2023 Charleston Summer Festival & Event Guide
Looking for something special to do in Charleston, SC this summer? Here are 10 Charleston summer festivals and events to check out in 2023—plus some additional ideas for things to do during the summer months. Whether you live in Charleston […]
All of the Marinas in Charleston, SC
Whether you’re looking for a place to store your boat, to refuel, or to stay overnight on a trip down the Atlantic Coast or ICW, there are several options in the Charleston area. Here is some information about each of […]
Oceanfront Restaurants in Charleston, SC
Despite its numerous barrier islands and miles of sandy beaches, Charleston has relatively few restaurants on the ocean. But, there are some, and they are all worth visiting. Here’s what you need to know about the oceanfront restaurants in Charleston. […]
2023 Charleston Boating Guide
Boating is one of the best ways to spend time outdoors in Charleston. In our 2023 Charleston Boating Guide, you’ll find up-to-date information about restaurants with docks, islands where you can anchor, and much more. Boating. Whether you’re at the […]
Otter Island, SC: Miles Away from Anywhere Within an Hour’s Drive of Charleston
Otter Island, SC is a hidden, uninhabited gem of an island south of Charleston. After recently visiting the island via a 22-mile roundtrip paddle from Edisto Island, I can’t wait to go back and explore some more. The ACE Basin […]
Sailing in Charleston, SC: Everything Aspiring and Experienced Sailors Need to Know
Charleston is one of the premier sailing destinations not just in the United States, but in the entire world. Whether you live in Charleston and are interested in getting into sailing, you are sailing your boat to Charleston, or you […]
Running Races in Charleston, SC – 2023 Edition
Looking for Charleston, SC races in 2023? You’ve come to the right place. Here is a list of upcoming races in the spring and summer–stay tuned for fall and winter races later in the year. Running Races in Charleston, SC […]
12 Charleston Kayaking Destinations
Wondering where to take your kayak? Whether you are visiting the Holy City on vacation or you are looking for new locations to explore on the water, here is a list of 12 Charleston, SC kayak destinations. Kayaking is a […]
Fueling for the Cooper River Bridge Run: An Interview with Registered Dietician Kayla Fitzgerald
The Cooper River Bridge Run brings tens of thousands of runners from all over the world to Charleston each year. Here, Charleston resident and Registered Dietician Kayla Fitzgerald shares her tips for fueling to “get over it” on race day. […]
What to Bring Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
Whether you own a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) or you are planning to rent a stand-up paddleboard in Mount Pleasant or at the beach, there are some things you should bring with you when getting on the water. Here is a […]
When is the Best Time to Visit Charleston, SC?
When is the best time to visit Charleston, SC? If you’re planning a vacation to the peninsula or one of Charleston’s beaches (or both), you can visit the Holy City year-round. Here are some of our tips for visiting each […]
Coastal Kayaking: Essential Gear and Safety Tips
Kayaking is a great way to explore Charleston’s barrier islands and coastal waterways. But, when kayaking along (or near) the coast, you need to make safety a priority. Here are 10 gear essentials and coastal kayaking safety tips for exploring […]
Planning Your Cooper River Bridge Run Weekend
If you’re visiting Charleston for the Cooper River Bridge Run, there’s a lot you can do to get the most out of your time in the Holy City. Here are some insider tips for planning the rest of your weekend. […]
What to Do with Shark Teeth You Find at the Beach
Finding a shark tooth at the beach can be a highlight of your day (or even your vacation). But, what should you do with your fossil when you get home? Here are seven ideas for what to do with shark […]
An Evening at the Joe: What to Know When Going to a Charleston RiverDogs Game
When you think about a night out in Charleston, baseball might not immediately come to mind. But, going to a RiverDogs game is a fun and relaxed experience, and you don’t have to know much about baseball to enjoy an […]
Tides, Swell & Wind: What to Know When Boating or Kayaking in Charleston
If you’re not used to coastal navigation, boating or kayaking in Charleston will be a unique experience. Here’s an overview of what you need to know to stay safe and have an enjoyable day on the water. Charleston is one […]
20 Outer Banks Filming Locations You Can Visit in Charleston, SC
While the Netflix show Outer Banks is set in the fictional town of Kildare in North Carolina, much of the show was filmed in and around Charleston, South Carolina. Here are 20 Outer Banks filming locations in Charleston that you […]
Annual Festivals and Events in Charleston – Spring 2023 Edition
If you can deal with the pollen, spring is the perfect time to be outside in Charleston. Not only is there plenty to do on a regular basis—from boating and kayaking to eating dinner outside and taking strolls on the […]
10 (More) Tips for Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Charleston
Interested in stand-up paddleboarding in Charleston, SC? If so, here are 10 more advanced tips that complement the beginner tips in our Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Charleston. In our Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) in Charleston, we included 10 […]
Getting to Know Some of West Ashley’s Most Popular (and Up-and-Coming) Neighborhoods
West Ashley is quietly becoming one of the more popular places to live in Charleston. While it may not have the reputation of Mount Pleasant and might not be quite as close to the beach as James Island or Johns […]
Ultramarathons In (and Around) Charleston, SC
While Charleston has a strong running community, most of the races in the area are half-marathon distance or shorter. But, there are a few local ultramarathons, and you don’t have to go too far to find trail ultras ranging from […]
Things To Do in Charleston
Vacation in Charleston
About Charleston Life
Welcome to Charleston Life! A residents’ and visitors’ guide to Charleston, Charleston Life is a resource for anyone living in, moving to, or vacationing in the area. Here you will find information about things to do, where to eat, where to live or stay, and events in and around Charleston year-round.
As a historic port city with five unique beaches within an hour’s drive, Charleston has long been a destination for travelers and those seeking to relocate. But, since Condé Nast and Travel + Leisure both began consistently naming Charleston as the best small city in the U.S., interest in the Holy City has grown. Today, vacationers from around the world arrive on cruise ships and flights into Charleston International Airport (CHS) daily, and neighborhoods in and around the city are flourishing with new residents and families.
Whether you are looking for places to visit on vacation, things to do on the weekend, or information about the best places to live in the Charleston area, you will find it on Charleston Life. We also publish articles with interesting information about the Charleston area, including little-known facts, local events, and hidden gems.
Much of the information in Charleston Life is based on real-life experience living in Charleston. This includes experience eating, boating, kayaking, and exploring from Isle of Palms down to Edisto Beach. We provide straightforward advice and honest reviews, and we strive to be our readers’ go-to source for information about Charleston. This includes information about:
Charleston Life is a free online magazine devoted to helping residents and visitors explore all that Charleston and its surrounding neighborhoods and beaches have to offer. While most people know about King Street and the world-famous Charleston City Market, this southern coastal small city has so much more to offer. Our goal is to help people get the most out of living in the Charleston area, while also helping to promote the local businesses that help maintain the city’s worldwide reputation as a must-visit destination.
The information in Charleston Life ranges from general information about the city and its attractions to detailed plans and trip reports for local outings. If you can’t find what you are looking for, we encourage you to get in touch. If you are wondering about something, other people are likely wondering about it as well, and we might be able to publish an article about it.
We love Charleston, and we are happy to help others fall in love with the city and its surroundings as well. Whether you are here because you are planning a vacation or because you are looking for something new to try in your hometown, we thank you, and we invite you to share what you find with your friends and family.
FAQs: Living In (or Visiting) Charleston, SC
What Is Charleston Most Known For?
When it comes to what Charleston is most known for, we’d say it depends on who you ask. If you read most travel publications, they will tell you that Charleston is most famous for its historic downtown, which includes King Street, Charleston City Market, the Battery, and Rainbow Row. Others will tell you that Charleston is most known for its beaches, while others still will point to Fort Sumter or the area’s first-class golf courses and world-class restaurants. Ultimately, visiting or living in Charleston is what you make it. Whether you want history, culture, cuisine, nature, or time on the water, you can find it in the Holy City.
Is Charleston Worth Visiting?
Yes, without a doubt. There is a reason why Condé Nast and Travel & Leisure have both named Charleston the best small city in the U.S. for travelers several times over. While Charleston is growing, getting around is still very easy, and you can pack enough into one weekend that you will be ready for a break when your vacation is over. Once you arrive via I-26, CHS, or the Port of Charleston, you have the world-renowned historic district and world-class restaurants, beaches, boating, watersports, golf, historic sites, and natural beauty all well within an hour’s drive.
Should You Move to Charleston?
We absolutely think you should move to Charleston if you are ready for a change of pace. Whether you want to slow down and relax or you want to move to a place where you can be outside and on the water most days of the year, Charleston is a great place to be. If you want to live downtown, you can. If you want to live at the beach (but still be close to “normal” life), you can do that too. If you want to live in a family-friendly neighborhood with quiet streets lined with palmettos, there are more than enough options for this lifestyle as well.
How Big is Charleston?
Charleston is classified as a small city, with a full-time population of a little over 150,000 as of 2022 according to the City of Charleston's official data. Nearly half of Charleston's population is in West Ashley, with about one-fifth of the city's population (roughly 35,000 residents) living downtown on the peninsula. The remainder is spread out between Daniel Island, James Island, and Johns Island. The greater Charleston area's population recently surpassed 400,000 according to Census.gov, which includes residents of Mount Pleasant and other surrounding areas.
Is Charleston Walkable?
One of the great things about Charleston is that nearly all areas of the city are walkable. If you drive downtown (or arrive on a cruise ship), you can tour most of the city’s famous landmarks within a few hours on foot. If you go to Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, or Folly Beach, you can park your car for the entire day. Neighborhoods on both sides of the peninsula (across the Ashley and Cooper Rivers) have miles of sidewalks, and trails, greenways, and bridges provide more walking opportunities as well.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Charleston?
The best time to visit Charleston depends on why you are coming to town. If you are coming to Charleston to go to the beach, then we’d recommend any time between late spring and fall—although it gets hot in the peak of summer. If you aren’t as interested in Charleston’s beaches, then consider coming during the off season. Travel will be slightly easier (though it’s never hard to get into or out of Charleston), and there are events downtown and in the surrounding neighborhoods all times of year.
What is the Best Beach in Charleston?
This is another question where it depends on who you ask. Charleston has five main public beaches—Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach, Kiawah Beach, and Edisto Beach—and they all have their own unique characteristics. Isle of Palms is the closest thing Charleston has to a traditional beach town, while Folly Beach is known for its more laid back atmosphere. Sullivan’s Island has restaurants and beachgoers have views of Charleston Harbor, while Edisto Beach is still somewhat off the beaten path. Kiawah Beach is most well-known for its wide and smooth sands, and visitors can stop into Freshfields Village for supplies on the way in or a nice dinner on the way home.
Where Can You Boat in Charleston?
Charleston is a boater’s paradise. The area truly has endless boating destinations. There are marinas and public boat landings throughout the city and its surrounding neighborhoods, and from most launching points you can be at the Atlantic Ocean in under an hour (if not under 15 minutes). Visitors can rent boats or take tours in Charleston Harbor, and residents who own their own boats can explore the area’s rivers and backwaters endlessly. It doesn’t take too much luck to spot a dolphin, and you can expect to see egrets, herons, pelicans, and even bald eagles flying overhead. For more information, read our articles on 12 Inshore Boating Destinations and 10 Uninhabited Islands You Can Visit By Boat in Charleston.
What are the Best Things to Do in Charleston?
Charleston has so much to offer, you can truly make your time in the city your own. Whether you want to go boating or kayaking, try Charleston's world-class restaurants, see a live show in a historic theater on the peninsula, run or bike across the Ravenel Bridge, or make memories at the beach, you can do as much--or as little--as you want. Our guide on Things to Do in Charleston is a good place to start, and you will find more ideas on our Outdoor Life and Local Events pages.
Where Can I Find Out About Local Events in Charleston?
Our Local Events page includes a feed of the articles we publish about events taking place in and around the Holy City. This includes articles about specific events as well as lists focused on different types of events and different times of year. To see what local events are upcoming, you can check out our Events Calendar as well.
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