One Day in Charleston: Must-Do Itinerary For Friends & Family

One of the greatest benefits of the military lifestyle is the opportunity to live in new and unique places. So we are starting a new series – One Day! Do you have friends from home or in-laws visiting for the weekend? We want to provide you with spouse-approved itineraries for your duty station. Whether you follow these itineraries exactly or you take a few ideas and run with it, we want to help take the guess work out of it!

First up, Charleston!

Where to Stay

If you have friends or family in town and they can’t say with you, book a room at some of the famous Charleston hotels like The Dewberry, Francis Marion Hotel, and Emeline. Or perhaps stay the night in the many historic inns. They include: French Quarter Inn, HabourView Inn, and Elliot House Inn.

What to Pack

For this itinerary, make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen! Let Charleston do the rest.

Morning: Battery Park & Rainbow Row

Begin your adventure at the Battery Park. Enjoy the beautiful Southern Oaks, Spanish moss, and a view of some of Charleston’s immaculate mansions. Listen to nearby waters where the Ashley River meets the southern most tip of the peninsula.

Start walking North along the Battery where to your left you can see the channels meet and Fort Sumter in the distance. On your right are some of the most spectacular historic homes you’ll ever see. As you continue north along E Bay St., take a pit stop at Rainbow Row and snap a few pictures for your photo album. These thirteen pastel-colored homes are the most photographed in all of Charleston.

As you approach Broad Street, stop into the oldest liquor store in America: The Tavern at Rainbow Row. They often have free tastings and are incredibly knowledgeable. Where Broad St. meets E Bay St. is the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon; stop in and cool off with a tour of the Old Exchange, one of the best tours in the city. Learn about Colonial History and the Slave Trade of Charleston and if you’re brave, step down into the dungeon and see for yourself why this is considered one of the most haunted places in the United States.

Afternoon: Broad Street & Historic Charleston City Market

After you cool off at The Old Exchange, head down Broad St. for lunch. Popular stops include Blind Tiger Pub and Brown Dog Deli. If you’re looking for a caffeine pick-me-up, stop into Gaulart & Maliclet Fast and French for an espresso and croissant. From here you can stroll up and to the right to lower King Street. This southern most area of King St. is home to shops, restaurants, cafes, and much more. Admire the art galleries, artisan shops, and local favorites.

Head right onto Market Street and in a few blocks, you will reach the Historic Charleston City Market. A reprieve from the outdoors will take you to an indoor/outdoor market of local craft vendors selling everything from hand painted oysters to sweetgrass baskets. Along the outer edges of the market are some of Charleston’s most iconic spots such as Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, Byrd’s Famous Cookies, and the Charleston Crab House.

Evening: Pineapple Fountain & Dinner

If you backtrack a few blocks down E Bay Street, walk down Queen Street to the Joe Reilly Waterfront Park and snap a photo with the iconic pineapple fountain.

By now you’ve probably worked up an appetite so let’s talk dinner. Charleston is home to some of the best restaurants in the country. From seafood to steaks to Asian and Mexican, there is something for everyone. Notable mentions include: Hall’s Chophouse, The Darling Oyster Bar, Carmella’s Café and Bar, Melfi’s, Leon’s Oyster Shop, and Lewis Barbeque.

For more Charleston resources, click here. What would you add to our itinerary? Comment below!

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