A Weekend in Charleston, South Carolina

We had a wonderful time last weekend with Ben and family in Charleston, South Carolina. This is Ben and Bonnie’s fifth year of marriage, so they invited us to join them in Charleston to celebrate.

Our friends will be interested in our photos of the trip to follow along with our growing family.

For any readers planning a trip to Charleston, the rest of this post is about things to do and places to eat in Charleston. This was our second visit there, so I’ll actually include a few things we did from a previous visit, too. You’d probably enjoy the photo tour, too, to whet your appetite. Charleston is a wonderful city to visit.

Charleston Tea Plantation

Things to Do in Charleston

A few years ago, we took the ferry from Patriots Point Maritime Museum (a ferry also leaves from Liberty Square in downtown Charleston) to visit Fort Sumter. You need to allow about two hours to take the ferry ride to the fort and back, including the hour they give for exploring the fort (I would’ve liked a bit longer.)

Next time, we plan to tour the USS Yorktown and the other exhibits at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. The museum is billed as “the world’s largest naval and maritime museum,” but we didn’t have time for it.

We took an hour carriage ride in residential Charleston. The Old South Carriage Company had a package deal so we also bought tickets from them for a harbor tour with Spiritline, which we took the next day. We did our own walking tour, too. We went inside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and walked down to White Point Garden, looping past Rainbow Row and the Waterfront Park on the way back. We’re very glad we stopped along that walk for a tour of the beautiful Nathaniel Russell house. We highly recommend their tour.

There’s plenty of interesting places and lots of parking garages convenient to wherever you want to visit.

For Children

Our little family thoroughly enjoyed all the hands-on fun at the Children’s Museum of the Low-Country.

We considered the South Carolina Aquarium in case it rained (which it didn’t), so check out the reviews on Yelp to find out if this would be a must-see for your family.

Outside of Charleston

You have several plantations to choose from. We spent the good part of the day at the Magnolia Plantation. Costs vary, depending on what you decide to do. The gardens were  attractive, but we think it would be better to see them in the spring when the azaleas bloom or in the winter when the camellias bloom. Crepe myrtles, hibiscus, and hydrangeas provided a little color when we we were visiting.

We visited the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only place where tea is grown in the U.S. We took the trolley tour to see the fields and greenhouse. The factory tour is free and is right off the gift shop.

The Isle of Palms is a quaint beach town and, when we were there, was packed with people. We finally found parking in a city lot. We were looking forward to eating at Coconut Joe’s, but again, the wait was for an hour for a family.  We decided to grab a quick meal at their sidewalk stand and were surprised that it took 20 minutes just to get hot dogs and burgers. So, our time on the beach was too short, but it was a very lovely evening to walk along the Atlantic coast.

Places to Eat in Charleston

You’ll have plenty of good eating to choose from.

We passed the Mellow Mushroom, which we know has a great pizza menu (because we ate at one of these right off of I-95 in Florence, South Carolina) and settled on Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q. We loved the food and the atmosphere.

Another good barbecue place is Sticky Fingers. We knew about this small chain restaurant because we discovered their sauces in our local Florida supermarket.

We also ate at another chain, O’Charley’s. We didn’t realize that we were there on free pie night (Wednesday), so we happily ate a cherry pie with dinner and took a pecan pie home for lunch the next day. Unfortunately, Mike’s chicken was undercooked and had to be sent back to the kitchen. We also thought the cherry pie could use more fruit.

We were told that Hyman’s on Meeting Street has the best seafood in the Southeast, but when we arrived after 6:00, the wait was over an hour, so we didn’t get to try them out. If you want to eat here, you may have to wait for a seat.

NOTE: This post is part of a series of things to do along I-95.

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