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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Winzeler

Things We Did In Charleston, SC

So I'm sure a lot of you have already seen from my social media that we took another vacation to the south (shocker, I know ), but this time we went to Charleston, South Carolina! Now my husband & I have been there for our honeymoon 6 years ago, but I def don't recommend going on a long road trip to the south at the end of June! Between the exhaustion from the wedding, the heat and the road trip - we did a lot, but didn't feel like we truly experienced everything due to being so tired. So this 2nd go around was our chance to really see it! For this blog post I want to focus on the activities we did, but I will have a few more blog posts coming out sharing where we ate and what is on our list for next time! I figured a few posts broken up would be a lot better than Harry Potter novel length of one blog post. :P This is still going to be pretty long so just prepare yourselves!


So we went to Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms - all about 20-30 mins from each other and about 20-40 mins from downtown Charleston pending traffic. So to break down the beaches -

Sullivan's Island - This beach is a bit more quaint & your traditional feel with views of the lighthouse & beach grass. We found free public parking located at 2063 Ion Ave, Sullivans Island, SC 29482. While we never had trouble finding a spot - it's small & can fill up quick so just beware. Once parked, there's a small path and boardwalk to get to the beach and there you are! After a long afternoon spent at the beach - we simply walked not even a quarter of a mile to the main drag with all the restaurants and sweet shops!

Sunrises & coffee on the beach = pure bliss

A Nicholas Sparks book on the beach 💙

Few things to know - this beach I felt like got more wind blowing sand up a lot - which obvi is to be expected at a beach, but I noticed it especially a lot at this beach. Everything of ours was covered in sand - drinks, snacks, even stuff in my bag I didn't pull out. Also be sure to wear bug spray particularly on your feet, shins and ankles! For some reason we noticed a lot of bites in those areas and thought they were just mosquitos, but turns out they were sand fleas. We didn't have a ton of bites, but enough to make us wear bug spray the next time!

Isle of Palms - This beach is where the pier scene from Dear John was filmed! We spent an afternoon here & paid a pretty penny to park in a lot funded by Charleston County Parks, but it was worth it! This parking had showers, changing rooms, bathrooms and a ramp leading directly to the beach. Highly recommend if you're going for the full day or have kids! This beach was much busier and had a lot of seashells, but less wind and I didn't notice any bites after we left.

Info on the parking for this beach can be found [HERE]

Horseback Riding:

I love horseback riding and would like to eventually do it right on the beach, but couldn't find anywhere around Charleston that offered it. However, I was excited to find that Middleton Place offered it! Middleton Place is a plantation, but they also have horse boarding and an equestrian center. The horseback riding unfortunately does not tour you around the home, but more so the grounds offering scenic trails and view of the Ashley River that leads to the ocean while a guide narrates over walkie talkie attached to each horses saddle. It cost $79 per person to ride for 1 hour. But for us it was well worth it and a very cool experience!

Click HERE for info on booking a horseback tour!

Such a great time! Also - our horses didn’t get along lol

Cypress Gardens:

Famously known for where The Notebook was filmed AND The Patriot - we had to pay a visit! For $10 per person we were able to explore the garden grounds and go on a 45 min boat tour through the magical swamp. The experience was incredible and I highly recommend!

Click HERE for info!

The fact that I got to read this book here was a dream in itself!

Few things to know - it's about 30-40 mins away from downtown Charleston. We arrived at the gardens only 10 mins after they opened on a Thursday morning because I had read from other travel blogs that the boats are first come, first serve and can go quick. We had no problem grabbing a boat, but maybe plan accordingly if you plan to go! Last thing - once again - BUG SPRAY. Not sure why when going to a swampy pond we didn't think to put any on, but most certainly do! The bugs weren't horrible by any means, but def noticed a few mosquito bites after our ride.

Shopping on King Street & the Historic City Market

We arrived into Charleston late Sunday night - earlier than we expected so we got a cheap hotel because our hotel in downtown Charleston wasn't available until Monday at 3pm. On Monday we spent majority of our day at beach, ate lunch on Sullivan's Island then headed downtown to check into our hotel, The Francis Marion. We checked in, took a quick shower to rinse off the all the beach sand and slipped into some breezy clothes to roam King street in search of some ice cream and some light shopping. A lot closed early due to staffing shortages and most shops closed at 6pm or 7pm. Something I should have thought about, but even finding an ice cream shop or food joint that wasn't closed proved to be a challenge! The next day we got up early for coffee and to start exploring, but also realized the shops didn't open until 10am or 11am. So just be mindful of that!

Highly recommend cool cotton dresses for the southern heat!

As for the shopping - the main area in Charleston is King Street and there's some affordable shopping, but a I will admit a lot of it is pricey boutiques. There were some really great shops, but I didn't buy a lot. The few items I did buy were items I couldn't just buy anywhere.

Y’all can hate on me but I love me some Grandma chic clothes!

The most beautiful China sets!

The Historic Market is located on Meeting street right off of King Street and it has a lot of great local vendors! The market isn't super huge and has more touristy items, but it's great if you're looking to pick up souvenirs and to purchase from locals.

Click HERE for Historic Market Info

See all the things I purchased in Charleston HERE

Other Areas We Explored:

Shems Creek Boardwalk - Just over the bridge is Shems Creek with awesome fresh seafood restaurants, boats with fishermen cutting up their catch right on the dock and the lengthy boardwalk with incredible scenic views.

Rainbow Row - A must see! The homes are beautifully colored and I highly recommend just wearing comfortable shoes to walk around and see the old homes! A lot of the homes have signs out front of them informing of the homes history.

Rule is you have to wear your best colorful dress to visit Rainbow Row! Jk i made that up, but it should be a rule!

The Pineapple Fountain - Also another must see! The fountain is awesome to see and to my surprise I learned you can swim in it. Yes, you read that right! I was very shocked to learn it myself after confirming for sure on Google. Me and the hubby put our feet in just to say we did! The park is beautiful and looks out onto the Cooper River where you can see all kinds of boats coming in to dock and going out to sea.

Driving Around - When we got too tired to walk - we drove around sightseeing the beautiful homes in downtown Charleston, Mount Pleasant and all the islands. It was great inspiration for my interior loving self!

I hope you're not too exhausted from traveling around with me in this post 😅 But if not - Stay tuned for my next post sharing where we ate during our trip! Be sure to check out my other blog posts too!


Mrs. Northern Belle

*Links included on this post I claim no ownership to & receive no paid advertisement from any linked sources.

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