities like showers, bathrooms, chair rentals, lifeguards, and snack bar. Once you are done at the beach for the day, head over to Rita’s Seaside Grill for some food, drinks and live music!
The Citadel is the prestigious military college of South Carolina. From what I have heard, it is very difficult to get into and even harder to graduate from. You can schedule a tour during the school year to learn all about the history of this amazing place.
9. Go see a RiverDogs game!
Bring the whole family to see the minor league baseball team, the RiverDogs! This team is partly owned by actor and producer, Bill Murray, who has been known to frequent the games. Tickets are only $8 a piece, and they often have other package deals going on, so it is an affordable, fun event for the whole family.
We really enjoyed our short trip to this historic city. There are so much to do, even if you are just looking for activities for a weekend in Charleston, SC. The city has a lot going for it, including wonderful universities, a variety of great neighborhoods to live in, many bars, restaurants and entertainment, as well as beaches! It is a fairly short drive to Savannah, Georgia, the weather is gorgeous, cost of living is low, and it is filled with history and fun! What more could you want?