Hey y’all! A couple weeks ago, one of my Instagram followers asked if I had a blog post listing all of my favorite Charleston places, restaurants, and things to do, and I realized that I didn’t, so…
I put one together for y’all!
I’ll definitely have to update it and make additions in the future because Ryan and I are ALWAYS visiting new places and trying new restaurants. Honestly, we absolutely love living in Charleston, and sharing out favorite places with others brings us so much joy!
- We both love barbecue, and Home Team BBQ is our go-to spot. There are three locations in the Charleston area, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Our personal favorite is the one on Sullivan’s Island. I highly recommend the Smoked Chicken Wings, Mac & Cheese Fritters, and Chopped Brisket Sandwich. And no trip to Home Team is complete without a Game Changer—just make sure you’re not planning to drive home. We also love Lewis Barbecue, located in downtown Charleston. It’s a little pricier, but definitely worth the splurge.
- For brunch, we love Lost Dog Cafe on Folly Beach. Everything is delicious, but I particularly love the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict when they have that as a special. And their Cinnamon Roll is scrumptious! My advice is to get to Lost Dog super early, otherwise you’ll have to wait for a while. Our other brunch favorites are Millers All Day (downtown Charleston), 5 Church (also downtown. Make a reservation. Order the coffee service. You won’t regret it!), & Page’s Okra Grill (located in Mt Pleasant. Another place you’ll want to make a reservation at or get there very early!).
- If you’re looking to eat dinner somewhere, the options are endless. Really. New restaurants open in Charleston every week, and I have trouble keeping track of them all. One of our favorite spots is Rarebit (Downtown Charleston). The food is delicious, and the prices are reasonable. Be sure to try the Moscow Mules & the Country Fried Steak because they’re both delicious, and you’re definitely going to want to order Mac & Cheese as a side. If you’re in the mood for a nicer “date night” atmosphere, I recommend Husk or Fleet Landing—both of them are delicious, and Fleet Landing actually overlooks the Charleston Harbor. Lastly, if you’re in the mood for something SUPER casual (the kind of place where you can wear denim cut-offs, a tank, and flip-flops), you need to check out Bowen’s Island Restaurant. I feel like it encapsulates the essence of the Lowcountry, and I love that!
Favorite Things To Do
- Take in some history at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Middleton Place, or Boone Hall Plantations & Gardens. Magnolia Plantation has the most beautiful garden and trails, especially in the springtime, and dogs are actually allowed on the grounds (just not in the house). Peacocks roam the grounds freely at Magnolia, and there’s also a fun “petting zoo” area that is a big hit with the kids. Middleton Place—which is beautiful—was the filming location of an iconic scene from The Patriot and is also beautiful. Middleton Place also has a restaurant, and the food is really good. It’s more expensive, though, and you’ll definitely need a reservation. Fun fact: if you dine at the restaurant, you can walk around the grounds—or at least, we did. We went for dinner, and no one stopped us from walking around.
- Another great historic activity is to visit the H.L. Hunley, the confederate submarine that sank the USS Housatonic and then mysteriously disappeared off the coast of Charleston during the Civil War. The Hunley was found in 1995 by author Clive Cussler & NUMA and was raised from the depths of the ocean in 2000. It is now housed at a museum in North Charleston and is currently submerged in a chemical solution-filled tank to maintain the integrity of the metals, since they were damaged from sitting on the ocean floor for so many years. It might seem lame and too “historical”, but I found myself amazed when I looked at that tiny submarine. I never would’ve been able to go underwater in that thing, and the fact that that group of men climbed into that and took it to sea is crazy to me.
- Taking a helicopter tour of the Charleston Harbor & nearby islands with Fly-In Helicopters is probably one of the best “touristy” things that Ryan and I have done since we moved here. He casually mentioned that he had always wanted to do one, so we went for his 28th birthday, and it was a great experience. Even though we live here, it was so cool to see the Charleston-Sullivan’s Island-Morris Island area from the air. I cannot recommend this enough! Some of the best money I’ve ever spent!
- A visit to the South Carolina Aquarium is a great way to spend a hot afternoon or a rainy day, especially if you’re a fan of the sea-turtles. The Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery exhibit (Sea Turtle Hospital) houses a number of injured or sick sea turtles and helps nurse them back to health. Many of them are released back into the ocean once they are fully recovered. The Carolina Seas 15,000 gallon fish-tank is also a great place to sit and watch all the different species swim around.
- Visit the Firefly Distillery and Deep Water Vineyard on Wadmalaw Island, a twenty-minute drive from Charleston. You can enjoy tastings at both (they’re right next to each other), and they’re both good. Being on Wadmalaw is an adventure in itself, too; it almost feels forgotten!
- Explore historic, downtown Charleston. Visit Rainbow Row (and walk down all the side streets around it), peruse the vendors in the Charleston City Market, dip your toes in the iconic Pineapple Fountain, and shop on King Street.
- Go to the beach! My personal favorite is Sullivan’s Island, but I also really love Folly Beach—we just don’t go out there enough. Sullivan’s is quiet and peaceful, but Folly has a fun, hippie vibe that I love. It’s best to visit Folly during the “off” season (aka, not prime summer months).
- If you happen to visit Mt Pleasant (just across the harbor from Charleston), I highly recommend checking out Shem Creek. It’s a fun little area with lots of restaurants and great night-life. It’s also the shrimping hub of the area, so you can walk along the boardwalk of Shem Creek Park and check out the trawlers and the charter fishing yachts. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards on Shem Creek and paddle up and down the creek (super fun!). If you’re looking for a quiet place to walk your dog and enjoy the sunset, Pitt Street Bridge is another really pretty place. Just be sure to bring bug spray!
I think those are the best recommendations I can give you for visiting the Charleston area, but if you have any other questions, please let me know. I’m always eager to help people get the most out of their visit because Charleston is such a wonderful city to visit, and there is SO MUCH to do and see! And there’s so much good food to try, too! I just want to make sure you have the best visit possible!