Historic Charleston is only about 12 short miles away from all of our wonderful islands! Known as "The Holy City" for its many churches and history of religious freedom, Charleston is one of America's first preserved architectural and historic treasures, as well as one of the most extensively preserved cities in the world. Since its founding in 1670, Charleston has played an important and often pivotal role in the course of American history.
Brief History of Charleston
Charleston has been the scene of numerous and varied historic "firsts." The first decisive American victory during the Revolution occurred at the Battle of Fort Sullivan on Sullivan's Island. The first regularly scheduled passenger train service in America was established here in 1830. The initial shots of the Civil War were fired on Union troops stationed at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. And the first American golf course, Harleston Green, and golf club, The South Carolina Golf Club, were established in 1786. History is literally around every corner in this City of mystery and beauty.
Current Awards & Rankings
|No. 1||Top City in the U.S. and the World - Readers' Choice||Condé Nast Traveler||2012|
|Charleston's Broad Street Named One of the Ten Great Streets in America||American Planning Association||2012|
|No. 1||Domestic Travel - Reader's Choice||Condé Nast Traveler||2011|
|No. 1||America's Favorite Cities - "Friendliest City"||Travel & Leisure||2011|
|No. 1||America's Favorite Cities - "Most Attractive"||Travel & Leisure||2011|
|No. 1||America's Favorite Cities - "Noteworthy Neighborhoods "||Travel & Leisure||2011|
|No. 2||World's Best Cities||Travel & Leisure||2011|
|No. 4||Traveler's Choice Food & Wine||TripAdvisor||2011|
|No. 6||Best Town Ever||Outside Magazine||2011|
|No. 1||Best Tennis Town in the US||US Tennis Association||2010|
Things To See & Do
Charleston is equally acclaimed for its contributions to the arts and humanities. Charleston lends itself to walking, and many visitors find this to be a convenient way to see everything the City has to offer. Beautiful homes, churches, and public buildings line the City's cobblestone streets, and magnificent formal gardens grace much of the Historic District, adding to the beauty of the colonial, antebellum, and Victorian architecture. Some of the City's most popular attractions include "The Battery," Waterfront Park, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, the Gibbes Museum, the Charleston Museum and its Museum Houses, the Aiken-Rhett House, the Edmondston-Alston House, and the Nathaniel Russell House. Be sure to make time to visit the South Carolina Aquarium.
Charleston is also a city of celebration with numerous widely-known festivals and special events held throughout the year, including the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, the Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens, Spoleto Festival USA, the Fall Candlelight Tour of Homes, the MOJA Festival and Christmas in Charleston. A complete calendar of festivals and events can be found at "Events & Things To Do."
Shopping and dining in Charleston are also memorable experiences. You'll find dozens of restaurants serving everything from five-star dining to southern-style fried shrimp and red rice. Shopping in Charleston is just as diverse and exciting. Charleston was ranked by Travel and Leisure as being #3 for both most "Friendly" city and the most "Relaxing Retreat" in the US, as well as one of the top three cities in the United States for "Cleanliness" and "Peace and Quiet"! From quaint antique shops along King Street to the hand-made sweet-grass baskets and other crafts in Charleston's Historic District and famous Old City Market to it's numerous art galleries- Charleston is full of interesting and unusual specialty shops!