My friends and I visited Charleston, South Carolina for a short girls trip. We discovered hidden gems, sipped yummy coffee, closed our Apple Watch rings and played tourist in this beautiful, historic, coastal city that boasts some of America’s most treasured spots. Here’s my list of what we saw on our trip, and what I would recommend if you visit!
Rainbow Road is a quaint strip of brightly-coloured houses along East Bay Street that runs parallel to The Battery in Charleston. Walking down side streets peppered with colourful shutters, stucco walls, extravagant flower installations and historic features is truly a dream. Every house has a photographable vignette.
King Street houses every kind of shop you could imagine! From Louis Vitton to H&M and hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, it’s the place to be! You could spend a whole day dipping in and out of local shops on King Street, and being in the center of town is exhilirating. The mornings are good for a quiet stroll along this elaborate street, and the afternoons are when the people come out to play.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has acres of azaleas, camellias, oak trees, hidden walkways and history. It’s a beautiful space, and you might even see some mini horses, a few peacocks walking around and catch yourself in the middle of a maze!
Sullivan’s Island is a treasure to stumble upon on your visit to Charleston. The beauty of this city is that it combines history and the coast. What could be better?! Fort Sumter is near the island, and there’s a national monument and lighthouse dedicated to it by the beach access. Grab lunch in Mount Pleasant and walk down the boardwalk for a view of the sea and sand as far as the eye can see!
Zero George is a hidden gem! A hotel with quaint gardens behind it is the perfect secret spot. Look for the hidden doorbell, read for a few minutes in the cute courtyard and take a picture by the steps. Keep quiet though; there are residents!
Riverfront Park houses the famous Pineapple Fountain. It’s a sign of hospitality in Southern culture, and the fountain is quite a sight, especially around sunset! Take a walk down by the harbour to watch the sun go to sleep and admire the giant tree-lined path.
College of Charleston is a very becoming campus. Students live in accommodation across the city, and it’s a very European-inspired existence to live in the heart of downtown. You can even catch some of the campus in the movie The Notebook!
Magnolia’s on East Bay Street is on the more pricey side, but it was classic Southern food and seafood! I’ll be honest, I don’t eat seafood and I don’t love Southern comfort food, but it was a wonderful experience!
Basic Kitchen is a healthy super food spot right off Meeting Street was the perfect lunch! It was filling, bright and friendly and I left feeling inspired.
Camellia’s was a dream! If you arrive right at their 5:00 p.m. opening time, you can snag a great spot and even — wait for it — eat dessert before dinner! They have three delectable desserts and we felt so fancy!
The Watch has rooftop view and although it was a windy day when we went, we snuggled up together and ate the most incredible spinach pasta!
Mercantile and Mash is off the beaten path a little, but so worth checking out. Their mud-orange latte was a fruity twist on a mocha, and we thoroughly enjoyed it!
The Rise Coffee Shop is right beneath The Watch and right across from Basic Kitchen, so it’s conveniently located! Their honey-lavender latte was yummy and their area of plants was every traveler’s dream.
…really, I just wanted to introduce you to my friends!
Rach and I have a storied history, and it began in 2012 when I was a college student and she was my discipleship group leader. That relationship blossomed into my dearest friendship, and we now live 0.6 miles from each other. She’s an accountability partner, sister, encourager, giggle pal, meme queen and the most generous person I know. This is her, smiley as can be!
Kel and I have been roommates for about six months, but already she’s been such a gift from God. I’m quite convinced she might be an angel! She brings fun, exuberance, a listening ear and kindness to every situation. Isn’t she the cutest?!
The whole city is worth exploring, but here are some of my favourite tidbits, alley ways, colourful buildings and street corners! Charleston, I loved ya.
I’m only recommending one place because 1) I don’t know of any others, and 2) it was the greatest. Thank you for hosting us, Southern Shangrila! If you wanted to sponsor us next time, we’ll come back in a heartbeat!
I received so many recommendations from friends before this trip, so here are some spots you shouldn’t miss if you have a little more time!
Fleet Landing • The Battery • Angel Oak • Ruru’s Tacos • Hanks Seafood • Amen Oyster Bar • S.N.O.B. • The Boat House • Brown Dog Deli • Pane e Vino • Poogan’s Porch • Darling Oyster Bar • Rodney Scott’s • Home Team BBQ • The Harbinger • Husk Restaurant • Melfi’s • Second State Coffee • Grace & Grit • Taco Boy • Justine’s Kitchen • Hall’s Chophouse • Edmond’s Oast • Kaminsky’s
I hope you are able to visit this vibrant city one day! Enjoy this recommendation list, and let me know where you try!