Questions and Answers About Charleston for First -Time Visitors:

Q: What are some "Must-Do's" in Charleston?   A:  1) Take a tour or a carriage ride  through town. Try to do this the very first day in order to get a lay of the land and an overview of Charleston.  It will also help you narrow down your choices if you have a lot of places to visit on your list.  2) A walk through the residential district south of Broad Street is a must - historic homes are designated by plaques and much can be learned by a free, lovely stroll down any of the streets in this area.   3) Shop at The Market    4) Shop at the boutiques on King Street (antiques, etc)   5) Take a Harbor Cruise, or perhaps a trip to Ft. Sumter      6) Visit Patriot's Point    7) Take a tour of a historic home or two      

 Q: Where can one find deals for tours and attractions in Charleston?  A: There are often many places to find deals on fun tours and attractions in Charleston. If you search around and put in a little bit of effort, you can often find deals up to 50% off.  Groupon and LivingSocial consistently post tour deals and Charleston Travelsaver also offers some great deals and resources for anyone traveling to Charleston.

Q: Is a car necessary in Charleston?    A:  If you're staying in the historic district for 2-3 days, a car could present a problem.  Most visitors who like to walk find that most of Charleston's attractions are walkable, so a car is not necessary.  Some guests staying for a longer time period will rent a car to visit the plantations or the beaches, but there are tour companies that run bus trips to the plantations.  If you do have a car, Charleston has many parking garages but none of them "look" like garages from the outside, so look for the Public Parking signs throughout the city.  Parking on the street is OK at meters but in most residential areas it is not allowed except by special permits.

Q: How far are the beaches, what are they like and how warm is the water?  A: The beaches are as close as 10 minutes away from Downtown (Folly Beach) and others are 15 -25 minutes away (Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms).   Many of the beaches in the lowcountry are wide and flat - so flat in fact that one can ride bikes up and down the beach for miles.  The waves tend to be smaller north of Charleston and a little bigger south (as on Folly Beach). Shell-collecting is usually good at low tide, especially after a big storm.  Beaches are not very crowded north of Charleston except near public parking areas. The water temperature starts the year cold but by June it is in the 70's and in the summer can reach temperatures in the upper 80's. Even in the hottest part of the summer you should expect a breeze at the beach that makes the high temperatures feel quite comfortable.  After October 1st the water temperatures cool down again and winter temperatures are commonly in the low 60's.