Things to do in Charleston, SC

Your Charleston travel guide for the best vacation
Pergola in Charleston, SC
Sailboat moored to a dock on calm water and a bridge in the distance at Charleston Harbor

Experience something new—with cobblestone streets, a booming food scene, and history around every corner. Charleston’s southern charm, old-world architecture, and unique harbor downtown make it an unforgettable vacation for family trips, romantic getaways, or time away with friends. Sightsee by horse-drawn carriage, savor the warm weather with an afternoon on the golf course, or dig into renowned southern dishes by the waterfront.

We asked our team at Vacasa for their must-see spots to relax, eat, and play when vacationing in Charleston. Here are our recommendations for where to eat and stay, what to see, and even fun things to do with kids. Book your stay, pack your bags, and get ready to relax—we’ve got your Charleston travel plans on lock.

Places to eat

Start your morning sweet and slow with breakfast at Daps Breakfast & Imbibe and explore their unique dishes ranging from breakfast Bahn Mis to cereal-sprinkled pancakes. For dinner, take a seat at Edmund’s Oast, a favorite Charleston spot for its choice beer selection, variety of burgers and fried chicken, and mouthwatering dessert menu. Wind down the day with a nightcap over at The Cocktail Club and enjoy their speakeasy atmosphere with weekly live music.

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Charleston is one of my favorite walking cities in the country, from the unique shops to the amazing garden homes. I never miss getting at least one meal at 167 Raw and a pour over at Second State Coffee.
— Luke Perkins, Director of Brand and Creative

What to see

Explore the “Holy City” with a stroll through King Street, so you can make stops along the Historic Charleston City Market, art galleries, and antique stores, ending at White Point Garden’s harbor views and Civil War monuments. In town, you’ll also find the Charleston Museum, the pastel-painted Rainbow Row, and the Joe Riley Waterfront Park, featuring its famous pineapple fountain. Charleston champions an unusual balance of old and new, so you can take in the city’s history and buzzing locale by guided tour or charming horse-drawn carriage ride.

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The blend of historic architecture with contemporary restaurants is unrivaled in Charleston. While bouncing around from one world-class eatery to the next, there's no shortage of striking pastel-colored homes to marvel at.
— Tracy Troisi, Brand Copywriter

Activities for kids

Charleston is a hub of attractions for kids both big and small, whether spending the day at fun interactive exhibits in the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, or scoping out finned friends at the South Carolina Aquarium. Grab an ice cream and watch the boats go by on the Charleston Harbor, or plan a day of thrills at Summit Adventure Park. If you’re on a budget, there are also plenty of free things to do, including watching for sea turtles in the Isle of Palms, exploring the mammoth Angel Oak on John’s Island, and building sandcastles at Folly Beach.

Where to stay

Whether you’re looking to stay close to the action in a Downtown Charleston home, or seeking a beachfront condo along Folly Beach, it all begins with a Charleston vacation rental. Search by amenities like water views, pools and hot tubs, or golfing on-site. Find a stunning home base for your trip away with all the comforts of home.

Soak up the sun in a Charleston vacation rental

Charleston travel guide FAQ

For a true Charleston experience, make sure to visit the Angel Oak on John’s Island, the John Riley Waterfront Park, the Charleston Museum, and the lively Historic Charleston City Market.

Charleston is known for its blend of historic attractions and modern flair, from cobblestone walkways and horse-drawn carriages, to award-winning restaurants and thriving downtown area. There’s a vacation for everyone along its abundant museums, golf courses, miles of beaches, and shopping districts.

Charleston has three public beaches: Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, and Sullivan’s Island. Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island offer more opportunities for golfing by the beach and resort spas along their pristine sands. If you’re looking for more family fun, Folly Beach features fishing piers, surf shops, and a lighthouse on its north end.

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