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!