Historic Charleston & South Carolina Beaches
So genteel and gracious, it's no wonder Charleston, South Carolina has consistently ranked among the country's most elegant and mannerly cities. Founded in 1670, the port city has suffered great fires, earthquakes, pirates, a civil war and a hurricane, and weathered them all with grace and dignity. Charleston today boasts 73 pre-Revolutionary buildings - 136 from the late 18th century and more than 600 others built prior to the 1840s. Visitors can find plenty of distinctly Charleston things to do: wander cobblestone streets lined with antique shops and boutiques, browse the Old City Market where Gullah basket ladies are among the vendors that peddle their wares, and peek at private gardens tucked serenely behind iron gates. House museums and monuments to wealthy Colonial merchants are open to visitors, as are the plantations and gardens that line the Ashley River.
Historic Charleston & Resort Beaches
A USA "must-see," Charleston is an Old South city with irresistible charm and beauty. You see it in the lazy trim of her breezy piazzas and feel it in the spirit of her rich heritage. Steeped in history, Charleston is a place visitors rarely want to leave. The city boasts 73 pre-Revolutionary buildings, 136 late-18th century structures and over 600 others built before the 1840s. Idyllic beach resorts at Kiawah Island, Seabrook, Wild Dunes and Edisto Island offer miles of unspoiled beaches and marshlands, posh accommodations, outstanding recreation facilities and fine dining. With some many uniquely Charleston things to do, you too may never want to leave. Charleston has the accolades to prove it's a one of the best places to visit in South Carolina.
Part of the 60,000-acre Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, and perhaps the most wild South Carolina beaches, Bull Island offers an exciting day-trip adventure. Meet the passenger ferry at Garris Landing in the morning, and spend the day collecting shells and surf fishing on the deserted beach. Look for trails created by the rare red wolf, which is bred on the island. The afternoon ferry brings you back refreshed from a true wilderness experience.
Folly Beach is the closest beach to historic Charleston and is arguably "the best beach in South Carolina." Calm and relaxed, Folly Beach is a great place to play in the waves, collect seashells, and walk to the lighthouse. A fishing pier and beautiful views make Folly Beach one of the last, old-timey, "shabby" beaches in the area.
Isle of Palms
In 1898, visitors to Isle of Palms came by way of water or a single railroad bridge. Originally opened as a recreational area for privileged parties at beach homes, this semi-tropical retreat, bordered by beautiful beaches and a network of marsh creeks, has lost none of its original charm. Test your skill at beach volleyball, bodysurfing, shrimping or crabbing. Wild Dunes Resort, on the northern tip of the island, also features outstanding accommodations, golf, tennis, and a marina.
With 10 miles of undisturbed South Carolina beaches and five world-renowned golf courses, including the site of the 2003 EMC World Cup, it's no wonder so many visitors come to Kiawah (pronounced KEE-a-wah) Island and decide to make it their home. Much of Kiawah Island is privately owned, but Beachwalker Park is open to the public.
Named for an Indian tribe, Kiawah is only 21 miles from historic Charleston and offers a variety of recreation and lodging accommodations. Canoe through marsh-lined creeks and waterways or play tennis at the two Kiawah tennis centers, ranked among the top 50 tennis resorts in the U.S. With a variety of restaurants, shopping at the Straw Market and special children's programs, Kiawah Island is a perfect choice for family vacations.
Only 23 miles from Charleston, Seabrook Island Resort offers a serene setting where vacationers peacefully coexist with the island's natural wildlife. Stay in a luxurious villa overlooking the Atlantic, tee off on two championship golf courses, or play a set at the excellent tennis facilities. Wander miles of private beach or tour the island on horseback. Don't be surprised if you find yourself face-to-face with a deer. The island offers special children's programs, and nearby Bohicket Marina offers boat rentals for the exploration of marsh creeks or deep-sea charters.