My husband and I are addicted to travelling together. We are always planning our next trip and looking for our next adventure. We keep a running list of where we want to go on napkins and scrap pieces of paper and though we are crossing them off quickly, one place has always remained. Charleston.
We have always romanticized about what Charleston would be like. We have seen pictures of the traditional Southern homes and the moss-covered trees. We have heard of the grand plantations that transport you back in time. And we knew that we wanted to go.
We wanted to experience everything that Charleston had to offer. But we couldn’t have imagined how quickly we would fall in love with the city! The wrap around porches, wrought iron railing, marble staircases, and weathered brick told stories of the Southern charm that resides there. We spent hours walking through the streets while admiring the gorgeous architecture and design.
Then, it hit me. What makes Charleston so beautiful, so captivating, are the details. The small features that perfectly complement one another and enhance the whole. The more time we spent there, the more I was convinced.
And so, that is what we enjoyed most. The details. The small elements that made Charleston unique and enchanting. The crown molding on every entryway, the weathered brick walls, the mangled tree roots, and every other intriguing feature made the city more endearing and magical.
By the end of the trip, I had decided that there was no other way to see the city. The city had to be seen through its details. So, I came up with five tips for seeing the details of Charleston. That way everyone can experience the charm of this Southern city.
1) GO BEYOND KING STREET
King Street is filled with shopping and dining. It’s a great place to start when you first arrive. There are a lot of people and events to get you accustomed to the city! However, the real magic lies beyond King Street. It lies in the side streets, the residential areas, and along the seaside.
Our favorite spots in Charleston were small roads that seemed to have immeasurable character. They had survived the test of time and were monuments to the city’s culture and history. My best advice for seeing the true beauty of Charleston is to start at White Point Garden. It is at the tip of Charleston’s peninsula. From there, work your way back and explore the entire tip of this lovely city!
2) OFF SEASON IS THE BEST!
I was actually a little worried that everything would be brown since we were going to Charleston in late November. I didn’t want a dull and drab experience during my first time there! Thankfully, I was wrong! Not only was everything still lush and green, but there were so many flowers in bloom!
And, the best part, there was hardly anyone there! We walked freely around the city with no crowds or lines. I feel as if this was one of the main reasons we were really able to see and appreciate the small details of the city.
We were able to take our time and enjoy Charleston’s gorgeous architecture and atmosphere. This tip could have easily been the number one tip. The empty city was a game changer. I would highly suggest going to Charleston from mid-November through early-December.
3) SPEND SOME TIME IN THE HISTORIC DISTRICT
If you adore old, colorful, Southern buildings as much as I do, this is the place for you. We spent hours in this one section alone!! The marble and wrought iron are perfectly paired with the adorable shutters and planter boxes of each house. The colorful, distressed walls seem to tell stories of the city’s long history. And the towering oaks that are infused with the sidewalk add even more character as you walk along the streets.
In all transparency, the Historic District was hands down my favorite place in Charleston. We walked through almost every street, and we never got tired of the beautiful homes and ambiance. Each street told a different story, and it was so fun to compare the different styles and architecture.
4) BRING YOUR WALKING SHOES
I wholly believe that we were able to appreciate the city because we walked through it. It gives you the freedom to stop and admire the design of the city whenever you want. Plus, it allows you to really pick up on the atmosphere that each street holds.
Simply driving through Charleston will not allow you to enjoy its details and history. You will pass by so many wonderful discoveries. So, if you are planning a trip, make sure to bring a good pair of shoes.
5) VISIT PLANTATIONS
Once you have spent some time exploring downtown and all that it has to offer, I would highly suggest visiting plantations. There are quite a few right outside of town, so it is a short drive to get there. Plus, they are gorgeous and offer wonderful experiences!
If you love civil war history, like my husband does, you can spend all day at one or two plantations. The educational opportunities that they provide are both fun and interesting. I’m pretty sure that we spent almost 2 hours at a blacksmith demonstration while we were visiting Middleton Place Plantation. The blacksmith even made us a decorative iron hook!
And then, there’s me. Although I appreciate the historical experience, I spent the majority of the time swooning over the trees, gardens, and old mansions. Spanish moss hangs on almost every tree, the craftmanship is lovely and intricate, and the gardens are extensive. While walking through Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, we found ourselves lost quite a few times because of the size of the property!
If Charleston is on your list, I have only one thing to say to you: GO! You will not regret spending time in this gorgeous and charming city. It was one of the most beautiful places we have ever been, but remember to slow down and enjoy all of the details!
Have you ever been to Charleston? We’d love to hear your stories, tips or questions in the comment section below!
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