Last weekend Ry and I took a much-needed three day getaway to Charleston! The weather was in the 80s and 90s, making it the perfect late spring getaway- we went to the beaches during the day and explored Charleston in the evening. In case you missed it, you can see what we did on my Instagram under the “Charleston” highlight!
It’s a four and a half hour drive from Atlanta- we drove up early Friday morning and left Sunday afternoon. To be honest, we both admitted on the way home that we should’ve made the trip longer- with the long drive and so much to do in Charleston, our trip went by too fast! I recommend going for at least four days if you’re driving from ATL.
If you visit, I recommend booking your restaurant reservations very early. We planned a bit of the weekend before as it’s hard to get a reservation earlier than three weeks out, but we ended up canceling all of our reservations to go with the recommendations that so many readers sent me on Instagram, haha! Y’all were amazing- thank you so much! We lucked out with last-minute seating and we ate at 8PM every night, but there were a few restaurants we weren’t able to try because everything books so fast. Also keep in mind that many restaurants are closed on Sunday’s (this is the South, after all!).
As you plan your trip, be prepared for one thing- Charleston is expensive. Meals were about $50 per person, and drinks were over $15. Our hotel was also very pricey- we drove up Friday morning, rather than Thursday night, just to save some $$! One way we saved money was picking a hotel with breakfast and coffee included (I always do this when I travel!) and going to the beach Saturday and Sunday with sandwiches and snacks from the grocery store for lunch!
Along with being expensive, Charleston is also pretty fancy- people dress up! I love visiting for that reason- think classy, resort-wear outfits with a touch of color, usually Lilly Pulitzer for women. Most restaurants have business casual dress codes, and I never saw a guy without a collar walking around town. However, I wouldn’t recommend heels for women if you are doing a lot of walking- most people had on stylish sandals as a few streets are cobblestone! I wore my Tory Burch Millers all weekend, and white sneakers with my dress for our more casual dinner at Hayman’s.
We stayed at the Meeting Street Inn, which we booked from Booking.com (not an ad, just a big fan!). It was the perfect hotel, located right in the center of historic Charleston- perfect for not worrying about driving and
dropping off many shopping bags freshening up. Another plus was that they even had lemonade and ice water in the lobby at all times which was great for walking through town in 90 degrees.
Above all, it was so cute -the outdoor area was gorgeous for sipping cocktails and coffee during their daily breakfast and cocktail hours, and they also had a hot tub tub that we enjoyed before our late night ghost tour!
Charleston food was amazing- I wish we had stayed longer to try more spots! Here are the restaurants we tried:
- The Watch Rooftop: Get the truffle fries and go for amazing views of the city. I would bring a hair tie for sitting outdoors- you can see what the roof did to my hair in our picture of Rainbow Row, haha!
- Hyman’s Seafood: This spot is touristy, but so so good. Everything is fried and comes with butter- don’t expect a light meal here. They even hand out hush puppies on the street!
- Poogans porch: This haunted and historic restaurant is highly rated for Southern, upscale fare- get the fried porkchop.
Other restaurant recommendations from all of you!:
- Fleet’s Landing
- Paige’s Okra Grill
- The Wreck (FYI right now they are dinner only- the hours listed online are incorrect!)
- 82 Queen Restaurant
- The Library Restaurant
- Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit (there is one of these in ATL, also!)
- Brown Dog Deli
- Babas on Cannon
- 167 Raw
- Wild Olive Restaurant
- Xiao Bao Biscui
Charleston is a gorgeous city filled with so much history- there is so much to see and do! We did the items below, but our favorite part of exploring was simply walking through the historic neighborhoods and looking at the gorgeous homes! Spring was lovely to see- there were so many hydrangeas and beautiful gardens. I would recommend looking up more things to do in the area than just the below, as we spent two days at the beach.
- Shop on King Street: This is the main street through Historic Charleston, filled with a ton of amazing shops! Note that the shops close early, around 6 PM.
- Go on a ghost tour: Our ghost tour was so fun, and a great way to learn the history of the city! I recommend going to a tourism office (there are many by City Market) to get a discount before you book.
- Charleston City Market: City Market is iconic and perfect for a walk through- it’s a bit of a tourist trap but worth seeing (I personally wouldn’t buy anything there).
- Rainbow Row: Rainbow Row is a collection of houses in pastel hues by Battery Park- it’s so cute to see, although I would make your stop quick, and go a few blocks back away from the water to see the really gorgeous homes!
- Battery Park: Battery Park is a waterfront park along the water- there’s not much there (skip it and go to the fountain by Rainbow Row if you’re in a rush), but the walk there is a gorgeous neighborhood.
Sips & Sweets
- Off track Ice Cream: so, so good! They also have vegan options.
- Boozy popsicles: Charleston is not an open container city (bummer), but a recent loophole in their laws has allowed boozy popsicles! There are little trucks all over town- I personally didn’t like mine as it was wayy too strong, but they are fun!
Charleston is surrounded by several islands with beaches- it’s the perfect way to relax for the weekend during the day, and I personally didn’t want to walk through Charleston in 90+ degrees, haha! We visited two beaches: Isle of Palms and Sullivan Island. Both are about a half hour away, but very different- I’m glad we visited both.
If you go to the beach, aim to get there by 10:15 AM to get a good parking spot- it gets crowded quickly, even before Memorial Day. I would also bring a first aid kit/ something for jellyfish stings- there were nasty, giant looking jellyfish every six feet! It might have been a seasonal thing, but it made me anxious to get in the water without anything to be prepared for a sting after seeing jellyfish the size of my two fists everywhere. Thank goodness we didn’t get stung, haha!
Isle of Palms is slightly further than Charleston, and has a public beach with paid parking with showers, bathrooms, lifeguards, and even two snack trucks. There is a cute town (we didn’t explore as much but I wish we had time to!), although the beach was a little small and crowded, especially as the tide came in. If bathrooms are important to you, though, it’s a no brainer to pick Isle Palms- it was totally worth the $15 parking.
Sullivan’s Island, on the other hand, was extremely remote. I liked the beach there so much better- it was incredibly wide and was much, much less crowded! It was the type of beach where you felt like you were on the edge of the world- empty, large, and with beautiful dunes. The beachcombing was better, too- we found two sand dollars! 🙂 However, there are no bathrooms (that we found!), and parking is street parking, which is free but could be tough on busier weekends.
If you visit Charleston, I hope you have a wonderful trip! We can’t wait to go back.