Charleston (South Carolina)
Charleston is a seaport city in the state of South Carolina in the United States of America. Its historic downtown is located on a peninsula formed by two rivers, Ashley and Cooper, flowing into the Atlantic, and protected from the open ocean by surrounding islands. Charleston was captured in the Civil War without much property damage, so the historic part of town has buildings that are hundreds of years old. The current downtown skyline, with practically no tall buildings due to the city's height restriction ordinance, is dominated by church steeples and the stunning Arthur Ravenel cable-stay bridge completed in 2005 over the Cooper River. The city is a major port on the eastern seaboard of the US and a popular destination for domestic and international tourists.
Charles Towne, as it was first called, was established in 1670 by Anthony Ashley Cooper on the west bank of the Ashley River, Charles Towne Landing, a few miles northwest of the present downtown. By 1680, the settlement had grown and moved to its present peninsular location.
Around 1690, the English colonists erected a fortification wall around the small settlement to aid in its defense. The wall sheltered the area, in the present French Quarter, from Cumberland St. south to Water St., from Meeting St. east to East Bay St. The wall was destroyed around 1720. Cobblestone lanes and one building remain from this colonial English Walled Town: the Powder Magazine, where the town's supply of gunpowder was stored. Remnants of the colonial wall were found beneath the Old Exchange Building.
Luckily, Charleston was re-captured in the Civil War without much property damaged, and it was the first city in the U.S. to pass a historical preservation ordinance. Thus, many of the beautiful architecture, from early Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, and Italianate to Victorian, remain for generations to see and enjoy.
Charleston is also known as The Holy City due to the numerous church steeples, which dot the city's low-rise skyline, and the fact that it was one of the few places in the original thirteen colonies to provide religious tolerance to the French Huguenots as well as to Jews.
Charleston is in general a laid-back, but sophisticated, city and has an old-South feel, as does Savannah, GA. Most people in Charleston are helpful when approached in a polite manner. If a traveler speaks little English, Charlestonians are still generally willing to help as best they can. It is advisable, however, to at least learn a few key English phrases, and perhaps carry a traveler's phrasebook.
The dialect here varies from standard American English, having a "Southern Coastal Accent" that contains British influences. For those who learned Standard English, some speech may be difficult to comprehend here. Generally speaking, one can easily get by with Standard American or British English, though. The inhabitants of Charleston are, to a large degree, transient (due to several military installations, port labor, rail labor, and other factors), and therefore many other languages are inherent in a minority role.
A minority dialect spoken here is Gullah, a dialect of English almost incomprehensible to most English Speakers. If you are familiar with "Porgy and Bess", you are familiar with Gullah. Gullah has West-African influences mixed with pidjin French and English. The dialect originated around John's Island. If you travel south of the city (to the islands, or towards Ravenel), the dialect becomes somewhat more prevalent (although still in a minority context.)
Alternate languages include Spanish and Portuguese, brought to the city and it's outskirts by its large Latin American population. One may encounter "Spanglish" here, an odd combination of Spanish and English.
Place names in and around Charleston are often very Americanized versions of French (Lagare street is pronounced luh-GREE) or other languages.
Charleston is served by Charleston International Airport , located about 12 miles northwest of historic downtown. The small 2-concourse terminal is functional, with dark decor absent of any antebellum charm (unlike the lovely Savannah Airport terminal). Taxis to downtown cost about $25; shuttles arranged by Airport Ground Transportation cost about $14/person to downtown. CARTA operates a local bus service, Bus 11, to downtown hourly on weekdays. Rental cars are available at the airport terminal; Interstate 526 connects the airport with Interstate 26, which in turn terminates just north of historic downtown at U.S. 17.
Charleston is located nearly at the midpoint of South Carolina's Atlantic coastline. It can be easily reached by car, from the north or south, via U.S. Highway 17, which cuts across the Charleston peninsula, or from the west, via Interstate 26, which terminates just northwest of the historic downtown at U.S. 17. The outer beltway Interstate 526 forms a loop from U.S. 17 to the Charleston International Airport.
Charleston is a city that is best explored by car or on foot. Several rental car services are available at the Charleston International Airport. Some area hotels also provide transportation to and from the airport.
By public transportation
The public transportation system in Charleston consists primarily of a fleet of buses run by the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) and privately run taxi services. The bus system is not widely used by the upper-class residents of the city, and would be rated as "fair" by the standards of most larger urban areas. Bus Route 11 serves the Charleston International Airport and the downtown area. CARTA also operates four Downtown Area SHuttles (DASH 210, 211, 212, 213), which are be useful for the visitor who does not wish to walk the historic downtown. Regular fares are $1.50.
Taxis are generally safe and inexpensive in Charleston. But they can be difficult to find unless they are prearranged by calling one of the taxi services in advance, or unless you are in the downtown area, where it is easy to flag one down.
By tour bus or carriage
Gray Line of Charleston offers a choice of guided mini-bus tours of the historic, charming city of Charleston, designed to give you a fun and informative look into the city’s well-preserved past.
The best way to tour the city is by carriage drawn by horses or mules (many vendors available at the Market in downtown Charleston), although one might prepare oneself for some derisive comment and exasperation from locals inconvenienced by such quaint methods of transit.
Luckily for visitors to Charleston's peninsula, the historic district is accessible on foot. If staying in one of the many hotels on the peninsula of Charleston, a visitor could easily explore most of the city's major historical sites without benefit of a car, either by foot or also with the help of the four DASH trolley lines. Unfortunately, the plantations -- a significant part of Charleston's history -- are not located within walking distance of the peninsula. If driving into the historic downtown, the first thing to do is to find someplace to park. Garage parking is available at the Visitor Center for $1/hr.
The streets in the historic downtown in peninsular Charleston are more or less parallel and perpendicular to the Cooper River waterfront, forming a warp grid pattern, with a major shift in the angle of the grid at the east-west "fault line" of Beaufain/Hasell St., just north of the old Market Area near the waterfront. The major east-west street, Calhoun St., was once known as the Boundary Street, separating the then-suburbs north of it from the urban area south of it. The major north-south street, King St., is the main shopping street in downtown, from the Upper King area north of Calhoun around the Visitor Center south to the upscale anchor, Charleston Place, at Beaufain/Hasell. Several blocks south is a major east-west street, Broad St., which divides two areas in historic downtown, aptly named North of Broad and South of Broad. Those South of Broad were nicknamed SOBs, and those Slightly North of Broad were SNOBs. The French Quarter, founded by the French Huguenots, is just south of the Market Area along the waterfront. The area near the southern tip of the peninsula, where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet, is known as The Battery.
A good place to start a tour of Charleston is the Visitor Reception and Transportation Center (tel: 1-800-774-0006), located at 375 Meeting St. (and Ann St.), not far from the terminus of I-26 northwest of downtown. At the Visitor Center, a travellor can find maps and guides, tour a small museum dedicated to the history of Charleston, book sightseeing tours, and view an introductory film to Charleston ($2).
Charleston's primary attraction to visitors is its historical setting and landmarks. A list of some sites to visit includes:
- The Battery, . A park located at the southern tip of the Charleston peninsula with beautiful views, especially along the Battery Promenade by the Cooper River. Don't miss the elegant historic mansions along the Promenade, some of which have sold for as much as $7M.
- Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., across the street from the Visitor Center. Start with this museum to learn of Charleston's history. Open daily. Adults $10.
- Fort Sumter, the island site of the start of the Civil War, is a National Monument. One must board a ferry for an additional fee at either Liberty Square in downtown or Patriot's Point in Mt. Pleasant. The ferry ride is about 30 minutes. Fort Sumter is in ruins, but there are markers telling you where things used to be, as well as a museum.
- French Quarter between S. Market and Tradd, Meeting and the waterfront, where the English colonial Walled Town once stood. Known for its art galleries, St. Philips Church, French Huguenot Church, and historic architecture.
- The Market. An old shopping district at the foot of Market St. where vendors still sell wares. Contrary to popular legend, the Market was never a slave exchange. However, the remnants of an old slave market are located a few blocks away.
- Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, . Located right off the Ravenel bridge in Mt. Pleasant, this side of Charleston houses an impressive display of warfare including the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, the USS Clamagore submarine, the USS Laffey and USCG Ingham destroyer as well as a coast guard cutter. There are also an aircraft and a reconstructed Vietnam era camp.
- Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, . Off US 171 on the west bank of the Ashley River, about 3 miles northwest of downtown.
- The Citadel, . Historic military college founded in 1842. Full dress parades generally occur every Friday afternoon while school is in session and are free to the public. The campus is tpically open to visitors and tours can be arranged by calling the school or stopping by the Admissions Office located in Bond Hall.
- The College of Charleston, . Founded in 1770, the College of Charleston is the oldest institution of higher education in the state of South Carolina and the thirteenth oldest in the United States.
- Randolph Hall, at the College of Charleston, . Built in 1828. Popular civil war movie-making site.
- Longitude Lane(Longitude Lane), off E Bay St, . Colonial cobblestone lane built on a latitude line.
Historic Places of Worship
Charleston is known as the Holy City because it provided religious tolerance to many who fled persecution, including the French Huguenots, Church of England dissenters, and others. The first places of worship organized in the late 17th and early 18th century were located around the old walled town, the present French Quarter . As the town grew outward, later places of worship were mainly located towards the upper wards north of Boundary Street, the present Calhoun St. Colonial Charleston was the wealthiest English town in America, which is reflected in the sophisticated religious architecture dotting the historic peninsula.
- Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. Congregationalists, Scotch and Irish Presbyterians, and French Huguenots of the original settlement of Charles Town founded this dissenting congregation, known as the Independent Church, around 1681. They met at the White Meeting House, for which Meeting Street is named.
- French Huguenot Church, 44 Queen St. (at Church St.)  Organized around 1681 by Huguenot refugees from the Protestant persecutions in France; first church at present site built in 1687.
- St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 146 Church St. . Organized around 1681 at site now occupied by St. Michael's.
- First Baptist Church, 61 Church St. Organized around 1683; present site donated in 1699. Oldest Baptist church in the South, and often refered to as the "mother church of Southern Baptists".
- First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting St. Organized in 1731.
- Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, 90 Hasell St. (near the Old Market), . Organized in 1749. The oldest surviving Reform synagogue in the world.
- St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 71 Broad St, . Organized in 1751.
- St. Mary's Catholic Church, 89 Hasell St. Organized in 1789. Oldest Catholic church in the Carolinas.
- Trinity United Methodist Church, 273 Meeting St. Organized in 1791.
- Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting St. Organized in 1809.
- Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, 120 Broad St. Organized in 1821.
- St. Matthews Lutheran Church, 405 King St. Organized in 1840.
- Citadel Square Baptist Church, 328 Meeting St. (at Calhoun St.) Organized in 1854.
- Arthur Ravenel Bridge, . The longest cable-stay bridge in North America was completed in 2005 over the Cooper River.
- Liberty Square, at the east end of Calhoun St. fronting the Cooper River. Has the South Carolina Aquarium and the Fort Sumter National Monument Visitor Center, both offers views of the Ravenel Bridge. This is also where you may take a boat tour to Fort Sumter.
- Waterfront Park, from Vendue Range south to Water St. along the Cooper River. The Wharf at Vendue Range offers views of the cruise ship terminal and the Ravenel Bridge.
Soccer fans may want to take in a Charleston Battery match at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island. It's a 5,000 seat stadium with a nice little English-styled pub.
Baseball can be seen at Riley Park where the Charleston Riverdogs, an affiliate of the New York Yankees, play ball.
- Gray Line of Charleston, PO Box 219 , Charleston, SC, . Gray Line of Charleston offers a choice of guided mini-bus tours of the historic, charming city of Charleston, designed to give you a fun and informative look into the city’s well-preserved past.
- Fireproof Building(South Carolina Historical Society), 100 Meeting Street, ☎ 843-723-3225, . M-F 9am-4pm. A National Historic Landmark constructed in 1827 and believed to be the oldest building of fireproof construction in the United States. The work of Robert Mills, the first native-born American to be trained as an architect, and a Charleston native who worked with other important early American architects such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Latrobe. Mills was responsible for the Washington Monument and many other public buildings. The building consists primarily of solid masonry in a simple Greek Doric style. An oval hall contains a cantilevered stone staircase lit by a cupola. The building serves as the headquarters for the South Carolina Historical Society, a private non-profit organization founded in 1856.
- Carriage Tours. When in Charleston, consider taking a carriage tour of the city. Several groups operate horse-drawn carriage tours of the historical sites in the city. Most of these tours leave from stands on Market street, next to the Market itself. While reservations are not required for these tours, they are run on a first-come-first-served basis, so plan to wait during peak tourist season. Luckily, most of the tour services assign a departure time, rather than making customers wait in line, so tourists waiting for a carriage can take the opportunity to visit the Market shops. Discount coupons are available in free tourist maps and guides.
- Walking Tours. Equally fun walking tours include guided history tours and scary ghost tours through the streets of Charleston. Because the historic downtown is relatively compact, self-guided walking tours can be found in many guidebooks. An interesting DIY walk is to do the Charleston Museum Mile along the Meeting Street corridor, which includes historic sites, historic places of worship, and related points of interest; a brochure can be found at the Visitor Center.
- Worship with the Locals. If visiting over the weekend, attend a service at one of the historic places of worship and find out what the locals think.
- Beaches. Outside downtown, there are numerous beach towns that are considered part of the Charleston area. Folly Beach is certainly the most casual. Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms are more upscale. The warm waters and gentle surf make for a delightful swimming experience particularly during late spring and early fall when lower temperatures allow for a prolonged beach experience.
- Others. For lovers of nature, Angel Oak  ,a magical and sprawling Live Oak purported to be over 1000 years old provides a great place for a picnic and a visit off the beaten path (John's Island). If you are looking for a laid back younger (surfer) crowd, check out events at the Daily Dose (see Eat).
- Lowcountry Oyster Festival (January)
- Southeastern Wildlife Exhibition (February)
- Spoleto Festival USA (Memorial Day to mid-June). One of the best arts festivals in the U.S., which is a counterpart to the festival held in Spoleto, Italy, founded by composer Gian Carlo Menotti.
- Piccolo Spoleto Festival (Memorial Day to mid-June). The little brother to the Spoleto Festival USA.
- Taste of Charleston (October).
- Christmas in Charleston (December).
The Market and the shops lining Market street are a popular shopping destination for tourists. The Market itself is a large gathering of small vendors that sell everything from blankets to candy. More traditional shops line Market street, and most of these sell merchandise that is aimed at tourists.
Upscale shopping in downtown Charleston can be found at the shops lining King Street. These shops are known for selling high-quality merchandise, but are not known for bargain prices.
Charleston is considered the best restaurant town in the Southeast U.S., especially for seafood.
Individuals from Ohio and North Carolina should enjoy a meal at the Wild Wing Cafe or Sticky Fingers; alternatively, one might enjoy the 'complete' tourist experience, and a very long wait, at Hyman's Seafood or Bubba Gump's on South Market Street. Locals prefer Bowen's Island, near Folly Beach, or The Wreck, in Mount Pleasant.
- Juanita Greenberg's Nacho Royale, 439 King St.
- Melvin's Barbeque, Folly Rd.
- Shuang Xi, McCall Center, 5070 International Blvd, North Charleston, (843) 747-3355. Excellent freshly cooked Chinese food. Eat in or take out.
- Sticky Fingers, 235 Meeting St. Memphis styled BBQ chain restaurant.
- Wild Wing, 36 N. Market St. Chain restaurant.
By far the most successful restauranteur in the Charleston area is the owner of the Mustard Seed (3 locations), Sette VI, Uno Mas, Long Point Grill, and Boulevard Dinner. The dining experience at each of the locations (owned by the same company) features delicious homemade bread or chips while pondering the daily special board as well as the menu. Meals at range from $8-$22 but average about $12. Long Point grill rocks!!!!!!!!
- 39 Rue de Jean, 39 John St. Refined French cafe in Upper King. Lunch and dinner served daily.
- Basil Thai Restaurant, 460 King St. Elegant Upper King alternative to lowcountry cuisine. First come, first serve; no reservations. Lunch, Mon-Fri only. Dinner nightly after 5pm.
- Coast Bar & Grill , 39-D John St. Good seafood in Upper King. Dinner nightly.
- Cru Café, 18 Pinckney St. Small cafe in the Market Area serving upscale comfort food. Lunch and dinner, Tue-Sat; closed Sundays and Mondays.
- FIG , 232 Meeting St. Local contemporary bistro in the Market Area. Dinner served after 6pm, Mon-Sat.
- Gaulart & Maliclet French Cafe, 98 Broad St. (near King St.). Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and take out). Closed Sundays.
- Hank's Seafood Restaurant, 10 Hayne St. (and Church St.) Good seafood in the Market Area. Dinner nightly
- Hyman's Seafood Restaurant, 215 Meeeting St. Excellent seafood, casual atmosphere, reasonable prices, very popular, near the Charleston Place. Lunch and dinner, daily.
- Jestine's Kitchen, 251 Meeting Street. Offers some of the best lowcountry food for the money. Very popular. It has been featured in many national food publications. A must have is the "table wine" (sweet tea), fried okra, and a slice of homemade pie (choose from over 10 kinds).
- La Fourchette, 432 King St. Small bistro with classic French cooking. Dinner only; closed Sundays.
- Virginia's on King, 412 King St.(at Hutson St.), ☎ 843.735.5800, . upscale lowcountry southern cuisine
- Charleston Grill, in the Charleston Place Hotel.
- Magnolia's, 185 East Bay St. Southern Infusion Cuisine.
- McCrady's, 2 Unity Alley, ☎ 843.577.0025, .
- Peninsula Grill, North Market Street.
- Robert's of Charleston, 182 East Bay St. Fine dining and entertainment, for a special celebration.
- Slightly North of Broad (SNOB), East Bay street (slightly north of Broad Street). The restaurant serves traditional southern cuisine, and its menu selection varies with the seasons.
Be sure to head to Isle of Palms (South Carolina) to eat breakfast at the Sea Biscuit. The place is quaint and while the lines are long, the food is delicious. Be sure to try the Crab Cakes Benedict or Caprese Omelet. Also good for breakfast in Mt. Pleasant is Charleston's Cafe. Downtown features Hominy Grill (also on Rachel Ray's "$40 a Day" and Joseph's [] . If you want a truly local experience for lunch stop by any of the Piggly Wiggly grocery locations and order a fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. Additionally, Workmen's Cafe  or JB's Smokeshack  are delightful for their Low Country cuisine as well as the friendly proprietors.
- Daily Dose off Folly Rd. at 1622 Highland Ave(843) 795-1010. For natural and organic foods.
- Earth Fare (2 Charleston locations), . The local choice for fresh, natural, organic grocery goods. Whole Foods Market can also be found.
- Sunflower Cafe, 2366 Ashley River Rd Charleston, SC 29414, ☎ (843) 571-1773, . This sunny new addition to West Ashley’s dining scene has a long, bright future ahead. The food is incredible. Service is sweet and sincere$10-$20.
Bars are not difficult to find in Charleston. For a cruise ship crowd and fruity, daiquiri-style drinks, try Wet Willies. Located on East Bay street, as well, is Tsunami, your place for an uptempo atmosphere and good sushi. For the college crowd try The Brick on East Bay Street or Johnson's. For a more sedate atmosphere and great microbrewed beer with dinner, try the South End Brewery, also located on East Bay Street. Henry's on N. Market St. has a lively 40's crowd and just around the corner at Meritage you'll find a great place for a late dinner and bottle of wine. The Blind Tiger (an old speakeasy from the Prohibition era) is a local's favorite, as is Burn's Alley Neighborhood Bar, which is tucked amongst all the college bars on King Street.
Mt Pleasant features Shem Creek and several bar and grills side by side. Red's Icehouse, RB's, and Vickery's are the most popular.
Open-pour bottles have recently been legalized in bars and restaurants, but many establishments will continue to use mini-bottles. This is important to remember, since your drinks may have an entire mini-bottle of each liquor in the recipe. Be careful when ordering.
Charleston is serviced by many local hotels and virtually all of the major U.S. hotel chains.
Expect to pay a premium for a room on Charleston's downtown peninsula, especially in the historic hotels. A vehicle is not needed to explore historic downtown Charleston.
- 1843 Battery Carriage House Inn, 20 S. Battery, 1-800-775-5575 (fax: +1 843 727-3130), . The historic bed and breakfast mansion is on The Battery Park overlooking Charleston Harbor. The inn is a wonderful location for long weekend getaways in South Carolina.
- Andrew Pinckney Inn, 40 Pinckney St., 1-800-505-8983, . The Andrew Pinckney Inn is widely considered Charleston's favorite boutique inn and is located one block off of historic Market Street. Room rates include; wireless internet access, continental breakfast, afternoon cookies, and all day lemonade and teas.
- Barksdale House Inn, 27 George Street, 1-888-577-4980, . Wonderfully close to the College of Charleston and the King Street shopping district, this quiet, low-key bed and breakfast offers privacy and comfort to its guests. Call for last-minute rates, and you may get a substantial discount, but don't count on that during busy times.
- Belvedere Bed and Breakfast, 40 Rutledge Avenue, 1-800-816-1664 (fax: +1 412-683-3934), . Convenient to all of Charleston's famous house museums, many fine restaurants, and antique shops. The area is famous for its beaches, golf courses, tennis facilities, Civil War forts, gardens and plantations.
- Charleston Place Hotel, 205 Meeting St., 1-800-611-5545, . The Charleston Place is downtown Charleston's finest full-service four-diamond hotel. The hotel offers the Michelin rated "Charleston Grill", the Spa at the Charleston Place, 24-hour room service, the Palmetto Cafe for breakfast and lunch, and the Thoroughbred Club. It is located in the heart of downown Charleston.
- Church Street Inn, 177 Church Street Charleston, SC, ☎ 843-722-3420, . checkin: 3 p.m.; checkout: 11 a.m.. Located at the corner of Church and Market Streets where Charleston's famed market area hums with activity, Church Street Inn and its plush rooms are elegantly designed in a style reminiscent of a time gone by. Charleston holds a magical place in history and the city's diverse character stems from three centuries of American-European-Caribbean traditions.$99 3 days/2 nights. (32.7809065,-79.929597)
- Charleston Doubletree Guest Suites Historic District Hotel, 181 Church Street, ☎ 843-577-2644, . Located in the Charleston Historic District, next to Charleston's City Market, on the Corner of Church and Market.
- Elliott House Inn, 78 Queen St., 1-800-729-1855, . This 3 Diamond, 25 room boutique inn, is a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of Historic downtown Charleston. Originally built as a private residence in 1861, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Elliott House offers old world charm coupled with new world amenities.
- Francis Marion Hotel, 387 King Street, ☎ 843-722-0600, . checkin: 4:00 pm; checkout: 12:00 pm. The Francis Marion Hotel, located in the heart of historic Charleston, South Carolina, was the largest and grandest in the Carolinas when it opened in 1924. Named for General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the American Revolution, the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston re-opened in 1996 after a $12 million National Trust award-winning restoration, and is once again Charleston's Grand Hotel. Guests at the Francis Marion Charleston Hotel can enjoy classic Southern cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Swamp Fox Restaurant and Bar, cocktails and jazz piano music in the Swamp Fox bar, and complete spa services at Spa Adagio. The Francis Marion Hotel also provides all the traditional services one expects from a grand hotel: a doorman and bell service, concierge, valet parking, room service, wireless internet services, business center, newsstand and gift shop and a well equipped fitness center.
- French Quarter Inn, 166 Church St., 1-866-812-1900, . The French Quarter Inn is a AAA 4 Diamond award winning hotel located on Market St. in the heart of the historic district. The superb location only serves as an accent to the hotel's luxurious accommodations and incredible amenities. 4 Diamond restaurant Tristan, , is located on property and provides room service.
- Hampton Inn Historic District, 345 Meeting St. (and John St.)[] Located across the street from the Visitor Center and all of the DASH trolleys. Features antebellum decor in a restored warehouse. Complimentary hot breakfast and high speed wireless internet connection.
- Harbourview Inn, 2 Vendue Range, 1-888-853-8439, . This 4 Diamond inn overlooks historic Charleston Harbor and offers complimentary to guests cookies and milk every evening, a wine and cheese reception, over-sized accommodations with historical interiors.
- King Charles Inn, 237 Meeting St., 1-866-546-4700, . Located on Historic Meeting St. the King Charles Inn has an incredible location for dining, shopping, and touring alike. This 3 Diamond hotel features an outdoor heated pool, wireless internet access, manager's reception, fitness center, and an affordable gourmet buffet breakfast.
- Mills House Hotel, 115 Meeting Street, . Close to downtown Charleston's most popular attractions. It is not a cheap lodging, but has the benefit of a good location, comfortable rooms, and attentive staff.
- Vendue Inn, Charleston, South Carolina, 19 Vendue Range,Charleston, SC 29401, ☎ Phone: 843-577-7970 Fax: 843-577-7346 Toll Free: 800-845-7900, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, . Official site of the Vendue Inn- Historic Charleston. Enjoy elegant, luxury accommodations, personalized service, and modern comforts and amenities at our boutique hotel in historic downtown Charleston, Sc. The Vendue Inn offers a rare blend of genteel warmth and luxury including daily Southern Breakfast, plus splendid lodging in Charleston, SC with fireplaces and marble whirlpool baths. Our Charleston Bed & Breakfast features two highly rated on-site restaurants and is pet friendly.
- Charleston's NotSo Hostel, 156 Spring Street, +1 843 722-8383, . Dorms beds at $19-21 per night, private rooms at $55-60 per night depending on season.
If a vehicle is accessible during the trip, one may want want to hop across the rivers to West Ashley or Mount Pleasant where hotels are less expensive. Both West Ashley and Mount Pleasant are less than a five to ten minute drive to the downtown peninsula.
- Best Western Sweetgrass Inn, 1540 Savannah Highway, 843-571-6100, . Located within 3 miles of Historic Charleston the Best Western Sweetgrass Inn is perfectly situated for a trip to Charleston. The hotel offers a complimentary continental breakfast, fitness room, and has the largest outdoor pool in the Charleston area. Major interstates, I526 and I26, are close by and provide quick access to all areas of Charleston.
- Hawthorn Suites Charleston, 2455 Savannah Highway, +1 843 225-4411, . Conveniently located just seven miles from Historic Downtown Charleston.
- Holiday Inn Hotels of Coastal South Carolina, . Holiday Inn Hotels offer FREE high-speed Internet access in all guestrooms, full-service restaurants and room service, sparkling pools, comfortable work space, and meeting rooms.
- Marriott Charleston. A high rise overlooking the Ashley River. Fresh, contemporary decor and an outdoor pool and whirlpool distinguish this hotel from many of the more historical in Charleston.
- Seaside Inn, 1004 Ocean Blvd., Isle of Palms, 1-888-999-6516, . This beachfront hotel on the Isle of Palms features a complimentary continental breakfast, wireless internet access, 2 large sundecks, outdoor pool, and beach access.
- Shem Creek Inn, 1401 Shrimp Boat Lane, Mt. Pleasant, 1-800-523-4951, . Breathtaking views of Shem Creek highlight this boutique hotel. Located within 4 miles of historic Charleston the Shem Creek Inn has a style and pace that is unmatched in the lowcountry. The hotel features an outdoor pool, complimentary continental breakfast, meeting rooms, restaurant, and wireless internet access. Sit back and watch life pass you by as the shrimp boats roll in.
Also less expensive are hotels in North Charleston, which is convenient for the Charleston Airport. the Coliseum, and the Convention Center.
- Embassy Suites Airport/Convention Center, 5055 International Blvd, +1 843 747-1882, . Perfect for both business and leisure.
- Marriott Courtyard Charleston Coliseum, 2415 Mall Drive I-26 and Montague , North Charleston, South Carolina 29406, ☎ 843-747-9122, . The Courtyard Charleston North is centrally located between Interstates 26 & 526, allowing for easy access to the Charleston Air Force Base and International Airport (CHS), which are located just three miles from the hotel. This North Charleston hotel is also conveniently located less than two miles from the Charleston Area Convention Center, Centre Pointe - home of Tanger Outlet Shopping Center, and ten minutes from the shopping, dining and entertainment attractions of historic downtown Charleston. This SC hotel offers a well designed room with amenities and services for comfort and convenience that ensure the start to a successful visit to the Charleston area. Courtyard Charleston North offers a hearty breakfast buffet with cooked-to-order eggs at the Courtyard cafe. This hotel offers complimentary high-speed WiFi throughout the lobby and meeting space, and hard-wired access in the guest rooms. The hotel also has 637 square feet of space to accommodate your next meeting, training, or social function.
- Staybridge Suites North Charleston, 2465 Prospect Dr.(North Charleston, SC 29418), ☎ 843-207-1115, . The newly built Staybridge Suites North Charleston offers a superb array of amenities and residential-style accommodations with full kitchens. At our all-suite hotel, enjoy free hot breakfast, indoor swimming pool, complimentary wi-fi, plus rides to Charleston International Airport and downtown Charleston on our courtesy shuttle.
- Suburban Extended Stay Airport Hotel, 7582 Stafford Road, North Charleston, 843-414-6800 , . The Suburban Extended Stay Airport is conveniently located off Interstate 26, just four miles from the Charleston International Airport. This new extended stay hotel has guest rooms that cater to all extended-stay guests and have great in-room amenities like coffee makers, curved shower rods, desks, voice mail and kitchens with refrigerators, microwaves and stovetops.
- Wingate by Wyndham – North Charleston, 5219 North Arco Lane, North Charleston, 843-308-9666, . North Charleston is a city thriving in character and is home to a friendly community ready to welcome you upon your visit to South Carolina. Rich in history and natural splendor, North Charleston possesses a number of exciting, family friendly attractions and unique historical locations. The Wingate by Wyndham North Charleston places you in the midst of all the city has to offer. Stay with us for a valuable South Carolina lodging experience in our comfortable guestrooms.
When departing Charleston, here are a few things to remember:
If you are driving, be aware of traffic cops. They are as sneaky as they are ruthless.
If a taxi to the airport is required, it must generally be arranged in advance. Expect at least a half-hour wait for a taxi to arrive. The hotel staff can help arrange for a taxi. Another option is to take a shuttle van from the airport - this may be cheaper. However, upon noting that one is leaving the city for the airport, transport will generally arrive with undue haste.
In the U.S., it is important to arrive at the airport at least one hour before the flight is scheduled to leave. This allows time for security screening.