You'd have to have a heart of sand not to love Charleston. The cobblestone streets, the grand antebellum houses, the palmetto fronds that sway overhead in the humid lowcountry breeze — they all make it so easy to feel like you've wandered into a different era, or maybe even a whole other reality.
As enchanting as all those vine covered passageways and gas-lit Queen Anne courtyards are, the city has plenty of new stuff, too. In recent years, its experienced a renaissance so vast, that Thomas — who went to College of Charleston over a decade ago — was in a state of wide-eyed awe during most of our visit. Upper King Street, with its freshly minted restaurants, shops, and bars, is virtually unrecognizable from the neighborhood he knew before.
For me, a first time visitor and long-time romanticizer, Charleston lived up to nearly every expectation I had. My only regrets? That we didn't get a chance to surf — and that we didn't have another week or to explore.
good to know
Charleston isn't that big, so if you're staying downtown, like to walk, and have an Uber account you definitely don't need to rent a car. We rented a car because we wanted to visit nearby Folley Beach and Sullivan's Island — which, by the way, are both totally worth seeing. But if you're only in town for a long weekend and don't plan on taking any day trips, you'll be just fine without wheels. Most hotels provide bikes to cruise around on (Totally fun! There are no hills!), and anyway, parking downtown is kind of a pain.