Charleston is the perfect place to go for all occasions: a girls trip, romantic getaway, special occasions or just a weekend to explore and decompress. Between its charming pastel buildings, picturesque flowers, refreshing off-the-water breeze and walkability, Charleston is the perfect little city. It's one of Ashley's most favorite places in the U.S. to visit, and Lauren grew up spending time in Charleston with her family and is planning to be married on the Charleston riverfront in September 2017!
Taking a trip to Charleston, or looking for something to do next time you're in town? We hope our very first GGG Travel Guide helps you begin to navigate your visit!
Places to Stay
For a charming local feel, we love AirBnB. We especially love to use it in Charleston because there are so many college students gone in the summer and thus plenty of places to rent for a great deal! Ashley recently stayed at the Notso hostel on AirBnB and it was within walking distance to everything!
Looking for something with more certainty, or trying to rack up those hotel points? Check out the Doubletree Charleston Historic District or the Belmond Charleston Place. Lauren loved both of these locations as options for her Charleston wedding. Ultimately, she and Connor chose the Historic Rice Mill, but these hotels are absolutely worth a look for a weekend stay because of their great location and beautiful charm. In the end, almost every hotel chain can be found right in the heart of the Charleston action!
Charleston is a very walkable city (at least compared to our Dallas and Atlanta homes!). If you plan to just spend the weekend, we would not recommend renting a car as everything is a short Uber or taxi drive from the airport. If you plan to go to one of the local beaches or islands (Kiawah or Sullivan’s Island), you will want a car as they are a little over 15-20 minutes away and it might be an expensive Uber ride to get there.
Oh, the food....
Guuuuuurl, don't even get us started.
The Charleston food scene is next level Southern hospitality. There are so many great restaurants. Seriously... you'll enjoy every bite of food from the 5-star restaurants to the little grab-and-go places.
Hot Little Biscuit: This is Ashley's favorite. Every time we are together, she raves about it, and I'm left drooling (thanks, girl, love ya!). Get the breakfast biscuit special - it’s AH-mazing! HLB actually opened in Atlanta recently, and I (Lauren) had no idea. Cannot wait to try it out in Virginia Highlands soon!
Magnolias: A Charleston classic. Try the smoked turkey sandwich.
The Co-Op on Sullivan's Island: Have to give this cute shop a shout out as it was originally started by Lauren's cousin! This is a great place to swing by for grab-n-go lunch before biking around the island.
Poe's On Sullivan's: Another classic if you are in this area of town. In fact, any of the restaurants will have great food and each lends itself to a different vibe.
Caviar and Banana's - Gourmet Market & Cafe: I stumbled upon this adorable market when in Charleston a few years ago. We were looking for some healthier options and it was open early on a weekend morning (without the long wait to be seated), which was perfect for us! This spot is also near the C of C campus and a local favorite.
Peninsula Grill: Their "Lobster 3 Ways" appetizer is a must try AND there is a banana panna cotta is not to be missed. It is the highest, fluffiest panna cotta with the best flavor and it is inside a melty rich chocolate shell with thin spun caramel strands and bananas on top. It is rich, refreshing and a must have if you are in Charleston. Every bite was amazing. Sorry, hungry now? ;-)
Jeni’s Ice Cream: This lovely local ice cream shop also has a location in Atlanta, so when we heard that they had a spot in Charleston, we couldn't resist. They've got quirky yet delicious flavors. Try a scoop of their lavender flavor if you're feeling something different!
Things Not to be Missed
There is such diversity in Charleston, but for the grit gal who needs suggestions, we have a few. Whether your trying to get your tourist on, or want something quintessential to the town without the fanny packs and selfie stick, these will get you started.
Sunset Boat Sail: Drinks and dinner are served on board on these sunset cruises and it's a great way to see the coastline, get on the water and take in the views of the harbor.
Antebellum Mansion Carriage Ride: There is no better way to see the beautiful houses south of Broad. The carriage drivers are knowledgeable and it is a very relaxing tour. Ashley has used the Old South Carriage Company and they were great!
Old City Market: For that tourist-y bucket list item, check out the Old City Market. They sell all sorts of handmade crafts and will give you a sense of the Charleston traditions and history of the city. Ashley's favorite was the sweet grass baskets, flowers and the homemade lemonade. Lauren and Connor walked away with one of the hottest hot sauces EVER... home made in Charleston, of course!
Have you been to Charleston? What are your favorites?! Check back throughout the year to see Lauren's Charleston wedding unfold!!