Charleston, South Carolina is a charming town located in the southeastern United States. Founded in 1670, Charleston is known for being a top destination for history buffs, architecture fans, foodies, and anyone looking for a relaxing getaway. In this guide, we’ll cover exactly how to spend an amazing two days in Charleston, South Carolina.
This is a guest post by Nicola Rae of See Nic Wander.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.
Table of Contents
- 1 Two Days In Charleston: Where To Stay.
- 2 How to spend 2 days in Charleston: A perfect itinerary
- 2.1 Charleston In 2 Days: Day One
- 2.2 Charleston In Two Days: Day Two
- 3 Practical Information for your 2 Day Charleston Itinerary
Two Days In Charleston: Where To Stay.
The historic district of Charleston is compact and walkable to many bars, restaurants, and attractions. Staying in this downtown area is ideal for your two days in Charleston because you won’t lose any time traveling back and forth to your hotel.
The Francis Marion Hotel dates back to the 1920s and it’s in an excellent location in downtown Charleston. Rooms are spacious with grand historic touches, and guests love having easy access to the tasty on-site Swamp Fox Restaurant and Bar. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
The Indigo Inn is another highly-rated hotel in the downtown Charleston district with a homey, comfortable atmosphere. The Indigo Inn is a true example of southern hospitality. When you visit, you’ll get a complimentary breakfast and an evening “wine and cheese” gathering included in your stay. You can also enjoy a moment of quiet on their peaceful garden patio. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Art-lovers won’t want to miss The Vendue, a boutique art hotel near the Charleston waterfront. This award-winning hotel has comfortable rooms in a building filled with unique art pieces, making the hotel a destination in itself! There are also thoughtful complimentary amenities like bike rentals, art and wine receptions, and night-time cookies and milk. There’s even a rooftop bar where you can relax and enjoy incredible views over the city. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
How to spend 2 days in Charleston: A perfect itinerary
Charleston In 2 Days: Day One
Brunch at Eli’s Table
Kick-off your first day in Charleston with a satisfying brunch at Eli’s Table. Eli’s Table offers high-end versions of southern classics like beignets, crab cakes, and chicken and waffles. Make sure to try the famous fried green tomatoes and their bacon-infused bloody Mary!
Take a Historical Walking Tour
Charleston, South Carolina is a city steeped in history. What better way to learn more about Charleston than with a knowledgeable tour guide? By taking a guided tour, you’ll get to see the highlights of the Charleston historic district like Rainbow Row, the Charleston Harbor, King Street, and the Charleston Battery.
Horse-drawn carriage tours are also popular in Charleston and they offer the same educational experience with less walking. Most tours last between one and two hours, so this is a great way to do some sightseeing.
Tour Fort Sumpter
Fort Sumpter is a National historic site located in the Charleston Harbor. Dating back to the American civil war, this prominent fortification is well worth the visit for anyone interested in American history or military history.
Fort Sumpter can only be accessed by boat. You’ll start by taking a half-hour boat ride from Liberty Square. Along the way, you’ll be able to see views of Charleston from the water and might even catch a glimpse of playful dolphins in the harbor!
Once you arrive, a guide will share information about the history of Fort Sumpter, and then you’ll be able to explore the grounds independently.
Try Local Brews at Revelry Brewing
Just a short drive from the downtown historic district is one of Charleston’s most popular local breweries, Revelry. Revelry offers informational brewery tours as well as a tasting room and a lively rooftop patio area. It’s the perfect place to catch the sunset and unwind after a long day of exploring.
Dinner at the Tattooed Moose
Just a few blocks from Revelry Brewing is The Tattooed Moose, a fun restaurant serving bar food so tasty it’s been featured on the food network show, Diner’s Drive-In’s, and Dives. This quirky restaurant is a local favorite and has an outdoor patio, well-stocked bar, and dishes that will take your tastebuds on a wild ride. You definitely won’t want to miss their famous duck fat fries!
Dessert at Kaminsky’s
The best way to end your first day in Charleston? A mouthwatering dessert from Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe! This cozy dessert cafe has an unbelievable selection of cakes, pies, milkshakes, floats, and specialty coffees and teas. You can also indulge in special dessert martinis and fancy coffee drinks with a kick. The hardest part of your Charleston vacation might be deciding which delicacy to choose, so make sure to save room for dessert!
Charleston In Two Days: Day Two
Fuel up at Big Bad Breakfast
Start your second day in Charleston off right with a tasty breakfast from Big Bad Breakfast. Big Bad Breakfast is known for its southern staples like homemade biscuits, creative eggs Benedicts, and hardy skillets.
Visit Folly Beach
Folly Beach is a popular seaside town just twenty minutes south of Charleston. Visiting Folly Beach is one of the most popular Charleston day trips and a great way to see more of the area during your two days in Charleston!
Take a stroll along the Folly Beach Fishing pier which extends far out into the ocean, offering amazing coastline views and the chance to see local marine life. You can also rent paddleboards and sea kayaks for a more adventurous morning by the beach.
Shopping On King Street
You can’t visit Charleston without taking a journey down King Street, also known as the shopping district. On King Street, you can find big-box retailers, local boutiques, quirky gift shops, art galleries, and everything in between. Start at the intersection of Queen Street and King Street and make your way north for some serious retail therapy.
Cruise the Charleston Harbor for Sunset
A sunset cruise is a great way to see the city from a new perspective while learning more about Charleston from an experienced guide. Charleston Harbor Tours offers a 90-minute sunset tour aboard a steamer-style vessel called the Carolina Bell. A sunset cruise will offer a totally different view of the Charleston Battery and the iconic Charleston Bridge. It’s also an excellent photo opportunity.
Dinner In Downtown
For a culinary experience, you won’t forget, head to FIG. FIG offers lovingly crafted seasonal dishes with local ingredients in a warm, friendly atmosphere. FIG has hundreds of raving guest reviews across the web, many of them saying FIG was one of the best meals they’ve ever had. Make sure to try the gnocchi!
If you’re looking for a more casual option, head to Hyman’s Sea Food on Meeting Street. Hyman’s has every kind of seafood dish you could imagine along with the classic southern staples like crab cakes, fried okra, and hushpuppies. This restaurant is popular so sometimes it can take a while to get a table, but it’s worth the wait!
For your last night in Charleston, head to The Rooftop Bar for tasty drinks and a brilliant view. The Rooftop Bar Charleston is located on top of the Vendue Art Hotel and offers a large selection of classic cocktails and local beers. With a laid-back atmosphere and waterfront views, the Rooftop Bar is the perfect place to end your Charleston experience on a high note.
More Day Trips From Charleston
While there is a ton to see and do in Charleston, this city also makes an excellent starting point for day trips around the Georgia and South Carolina coast.
Take a Road Trip To Savannah: A Savannah Charleston Road Trip is a must when visiting the Carolina and Georgia coastal region. Even though these two cities are only two hours apart, there are fascinating destinations to see along the way. On your journey, you can see historical ruins, learn about Gullah culture, observe wildlife in their natural habitats, and taste the delicious local cuisine.
Visit the Coastal Islands: Take some time to explore the surrounding coastal islands like Edisto, Hunting Beach, and Kiawah. These islands are the perfect peaceful escape and offer an excellent chance to get back to nature while soaking up the sun.
Practical Information for your 2 Day Charleston Itinerary
When is the best time to visit Charleston?
Charleston is located in the Southeastern USA and is known for having hot summers and mild winters. Because the heat and humidity can be intense in the summer months, the best time to visit Charleston is in the spring or fall.
Transportation around Charleston
Charleston is a relatively compact city so you’ll be able to see lots of attractions on foot. You can also take rideshare options like Uber or Lyft to get anywhere you need to go.
Charleston has metered parking as well as paid public parking lots and parking garages. Parking in a garage or paid lot is preferable for longer visits since you won’t have to worry about topping up the meter or staying past the time limit on metered spots.
There are over a dozen parking garages downtown and they take both cash and cards.
Whether you’re just passing through or planning a detailed Charleston weekend getaway, this is a city you’ll want to visit time and time again. With historic charm, delicious food, world-class shopping, and an endless supply of lively bars and activities, Charleston should definitely be on your USA travel bucket list!
Author Bio: Nicola Rae is an Atlanta, Georgia native and the blogger behind See Nic Wander. She writes about remote work, adventurous destinations, and ways to travel the world on a budget.