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Charleston

Best Things to Do in Charleston

Soaking in the ambience of the brick-walked, Spanish-mossed downtown is Charleston's main attraction. Historic homes are also plentiful: The Nathaniel Russell House, Drayton Hall and Magnolia Plantation & Gardens are just a few examples. And if you want to pick up a few travel souvenirs -- perhaps a sawgrass basket -- look no further than the Old City Market. There are even a few beaches in close proximity -- Folly Beach, Isle of Palms among others -- ideal for warm weather swimming and cold weather strolling. 

Tips on What To Do in Charleston»

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
Spoleto Festival USA
Entertainment and Nightlife, Festivals | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Mimicking the larger, more established festival in Italy, Charleston's Spoleto Festival USA is nonetheless ... read more»

#2
The Battery Free attraction
Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: For many visitors, this stretch along the city's southern tip is the most iconic ... read more»

#3
Sullivan's Island Free attraction
Beaches, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: The biggest complaints travelers have about the beach on Sullivan's Island are its lack ... read more»

#4
Isle of Palms County Park
Beaches | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: If several days in Charleston proper have you longing for a do-nothing day at the ... read more»

#5
The Calhoun Mansion
Historic Homes/Mansions | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Located just north of the White Point Gardens, the Calhoun Mansion is Italian in design ... read more»

#6
Aiken-Rhett House
Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: According to many, there's no better example of antebellum life than here at the ... read more»

#7
Drayton Hall
Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: According to Fodor's, Drayton Hall is "considered the nation's finest example of unspoiled ... read more»

#8
Nathaniel Russell House
Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Constructed at the turn of the 19th century by Nathaniel Russell -- a wealthy Southern merchant ... read more»

#9
Folly Beach
Beaches | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: After a few days exploring Charleston's historic sites, take some time to kick back ... read more»

#10
Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
Historic Homes/Mansions, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: While Middleton Place's gardens attract those who like trimmed hedges and flower-lined paths, the ... read more»

#11
Old City Market
Shopping, Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: While some may say that the Old City Market is a bit of a tourist ... read more»

#12
Old Slave Mart Museum
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Slavery was a painful but major part of Charleston's past. It was once the ... read more»

#13
H.L. Hunley Submarine
Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.5

Why go: Originally built in 1864 for the Confederate army, the H.L. Hunley became the world ... read more»

#14
Middleton Place
Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.5

Why go: If there were ever a place to stop and smell the roses, this house would ... read more»

#15
Fort Sumter National Monument
Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.5

Why go: You probably remember Fort Sumter as the place where the first shot of the Civil ... read more»

#16
South Carolina Aquarium
Zoos and Aquariums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.5

Why go: This aquarium's claim to fame is its 380,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank; its high-reaching ... read more»

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