Charleston Travel Guide: Part 1

Charleston is hands down one our favorite cities to visit for a quick and easy getaway. We love the South Carolina city for it’s warm weather, beautiful dream houses, gorgeous gardens, deep history and delicious cuisine. Just a quick two and a half hour flight from Boston, we’ve visited the South Carolina gem a handful of times since JetBlue launched their one way flight, and now that we’ve started our Travel Guides, we’ve decided we have to share with you some of our JUGs Approved Charleston tips. If you are planning a visit or learning about the city for the first time, here’s a few things we think every tourist should do.

1.    Tour the downtown architecture

Charleston has some of the most amazing and well preserved architecture in the states. Strolling through the city (it is super easy to see the majority of the city on foot), you’ll find yourself immersed in neighborhoods full of beautiful houses and secret gardens behind iron gates. The most typical type of house you’ll see is the famous Charleston Single House, a house that is built one room wide and has a double covered porch along the side. Downtown you’ll also find yourself admiring grand european style buildings like the Charleston Court House. On top of all that, on almost every street you’ll see a steeple. Charleston, aka the Holy City, was one of the first colonies to promote religious tolerance and now is home to numerous churches. The most famous ones to tour are St. John’s Lutheran for its gorgeous stained glass windows and St. Phillip’s for it’s haunted graveyard.

Best Way to Tour Downtown:
On foot
Via Carriage Tour

Favorite Neighborhood:
The Battery

Favorite Church: 
St. Phillip's

2. Shop King St. and the City Market

King Street is the central hub of Charleston shopping and if you like bold, bright colors and preppy patterns, you are certainly in luck. For the most part stores are grouped along the street by category - Upper King is where you’ll find your interior design stores, Middle King has the fashion, and Lower King is full of antiques. Since King Street runs right down the middle of the peninsula, it’s very easy to stumble upon it again and again, spurring some sly impromptu shopping sessions. 

Another great shopping area and architectural icon of Charleston is the City Market. Originally used as a marketplace for beef and produce farmers, today the four block market houses numerous venders where you’ll find souvenirs, local artisans, and tasty treats. 

Favorite Shoe Store:

Favorite Clothing Store:

Favorite Decor Store:
Julia Stanten Gallery

3. Learn about Charleston’s rich history.

Pirates, battles, trade, ghosts....Charleston has all sorts of stories. A great way to learn more about Charleston and it’s culture is to take a guided tour, visit a historical house or plantation, or to pop into a local museum. I love all the ghosts and creepy stuff so I personally LOVED the ghost tour which shared tales from the haunted graveyards, an old dungeon and other notable locations throughout downtown.

Historical Attractions to Visit
Charleston Slave Museum
The Old Jail
Boone Hall Plantation

Best Guided Tours:
Ghost Tour
Pirate Tour 

4. Hit the nearby beaches

When you’re ready to soak up some of Charleston’s rays, the beach is just a quick car ride away. Head southwest to Folly Beach, a local surf hangout with lots of quintessential beach dive bars, t-shirt shops and seafood joints, or head east to Sullivan’s Beach, a slightly quieter version of Folly. Both areas offer sprawling beaches and excellent food and drink options...but more on that in part two of our Charleston Travel Guide!