Options are many when it comes to showing your friends and family the sights and sounds of Charleston. Within a mere 15 minutes, you can go from beach to city to country. The Holy City is steeped in early American history, has an impressive arts, culture and nature scenes, and there’s no end of fun and fine places to eat!
Sullivan’s Island sits on the coast of Mount Pleasant and is an outstanding place to entertain your guests and show Charleston off to family and friends. Its small size belies all there is to do. Walking along the beach collecting shells, photography and kiteboarding are but a few of the activities you will find here. Your guests may also enjoy exploring Fort Moultrie, where early American soldiers gave the state it’s namesake by defending the shores amongst a base fortified by palmetto trees (which was a soft wood that reflected cannonballs fired by the British, instead of absorbing them). One of the only air conditioned buildings made during WW2 exists here as well, for that special history buff amongst your group.
From Sullivan’s Island, you can roll across the Ravenel Bridge to explore King Street downtown, one of the oldest streets in the U.S. Here you’ll find unique shops and the restaurants that define southern food and hospitality. Coleslaw, fried chicken, burgers, deep fried fish, biscuits, grits; you will find it all nearby.
Head to Market Street on the weekends and you’ll see what local artisans produce, along with more great food from the soul and Lowcountry traditions. If you’re lucky, you may get to see Second Sunday! This is when King Street gets blocked off from Calhoun to Market Streets and pedestrians flood the streets to check out local shops or get great eats out on King Street!
If you want go ahead and make your way to Waterfront Park; one of Charleston’s most visited sites, especially in the summer. It boasts a pineapple-shaped fountain that children find irresistible, as well as there are dedicated gardens and sweeping views of the water and Charleston Harbor.
Beyond food, you can take your visitors on haunted house tours (a real kid pleaser, whether it’s the Old City Jail or the Provost Exchange), or make a visit to actual plantations like McLeod Plantation Historic Site or Boone Hall Plantation (which is still a working plantation). Middleton Place is an early rice plantation that also has one of the first private gardens in the country.
Charleston Navy Base and Naval Shipyard became the North Charleston Riverfront Park in 1996. This park is now open year-round as well. It has sheltered picnic areas, cooling fountains for children during the summer and sits on the Cooper River.
For Less Than Perfect Weather
You can explore the past even deeper by visiting the Gullah Geechee Corridor, which runs from Jacksonville, FL to Wilmington, NC. The National Park Service recognizes this corridor and the communities along it celebrate the gullah geechee in organized festivals throughout the year.
If you don’t want to stray far from home, check out Charleston’s Museum Mile. The mile includes four parks, six museums, five historic homes and the historic city hall and market. You’ll find a wide range of Charleston history at The Charleston Museum, including civilian and military.
Just because these are museums doesn’t mean that your children will be bored. Be sure to visit the Children’s Museum of the Low Country and let them play on a pirate ship, explore the medieval castle and spend time inside an art room!
The Spoleto Festival USA is an internationally known arts festival that starts around Memorial Day and runs for the first two weeks in June. Numerous opera, music, dance and theater performances are held at various venues throughout the area during this event.
If you still want to lounge around on a lazy day, considering gathering your group to go to the Cinebarre theater in Mount Pleasant. This theater distinguishes itself by offering casual eating, light alcoholic beverages and big-screen movie watching simultaneously. Furthermore, anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult; so you wont find yourself being bugged by pesky teenagers!
If you’re finding yourself in love with Charleston, let’s talk about whats available today!