As the vibrant hues of autumn take over the landscape, Charleston, South Carolina, emerges as an enchanting destination for a fall weekend getaway in 2023. With its historic allure, captivating architecture, and a delightful blend of culture and relaxation, Charleston offers a splendid escape that promises a memorable experience. From exploring the cobblestone streets of historic downtown to basking in the mild October weather and indulging in beachside activities, this charming city has it all.
One of the highlights of visiting Charleston in the fall is the delightful weather. By October, there’s a good chance that the stifling summer heat has subsided, giving way to milder temperatures that are perfect for exploring the city on foot. With highs ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s°F (24-28°C) and pleasantly cool evenings, you can comfortably enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about the sweltering heat. Pack a light jacket or sweater for the evenings, and you’ll be all set to enjoy Charleston’s fall ambiance.
Lace up your shoes and head out for a stroll
Stepping foot in historic downtown Charleston is like entering a living history book. As you wander through cobblestone streets lined with colorful antebellum houses, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of Southern elegance and charm. The historic district is brimming with well-preserved architecture, quaint shops, and an abundance of. Take a guided walking tour to learn about the city’s rich history, from its role in the American Revolution to the Civil War and beyond.
Step inside a hidden garden
A celebration of architecture, history and gardens, this beloved event takes you inside some of Charleston’s most iconic historic homes and intricate gardens. Each year, for one month only, the Preservation Society of Charleston invites you to get up close and personal with some of Charleston’s oldest and most exquisite homes. During “The Fall Tours: Architecture, History and Gardens” you can step inside private homes and gardens, ordinarily closed to the public, and walk through history.
Take a step back in time
Aside from the taking in the sights and sounds of historic downtown Charleston by foot, Charleston is also a hub for cultural experiences from incredible art galleries to world-class museums. The Charleston Museum is notable as the oldest museum in the United States. The Gibbes Museum of Art showcases Southern art and Lowcountry history, offering a unique perspective on the region’s artistic heritage.
In early 2023, Charleston, celebrated the opening the International African American Museum as a fitting addition to its historic landscape. Situated at the Gadsden Wharf, where countless enslaved Africans disembarked, the museum stands as a powerful testament to resilience and history. The museum’s compelling exhibits narrate the African American journey, from the depths of the Middle Passage to the heights of cultural contributions. Through immersive displays, interactive installations, and personal stories, visitors gain profound insights into the rich tapestry and enduring legacy of the African American experience.
Slip on your flip flops and head to the beach
No trip to Charleston would be complete without spending time at its pristine beaches. Head to Folly Beach or Isle of Palms, where you can sink your toes into the soft sand, soak up the sun, and listen to the soothing sound of the waves. Cast a line from one of the popular fishing piers, or even try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking. As the sun sets over the ocean, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking display of colors that paints the sky. You’ll find great dining options offering up coastal fare at both of these oceanfront communities.
Located on the iconic fishing pier of Folly Beach, Pier 101 serves up family friendly plates for the whole group. Sit inside or outside on the pier, enjoy ocean views, sea breezes, and watch the sky dance in vibrant colors as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll find some of Folly Beach’s top restaurant’s located along Center Street, including Taco Boy, Jack of Cups, Rita’s Seaside Grill or Lost Dog Cafe. Head over to Dolce Banana Cafe for ice cream and frozen treats and for the cherry on top of a fun night on Folly, take a cone of your favorite flavor for a stroll on the beach.
This island paradise just a short drive from downtown Charleston is a favorite among kiteboarders who flock to Breach Inlet where the winds are reliably brisk year round. In addition to six miles of beaches, Isle of Palms includes a quaint downtown retail and dining district along Ocean Boulevard. Popular restaurants and cafes along this stretch of the island offer a wide variety of delicious seafood and other local specialties, including Coda del Pesce, Coconut Joes Beach Grill, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen and the locally loved Sea Biscuit Cafe, that serves up only breakfast, but is well worth the wait!
Nothing says fall in the South like a coastal fair
The October weather makes this the perfect time to celebrate fall at the fair, and there’s plenty for everybody to do at this favorite, family-friendly fair. Held in nearby Ladson, SC, just an easy 25 minute drive from the downtown Charleston peninsula, this is a fun-filled, small town fair filled with food, rides and entertainment. From the recognizable ferris wheel, to fiddler competitions, 4-H events, arcade games and cotton candy, The Coastal Carolina Fair is a fun-filled destination for kids – big and small alike.
Stay in Luxury
A fall weekend trip to Charleston, SC promises a blend of historic charm, cultural richness, and coastal beauty. With its historic downtown, captivating museums, mild October weather, and inviting beaches, Charleston beckons travelers to experience the very best of the Lowcountry. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking relaxation by the sea, Charleston is the ideal destination to create lasting memories against the backdrop of a picturesque Southern fall. Book a stay at any of our luxury vacation homes in the heart of Downtown Charleston or on Folly Beach, Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island and be that much closer to having your toes in the sand. The team at Luxury Simplified Retreats goes above and beyond to offer guests an outstanding experience with beautiful beach rentals and unparalleled concierge services. Browse our Experience Packages to consider making your trip especially unique, then sit back, relax, and leave all of the planning to us.
What is your ideal day at the beach? A big umbrella and a good book? Boogie boarding and sand castles? Wading in the waves? Whether you are planning a day trip or a weeklong summer stay, the top beaches to visit in Charleston SC include these four easily accessible public beaches, each with its own unique scene and amenities. Locals tend to visit the beach closest to their home (for obvious reasons), which means the beaches often mirror the communities that border them, but no matter where you are staying in Charleston, you’re always just a few minutes from putting your toes in the sand.
Isle of Palms
Across the intercostal waterway from Mount Pleasant awaits Isle of Palms (lovingly referred to by locals as just “IOP”). Ocean Boulevard is home to a several local beachfront restaurants serving up tasty food with a view. With the Isle of Palms County Park offering convenient parking, beachfront lifeguards, public restrooms and other amenities, IOP is frequented by families of all sizes. And beyond lounging on the sand, you’ll find countless fishermen on the pier just waiting to reel in the catch of the day. Isle of Palms offers a lot for families to do and is one of the most popular beach destinations in Charleston.
Affectionately known by locals as “funky Folly” for its laid back vibes, Folly Beach offers a classic, casual beach experience. The iconic fishing pier, home to local eatery Pier 101, is the perfect place to take in the panoramic ocean views and look back at the island’s shore. The pier and surrounding beach are part of Folly Beach County Park, which offers amenities including lifeguard supervision, beach patrol, public restrooms, snack bar and equipment rentals (beach chair/umbrella, fishing tackle, etc.). A short way down the beach surfing hotspot ‘The Washout’ draws amateurs and pro’s alike with some of the best surf in the Carolina’s.
Though it is the smallest of Charleston’s area beaches, Sullivan’s Island beach is among the most pristine. Less frequented than other area beaches, it’s often uncrowded, ideal for morning walks on the beach, or picnics on the sand with views of the Ravenel Bridge. With nearly a dozen local restaurants right off the beach – from tacos and margaritas at Mex 1 Coastal Cantina or dinner at the eclectic Poe’s Tavern – it’s no wonder Sullivan’s is a favorite for local Charlestonians. The island is also home to Fort Moultrie and the iconic Sullivan’s Island lighthouse (commonly called “Charleston Light”), which has the distinction of being among the country’s most modern lighthouses. Fully operational, it serves not only to guide ships safely to shore but also as a reminder of Charleston’s role as a bustling seaport importing and exporting food, goods, and tourists daily.
Beachwalker Park Kiawah Island
A picturesque drive just south of downtown Charleston, Kiawah Island Beach is a tranquil and serene retreat complete with winding oak trees, marsh views, and coastal landscape. As Kiawah Island is a private, gated community, Beachwalker County Park is one of the best kept local secrets – it’s open to the public, with everything you need from lifeguards to changing rooms, showers, handicap access, and plenty of shade. If you’re heading out for a long walk on the beach, make sure you bring a bag or bucket to collect the many sand dollars you’ll find along the way.
Stay in luxury
Choose your favorite beach, or explore them all and discover a few of Charleston’s treasures and secrets along the way. Don’t forget to pack all the beach bag essentials for your fun day on the sand! Book a stay at any of our luxury vacation homes in the heart of Downtown Charleston or on Folly Beach, Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island and be that much closer to having your toes in the sand. The team at Luxury Simplified Retreats goes above and beyond to offer guests an outstanding experience with beautiful beach rentals and unparalleled concierge services. Browse our Experience Packages to consider making your trip especially unique, then sit back, relax, and leave all of the planning to us.
Isle of Palms is a charming beachfront town located on the slender barrier island of the same name. Located just off the coast of historic Charleston SC, and surrounded by the lush landscape of the South Carolina lowcountry, Isle of Palms is a vacation destination unlike any other. Just 7 miles long and 1 mile wide, Isle of Palms is known for its wide, sandy beaches, making it a popular destination for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Spend a day exploring the storied history of downtown Charleston, discover the beauty and awe of coastal birds of prey, paddle board with dolphins along iconic Shem Creek, or simply spend your days on the beach with nothing planned but to relax and unwind.
Every Vacation starts with Great Dining
In addition to six miles of beaches, Isle of Palms includes a quaint downtown retail and dining district along Ocean Boulevard. Popular restaurants and cafes along this stretch of the island offer a wide variety of delicious seafood and other local specialties, including Coda del Pesce, Coconut Joes Beach Grill, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen and the locally loved Sea Biscuit Cafe, that serves up only breakfast, but is well worth the wait.
You will find other upscale dining options dotted throughout the island, including Long Island Cafe which is located right beside Harris Teeter, The Boathouse, located on the water overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and Islander 71. Situated on the point where Morgan Creek meets the Intracoastal Waterway, Islander 71 overlooks the water and has spectacular views. With dock access available for boaters, a waterside bar, indoor-outdoor dining, and an outdoor stage with live music, Islander 71 is an island vacation must do.
Something for Everyone
Isle of Palms proximity to Mt. Pleasant, Charleston’s fast-growing suburb just over the Isle of Palms Connector, provides easy access to some great family friendly activities. Boone Hall Farms offers strawberry picking, a farmers market, a pumpkin patch, and haunted house (seasonally). There’s nothing like a ordering a hotdog with all the fixings and a hand dipped shake at Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, or taking a drive to Mt. Pleasant’s Old Village for a picnic on the Pitt Street Bridge. Whether you just want to spend some time relaxing on the beach, or are eager to go swimming, fishing and try out some water sports, Coastal Expedition is a local company that offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, so you can explore the waterways and tidal creeks around the island. The island is also home to many kid-friendly attractions, such as the Wild Dunes Resort and the Charleston County Park and Playground.
Water Water Everywhere
For the water lover who seeks adventure, the island is surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway, which offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and other water activities. At Breach Inlet, the sliver of water that separates Isle of Palms from nearby Sullivans Island, you’ll find the skies above the Atlantic are often filled with the colorful kites of kitesurfers, as this end of the island delivers a strong and consistent ocean breeze.
In addition to the some of the popular spots in and around Isle of Palms, your vacation wouldn’t be complete without booking an excursion with Coastal Expedition to the nearby nature reserve at Bulls Island, where you will see alligators, herons, and other wildlife. The largest of four barrier islands found within the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Bulls Island is a 5,000 acre maritime forest with fresh and brackish water impoundments and a beach area. The six-and-a-half mile uninhabited island remains virtually untouched and is home to countless wildlife and endangered species. Just 45 minutes north of Isle of Palms, this makes for a great daytime outing to experience a breathtaking part of the coastal lowcountry. The Intracoastal Waterway and the tidal creeks around Isle of Palms also offer up some great spots for dolphin watching.
Music under the stars
When the sun sets and the night is heating up, head to the ever popular The Windjammer beachfront bar. Founded in 1972 and with a devoted following of locals and visitors alike, this longtime bar was the local home to Hootie & the Blowfish in the band’s early days, and with a reputation as a destination for great live music, the club has hosted other well know acts like Edwin McCain, Sister Hazel and the Zac Brown Band. Add in endless ocean views and The Windjammer will quickly become your favorite spot for enjoying bar bites and cold drinks while listening to live music at the beach.
Proximity to Charleston
It’s just about a thirty minute drive into Charleston from the Isle of Palms. If you’ve never been to Charleston before, with its wide variety of cultural and historical attractions and legendary southern charm, then spending a day in Charleston is a must. Explore cobblestoned alleyways, discover manicured gardens tucked behind intricate iron gates, browse the legendary shopping along King Street, dine at corner cafes along East Bay Street and experience harbor views from a scenic rooftop.
Start planning your vacation getaway to Isle of Palms, by booking a luxurious Isle of Palms vacation rental just steps from the beach. The team at Luxury Simplified Retreats goes above and beyond to offer guests an outstanding experience with beautiful beach rentals and unparalleled concierge services. Browse our Experience Packages to consider making your trip especially unique, then sit back, relax, and leave all of the planning to us. You’re going to love Isle of Palms laid-back, small-town vibe.
I was once in Paris and engaged a street artist to sketch my then fiancée, now bride. In perhaps 10 strokes of charcoal he captured her essence. I was indeed more amazed with the process than the image, it struck me as quintessentially, yet, unconsciously competent artistry.
Our business is tasked with overseeing roughly $100M of vacation rentals in Charleston and Palmetto Bluff. Over the years our team have settled in to the easy ways of unconscious competence. We see what an owner may not, we suggest improvements where others may see problems or indeed, nothing at all. It’s our version of that Parisian encounter so many years ago. It’s this trait that helps us stand apart from the crowd.
Our role in this is to aid them in exploring every avenue that might exist for increasing their revenue, whether it be simple updates to the interior decor, a renovation that modernizes the kitchen or baths, adding a pool, or increasing the size of the property to add additional bedrooms. Understanding the market data and the expected returns that come with the different enhancement scenarios allows us to develop a cost/benefit analysis and help to determine what is a valuable use of their money to maximize ROI.
Now words are easily crafted and certainly not costly to do so but how about a real-world example of what we can do and how it worked out? This exact scenario played out recently when we worked with owners interested in adding a bedroom to what had been a single-bedroom carriage house rental.
A 1-Bedroom/1-Bath Becomes a 2-Bedroom/1-Bath:
We have a one bedroom carriage house in our Palmetto Bluff portfolio. It rents well but based on feedback that we had received over time from guests, there would be high value to adding a second bedroom to this property to act as additional office space and somewhere for children to stay over, as previously there were only pull-outs in the living room. This being a 1-bedroom, 1-bath carriage house configured over a 5-bay garage, with no ability to add an additional bathroom, the expectation was a modest increase in rental return for a modest outlay and minimal disruption along the way. We sent our construction team over to look at the building and make suggestions. Now we can all do the math on this, i.e. cost of construction, potential increased rental rates, potential increased occupancy … but in this case, that’s not the whole story, please read on.
The Carriage House Interiors “BEFORE”
Bedroom was added where interior glass window overlooked the vintage car collection that was on display in the garage below.
This was to be a quick project for the owners as the loft space already existed. It could be easily enclosed and the new garage ceiling made suitably fire-resistant. A total of $15,500 was spent on the work, saving a few dollars by using building materials leftover from another recent project, plus the added benefit of an owner in the building industry. Seeing the opportunity that exists here is easy, and in this case, a seemingly straightforward update to be made, but important nevertheless to note that in any scenario, a market analysis is vital to understanding whether the addition will garner the expected returns.
The Carriage House interior “AFTER” new bedroom addition:
How we calculated potential ROI with increased rental rates for a 2-Bedroom/1-bath Carriage House:
$ 2,800 Project design and prep work
$15,500 Materials and labor (some work was done by the owner and reused building materials from previous project)
$21,600 Additional rental income @ $120 per night/projected 180 night occupancy per year. The project should be cash flow positive year one. Note: The carriage house was previously renting well with a nearly full calendar and a steady stream of return guests.
Potential ROI gained in overall property value:
As with any home renovation that increases the overall square footage of the house additionally, outside of the extra rental revenue, the owners will realize:
$156,000 Additional value to the house at 260 sq. ft. added @ $600/ft
That is a 700% return the minute the paint is dry, and before the next guests check-in!
Our Luxury Simplified Retreats team is a top 3 company in South Carolina for Average Daily Rate and Occupancy (AirDNA November 2020). With some of the top Revenue Managers in the coastal areas in and around Charleston, we aim to maximize our owner return and our renter experience, and our team is skilled at achieving both. Why not ask how we could help your own property achieve the same results? Contact our team and find out what we can do for you.