Charleston, SC. has become a world famous destination exemplifying old world southern charm, beauty and hospitality, reaching the pinnacle in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 by being voted Travel & Leisure’s #1 Best City to Visit and the Friendliest City in America as well as their #2 Best City in the World! Also Conde` Nast Traveler’s rated Charleston as the 2013 #1 City in the World. Southern Living magazine’s readers have chosen it as the “most romantic city” and friendliest in the South for several years.
Throughout its history, the Historic Downtown District in Charleston has been the cultural capital of the South and is a living museum. In this beautifully preserved city you can experience tours through historic landmarks, including 18th century homes and plantations, the Battery, museums, churches and the city market. There are historic sites on every street corner, usually next door to an art gallery or cultural venue due to the city’s impressive appreciation for all of the arts. Two internationally renowned festivals, Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto, are held in May and June drawing thousands of visitors. In addition, our Wine & Food Festival, Southeastern Wildlife Exposition and Fashion Week draw people from everywhere. Charleston also offers world-class dining experiences at its dozens of restaurants downtown. There are many historic Charleston sites, historical houses and travel accommodations from which to choose when planning your visit.
One of the best ways to see our beautiful city is by taking a Charleston historic tour, including walking tours, carriage tours, and water tours. There are also many tours that focus on different themes, such as the civil war, ghosts of Charleston, plantations, and the harbor. A tour boat will take you to Fort Sumter in the harbor, the site of the first shots of the Civil War.
Escape to the Beach, to the Islands
Charleston’s barrier islands are numerous and beautiful with their wide beaches. The Isle of Palms is less than 20 minutes from Charleston. Folly Beach is located about 15 miles south of Charleston and is known as Charleston’s truly original beach playground. The resorts of Seabrook and Kiawah are visited by golfers and vacationers from around the world. Located just 22 miles south of Charleston, these islands are private and owned by their residents.Travel + Leisure Golf magazine names Kiawah No. 1 Resort in the U.S., while GOLF magazine names The Ocean Course No. 3 in latest “Best Places to Play” ranking.
While you are in town with your family, there are some great places to visit: the South Carolina Aquarium downtown on the harbor www.scaquarium.org, on the other shore of the harbor in Mt. Pleasant sits the retired World War II battleship, The Yorktown, which can be explored www.patriotspoint.org, Drayton Hall plantation house, completed in 1742, has remained in nearly original condition www.draytonhall.org, and Magnolia Gardens, founded in 1676, is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry, and the oldest public gardens in America www.magnoliaplantation.com. The entire family will enjoy the Charleston Pirate Tour www.charlestonpiratetour.com and the carriage rides downtown with knowledgeable guides among the majestic old homes.