It was our 1st trip to Charleston-we stopped at the "welcome center" on Meeting St as we entered town. The man we spoke with was very helpful and knowledgeable about Charleston-things we wanted to do and see. It wasn't until the next day that we realized that we had not been to the offical Charleston Vistors Center, but to the place next door the "Welcome Center" which looked like it could have been the offical Center-we had been to the Fiestiva Resorts Welcome Center. Although the man was very helpful and friendly, he roped us into attending a 90 minute time share talk in return we would get about $150 worth of vouchers to be used at the places that we wanted to visit in Charleston. We figured all this out when we went to the 90 min. talk in the morning. The talk was ok- just say NO- and be firm. Also, pick out which vouchers you want ahead of time, so when you leave they have the envelope ready with your vouchers. I read on Trip Advisor that some people put $ down and had a hard time getting it back- we gave them $20 which we got back when we attended the talk. Any how, it all worked out because we got vouchers to Middleton Place (plantation) worth $50 ($25 each to get into the grounds); we got a voucher for 2 on the Gray Line 90 min City Tour which was excellent!(usually $20 each) We chose a voucher for a Carriage Ride, again $20 each value; and we also took a voucher for 2 for the Ft. Sumter boat trip (about $14 each). So with 4 vouchers-we saved about $150 in siteseeing fees. There were other sites to choose vouchers for or you could get a $25 voucher towards certain restaurants. I would say it was worth the 90 in talk- and going to the wrong "welcome center". After the talk, we did the 90 min Gray Line Tour around the city-it was entertaining and a great overview-it leaves from outside the real Visitors Center. We then had lunch at Ministral near the Market-it was ok for lunch. We had dinner our 1st night at Magnolia's on Bay St- very nice, good food and wonderful service.- After lunch at Ministral we picked up our 1 hr carriage tour - the driver was a dud and he cut the ride by 15 min.- We had dinner at Pane e Vino on Warren- good Italian away from the tourist traps. The next day we walked to Liberty Square to pick up the 9:30 boat to Ft. Sumter. This was great- history narration on the boat and at the Ft. a great history narration by a Park Ranger. I would highly recommend doing this. We got back from the Ft. around 11 - and then we drove out to Middleton Place Plantation-we used our voucher to get in- but paid and additional $10 each to tour the house. There are a few plantations to choose from to visit-people poo-pooed Boone Hall;recommended Middleton or Magnolia Plantation. Middleton gardens are worth seeing, the house tour was short but interesting, but the plantation house itself was a let down-the main house had been burnt by Union Soldiers-so don't go expecting to see a large plantation house with white pillars and Scarlet O'Hara on the porch! All in all I would do Middleton- I read that Magnolia Plantation's house was rebuilt in the 20th century. We ate dinner in Charleston at Girabaldi's Cafe on Market St.-no good-poor value-poor service.
Our final morning in Charleston we had breakfast at Joseph's on Meeting St.. - very good- and we walked over to visit the Nathaniel Russell House, which was worth the trip. After that we left Charleston for Savannah. Charleston is pretty touristy- We stayed at the King Charles Inn which we highly recommend-skip the Market St area-a little seedy- and very touristy-also Bay is touristy- once you get down into the Battery area things are quieter and you are not being hounded on the street to come in for a time share talk and get free whatever- they are on the sidewalks just hounding you each time you walk past.- that was annoying!