Charleston, SC Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Fall Vacations
Credit

Courtesy of Sam Antonio Photography/Getty Images

Getting Around Charleston, SC

The best way to get around Charleston is on foot. That said, you'll probably enjoy the use of a car too. You can rent some wheels at Charleston International Airport (CHS)  or bring your own  and leave it parked in one of the garages that pepper the city. Having a car is especially helpful if you're staying in the city outskirts or if you plan on indulging in some beach time. City buses and trolleys are available too, as are taxis. From the airport, which is located about 12 miles northwest of the downtown area, you can take a cab or shuttle bus. Taxis from the airport to Charleston's downtown area cost about $29 to $34, depending on where your hotel is located. Shuttle buses depart every 15 minutes and cost $14 per person. The price is lower than a taxi ride, but the trip will be longer due to the multiple stops the bus makes.

On Foot To get the full flavor of Charleston, you need to walk. Art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and historic homes fill downtown and many are in close proximity to one another. But if you're touring around in the sweltering summer, make sure to apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water. If you want a little direction while strolling, consider signing up for a guided walking tour.

Car

If you plan on staying on the city's outskirts or spending some time at the beach, you'll need to rent a car. You'll find several agencies, such as Hertz, Enterprise and Budget, located at Charleston International Airport and throughout the Greater Charleston area. Make sure to check with your hotel on its parking policy; some properties charge extra.

Bus & Trolley

The city also operates bus and trolley lines. The trolley stops at popular points of interest, such as the South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston City Market, Waterfront Park and the Charleston Museum. You probably won't use the city buses as much as the trolleys, unless you'd like to explore Mount Pleasant, the town east of Charleston (across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge). The city also offers service from downtown Charleston to the airport  the NASH Express route shuttles travelers back and forth.

A one-way ride on the bus costs $2 and gives weary feet a rest. You can buy passes at the downtown Visitors Center, the CARTA station and several grocery stores. One-day passes cost $7; three-day passes cost $14. NASH Express one-way tickets cost $3.50. Trolleys are free to ride. For information on route scheduled and operation hours, check the CARTA website.

Taxi

You'll find a handful of taxis stationed at the airport and scattered throughout Charleston's downtown area. But cabs aren't as easy to come by outside city limits; plan to call ahead to book a metered taxi if you're not staying downtown. Popular companies include Charleston Cab Company and Charleston Green Taxi. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft also operate in the Charleston area.

Explore More of Charleston, SC

Recommended

The 6 Best Sedona Jeep Tours

Take a rollicking ride through Sedona's natural beauty in a rugged SUV.

Holly JohnsonJuly 16, 2019

The 12 Top Florida Keys Beaches

Relax on the sandy shorelines from Key West to Key Largo.

Gwen PratesiJuly 15, 2019

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

Lyn MettlerJuly 15, 2019

The 8 Best Charleston Ghost Tours

Experience the Holy City's history and haunts on one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 12, 2019

The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours

Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.

John RodwanJuly 11, 2019

The 15 Best Los Angeles Tours

Maximize your time in Los Angeles with the insider tips and historical context provided by the best local tours.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 3, 2019

The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

See a different side of Sin City – its attractions go beyond gambling.

John RodwanJuly 2, 2019

The 10 Best San Diego Boat Tours

Explore this coastal city's sights with a relaxing boat excursion.

John RodwanJuly 1, 2019

The 15 Best Nashville Tours

Engage with the city's country roots on one of these tours.

Lyn MettlerJune 28, 2019

14 Top Finger Lakes Wineries to Visit

Head to upstate New York's winemaking region for scenery, history and lots of vino.

Kyle McCarthyJune 27, 2019