You’re passing through Charleston on the way to Aunt Debbie in Pascagoula and you only have one day to explore. What should you do?
Great news: you can have a blast in just one day, and make plans to return for a longer stay some other time.
Let’s look at a viable full-day plan for your Charleston visit:
Watch the sun rise at The Battery – Around here, sunrises look like a scoop of cantaloupe in a bed or watermelon on a sea of grapes. Delish! Then walk up along the Cooper River seawall past historic Rainbow Row to East Bay Street.
Shrimp and grits for breakfast — because missing a meal in Charleston is like missing a park at Disney World. Find a place right there on East Bay Street or head over to one of dozens of enchanting choices around town, including Hominy Grill, Safron, Five Loaves Café, Mercantile and Mash, or The Park Café, to name just a few peninsular Charleston gourmet eateries.
Take a Charleston Harbor Tour – a short walk up to the Charleston Maritime Center gets you tickets for the 11:30 harbor tour, where you’ll enjoy 75 majestic landmarks, like Fort Sumter, in 90 minutes. It’s a great way to learn how Lowcountry history is American history, all aboard the Carolina Belle.
Lunch! – Look at all you’ve done and you’re not even halfway through the day! It’s a culinary delight wherever you go as long as you avoid the national chains.
Grab a carriage ride – See the historic city from the inside behind the clip-clop of an equine host. Your guide has read up on Charleston history and passed a tough exam, so they know most nooks and crannies along the route. Buy your tickets in tandem with the cruise and get a discount.
You’ll be dropped back off at the City Market – so stroll through and gawk at (or purchase) the Lowcountry fare, including tea from the only tea plantation in America, legendary sweetgrass baskets, paintings of Gullah life by Jonathan Green, Lowcountry foods like she-crab soup, and knick-knacks galore. It’s our version of Faneuil Hall or Pike Place.
Take a break – Head back to your hotel, maybe take a swim or a nap. Because next up is a highly-acclaimed treat: dinner in Charleston.
A nightcap on the roof – The Vendue Inn, Market Pavilion Hotel, Grand Bohemian Hotel, Stars and other downtown locations sport a lovely rooftop bars. Enjoy a drink while breathing the lovely sea air. You’ve had a day you’ll never forget.