Charleston, South Carolina is a charming city steeped in history and Southern hospitality. From its cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages to its southern homes, gardens and world-renowned cuisine, it is a great incentive destination.
The city’s history dates back to the 17th century as it was once one of the largest ports in the American colonies, and as such, its cultural heritage is reflected in its architecture, museums, and historical sites. Visitors can learn more about its importance by visiting sites such as Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, or the Charleston Museum, the oldest museum in the country. The Nathaniel Russell House is one of Charleston’s most popular attractions and offers visitors a glimpse into life in the 19th century. The USS Yorktown, a World War II aircraft carrier, has been converted into a museum and is a must-visit for history buffs and especially for those interested in military history.
Charleston is also a city of incredible natural beauty. Visitors can take a walk on the Battery, a historic sea wall that offers stunning views of the harbor and Atlantic Ocean, or visit The Historic District. This is an area that is filled with beautiful homes, historic churches, and cobblestone streets that transport visitors back in time.
Some of the best restaurants in the country can be found here, serving dishes that are a fusion of Southern, Creole, and Lowcountry cuisine. Visitors can sample traditional staples such as shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and Lowcountry boil, a one-pot meal featuring shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes cooked together in a spicy broth. Lowcountry cuisine is known for its use of flavorful seasonings, including onion, garlic, hot pepper, and herbs like thyme and rosemary. Barbecue is also important, with the region known for its unique “South Carolina-style” barbecue sauce, made with mustard and vinegar.
For those that are interested in shopping, Charleston is a paradise. From antique shops and art galleries to boutiques and markets, there is something for everyone. Visitors can stroll down King Street, the city’s main shopping district, or explore the historic Charleston City Market, where they can find handmade crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs. Artwork of the historic, iconic architecture is a favorite, as are sweetgrass baskets made by local Gullah artisans. Spices, seasonings and cookbooks that will remind travelers of the flavors of the south are also popular.
The largest luxury hotel in the city is The Charleston Place (once a Belmond) with 434 guest rooms while the smallest is one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 100, the Spectator Hotel with 41 rooms. Others include the Hotel Bennett, Planters Inn, the Loutrel, the Grand Bohemian and the Dewberry, included on Condé Nast’s Gold List.
Just outside of the city, take a tour of the nearby Lowcountry, where visitors can see some of the region’s unique wildlife, such as alligators, dolphins, and pelicans. Hikers will enjoy the Cypress-shaded trails that wind along the Edisto River or for those that would prefer to kayak, group boat rentals can be arranged. Charter fishing in the rich Lowcountry waters is also popular and gets one out to appreciate the sights and sounds of this diverse ecosystem.
Kiawah Island is a scenic barrier island located just a 45-minute drive from Charleston. Known by many for its world-class golf, others enjoy it for its beautiful beaches and serene beauty. Visitors can explore the island’s many nature trails, take a bike ride, or simply relax on the beach.
There is easy accessibility for those traveling from within the US while an East coast location makes Charleston a great option for European groups. Once here, visitors will appreciate the character, charm and hospitality from the moment they arrive until it is time to head back home with memories of experiences, tastes and sounds found only in this very special part of the world.