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Charleston, SC
Weekend Vacation Getaway

Destination Overview

Charleston is that rare southern city that has retained the charm of its past while reinventing itself for the new millennium. This is a wonderful weekend getaway chocked full of great places to stay and eat and plenty to do. It is also one of those great walking around cities because you can discover something interesting down every alley and around every corner. Every time I go here, I stumble upon a new restaurant or boutique or gallery I never saw before. The anticipation of new discoveries makes this a delightful place to visit. The city is steeped in history, the Civil War started here at Fort Sumter, and a stroll through town, down cobblestone streets, among stately mansions evokes thoughts of days gone by.

Click picture to enlargeSt. PhillipsCharleston CoastlineSide Porch Home

Despite its charm and southern sophistication, Charleston has a bit of a quirky personality as well. How else do you explain that it’s against the law to cook a hamburger any way other than medium well? Or that the liquor bottles in all the restaurants and bars are the little ones served on the airlines? The best reason we heard, true or not, for that was that Seagram’s makes all the little bottles and they were a major contributor to Strom Thurmond’s Senate campaigns….you can guess the rest.

My favorite Charleston quirk though, is the system for regulating where the horse drawn carriages go. Once the carriage is full, the driver pulls up to a gatehouse. The gatekeeper puts a little ping pong ball in an air bin (like the lottery) and the number that comes up is the area of the city the carriage can go to. They even put a special license plate on the carriage indicating where the carriage can go. I asked the gatekeeper how I would be able to get to a certain part of the city and he said, “gotta wait for that number to come up.” I said, “what if it doesn’t”, he said, “you gotta wait longer”, I said, “you mean I could come and pay 10 times and still not go where I want?” and he said, “yup” and I said, “doesn’t that seem a little strange to you,” and he said, “nope.” Ah, the South, you gotta love it.

What is wonderful about Charleston is that one visit isn’t enough. Even two or three wouldn’t allow you to enjoy all the area has to offer. Our hotels and restaurant recommendations are so pleasurable that you’ll want to enjoy them more than once.

See my Charleston Photo Scrapbook.

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Click picture to enlargeMistralRue de JeanDowntown Charleston

Making Your Travel Plans

To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

Want to save time? Let us make all your travel plans for you including air, car rental, accommodations, dining and activities. You'll even talk to a "live" person and be able to request specific rooms and tables. Just click here. Reservations.

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Getting There

Charleston is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Charlotte, North Carolina, 5 1/2 hours from Atlanta, Georgia, 4 1/2 from Jacksonville, Florida and 2 1/2 hours from Savannah, Georgia. It is also accessible by air into Charleston airport from anywhere in the country.

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When To Go

Summer can be very uncomfortable as the weather is hot and humid. The “seasons” for a weekend getaway are considered to be April/May and early June and September/October.

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Getting Around

Charleston is an easy city to get around without a car. Most activities are within walking distance. Pedicabs (bicycle cabs) are also plentiful as are bike rentals. However, if you plan to play golf, go to the beach or visit one of the plantations outside the city, you will need a car. Bring your own or rent one for a day or so.

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There’s no longer any need to roll the dice on where you stay or to settle and stay at a “safe” national chain. BestWeekends Travel Advance Team takes the worry out of where to stay when you go away.

The BestWeekends Travel Advance Team does all the work for you. We research each destination by scouring the guidebooks, articles, blogs, reviews and rating systems. Then we visit the destination and stay in the properties. Finally, we talk to the locals to be sure we didn’t miss anything. The result: we post on our site only the best of what we experienced. You can book with confidence knowing that “we’ve been there” and that no one pays us for a review. Inside see our Featured Properties.

When you are away on vacation, there’s few things worse than a bad dining experience. We agree, so we follow the same process for identifying restaurants as we do for accommodations, but with an extra step. We believe that the best dining experience has the strongest combination of food, ambiance and service. Good food is a given in our recommendations, but the best food in the world just doesn’t taste as good in a poor setting and the best setting with poor service just doesn’t cut it for us. The BestWeekends Travel Advance Team only presents those restaurants that meet our strict criteria. Mangia….enjoy! Inside see our favorite Restaurants.

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Things To Do

For a town with a population of only 100,000, the list of activities available is quite remarkable. Even more amazing is that what Charleston offers in terms of historical interest, art and golf are world class, among the best you will find anywhere. Museums and art galleries abound and golf doesn’t get any better than our recommended courses. There are great beaches for the sun worshippers, excellent fishing, both in the ocean and the back country, boating opportunities, wonderful boutiques for shopping, unusual antique stores and plenty of places to learn about South Carolina’s place in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. There’s even a special historical place we’ll tell you about that is not to be missed. Charleston is the ideal weekend getaway because it would take multiple trips to enjoy everything the city has to offer. See the full list of Things To Do

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BestWeekend' s Exclusives

After selecting our favorite places to stay and eat, we sat down and made a list of all the other things that would save you time and make your stay more enjoyable. The result is “Special Things” and “Good To Know, Good To Go,” BestWeekends Exclusives.

Special Things identifies unique, fun and romantic things for couples to do together in a particular destination. Good to Know is our list of the “best” of everything from breakfast to burgers, cocktails to after dinner fun and much, much more. Why stumble around trying to find the “best”….we’ve already done it for you!

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Don't Miss

  • Fort Sumter
  • A carriage ride
  • The Battery and homes South of Broad
  • A walk down Legare Street
  • Middleton Place
  • Poe's Tavern after the beach
  • Golf on Kiawah Island
  • Dinner at the Peninsula Grill

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News and Resources

Charleston Magazine. Everything Charleston.
Charleston City Paper. Home of the Annual "Best of Charleston."
Charleston Visitor's Board. Tourism site

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