Charleston: 48 Hour Itinerary

Photo credit: Hunky Punk via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

After sharing all that there is to do in Charleston this month, I decided to break it down for you. The following is a list of what I would ideally do if I had 48 hours in Charleston (and I didn't want to spend it doing new things!). This list contains the best of the best. :)

Day 1–

Check in to the Hampton Inn Historic District. I've had my ups and downs with this hotel, but overall it is a great hotel within walking distance of downtown. You will have to pay for parking, but the Charleston public transportation bus stops right in front of the hotel. No need to fight traffic or find parking spots.

After checking in, take a walk, for pre-dinner drinks, to the Market Pavilion Hotel Rooftop Bar. The views from up top are amazing! The drinks are on the expensive side, but it's a fun experience none-the-less.

Because you made reservations 28 days in advance *hint, hint*, head over to FIG (Food is Good) and enjoy a full-bodied merlot paired with some melt-in-your-mouth ricotta gnocchi. Like the Market Place Rooftop Bar, FIG is also on the expensive side, but the food is so decadent and delicious that you won't regret a stop here, even if your budget disagrees.

For dessert, head on over to Peninsula Grill and take an appetite. (Or a few friends.) Order one piece of Coconut Cake to take to go. (They don't seat you unless you are having dinner and/or have reservations.) Feel free to eat your cake inside the Hampton Inn's large lobby where you can pair it with free hotel coffee before calling it a night. What a great way to end your first day in Charleston! Yum!

Photo credit: SC Maritime via VisualHunt / CC BY

Day 2–

After waking up early to beat the crowds (locals, at least), head to the Marina Variety Store & Restaurant to get a delicious southern breakfast served with a view of the marina. There you will find odd seafood breakfast dishes (fish in omelets?) as well as Southern favorites (like fried green tomatoes and grits).

With breakfast over, it's time to head out to Isle of Palms Beach. Crowds typically begin picking up around 10am, so you will want to get across the Grace Memorial Bridge before then. Also, it's best to walk the beach in the early morning before the sun is at it's highest point.

For lunch, consider grabbing a spot on the deck of Coconut Joe's where you can eat fried food including seafood and drink frozen drinks. This is a great place to take in all the sights and sounds of the beach: from the sound of the ocean surf to the hot summer sun.

At this point I recommend cleaning up at your hotel. Put on nice/comfortable beach formal wear (whatever that means to you – a summer dress + flip flops is what I would do) before heading to the Charleston Aquarium. I typically am not one to recommend aquariums (Atlanta's is suppose to be the biggest in the southeast US), but Charleston did their aquarium right! It's located right next to the Cooper River and provides opportunities to touch a variety of sea critters, learn about how the aquarium cares for sea turtles, and view numerous shows as staff teach guests about the beautiful world found within water. Kids even have an opportunity to trade seashells for trinkets and treats! The staff at Charleston Aquarium is very knowledgeable and the location right next to the river makes for a fantastic afternoon visit.

Obviously, you can't return home without spending a bit of time shopping on King Street. Think of it as a mall. On a street. But, if that doesn't pique your interest, consider that the majority of the stores were built out of old building renovated for their use. It almost creates a magical experience that you won't find at any mall anywhere else (that I know of)! Along King Street, you will also find local vendors selling everything from clothes to honey. It's really a fun experience to have at least once in your life. :)

Dinner at SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) is a must. And if you can't make it for dinner, consider going here for lunch instead. My favorite is the veggie plate where they take vegetables from all of the other dishes they are serving that night and put it on one plate – for you! In the past I've had eggplant, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, grits, asparagus, French style green beans, and mushrooms on my plate. Every bit was delicious even the vegetables I don't typically like or eat! Salads and meat plates are also good there. I also highly recommend getting the Sprecher's root beer; it is so good! (Or you can get wine if you are more classy than me!)

For a beautiful view of sunset, head out to Bowen's Island Restaurant. But get there at least an hour before! They get packed! The line for food can take an hour or more to get through if you don't time your visit just right. Even if you just ate at SNOB, if you are a seafood fan grab yourself a plateful of raw or fried oysters. If you aren't into seafood (like me), try out the key lime pie. It may not be the best key lime pie out there, but the sunset definitely adds to the flavor!

Photo credit: j.s. clark via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Day 3–

Toast! provides a scrumptious breakfast, but doesn't take reservations. As with the Marina Variety Store, you will want to arrive early. Once there, be sure to pair the mimosa carafe with whatever breakfast you choose. It's a great deal at a great price! But you won't want to drive anywhere afterward… unless you are sharing your carafe with more than your significant other (or you are used to drinking heavily!). This is why I recommend walking off that mimosa at…

the City Market, Waterfront Park, Rainbow Row, The Battery, and White Point Gardens. Get all of your touristy sights in on one go. These places are all close enough to one another to be able to easily walk from one to the other to the other without missing a beat.

If you are a church-goer, you may want to consider taking in a mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist somewhere in there.

Finally, grab a wood-fired pizza from Blossom. It is so tasty and the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend away!

Hope you enjoyed my 48 hour taste of Charleston experience! And my whole month of blog posts related to one of my favorite cities! So… when are you going? ;-)

If you've been to Charleston, South Carolina before, what has been your favorite thing to do there? If you haven't been, what stands out most to you? What would you like to do there?

Suitcases and Sandcastles

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