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Heading to the sandy beaches of Charleston SC for a getaway? Nothing says summer like a day spent on one of South Carolina’s beautiful beaches. Whether you are staying at one of our luxury vacation rentals at Sullivan’s Island or on Folly Beach, or visiting one of Charleston’s other top-rated beaches – Isle of Palms or Kiawah Island –  having the right essentials in your beach bag will help make your beach day that much better.

Check the weather forecast, call your friends and pack these “5 Beach Bag Essentials” to guarantee you’ll have a fun day in the sun:

Beach Bag

It all starts with the right beach bag and finding the perfect one can make ALL the difference. Sure, you could throw your things into any old bag, but all beach bags are not created equal. Today’s advancements in sustainability and recycled materials means that now there are good options that deliver on both stylish detailing and water resistance.  Look for one that is generously sized, something that can comfortably hold up to 4 beach towels, a book or a few issues of your favorite magazines, and sunscreen. You’ll want to keep your cell phone and electronics safe and free from water and sand in a bag that can provide some measure of security.

beach bag and sun hat on sand

 

 

Beach Towel

Pack a towel for each person in your group, whether they plan on wading in the waves or sitting in the sand. Having an extra towel is always good idea, too. If your goals include lounging on the sand for the day with a group of family or friends, you might consider packing an oversized Turkish beach throw, a blanket, or sand mat that will give everyone room to spread out.  If you’re staying at one of our beach vacation rentals – don’t worry about bringing your own towel, just grab the a beach towel from the stack we provide!

Luxury Simplified Retreats Custom Beach Towels

 

Sunscreen

With the warm southern sun in Charleston, sunscreen is a MUST for any beach bag. Use a sunscreen that’s designed for your beach activities (waterproof, sport, high SPF, etc.). Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays. Today, you can find sunscreens that offer an incredible amount of protection, plus added antioxidants and protective ingredients.  There are also good options that exist in UV rated protective clothing. And definitely don’t forget to REAPPLY sunscreen throughout the day … after all, sunscreen doesn’t work if it just sits in your bag all day!

Sister applying protective sunscreen on young child. Girl draws sun cream on her stomach.

 

Hat & Sunglasses

Make sure to bring something to protect your eyes from the sun’s bright rays and give you a little shade throughout the day. Whether it’s a floppy beach hat, a faded baseball cap, a canvas bucket hat or a pair of trendy shades, you’ll be happy you have these in the afternoon.

Woman at beach wearing hat and sunglasses

 

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated when you’re in the sun is vital. Throw a few waters in the cooler or bring a reusable bottle such as S’well bottle or Yeti cup, to keep your drink ICE cold ALL day. The sun and the salt water will dry you out, so make sure you’ve got enough water to go around for everyone in your group.


For any given beach day, these are the “must have” essentials we recommend , but there are always other things you feel are key to taking your “fun in the sun” to a whole new level! These could include bluetooth speaker, healthy snacks, your favorite novel, or a frisbee. Regardless of what you choose to put in your beach bag, once it’s packed you’re ready for a fun-filled day on the beach with family and friends. Start planning your Charleston SC beach vacation today.

Book Luxury Simplified Retreats Vacation Rental Charleston SC

 

The wonderful thing about Charleston SC is that there is something for everyone. The jaw dropping beauty, renowned restaurants and an array of outdoor activities has lead this city to hit the charts nine years in a row as the number one tourist destination in the U.S.  If you’re headed to the Holy City for your next vacation, we’ve put together some ideas on how to experience the BEST of what Charleston has to offer,  whether you’re the history buff, beach goer, foodie, workout fiend, or AQUAholic!

For the History Buff:

Historically charming and immaculately preserved, Charleston is like stepping back in time.  The best way to see Charleston is simply to WALK – getting lost down all the alleyways and back streets. On many of the historic homes located in Charleston’s breathtaking South of Broad neighborhood, you will find wooden historic marker plaques that tell snippets of history dating back to the late 17th century. Best part about this is that it’s free … simply lace up your walking shoes and head out the door!

Historic Home with iron gate in Charleston SC

 

From Charleston’s vibrant Upper King Street District to White Point Garden overlooking the Charleston Harbor, you’ll discover the deep historical roots of this coastal southern city to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and Charleston’s ties to America’s founding fathers.

With over 20 museums, carriage tours, and walking tours both during the day and at night, the history buff has a wealth of ways to explore the Holy City’s history.

For the Beach Goer:

If lounging on the beach all day is your forte, Charleston has 3 beaches to choose from, all offering their own distinctly different vibes. Folly Beach, a 15-minute drive from downtown, has long been the local hangout for surfers and gives off that laid-back, eclectic vibe.  Isle of Palms, with its miles of luxury beachfront homes has more of a resort feel, and Sullivan’s Island, home to mostly “year-rounders” a more refined, reserved atmosphere.

For the Foodie:

There is a reason why top Chefs are moving to Charleston to dabble in the culinary scene. Charleston is a foodie’s mecca, offering anything from authentic Asian cuisines, to rustic French bistros, to high-end steak houses. And of course, classic southern cuisine that you CAN’T beat. Check out 7 hidden dining gems when visiting Charleston!

For the Workout Fiend:

For those of you who want to keep up with your workout routines or simply work off the extra lbs you WILL gain when visiting Charleston, there are plenty of places for you to do so. Walk, run or bike the famed Arthur Ravenel Bridge (formerly known as the Cooper River Bridge), a 6 mile round trip workout that offers up the added bonus of stunning Charleston harbor views.

Aerial View of the Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge Charleston SC

 

The greater Charleston area has over 200 pristine parks, allowing you to enjoy an outdoor workout nearly all year long, and even on the water! Those who are feeling daring, check out the paddleboard yoga offered by Charleston SUP Safaris out on Folly Beach.

For the AQUAholic:

There are not many cities in the U.S. that deliver a trendy, urban lifestyle PLUS easy access to being on the water whenever you want, but downtown Charleston is no more than a 10 to 20 minute drive from a plethora of aquatic activities.

Head to “the Washout” on Folly Beach if you want to catch some waves. Never surfed before, but want to learn? There are plenty of surf schools on Folly Beach like The Charleston Surf Lessons and Isla Surf School that will get you up on the board in no time.

 

woman surfer on a wave Folly Beach SC

 

Spend a day on the water either fishing or cruising with Coastal Expeditions. For your convenience, the pick-up and drop-off can be coordinated based on your location. Whatever and wherever you would like to explore, Coastal Expeditions can take you there.

What better way to end your day in Charleston then to go for a sunset sail around Charleston Harbor?  There’s nothing better than enjoying appetizers and cocktails aboard a classic, sailing schooner with the experienced crew at Holy City Sailing!

Shem Creek and Bowens Island offer both guided and unguided tours for kayaking and paddle boarding that take you through the surrounding marshland and tidal creeks.  It feels dreamlike when you’re paddling along and have dolphins coming up for air on either side of you.

NOTE:  All of this –  and more! – can be scheduled for you before you even leave home when you book in one of our luxury vacation homes. Just let our Retreats Concierge team know what sorts of things you’re interested in experiencing while you’re in Charleston … and they will handle everything else! 

 

With its rich history and miles of sunny beaches, Charleston SC is undeniably one of the most popular travel destinations in the South. A vacation in Charleston may include everything from a whirlwind weekend getaway downtown on the Charleston peninsula, filled with shopping, dining and nightlife, to deep sea fishing, water sports on the Atlantic, or just relaxing in the sand. With so many options, it can be difficult to decide just where to eat, especially if you’re only venturing to town for a few days. While the list of new eateries that are hot and trendy seems to be ever-growing, many locals stick to a few favorites that serve up exceptional fare but might not be a James Beard award winner or listed on Eater.  Here are a few places downtown on the peninsula where locals eat in Charleston.Breakfast

The Harbinger Cafe

We can’t say enough lovely things about “The Harb.” The honey latte alone will have you returning week after week. Locals love this cafe because of its perfect pastries, charming interior, and back porch. Pro tip: go on Saturday for their once-a-week bagels that are boiled for a crispy exterior and chewy inside. They pair them with unexpected flavors in handcrafted cream cheeses… need we say more?

1107 King St, Charleston

The Daily

If you love green juice and avocado toast, look no further. This bright, fresh spot matches its modern interior with equally-fresh breakfast options. It’s situated perfectly in the “northern neck” of the Peninsula and is the perfect pre-beach destination. Staying somewhere closer to the heart of historic Charleston? The Daily has a secondary location inside The Gibbes Museum of Art and is open Monday through Saturday from 10am-5pm.

652 B King St, Charleston

Lunch

Gaulart & Maliclet Fast and French

Is it Paris or is it Charleston? It’ll be hard to tell the difference when dining at Gaulart & Maliclet’s Fast and French, or just Fast and French as the locals call it. Dine on a variety of French dishes including baguette sandwiches, delightful fondue and cheese plates, ever changing daily specials, and of course, an expansive wine menu.

98 Broad St, Charleston

Little Jack’s Tavern

This little establishment is nestled on the Upper King District right near the tech corridor. The Little Jack’s burger rivals the rest of the town’s best. It’s got vintage appeal and fast WiFi.

710 King St, Charleston

Dinner

Pane e Vino

Located down a hidden street in downtown Charleston, this is one of the best Italian restaurants in the Holy City and has a romantic, intimate atmosphere. However, it’s not so expensive that you can’t make it your regular date night choice. You can’t go wrong with any dish you order, but let us be the first to tell you: order the spaghetti alla carbonara. Don’t forget to order their delicious homemade tiramisu for dessert!

17 Warren St, Charleston

Cru Cafe

This restaurant is right in the heart of Downtown in an old Charleston home. It’s perfect for couples and small gatherings. Although they have a semi-private room for larger parties, you can’t squeeze more than 10. The vibe is perfectly Charleston with great wine selections and you should definitely start with the mussels.

18 Pinckney St, Charleston

Note: While it’s certainly true that there are an abundance of amazing and delectable restaurants in Charleston, these are a few that we know you simply can’t go wrong with.  Start your weekend getaway in Charleston by booking a stay at one of our luxury vacation rentals and then let our Concierge team help you plan the perfect itinerary.  We’ve put together our “Insider’s Guide to Charleston” that includes some of our favorite places to see, do and eat in Charleston.  Click below to DOWNLOAD … and start planning today!

Insider's Guide to Charleston

 

Charleston is well known for it’s award-winning restaurants and bars but what about coffee? Did you know that Charleston is just in love with coffee as it is with food? You’ll find a diverse range of shops and a coffee scene really coming into its own here in the Holy City. Our helpful “Coffee Lover’s Guide to Charleston SC” will help you navigate the Holy City and help you to experience some of the best coffee shops and even some pointers on what exactly to order when you get there!

Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer

Located around the corner from our chic & modern King’s Court and Park’s Edge vacation rentals, you’ll discover the hidden gem that is Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer. This inviting cafe just steps from King Street is ideal for those looking to escape the Charleston heat and settle into a quiet courtyard for a coffee or craft beer! Kudu offers all the standard coffee and espresso beverages you’d expect but the real beverage you’ll want is their nitro tap cold brew coffee. If you feel your energy beginning to fade after a day spent exploring Charleston, one sip of this fine beverage and you’ll be off and running again!

Their charming courtyard with bubbling fountain is the perfect place to relax. And if you’re looking for a happy hour libation, try their on tap rosé wine or one of the local craft beers on the menu.

4 Vanderhorst Street, Charleston, SC 29403

Second State Coffee

Nestled among historic homes and ancient oaks, you’d almost miss Second State Coffee if you weren’t looking for it. Located in the Harleston Village neighborhood may mean it is a bit off the beaten path, but finding this gem makes it worth the trip since Second State has been crafting perfect lattes since 2012. This charming, minimal, and bright cafe is a local favorite. Begin your morning with a lavender infused latte or if it’s the afternoon, try one of their coffee cocktails like the Black Juleps.

70.5 Beaufain Street, Charleston, SC 29401

The Rise

Craving a silky smooth cappuccino and the perfect Instagram photo? Look no further than The Rise on Wentworth! Take a break from shopping on King Street and relax in this chic and modern cafe. Try one of their cold brew coffees or their vanilla almond latte for a special treat. The only difficult choice is finding the perfect spot for your coffee photo.

77 Wentworth Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Bitty and Beau’s Coffee

With its roots in Wilmington, North Carolina, Bitty and Beau was started in 2016 to create employment opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Beau’s Coffee created a path for people with IDD to become more valued, accepted, and included in every community. Their second location in Charleston SC was opened in 2018 and a third was opened in Savannah in 2019. This amazing coffee shop is one not to be missed and a way for all of us to participate in something that makes our community better.

159 Church Street, Charleston, SC 29403

Note: Working and living in a city dedicated to delivering on hospitality and culinary at the highest level is just one of the reasons why we love Charleston SC, and know you will too!  Book a stay with us to explore the Holy City and discover for yourself everything this vibrant city has offer.  Our Concierge team is committed to delivering exceptional service, impeccable cleanliness and all the amenities of your everyday home. And, should you need any recommendations during your stay, our team can provide suggestions for restaurants, make reservations, organize activities, and answer any questions.