Friday Five: 5 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Charleston

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Happy Friday, friends! I hope you’ve had a great week! If I’m being honest, mine was a bit rough. I was exhausted after last weekend (we participated in the Dragon Boat Races), and then I had my very first Turtle Patrol of the year on Monday, so I had to adjust to a new sleep schedule this week.

I want to talk to y’all about a topic I’ve been thinking about lately:

Pros & Cons of Living in Charleston That You Should Know BEFORE Moving Here.

I started thinking about this a few weeks ago, actually. A lot of people comment on my photos of Charleston and talk about how amazing it must be to live here. Don’t get me wrong; it is amazing, but, like any place, Charleston has it downsides. I wanted to share 5 Things You Should Know Before Moving Here—the Pros & Cons.

Let’s begin with Cons:

  1. Charleston Traffic is ROUGH. Seriously, y’all. Charleston has only a few main highways that connect all the different parts of the city to each other. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is connected by bridges. During rush hour traffic, an accident or disabled vehicle on any of those bridges can back traffic up for miles and hours.
  2. The Cost of Living is High. Everything here is expensive—housing to insurance (because SC drivers aren’t the best) to groceries. Sales tax in Charleston County (where we live) is 9%, and that shocks a lot of people who are visiting. Housing is especially expensive, whether you’re renting or buying. Our rent actually increased last year, but we deal with it because we live in a great location.
  3. We’ve Got Bugs. I know a lot of places have issues with bugs, but in the Lowcountry, we share space with gnats, no-see’ums, and (worst of all) Palmetto Bugs. If you didn’t know, Palmetto Bugs are basically giant cockroaches… who fly. When I first moved here, I found one in my apartment. When I tried to kill it, the  bug flew STRAIGHT AT ME. I screamed and fell backwards… through my glass-top coffee table. It shattered into thousands of pieces. Once I finished picking glass out of my backside, I found that bug and killed him. Violently. What I’m trying to say is that bugs are really an annoyance in the coastal area, and you should be prepared to keep bug spray nearby at all times.
  4. Charleston Is One of the Top Tourist Attractions in the World. Almost every single travel and tourism magazine and website ranks Charleston in the top ten or fifteen cities to visit in the world, which means that thousands (maybe millions) of people flock here every year, especially during the summer. Your favorite restaurants suddenly have two-hour waits for a table during brunch, and finding a parking spot at the beach is nearly impossible. Tourists are literally everywhere during the summer.
  5. Hurricanes. In the three years Ryan and I have lived here, we’ve been lucky enough to escape any major damage (or even power loss) from a hurricane; however, we’ve had two mandatory evacuations and ridden out several hurricanes and tropical storms. We know how lucky we have been, and we also know that Charleston could easily be in the path of a storm any year now.

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You’re probably wondering why, now that you know all of those “cons” about living in Charleston, we choose to live here. Why do we love it? Why do we pay high rent? Why do we deal with the traffic?  The simple truth is that the good far outweighs the bad. Let me explain by  sharing 5 MORE Things You Should Know Before Moving to Charleston:

  1. The Food is AH-mazing! If you’re a foodie, Charleston is the city for you! We have something for everyone—from shrimp ‘n grits, delicious burgers, and decadent desserts. You could probably eat a different restaurant every night of the week for three-to-six months and not try all that Charleston has to offer.
  2. We Have Easy Access To Great Beaches. Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, Kiawah… you get what I’m saying. Charleston is surrounded by some of the prettiest beaches on the East Coast, and depending on where you choose to live, you might be only mere minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean. We live fifteen minutes from Sullivan’s Island and twenty from Isle of Palms. If you’re anything like me and love the beach, this is a definite selling point.
  3. Culture, Culture, Culture. Charleston has a rich, beautiful history, and the city is filled with museums and historic sites. We have art and music and theater…Charleston is such a vibrant city, and the culture is truly one of the best parts of living here.
  4. There is ALWAYS Something To Do. Festivals, concerts, plays, beach parties, farmers market—do you get the idea? On any given weekend, you can literally find a dozen different events to attend around town. Sometimes you have to pick between two or three choices, and it can be tough to make up your mind!
  5. The Weather. Sure, we have hurricanes from time to time, but we have beach weather for about nine out of the twelve months of the year! We have mild winters (that one snowstorm was an exception), too, which is a huge draw for a lot of people who are looking to move here from the North.

So there you go… if you’re thinking of moving here, you really need to decide whether or not the good will outweigh the bad for you. For me, it 100% does. I love that we can always find something new to do and experience, I love all the amazing restaurants Charleston has to offer, and I LOVE spending time at the beach.

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