Rich southern hospitality is the pleasant stereotype-come-true in Charleston, a city full of pastel charm. Scenes from the French Quarter and King Street are like pages from a storybook.
This dreamy town is equal parts sophisticated and easy-going, thanks to the juxtaposition of European style architecture with nearby beaches.
Rich with culture, charm, and cuisine, this town is the ideal destination for wanderers who seek out a well-rounded trip. Historians, romantics and foodies will all find Charleston overflowing with activities to enjoy.
Charleston is a southern coastal city, cozily situated on a small peninsula, keeping most points of interest within a focused area. This spread makes the town as walkable as it is charming. Horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are more efficient than cars here, making wandering through the city that much more intimate.
That being said, fussing with a car can complicate your trip as parking isn’t the smoothest experience. Ubers are easy enough to come by if you do tire of walking, and if you really want to explore the city in true Charleston form, hop on a horse-drawn carriage or rent a beach cruiser.
Each primary district of Charleston is less than a mile away from the other, simplifying your tour by foot, by carriage or by bicycle. The French Quarter and King Street are major must-sees, as these streets are lined with all of the best dining, architecture and cultural points.
Wandering off of these primary paths will take your ancillary boroughs, all equally enchanting and worthwhile.
If you have time, venturing outside of downtown Charleston is just as worthy of your itinerary. Southern coastal Carolina has plenty more to do, like walking along Sullivan’s Island, kayaking with dolphins on Shem Creek and walking the Ravenel Bridge.
40 Pinckney St. Charleston SC. 29401
The Andrew Pinckney Inn offers charming bed and breakfast style accommodations in the heart of downtown Charleston. This little inn will offer the perfect satellite location for exploring Charleson on foot. They also offer a rooftop happy hour where you can enjoy wine and cheese before choosing among the many nearby restaurants for dinner.
0 George St. Charleston SC. 29401
Zero George Street is the perfect little boutique hotel to thoroughly experience Charleston charm. The early 1800s buildings surround a manicured courtyard garden and are restored from the early 1800s. You can explore everything from the waterfront to the King St. shopping district from their complimentary bikes.
166 Church St. Charleston SC. 29401
Enjoy enchanting views of historic Charleston from the rooftop at the French Quarter Inn. Captivating decor includes fountains and flowers, while services like port wine night caps and evening milk with cookies will have you feeling more at home than when you’re at home.
The Darling513 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403
The Darling is an open-late swanky cocktail bar on King Street that is the exact epitome of its name. The menu weighs heavily on Charleston’s seafood traditions, specializing in oysters, scallops and lobster rolls, atmospherically complimented by Tiffany Blue booths, retro globe lighting, and luxe marble surfaces. Brunch, lunch or dinner, this is an easy choice when you want good food with a side of great atmosphere.
Paw Paw209 E. Bay, Charleston, SC 29401
Pawpaw is a wine bar with southern flare and charming, modern atmosphere. The dishes are unique without losing the classic comfort-food quality expected of southern food.
Carmella’s is an adorable french quarter wine and dessert bar impeccably accented with chandeliers, exposed brick, and little flowers. This little cafe is the perfect place to grab a boozey shake, a red velvet cupcake or a charcuterie board.
The little coffee bar is the perfect place to duck in on a rainy day or to sit by the window and watch the world go by. Exposed brick and vintage marble floor tiling set the perfect backdrop to your cup of joe.
It’s hard to stand out as a seafood restaurant in Charleston, especially when you are hiding on a dimly-lit alleyway. But the off-the-beaten-path location is what gives Coast its charm. Buildings are swallowed in vinery and the alley is accented with bistro style patios and string lights, to hint that you may have stumbled upon something great. And when you finally make it inside, the Cajun seafood will have you all the more eager to venture back off the beaten path time and time again.
83-107 E. Bay St. Charleston, SC 29415
You simply can not visit Charleston without strolling past the pastel dream that is called Rainbow Row. This lineup of colorful historic carriage houses makes for the perfect backdrop for souvenir photos.
100 Station 19 St. Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482
A short ride across the Ravenel Bridge will take you to a scenic sandy getaway.
Sullivan’s Island is less busy than most beaches so if you are craving the salty air, this makes for a peaceful retreat.
White Point Gardens
The Battery, Charleston, SC 29401
White Point Gardens is a beautiful historic park to pass the time, shaded by looming trees whose knobby branches arch over the monuments and cannons. This patch of green space sits in between the waterfront and rows of stately southern houses.
20 S. Battery St. Charleston, SC 29401
The battery is wonderful for taking in the fresh sea air and stunning real estate. South Batter is the epitome of #housegoals.
Some of the grandest Charleston homes line this street, which is even more scenic juxtaposed against the water.
King St. Charleston, SC 24901
King Street is the Rodeo Drive of Charleston. King is a primary artery of the city, lined with shops and restaurants perfect for destination-less wandering.
188 Meeting St. Charleston, SC 29401
The city market is heavy with history and now operates as an artisan market. You can find all kinds of unique, handmade goods in this vast marketplace.
150 King St. Charleston, SC 29401
Billy Reid is the eponymous clothing line by an American designer. The hospitable atmosphere in the King St. boutique is as high-quality as the clothing.
218 King St. Ste. B, Charleston, SC 29401
Be the change was passionately named after the quote by Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” which effectively drives home their concept to “purchase with a purpose.” And what better way to shop than to give back?
409 King St. Ste. 101, Charleston, SC 29401
Beckett Boutique is a women’s clothing shop with swanky decor to complement their swanky clothing.
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.