A seaside city with historic architecture, famous for its gourmet dining, a Charleston honeymoon offers couples a charming getaway. CNN Traveler voted it “the world’s most romantic place”, and we’re quite sure that the quaint streets with colorful, elegant houses, jasmine-covered verandas, wrought iron lampposts, gardens and old churches and cemeteries had something to do with it. Along with gourmet dining, beaches, and some of the finest shopping experiences in the US.
You’ll find that Charleston’s graceful downtown and oak trees draped with Spanish moss set the stage for a relaxed, romantic stay with plenty to see and do. Take a walking tour or even better, a carriage ride to discover the historic downtown area, go kayaking in the ocean, and picnic on Folly Beach with a lighthouse in the distance.
From the Declaration of Independence to the Civil War, Charleston has played in an important part in US history. It’s also tied in with the history of slavery, and the reminders of this period scattered around the city also remind us of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go.
The city’s elegant facades hold boutiques and stores that make it a shoppers’ paradise. Charleston has always been a foodie destination with gourmet dining, and now has embraced the farm to table trend. It’s also a good place to get a taste of Lowcountry cooking, with its English and African influences and seafood soups and stews.
Charleston hotels and B&Bs are unique, charming and hospitable, and you may have to force yourselves to step out of their enchantment every morning. Boutique hotels, converted mansions and beach cottages all have their own unique features. They all come with a guarantee of Southern hospitality, which is genuine and unfeigned and wraps your days in generosity and comfort.
At a Glance
- Charleston was founded in 1670, at the place where three rivers join the Atlantic. Its location on the Atlantic coast has shaped its history.
- The Downtown area, ualso called The Peninsula, is where most historic buildings and attractions are located.
- A walk through the historic French Quarter in the downtown area is a good way to take in the architecture and ambience of the city.
- Charleston has a number of museums, historic houses, churches and centuries where you can learn about the city’s history and culture. The Battery is an important Civil War site, as is Fort Sumter, some distance from the city.
- King Street in Charleston is recognized as one of the best shopping experiences in the US.
- The best way to explore the neighboring Lowcountry is by kayak. Paddling along the marshlands and waterways, you’ll see plenty of birds and maybe sea turtles.
- Spend a day at the beach. Folly Beach is one of the city’s favorite spots to watch the sunset. The Morris Island Lighthouse Preserve at one end of the beach has a picturesque lighthouse,
- Make a trip to Kiawah Island, just 25 miles away. You’ll find nature reserves that are home to sea turtles and bobcats, ten miles of unspoiled beach, and tennis and golf in beautiful surroundings.
- Accommodations can include boutique hotels, converted mansions, elegant townhouses, and B&Bs. For greater privacy and flexibility, you could pick a cottage or rental on the beach.
- Dining options include everything from French and classic cuisines to beachside clam shacks, all with delicious seafood and recipes influenced by southern cooking on the menu.
- Take a carriage ride through the elegant downtown with pastel colored antebellum homes.
- Make a trip out to Johns Island see the Angel Oak tree. It’s believed to be between 400 and 500 years old, which makes it the oldest living oak tree in the US.
- Nothing says romance and freedom like a sailing trip, especially on a tall ship. There are daytime or moonlight cruises, and also special cruises to watch the dolphins, pelicans and gulls.
- Enjoy a romantic dinner for two at an old mansion or one of the gourmet restaurants in the city.
- GETTING THERE:Charleston International Airport is connected to a large number of domestic destinations. The city is also served by long-distance bus and rail services, and you can get rental cars to explore the area.
- GETTING AROUND: The downtown area is very walkable, with most attractions within easy distance of each other. If you want to explore further beyond the city, you will need a rental car.
- WEATHER: The weather is mild and pleasant in the spring and fall, but summers are hot.
- WHEN TO GO: The best to visit is between February and June, though it can get crowded in April because of visitors arriving to see the magnolia blossoms.