Charleston South Carolina 4 Day Itinerary

charleston south caroline

Charleston, South Carolina, is a beautiful city known for its cobble-stoned streets and pastel-colored colonial houses. And as I found in my research a foodie central.  

Our trip spanned a Thursday night to Monday afternoon, and we stayed at the Francis Marion Hotel. This hotel is situated in a perfect spot to walk, ride a bike cab, or, when needed, catch a Lyft/Uber.   

I would highly recommend staying in an area off of King St., Bay St., or in the French Quarter, as it is walkable, central to all the things to do. Walking around leads to some hidden gems and discoveries and helps burn the calories of that delicious southern comfort food you will not be able to resist!   

Where to eat in Charleston:   

I did a lot of research narrowing down places to eat. There were so many options – some of which I had to make the reservation a month in advance – so plan ahead! All the places we tried were top-notch, and there are still more I would go back to try.   

Brunch/Breakfast:   

  • Virginia on King: Perfect spot for a simple yet delicious breakfast right down the street from the hotel.   
  • Lost Dog café: This place is close to the beach and very popular. Be ready to wait as you can’t make reservations here, and they squeeze as many as they possibly can in the restaurant! A fun spot for something different and unique.   
  • Goulart & Maliclet’s Fast & French: This cute little place had good food but not excellent service. We got stuck in the back corner, and although the restaurant had good vibes, it also offered the worst experience of our entire trip.  
  • 5Church: This location used to be a church, on the ceiling Is written “The art of war” by Sun Tsu. The food is a modern take on the southern, limited menu, but there was an option for everyone.   

Dinners:  

  • Leons Oysters: You have to go to this place if you like oysters (which I do)! This restaurant needed a reservation a month in advance because it is a well-known spot and well worth it as well. They have oysters and fried chicken, and the meal is served Family Style. Trust me when I say it was delicious!   
  • Butcher & Bee: This place is off the beaten path, requires a rideshare ride both to and from, and is worth the extra effort for some light and fun cocktails and eclectic, Mediterranean-style food. It’s a perfect spot for a lighter bite.   
  • Poogans’ Porch: This place is hard to book – we almost didn’t get in this place, but when making reservations, put yourself on the list, you may get lucky as we did! This place is a perfect finale for any trip. The history behind the house is so rich and mirrors that of Charleston.  
    • Quick highlights: Poogan was a stray dog whose territory was on Queens St. The porch of the house in which this restaurant is located was his chosen porch. As the home was becoming a restaurant Poogan sat guard and was there to greet the first guests. The food is a reflection of its history: southern comfort food, Including the Charleston classic “She crab soup”, which is a must when you eat here!   

Desert & aperitifs  

  • Carmellas  
  • The Gin Joint  

On the wish list for next time:   

  • Revival  
  • Prohibition   
  • 82 Queen  

Things to do in Charleston:   

I again want to emphasize how walkable Charleston is. If you are tired of walking or are walking a little further than you would like, you can catch one of the pedicabs. They are usually riding around, and I recommend getting the number from the back of their carriages to call them and request a ride quickly.   

A couple of the things to do require getting a little out of town, so I would save a day for one and a day for the other.   

Tipsy Tour hosted by Sea Island Tours (http://www.seaislandtours.com/tipsytour)   

This is a shuttle that will take you from downtown to a winery, a brewery, and a distillery. I would recommend tasting the Meade at the winery, which is made in-house but not a part of the tasting. They have different flavors that vary upon the season. The brewery was your standard beer spot, we all at to use the restroom at this point and no one of us nor the staff really knew what to do until our driver explained it to them, which then led us to have to chug our beers. The last stop was a distillery which is the icing on the cake. We got to try about 6 different vodkas, whiskeys, rum, and bourbon. They were really unique flavors, all delicious. My favorite was the Java rum. Sadly only the vodka’s are sold outside of the distillery. So I picked up a whiskey to take home (was it necessary? No. Was I drunk shopping? Yes). All in all, we made some new friends and kicked off the weekend with a bang.   

Folly Beach   

My research led me to choose Folly Beach as it was an easy drive from the downtown area, got some excellent reviews, and Lost Dog Café is close to this Beach. I reserved some chairs and umbrellas through Folly Beach Chair Company (https://follybeachchairrentals.com/) which I highly recommend as they will set up a spot in the morning and hold it for you until you get there. We were also the second row to the waves. It was, however, hard to find, and we had to do some walking on the beach due to the construction they are doing on the Folly Pier. So I recommend going through the walkway that is east of the bridge off of E. Arctic and 2nd st. It was a bit of a cloudy day, so none of us tested the waters, even though we had picked up some beach towels on the main boardwalk.   

The Charleston City Market  

This historic market took 26 years to build and is one of the oldest in the country. This market is made up of a row of “sheds” that have booths including art and novelties. It is a great spot for souvenirs and cards to send home telling your family and friends how amazing Charleston is.   

Rainbow Row & Battery Park  

These are two central areas to get the perfect Instagram pic. These are also two spots that epitomize the history of Charleston. Rainbow Row was given its classic pastel-colored makeover in 1931 when Dorothy Porcher Legge came in to give them a facelift. And this was the start of the trend of the pastel colors that you see around Charleston.  

Each home on this row is protected by city ordinances to maintain its color, but each home is privately owned and each has its unique history.   

The Battery is another area rich with history and beautiful homes. It is right off of Battery Park, which historically was chosen for its defensive location as it had the best viewpoint of the harbor. The homes that surround the park have an antebellum southern charm and were homes to the elite in the 1800s. 

Charleston is a small city with so much to offer. I can’t wait to go back and explore some more, like the plantations, other beaches, and more food and drinks! It’s a great spot for a long weekend, but you can also spend a week there and see something new every day. Hope this has given you some ideas on things to do, drop a comment below if you have any other suggestions! 

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6 Responses

  1. The Tipsy Tour and the pedicab ride would defo be on my list to try. I would need a pedicab back to the hotel to sleep off the tastings! I like that the city is very walkable, as that is what I prefer to do a lot of to see a city – good exercise, cheap and an infintely better way to pick up the vibe of the place and experience it as a local. Great info on Charleston, which I have never visited.

  2. I’ve always wanted to visit Charleston and your post is why – it seems like such a fun place to explore, yet very easy to explore. Definitely will have to try to plan a long weekend there.

  3. Sounds like your recommendation of the staying in the French Quarter is ideal. Walkable to everything is important as a traveller exploring a new city for the first time. It appears that the top thing to do in Charleston is to eat, and eat some more. One would never go hungry, and its a good thing that the hotel offers bikes to burn off some of those calories.

  4. Small places with lots of activities and offers sound like my kinda place. The bike taxi looks fun and I would be one of those people to lazily have me driven around town 🙂 The city market would also be of interest to me to learn more about local arts and may spot a unique souvenir to take home to.

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

  5. Wow, this really does look like a good foodie place, so many great looking dishes. I like the idea of the Tipsy Tours. I’d definitely take one of those. The houses look really pretty too

  6. Charleston looks and sounds like such a cute and fun place to visit! I think this is something my boyfriend and I should make a little vacation or 4 day weekend out of.

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