What to see in Charleston

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When I made my 40th bucket list last fall, I had as #22 to go on a trip with my girls to somewhere new. I knew my boys would be out of town on a mountain trip the first week of June, so that’s when I tentatively planned it. I had it in the back of my mind, but wasn’t actively searching, as I had other things going on (like our family trip to Kauai and I’m still writing about). But when I spotted last minute flights from Austin to Charleston for about $100 each, I jumped on it! I had South Carolina in the back of my mind as a spot I wanted to go, because I’d never been before. It just sounded quaint, and I’d heard of people enjoying it before. So I’m sharing with you what to see in Charleston that we loved, in case you want to go, too!

We basically had 2 full days there and 2 half days. We flew in on a Tuesday afternoon and out on a Friday afternoon, and it stresses me out to plan too much on those partial days. On Tuesday, we basically got to our hotel, went out to eat, and went to bed.

mother and daughters walking in front of colorful houses in Charleston South Carolina

Historic Charleston Attractions

We spent all day Wednesday touring the city of Charleston. Our hotel was a bit on the outskirts of the downtown.  Even though I had a rental car, we were heavily advised by the hotel concierge to leave it because parking is so bad in downtown. There is a free bus system, and they told us how to get to the historic district. We had to change buses, which made me nervous.  And as we sat waiting for the bus there was a guy wanting to escort us. And that made me more nervous because I didn’t know HIM! I just decided to stay in groups, and when we got off to walk a block to the next bus, I opted out of taking his short cut.  He was nice, but I just couldn’t trust a stranger!

Once we got to the historic district, we were surrounded by other tourists and that bus system felt much safer. As we tried to figure out what to see in Charleston, there were 3 things I wanted to make sure we did in the Historic downtown:

  1. Horse & Buggy Ride
  2. Pineapple Fountain
  3. Rainbow Row

We did all three PLUS some! After the bus ride in, we walked all over the city, taking breaks where we wanted and walking into any old store we felt like. Things we COULD NOT DO with our boys with us! Not having much of a schedule felt so nice. Just having those 3 historic Charleston things on my list made it a nice flexible day.

Things to do in Charleston

First on the list was the horse and buggy ride. I had made an appointment with Old South Carriage, the ONLY thing I had officially scheduled. It was so fun to ride around the historic homes and watch from the buggy. We especially loved that all their horses have a braid on the side. The homes were so fun to see, so different than we are used to, and quite charming. I highly recommend this experience. It was our first real view of the city and I’m glad we got to start out that way.

Old South Carriage Company Charleston

Next, we walked to the Pineapple Fountain. It’s iconic in the city, what I didn’t know which was pleasantly surprising was it’s a pool for little kids! Lots of kids swimming in it, so we jumped in, too! It’s right on the water, near a pier where we also swung on a bench swing and enjoyed the sounds of nature.

pineapple fountain Charleston


bench swing on pier Charleston

I was delighted to find Rainbow Row, the COLORS! We took some pictures there, along with lots of others, swapped with someone walking by, which was nice. It was by a delightful accident that we were coordinating with the colors there, too!

{A friend send me the turquoise earring from Rustic Wren, and I just love the contrasting POP of color they brought to my outfit}

Rainbow Row pictures Charleston

After we hit our top 3 must see, everything else was icing on the cake.

Other favorites we loved in downtown Charleston were:

  • Market Street (fresh warm praline samples!)
  • Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
  • Under the Almond Tree’s (cute and colorful shop on King Street)
  • Giovani’s GIANT pizza (giant slices for lunch on Market Street)
  • (Trying to remember the name of the seafood place we ate for dinner!)

Folly Beach, South Carolina

Our second day, I was so glad we had a car, as we drove out to Folly Beach. I partnered with Mitsubishi Motors and loved driving around the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It felt like I was driving a sedan, but had the comforts and space of an SUV.

Mitsubishi Sport

I shared more of the interior in my Charleston Instagram saved story (which is a great reference of our highlights with some laughter, as well!) Hopefully soon I’ll add the video of our trip on this post!

Folly Beach South Carolina

I stopped off at the Walmart between Charleston and Folly Beach and grabbed a few $3 float rings, and I’m glad I did, we had a blast playing with them (and taking fun pictures!)

South Carolina Beach near Charleston

We had fun floating in the perfectly tempered water, ate some snacks (the seagulls opened my Ranch Fritos!) and then saw a lighthouse, a pier, and ate some local crab. We leisurely drove around the island, stopping wherever we felt like! Our last day, we went to Market Street again (and easily found a parking spot) and visiting the warm praline place, because our trip inside joke was the lady at the praline shop yelling, “PRALINE SAMPLES!” really loud in a funny way.

All in all, we had a beautiful, adventurous trip. My girls felt special to go just the 3 of us, they had so much fun playing, and I with them. We can’t wait for our next girls trip!

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