CHARLESTON // City Guide
If you would have told me four years ago that I’d have picked up my whole life and moved 500+ miles away from my family, I would have called you crazy. That would have been before my husband joined the Navy and we got stationed here, though. Although we’re from middle Tennessee, it didn’t take long to fall in love with Charleston. I’m so thrilled to be sharing some of my favorite spots with y’all today so you can feel more like a local and less like a tourist when you visit!
UP FIRST: WATER
When people think of Charleston, they obviously think of the coast first! There are literally tons of beaches around here, the most popular for tourists being Folly Beach. However, our favorite beach is definitely Sullivan’s Island! Beaches are most often incredibly packed, but Sullivan’s Island is a lot different. The area has a lot more homes and less consumer-y than Folly Beach, which is why we love it so much.
There several great restaurants just a few blocks over from the beach at Sullivan’s Island, but our favorite is Poe’s Tavern. It’s all about Edgar Allen Poe because he wrote one of his most famous poems on the island. Each time we’ve been there’s been limited room to find a seat, but it’s been worth it every single time. They have the best burgers with the craziest names, and we absolutely love their queso dip!
My favorite thing about cities is that while they have the obvious chains, there are always the little stores off on their own that are a little underrated. We stopped by three of those between the two times I was in town last year. For coffee / a low key place to get some work done, check out Black Tap. There’s also St. Alban for coffee / lunch! For some sweets while you’re shopping on King St, go half a block over to Christophe Artisan Chocolatier-Patissier, this place has all the sweets you might want including some adorable macarons. There’s also Sugar Bakeshop. For stationary / local Charleston art pieces, you might want to stop by Mac & Murphy!
Obviously there are lots of things to do during the day downtown, and while you can find your fair share of late night things to do, one of our favorite weekend evening spots is Theatre 99. My husband and his friends found out about this place first, and while I was originally a little skeptical on visiting an improv comedy club, it quickly turned into my favorite place to go for some laughs.
Shopping: King Street and Market Street are incredibly popular spots in downtown, but if you’re looking to get out of the mayhem for a little while I recommend Tanger Outlets! This outdoor shopping center has a variety of stores and is surrounded by lots of great places to eat!
Just down the road from Tanger is one of my favorite bookstores, Mr. K’s. This bookstore has a wide variety of used books for very reasonable prices. It’s definitely a great place to go stroll around, maybe with a coffee (Starbucks and Panera in just yards away), and look for a new book.
Good Eats: My best lady friend from college used to vacation with her family every summer on the Isle of Palms. This area is absolutely gorgeous just like the other beach spots. It’s not too far down the road from Sullivan’s Island, which makes the two spots perfect for beach hopping. While on the IOP, I recommend having breakfast at Seabiscuit Cafe, which was an amazing great recommendation from my friend. We stopped by for breakfast before heading over to the beach and instantly fell in love.
For the history buffs: Obviously if you’re coming to Charleston, you might want to dedicate a little time to seeing some of the historic spots in the area. There’s Fort Sumter, which is where the Civil War began. For anyone interested in our country’s naval history, there’s an aircraft carrier and a submarine that have been turned into museums that you can pay to tour. Lastly, for the less serious history buffs: there’s Summerville, a little bit further from Charleston, which is the supposed birthplace of sweet tea. They also hold the world record (currently) for the world’s largest sweet tea.
Kory Woodard is a full-time business owner and blogger, and most of the time she can be found dreaming up new ideas to help passionate women follow their dreams. The rest of the time she’s spending time with her husband and puppy, enjoying life.
All photos by Kory Woodard.