Last weekend, Brandon and I had a staycation here in Charleston, which really gave us some perspective on what it would be like to visit the Holy City for the very first time. We started talking about all of the things we would do and our list got so long that it would be impossible to fit it all in during one vacation! There are just so many fun things to do here and so many wonderful sights to see that are rich in both history and beauty.
Thinking about all of this came at perfect timing because I’ve collaborated with Garnet Hill to bring you a chance to win their “Charleston Beach Getaway” contest! One lucky winner will receive roundtrip airfare for two to Charleston, a 3-night stay at The Beach Club, dinner for two at The Fish House, a cashmere wrap from Garnet Hill, and a $500 gift card to Garnet Hill. Just enter your email here to enter anytime before May 9th!
But we’ll talk more about that in just a minute…
Back to my list of top things to do in Charleston! I thought hard and was able to break down that list to a top five. Of course, some of the items mentioned include lots of other places, so let’s just say this is a very broad list! But if you’re heading to Charleston for a long weekend and looking for some fun things to put on your itinerary, checking out this list is a great place to start! I’m including some favorite restaurants, stores, places to stay, and things to do. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
Shop and Dine on King Street
Great restaurants and shops are sprinkled all throughout the downtown peninsula, but King Street may as well be the hub of it all. After strolling around long enough, you’ll discover side streets and quaint alleys that will lead you to even more shops and restaurants.
There are tons of storefronts that will catch your attention, like Pottery Barn, J. Crew, Sephora, Anthropologie, and Williams & Sonoma to name a few, but definitely pop into the smaller boutiques while you’re shopping around! Some of my favorites are Beckett Boutique, Hampden Clothing, MOSA Boutique, Cos Bar, V2V, and Copper Penny.
My list for favorite restaurants could go on and on, but here’s a short list of highlights. I’d recommend Halls Chophouse for an upscale, yet lively dinner with your sweetheart or just with the girls. The food is amazing and it’s a fun atmosphere—we always wind up in conversation with new friends each time we go. We always prefer to grab a seat at the bar! Indaco is my personal favorite. I’ve never tasted anything there that wasn’t off the charts amazing. O-Ku has the best sushi I’ve ever tried and a super fun atmosphere. The Ordinary is a great place to pop in for a pre-dinner cocktail… as is 492 King! They both have beautiful bar areas. I love The Darling if you’re wanting seafood and a casual, yet swanky atmosphere. If you’re looking for a great southern meal, I’d hit Virginia’s on King, 82 Queen, or Poogan’s Porch (The last two are just a few steps off of King Street). All three of these are great for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Although if it’s pretty outside, I’d have to recommend 82 Queen first because the outdoor patio is beautiful!
Stay at The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
The Beach Club is where I mentioned we staycationed last weekend and it’s the resort that is part of the giveaway! Everything about our stay was wonderful, from the views to the service and everything in between. There are so many reasons I could tell you why you’d want to stay here, but the first you may notice is that the rooms are beautiful and welcoming.
Next, the pools (yes, pools) are amazing and will provide fun and relaxation for anyone, whether you’re traveling alone or with the whole family. We were pleasantly surprised to find the water is heated, which made jumping in feel amazing.
The Beach Club has the best view of downtown Charleston that I’ve seen. In fact, it’s the only hotel that will give you a view of the downtown peninsula from a water perspective. It’s beautiful to look across the Charleston Harbor and see all of the church steeples of the Holy City. And if you’re worried that you’ll feel disconnected from the downtown scene by staying there—don’t. The resort offers water taxis and shuttles that will take you to downtown all day long in just a few minutes time. The location of the resort is actually one of the things I love about it. It’s situated in perfect proximity to hit all the must-see places… it’s in between the beaches, downtown, and the plantations, making everything so convenient.
There are plenty of other things to do while at The Beach Club, like visit the Estuary Spa or eat at the Fish House, a delicious waterfront restaurant that’s neither stuffy nor too casual—and it has views for days. We ate she crab soup, surf & turf, fried shrimp, and the crab cakes… all were amazing. We also ordered breakfast from The Fish House up to our room and it was perfect to enjoy while sitting on our balcony.
If you’d like to enter to win Garnet Hill’s “Charleston Beach Getaway” giveaway, then just click this link to enter!
The prize includes:
– roundtrip airfare for two to Charleston
– a 3-night stay at The Beach Club
– dinner for two at The Fish House
– a cashmere wrap from Garnet Hill ($190 value)
– a $500 gift card to Garnet Hill
Visit the Historic Plantations and Gardens
There are so many historic plantations and gardens throughout the Charleston area, but here’s a list of the three most popular ones that you can tour. I’ve been to each of these many times and will definitely recommend going when the weather is cooler or in the morning hours… because it can get very hot and humid here! The absolute best time to visit is in the spring when the flowers are in full bloom.
- Magnolia Plantations & Gardens (best to see if you’re looking for more of a natural garden scenery)
- Boone Hall Plantation (best to visit if you want to see a beautiful oak-lined road, a gorgeous home, and to learn a rich history of this working plantation)
- Middleton Place (pictured below—best choice if you’re looking for a stunning formal and manicured garden, a home to tour, and animals to see)
Hit the Beach
If you’re interested in spending a day at the beach or going on a sunset or early morning walk, there are lots of options for you. Sullivan’s Island is probably my top pick because it gives you so much—a family atmosphere, plenty of yummy restaurants that are just steps off the sand, and gorgeous homes and nature surrounding the area. If you want more of an eclectic and lively scene, you’ll love Folly Beach. Isle of Palms is perfect for the whole family, with lots of delicious seafood restaurants and vacation rentals nearby. There’s also Kiawah’s Beachwalker Park, which is tucked away off the beaten path and more of a preserved beach. It’s beautiful and worth the extra bit of a drive to get there. That’s where the photos below were taken!
Head South of Broad
What this means is to grab your comfortable shoes, camera, and go walk around throughout all the streets that are south of Broad Street. This “South of Broad” area is where you’ll find the upper echelon of Charleston proper. It’s everything that you picture Charleston being on a postcard. You know, all of the historic mansions, window boxes draping with beautiful flowers, gas lanterns, brightly colored shutters, and cobblestone streets.
This post was written in collaboration with Garnet Hill to give one winner and his/her guest of choice a trip to Charleston.