Below are two of the five reasons why we love Charleston. Stay tuned for the next three reasons!
HISTORY. As one of the most charming and historic cities in the country, Charleston proudly hosts over 4 million visitors a year, and for very good reasons…there is so much to see and do!
First off, you do not have to be a die-hard American history buff to appreciate a city that has lovingly and carefully preserved its historic past. If you are a history buff, however, all the better! There is a story around every turn in downtown Charleston from historic (and sometimes scandalous) figures of our past that occupied the beautiful and stately homes on the battery, to the cozy inns, taverns, and gardens (some said to be haunted).
An awesome way to learn more about the history of the Holy City is to partake in one of the many historic tours that are offered, with a licensed and certified tour guide (these individuals have passed several tests to be able to qualify for this position). From walking tours to horse and carriage tours, and haunted tours to photography tours, you are guaranteed a fun and interesting experience for both young and old alike! Being that there is so much to see and so many nooks and crannies, there are several different routes that are taken, so if you like a particular type of tour, for example horse and carriage, but do not want to repeat the same tour, try another! There is something to learn around every corner (literally).
Spend a day strolling through the city and check out the great little shops and wonderful dining venues. Visit the many museums and historic churches, and stroll on the battery taking in the beauty of the harbor and the elegant homes that line it. Enjoy a stroll through one of the magnificent old plantations.
From the battery, across the harbor, you can spot Fort Sumter where the first shot was fired, marking the opening engagement of the Civil War. A great way to see a great deal of history is from the harbor aboard a wonderful cruise with Charleston Harbor Tours. Relax after a day of walking. Sit back, and enjoy a refreshing drink while you take a more close-up look at Fort Sumter, along with Forts Moultrie and Johnson. View the historic Citadel from the harbor, as well as the aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown, known as the “Fighting Lady” during World War II, docked at Patriot’s Point, just under the Ravenel Bridge. Charleston Harbor Tours also provides a few different packages to mix and match with your harbor tour, such as Boone Hall Plantation and/or a carriage tour downtown. Lots of fun!
BEACHES. You cannot visit Charleston, without going to one of its many beautiful, sandy beaches. With the exception of just a few months a year, the water is warm, clean, and inviting. Frequently, you can view dolphins just off shore, bobbing in and out of the water.
There are three main beaches in the surrounding island towns of Charleston. In-between the Folly River and the Atlantic Ocean, and just 15 minutes from Downtown Charleston, is the Folly Beach County Park. This is an expansive barrier island beach with a very laid back and casual atmosphere. Of the three main beaches, this tends to draw the most people. With its lively beachfront eateries and bars, it often attracts a younger crowd. Here you can rent a beach chair and/or umbrella. Showers, restrooms, and a picnic area are also provided. Also, there are lifeguards posted in designated areas.
Image to the left of Folly Beach taken from the Charleston CVB website.
For a family with toddlers to teens, Sullivan’s Island Beach is a beautiful beach as well, pristine and quiet. Sullivan’s Island lies just north of downtown Charleston. The beach is located within a residential community with no parking lots, although parking is permitted on the side of the road, unless otherwise stated by a clearly marked “no parking” sign. To access the beach, there are marked signs for pathways and walkways. This is a more family-oriented beach. There are no lifeguards and no public facilities here. However, there are several casual, beach community eateries to choose from, many of which are within walking distance from the beach, such as Poe’s and Taco Mamacita.
Just a short distance away is Isle of Palms. Another beach that is perfect for everyone. Bordered by sparkling sand and the water of the Atlantic, Isle of Palms is surrounded on the other side by marsh creeks, home to many beautiful birds. At the northern tip of the island you can find Wild Dunes Resort with outstanding accommodations. Isle of Palms’ long stretch of beautiful beach can be accessed a few ways. You can sometimes find a spot and park along the side of the road, unless otherwise stated by a clearly marked sign, and walk to the beach (access paths are marked). However, along this stretch there are no facilities, food, drink, or lifeguards. A better option would be to park in the lot at the new Isle of Palms County Park where there are restrooms, changing facilities, and other amenities. Lifeguards are posted at this area on Isle of Palms.
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And stay tuned for Thursday’s blog post when we outline the last of the five reasons why we love Charleston!