ABOVE: Folly Beach Pier in Charleston, South Carolina, stretches more than 1,000 feeet into the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo: Holly Grance)
The city of Charleston, South Carolina, consistently is listed as a top 10 global city by Travel + Leisure magazine, and the area’s convention and visitors bureau touts it as having been voted the No. 1 city in the U.S. and Canada, as well.
Founded in 1670, this fascinating city is steeped in history. The city is ideal for a quick weekend getaway, and adventurers can have the best of urban exploits and nearby beach adventures.
Upon arrival, begin with a leisurely stroll along the north end of quaint King Street, stopping off for a fresh-brewed coffee at Revelator Coffee Co. If a pint of beer is more of your desire, nearby Pour Taproom boasts a beer festival daily. The city’s skyline is best viewed from one of many rooftop bars, including the swanky The Vendue, Charleston’s Art Hotel.
If you’re interested in learning history with a bespoke cocktail in hand, the walking Mixology Tour is a must on Fridays and Saturdays. This tour departs from Prohibition Charleston, which is worth a visit on its own for its speakeasy vibe and creative bartenders.
Also is known as “Holy City” because of its numerous steeples that soar toward the sky, Charleston has an earlier reputation for religious tolerance.
Continue walking along historic district’s King Street, and you’ll encounter plenty of shopping and amazing dining options for later. Sunday brunch is done to perfection at 492; and you can experience service from a host of charming Southern waiters during dinner at Halls Chophouse where the steak is a choice you won’t regret.
The city — named after Charles II, the monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland — was a hub of trading on the Atlantic Ocean and remains a lively port city today. Its nearby historic marketplace, the Charleston City Market, was founded in 1804, and it continues to be a bustling destination with both day and night markets. Highlights include Southern gifts, snacks at locals’ favorite Callie’s Biscuits and custom canine collars at Pedro and Chi Chi.
After walking through the heart of the historic district, retreat for Southern hospitality at the Market Pavilion Hotel where you can enjoy a cocktail or rest in your luxurious guest room before dinner.
Your second weekend day begins with a daytrip to Folly Beach, which is located 25 minutes south of Chucktown — as those who live there or once lived there lovingly refer to it. If you find Charleston charming, you’ll discover that Folly Beach is laid back, with its famous pier, beautiful beaches and chill restaurants.
But if the beach isn’t your scene, another day in Charleston at Earthling Day Spa and Pilates Studio is heavenly. Its essential facial is basic, yet extremely reinvigorating. Enjoying a relaxing walk down Rainbow Row and the waterfront is the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon.
For history buffs, Charleston’s many tours and landmarks could take more than an entire weekend. A horse-drawn tour from Old South Carriage Co. offers an informative introduction to several routes within the old town, and its Belgian and Percheron draft horses are rotated regularly between a well-kept stable and the nearby Sugah Cain Plantation.
And, for those interested in both history and the paranormal, the Haunted Jail Tour is both incredibly interesting and thrilling.
With is subtropic climate, deep Southern charm, history and plentiful activities that will enthrall any visitor, Charleston is truly worth a weekend stay.