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Charleston's visitors certainly have many choices to make, based on the energy level of the individual visitors and their interests. Here are some sample itineraries that have been very popular and have been compiled from suggestions on the Trip Advisor forum. Note that festivals and events, which are highly popular, are recommended whenever possible and are not listed here but can be found under "Things to Do" - "Events and Festivals". Also - budgetary concerns are not addressed below.
1-Day (no car)
Breakfast - Southern-style, at Hominy Grill, Eli's Table, Saffron or Toast (you will want to drive to Hominy Grill, the others are walkable)
*Late Morning - Carriage Ride (about 1 hour) (from Anson Street)
Lunch - Southern-style at Cru Cafe, Jestine's, Fleet Landing (on the water, kids enjoy), SNOB has a daily special, 39 Rue De Jean
*Afternoon - Shopping in The Historic Market (open air market on Market Street) and then walk over to Waterfront Park
* Late Afternoon - Walk through the residential Historic District (area south of Broad Street) It helps if you have a map and a "highlights" book or brochure; if not, just read the plaques in front of the historic homes
Dinner - The McIntosh, Amen St., Circa 1886, Coast, Cypress, FIG, Hanks, High Cotton, Magnolias, Peninsula Grill, The Ordinary, Virginia's on King, 82 Queen, lots of great choices
Evening - Drinks/Music at Vendue Inn Rooftop bar, if you want a view ~ Rooftop at Market Pavilion (pricey, but worth it for one beverage)
Get a great introduction to Charleston's history and some great local pubs and bars on a Pub Tour.
2-Day (no car)
Breakfast - Southern-style Hominy Grill, Eli's Table, Saffron or Toast (drive to HG)
*Late Morning - Take a Historic Walking tour, such as Ed Grimball's Walking Tour or with Brian with Charleston Sole Walking Tours. Another thought is a Civil War Walking Tour or the Architectural Tour
Lunch - Southern-style, at Cru Cafe, Jestine's, Fleet Landing (on the water, kids enjoy), SNOB has a daily special, 39 Rue De Jean, Magnolia's
*Afternoon - Take the Ft. Sumter Harbor Cruise, just the harbor cruise or Schooner Pride (seasonal)
*Late Afternoon - Shopping on King Street (Antique stores and boutiques)
Dinner - see above
Evening - Drinks/Music at Social or Pearl'z or the Blind Tiger Pub
3-Day (no car)
Breakfast - Hominy Grill, Saffron or Toast (drive to HG)
* Late Morning - Tour one or more of the historic homes; Calhoun Mansion, Edmonton-Alston House, Aiken-Rhett, Heywood-Washington, Nathaniel Russel House
Lunch - Southern-style, at Cru Cafe, Jestine's, Fleet Landing (on the water, kids enjoy), SNOB has a daily special, 39 Rue De Jean
* Afternoon - Tour one or more of the homes you missed from this morning
* Late Afternoon - Charleston Museum, the Civil War Museum or the Aquarium
* Dinner - See above
* Evening - Ghost Tour, Pub Tour, or Dungeon Tour
Activities Involving Transportation (car, car rental, city bus or tour bus)
Patriot's Point (Aircraft Carrier Tour; Tour of Medal of Honor Museum) Mt. Pleasant
Shem Creek (Mt. Pleasant) Shrimp boat lane, waterfront restaurants, sunset dining
Boone Hall Plantation - landscaped gardens and historic home tours
Drayton Hall - historic home and gardens
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens - landscaped gardens and nature tour
Middleton Place Plantation - a historic rice plantation; garden and house tour
Cypress Gardens - landscaped gardens and nature
Angel Oak - John's Island - This gigantic oak tree takes up about an acre of land and is over 1000 years old
Charleston Tea Plantation - Home of American Classic Tea (the only tea produced in North America)
Irvin Vineyards- Muscadine Wine (same location at Firefly Distilleries, Wadmalaw Island)
Firefly Distilleries - Home of the original Sweet Tea Vodka (try a Sweet Tea Mojito while you are in town)
Ft. Moultrie - Sullivan's Island - Nearby Fort and Museum - protected Charleston Harbor - where Edgar Allan Poe was stationed
Go Fishing at Folly Beach Pier or near Shem Creek
Take an Eco-Tour from Awendaw - a short boat ride takes you to an uninhabited island and a naturalist leads you on a tourEco-tours also leave from the Isle of Palms Marina. Take a cooking class at Charleston Cooks! downtown or at the Coastal Cupboard in Mt. Pleasant.
Kayaking (even for beginners) with Ralph www.kayakcharleston.net
Shopping: Mt. Pleasant's Towne Center; Tanger Outlets; Citadel Mall
Beaches: Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms (surfing lesson at Folly)
Dining: Mustard Seed (Mt. Pleasant & James Island), Vickery's(Mt. Pleasant), Locklear's(Mt. Pleasant & Folly Beach), Poe's Tavern (Sullivan's Island),
Drinks/Music: Red's (Mt/ Pleasant & Bohicket Marina), The Break Room (Mt. Pleasant)
Rainy Day Activities:
Cooking Class at Charleston Cooks (southern specialties)
The South Carolina Aquarium
Water Taxi (seasonally) to Patriot's Point / USS Yorktown
The Charleston Museum
The Gibbes Museum
Visiting the Historic Homes
Visiting Drayton Hall (the historic home tour)
Citadel Parade 3:00 Friday, when school is in session
Hunley Museum - Only open on weekends
Charleston Travel Deals:
Traveler of Charleston is a local magazine that highlights all of the must see attractios in Charleston. They also offer many free coupons and you can pick one up on just about every street corner.
Charleston Savvy Shopper is offered by the local Charleston Paper (The Post and Courier) and is a great place to find daily deals on tours, restaurants, massages, and more.
Charleston on the Cheap is a locally owned website that keep you up-to-date on all of the best local deals including the cheapest gas prices.