Whether you appreciate old-world charm or you simply love meeting new friends, planning vacation in Charleston, SC will check off all the boxes. This historical city offers long walks on cobblestone streets, opportunities to spend time with the locals, and delectable cuisine you won’t be able to stop eating. I will share it all within this travel guide that focuses exclusively on Charleston, SC. I guarantee your entire family will love the atmosphere of this gorgeous destination and before you know it, you will be planning a return trip in the very near future.
Charleston might not be the largest city in South Carolina, but it is the oldest. This city was founded back in 1670. Its original name was Charles Town. Surprisingly, back then, the city of Charleston was not located where it is today. At that time, you would have found this city on the west banks of the Ashley River. The city moved to its current location in 1680. A few decades later, in 1783, the name changed to what we call this area today.
As you walk through the streets of Charleston, you will quickly realize that everything seems to have a story. History abounds and the locals love to share the information that has been passed down through the generations.
See a unique iron gate? Don’t be surprised if there is a local close by to tell you the history behind it.
Riding the ferry to Fort Sumter? Your history lesson will begin long before you reach the fort.
You may even hear the tales of the few ghosts that are said to wander around this part of South Carolina. There are quite a few ghost stories that the locals love. A couple of personal favorites include the Ghosts of Battery Carriage House, the Ghosts of Dock Street Theatre, and the Moaning Dungeon Pirates.
If you want to hear those stories, and others, make sure I am aware, so I can book one of the best ghost tours during your vacation in Charleston, SC.
There may be four seasons in Charleston, but one of the seasons is quite short. This subtropical destination has very short winters with very little snow. The sun shines more than two hundred days a year. I have discovered you can never vacation in Charleston at a bad time of the year.
The temperature in Charleston during the spring is anywhere between 70- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit. The days are long, the sun shines brightly, yet the water is still too cold for swimming. The nights cool down quickly at this time of the year, so you must be prepared by dressing appropriately.
The humidity climbs rather quickly during the summer months in Charleston. It is common to see temperatures topping 90 degrees or even higher. Rainstorms can be common during the summer, but most of them do not last long.
The temperatures start to go down slowly during the fall in Charleston. It can still be humid during the month of September, but the humidity is mostly gone by the middle of October and later. Those are also the months where it will be much cooler in this area on the East Coast.
It rarely gets below freezing in Charleston. And as I mentioned above, it hardly ever snows. It can easily reach the 60s during the day, so you may not need to bundle up as much as you think during your visit. The nights will be colder though, so make sure you are prepared if you are out later in the day.
It can be a little difficult to pack for a vacation in Charleston, SC, especially if you are going at any time other than summer. The summer months are easy, because you can get away with shorts, short sleeve shirts, sundresses, and sandals. The same is true for late spring and early fall.
An umbrella and even a raincoat are necessary throughout the year. However, you will use them the most during the month of August.
For the rest of the year, you can pack those items, as well as pants, sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, and even a jacket. Layers are always your best option, especially during the winter months.
Oh, and since you will be doing some walking when taking a family vacation in Charleston, a pair of sneakers or good walking shoes are a must.
Family vacations in Charleston are going to be filled with more activities than you can count. Thankfully, you can choose how busy you want to be each day. This will allow you to have plenty of time for relaxation in between checking everything off your itinerary.
There are ninety miles of shoreline in Charleston, so days at the beach are a must for family vacations. There are also more than one hundred public parks. Those are perfect for picnics and long afternoons of lounging. You can even buy the foods you will eat from the local farmer’s market.
The fire museum is always a hit with kids. Especially those who think they want to be a firefighter. And if you have someone in your family more interested in boats than fire trucks, the maritime museum is ready and waiting. The train museum is an option for those who want to see trains instead.
It is simple to discover the history of this city. You won’t walk or drive too far before seeing a historical sign or landmark. You won’t want to forget about wandering around many of the plantations and gardens either.
With so many historical sites and things to see in Charleston, it will be difficult to get them all on your itinerary. If you want to see quite a few in a short amount of time, I can book one of the many sightseeing tours for you. That will free up a lot of time for the attractions you want to spend more time at when you are on a family vacation in Charleston, SC.
The one attraction in Charleston that is on everyone’s list is Fort Sumter. This fort is where the Civil War began back in 1861. I recommend taking a ferry over to the fort, so you can check out the stone caverns and cannons. The museum is an excellent place to grab a souvenir to commemorate your time on this island.
If you happen to be in the southern area of the city, a walk around The Battery is a must. This neighborhood is filled with mansions that look out over the Charleston Harbor. It is best to start at Waterfront Park where the giant pineapple fountain is located. You will know you have seen everything when you reach White Point Garden.
King Street is another area families love to walk around when in the downtown area of Charleston. The street is where history and entertainment combine for some authentic family fun! Past visitors have recommended stopping into John Pope Antiques, even if you aren’t planning on purchasing anything. You never know what you, or your kids, will discover once you walk through the doors.
If you are not scared of ghosts and other spooky spirits, I can plan a stop at Poogan’s Porch. This restaurant is located within a Victorian townhouse. The cuisine is beyond amazing, but you must be aware of the haunted residents prior to entering the front door.
Many people lived within this home prior to it being turned into a restaurant. However, the most famous of all those residents was Zoe St. Amand. She lived in this house during the early 1900s, while she worked as a schoolteacher. When her sister passed in 1945, Zoe sank into a depressed state and was eventually admitted to the local hospital where she died. Don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of Zoe and her sister when you are enjoying your meal. You may even spot her in the ladies’ room.
There are dozens of other haunted stories like this in Charleston and I can make sure you hear quite a few of them if you are interested.
When you go to a wine and food festival, you want to experience it all! That is completely possible when you score tickets to the Charleston Wine & Food Festival. You must get your tickets early to this event or you will miss out on all the fun and need to wait until the following year.
This festival is held at the beginning of March every year, so I recommend beginning the planning process now! There are more than one hundred different culinary experiences over the course of five days. You can eat all types of cuisine, drink wine, and be entertained while attending cooking classes. Imagine your kids learning how to cook while on this family vacation! It’s the stuff dreams are made of!
The end of May and the beginning of June brings the Spoleto Festival USA every year in Charleston. The Piccolo Spoleto Festival takes place at the same time. The first festival began in 1977. There are seventeen days filled with different performing arts. You can watch performances of the opera, dance, and theater.
The Piccolo Spoleto Festival is a little different with piccolo performances, sand sculpting competitions, and the sunset serenade. There are even a patriotic parade and a midnight pajama march. You never know what you will experience at these two festivals with your family!
There is no doubt that King Street can be very busy. Thankfully, there is less busyness from vehicular traffic on the second Sunday of every month. That is when the road is closed to vehicles and people get it all to themselves.
King Street is considered one of the top ten shopping streets in the entire country. Your whole family will love shopping, checking out the street entertainers, and even dining at one of the many restaurants. This street is only a half-mile long, but it packs a punch with its authenticity.
And yes, you can explore this street at any time, but why not join in on the extra fun on this special day every month!
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