This week one of my favorite towns, Charleston, SC was chosen by Travel and Leisure as the best city in the world! I couldn't agree more! I have been to many well known and visited towns as well as many not so well known towns and yet there are still none that come close to being as magical and heart stealing as this Low Country hub. From that first visit in high school to our annual friends vacation to just random weekend ventures, it just wins every time!
So, what do I (and obviously many others) love so much about this town?
Let's look at just a couple of obvious heart stealers!
What's NOT to love about the Low Country?
1. Southern Hospitality
One of the top things to love about the Low Country charm, that you feel immediately when heading down those cobblestone streets of Charleston, is it's welcoming personality. The South is notorious for its friendly inhabitants. This is particularly true when it comes to encounters in the Low Country. Most locals you meet are not only willing to help and greet but are more than eager to discuss their historical and present gems. With Charleston being a town engulfed by Military, Academia, Entrepreneurs, Art, Food, Music, History, etc., there's really nothing for people to not be friendly and charming about! This town has the best of everything! With that being said, Charleston is also very proud and very serious about keeping it's southern charm and historical mannerisms. Don't mess with them or try to change them! Embrace them! It's the Low Country way!
2. Historically Rich
One of the soul reasons why people visit the Charleston area is to engulf themselves in the vast history surrounding all of the many buildings, plantations, streets and monuments. Every step you take in Charleston is most likely seeped in some type of history. Just ask! Or, take one of the many tours.
For those wanting to step into some history, visit:
1. The Charleston Museum
2. Fort Sumter - starting place of the Civil War
3. Heyward-Washington House
4. Charleston's Finest Historic Tours
5. The Charleston City Market
6. Fort Moultrie
7. Morris Island Lighthouse
8. The College of Charleston
9. The Old Exchange
10. The South Carolina Historical Society
3. Plants and Wildlife
if you're looking for natural beauty then look no further. Charleston is home to beautiful Palmetto trees (the state tree), as well as sweeping Live Oaks, Spanish Moss, and so much more. Charleston is rich with open space parks and plantations for visitors to soak in the natural landscape and beauty. The nature of the lowcountry can also be experienced just by walking down the many streets of Charleston or taking a drive through the roads of Johns Island, James Island or heading over to Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island.
4. The Waterfront Location
Let's be very honest. One of the main Charleston attractions is of course the downtown scene. With its vibrant night life, family friendly daytimes, shopping, food, parks, the list could really go on but another main appeal to visitors and locals alike is the waterfront access. From relaxing on the beach to grabbing a bite to eat at one of the waterfront restaurants, Charleston has a rich vibe that is accented by it's laid back coastal vibe.
Charleston houses five beaches:
1. Folly Beach - This is a public beach just outside of the heart of the city. While you can rent houses or just swing by for the day, remember that you will be joining many other visitors trying to make their way down the two lane road to soak up some of the salt air. Folly Beach has also attracted many permanent residents over the years who like to be near the downtown scene but would prefer to smell that salt air when they return home. This is the perfect beach for a day of salt and sand.
2 & 3 . Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island - Both private residential communities are home to miles of untouched beach and wildlife. Twenty Miles off the tip of downtown Charleston, these communities are enriched with fine dining, exceptional residential rental choices and of course outdoor activities to entertain everyone in the family. Many recognize Kiawah Island for it's well known golf courses, one in particular which is an occasional host to the US Open. However, both Seabrook and Kiawah, while known for exceptional golf, are family friendly and have activities for everyone including bike rentals, kayaking, fishing, shopping and, of course, dining.
4. Isle of Palms - While Isle of Palms is not a private residential community, only accessible by gate entrance, such as Kiawah and Seabrook, it is more well known for its large, beach front rental homes consistently occupied by families and groups. It is easily accessible from Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island and occupies well known dining locations as well as golf courses and shopping.
5. Sullivan's Islands: While Sullivan's Island may not be a typical beach day, it certainly lacks no charm with it's enriched history and village feel. Sitting at the tip of the Charleston Harbor, Sullivan's Island gives a breathtaking glimpse to Fort Sumter and The Battery off of downtown Charleston. Within walking distance to Fort Moultrie, as well as quiet seaside residential areas. Sullivan's is ideal for that morning breakfast picnic, family outings, or evening fishing. It also has an ideal little village filled with restaurants and shopping just outside of the hustle and bustle of Downtown Charleston.
5. Dine & Wine
One thing that Charleston certainly does not lack is a good place to eat or grab a quick, or not so quick drink. Every corner, whether in downtown, Sullivan's, Johns Island, Mount Pleasant, etc. seems to house some of the best known and frequented restaurants in the South.
Some of our personal favorites when visiting include:
1. Sweetwater Cafe' (Breakfast)
2. Hymans Seafood (It's worth the other tourists)
3. Wild Olive (John's Island - Make a reservation - BEST Pasta)
4. Red's (There are two locations, however we tend to go to Bohicket)
5. Five Loaves Cafe'
6. Hominy Grill (Brunch)
8. Fat Hen (Johns Island)
9. The Macintosh
10. Toast (Get the Cake)
The Battery, the houses, the buildings. Everything from the historic Market downtown to the Magnolia plantation on James Island is a beauty to the eye and traced with rich historical architecture. One of our favorite things to do when visiting Charleston is to simply drive, or walk around and view the homes and buildings. When you are in downtown, don't be shy to wander down some of the old streets that connect Battery Park to the hub of the center. We love to start at the Market and make our way to The Battery. This route takes you down some gorgeous cobblestone streets while allowing you to pass by some of the most beautiful homes and buildings of America's past. There is simply no better way to get a hint of history and uniqueness than from Charleston's Architecture.
Yes! While it may be true that Charleston brings in visitors from all over the world with it's architecture, food, and seaside accommodations, it is also has a way of appealing to those who like activity. Charleston is home to numerous music venues, sporting events, and festivals of all sorts. It is not abnormal to plan a trip there for the weekend and find yourself surrounded by a street festival or music event. There is simply never a dull moment in this Low Country town.
Events to be on the lookout for this year:
Taste of Charleston (September)
Fall Homes and Gardens Tour (October)
Charleston International Film Festival (November)
Charleston Food and Wine Festival (March)
Cooper River Bridge Run (April)
Charleston Fashion Week
Charleston Jazz Festival
Holiday Festival of Lights & Craft Show
Low country Splash
Wine and Beer Festival
What a special, unforgettable time in the Low Country!
Charleston is known around the US for hosting one of the most breathtaking atmospheres during the Christmas season. The people of Chucktown certainly do not let the surrounding palm trees and lack of snow stop them from getting in the spirit. Christmas time in Charleston is a must, from the decorated homes of downtown to the festivals and celebrations throughout the area it is truly a magical (and highly recommended!) time to take a trip to the South's most beloved town.
I know what you're probably thinking! We're talking about Charleston here, not Harvard or Princeton. Well, in fact, Charleston has a reputation for being home to many prestigious and well known Colleges and Universities. A list of known secondary facilities include:
1. The College of Charleston
2. The Citadel
3. Charleston Southern
4. Medical College
5. The Art Institute
When discussing the Low Country it is essential not to forget a very important ingredient that adds to the mix for the perfect batter. Many people come to this town in the heart of the South for one important factor, and that is to shop until they drop! Charleston not only houses some of the best known styles and brands in the business, but is accredited for being one of the FIRST to house many well known styles and brands. It is well known that Charleston boutiques and fashionistas are more than willing to branch out and take a chance on up and comers in the industry.
Just head over to King Street while visiting and you'll know what I mean! There you can find well known brands and styles, some of the top names in the business, as well as some not so familiar names that you may find yourself wanting to know a little better.
With this magical list (that doesn't even cover it all), it's no wonder Charleston, SC, The heart of the LowCountry was just named
The Best City in the World!
We are the Bests! Jo and Mo. Founders of BestCapturedTravel.
We have been immensely blessed with many opportunities to see various parts of the world. We live an average, working life in Cambridge, MA but through our many opportunities have developed a passion to see the world. Our goal is to share with other desiring travelers different tips and experiences from around the world as we begin to check them off our bucket list. If anything, we hope to provide a little sense of motivation and adventure to those wishing to embark on their own journey!
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