With so many places to choose from Charleston, South Carolina tourism offerings are not something to be thought a one-day trip. Rather, it is somewhere that one will want to spend a number of days-or multiple trips exploring its shops, museums gardens and many other area attractions. To get one started on planning a Charleston, SC itinerary, here are a few spots that should not be overlooked.
Charleston, SC Points of Interest
Beautiful buildings, historic homes and period plantations make up the varied attractions in Charleston. These places when combined with southern hospitality add an air of peace and purpose to everything one does. Be sure that a Charleston trip includes as many of the following as possible. And remember, they can be reached by car, by foot, by tour bus or via a horse-drawn carriage ride sure to delight guest of all ages.
- Calhoun Mansion-This is a 35 room Italianate mansion built in 1876 for George Walton Williams. It has been used for several film productions, some of the more well-known are The Notebook and the TV mini-series, The North and South.
- Dock Street Theatre- Opened in 1736, the Theatre is said to be America’s first building designed primarily for theatre performances. It has seen many uses over the years, but today the Charleston Stage Company is the theatre in residence with shows often held in the immense foyer and theatre.
- Gibbes Museum of Art-With works by J. Greene, C. Hassam, A. Hutty, Alice R. H. Smith, Anna H. Taylor and numerous others this is truly a delight for art collectors of all levels. One will find portraits using European techniques, early 20th century art, and collections of works that show case nature, architecture everyday activities.
- Huguenot Church- This is the last remaining independent Huguenot church in America. Built in 1687, the structure was renovated and its present Gothic architecture added by Edward Brickell White in 1844. And while for over 150 years services were only performed in French, today English is used. Tours are available Mondays through Thursdays from March to June and September to November.
- South Carolina Aquarium- With observation decks with viewing scopes above the Charleston River, an aviary, a gallery where one can learn about the estuaries, reservoirs and waterways of South Carolina, a 385 gallon aquarium as well as the Penguin Planet exhibit this is the place for nature lovers of every age.
- Charleston Harbor- Here there are numerous shops, quiet restaurants, local artisans and a wide range of tours being offered to introduce visitors to this delightful city. No trip to Charleston will be complete without time spent in some of these local activities.
Gardens and Plantations of Charleston
One of the most well known activities in Charleston, South Carolina is touring its many gardens and historic plantations. If one has time, make sure some of the following are enjoyed.
- The Audubon Swamp Garden- A 60 acre garden resplendent in blooms, indigenous wildlife and birds, black water cypress and more. One can “discover” this delightful garden using boardwalks, bridges and dikes all year around. On site is the Magnolia Plantation House which was built in the Greek Revival style, and offers one a glimpse into the southern life from pre-revolutionary times to the Civil War. Other venues for exploration include the Nature Boat and the Nature Train.
- Middleton Place- The gardens here were started in 1741 by Henry Middleton and include impressive magnolias, roses, azaleas, crepe myrtles and an abundance of blooming plants, landscaped terraces and ornamental lakes. There are demonstrations of spinning, weaving, corn grinding, cow milking and other task of days gone by. There is also cabin, a chapel and a cemetery as well as a horse-drawn carriage tour for guest to enjoy.
- Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens- Originally built in 1681, the plantation focused primarily on cotton, but also produced bricks and tiles. Today’s mansion was built in 1935 and was built to resemble a plantation house of old. Onsite are slave cabins, a smokehouse, a dock house, a stable and a butterfly pavilion. Docent led tours as well as demonstrations are offered daily. Gardens include antique roses, camellias and azaleas.
- Charleston Tea Plantation- Come see how tea is grown and then becomes that rich drink that the South is famous for. There is a movie, an observation window, and trolley tour available from May to October.
- While this is but a few of the many Charleston offerings, perhaps it is enough to encourage visitors to this charming South Carolina town to come see what is one of the South’s most loved towns. Whether it is via carriage or foot, visiting historic locations or well-loved eateries, Charleston has something to please the traveler from every walk of life.