I have been to over 24 states around the United States and I have to say that Charleston, South Carolina, is definitely in my top three favorite cities. I went for the first time after college with my best friend many years ago and instantly fell in love with it. It was a combination of the beautiful buildings, friendly people, delicious food and how easy it is to get everywhere you want to go by simply walking. A few years ago my family was discussing where we should all meet (we were all living in different cities and still are) and I chose Charleston because I just knew I had to go back. No regrets. It was just as magical as the first time I went. During the pandemic last year, I missed traveling so much but didn’t feel comfortable getting on a plane yet so I decided to do a road trip through Richmond, Charleston and Savannah. . I spent five days and four nights falling in love with Charleston all over again. I made a travel guide below with where to eat, stay and explore. I also included travel essentials. I wrote an article about traveling during a pandemic that you can find here. I also have other travel guides for places like Austin, Texas, that you can find here. Happy traveling!
Where to Eat in Charleston:
- Hyman’s Seafood: You have to order the hush puppies. They are so delicious and addicting.
- 167 Raw: Order the lobster roll. The whole restaurant is so fun and trendy. Multiple people recommended this place
- 5 Church Charleston: Order the lamb burger that comes with red onion marmalade, gorgonzola and hand cut fries. The restaurant is in such a unique and cool location.
- Miller’s All Day: Order the biscuits and gravy, and the cinnamon roll (it’s HUGE and soo good). It’s more a diner style restaurant
- The Palmetto Cafe: The Eggs Benedict are amazing. I have always had a weak spot for eggs benedict so I like to eat them on every trip. These are with Canadian bacon, hollandaise sauce and a toasted English muffin. Yum. The service is also impeccable and all of the employees go above and beyond for their customers
- Slightly North of Broad: Order the Shrimp & Grits that comes with house sausage, country ham, tomatoes, green onions, garlic, and Edisto yellow grits. You won’t regret it.
- Eleve Rooftop Restaurant & Lounge: Order the Eleve Burger that comes with caramelized mushroom and onion, gruyere, truffle, smoked onion aioli, and fries. I honestly still think about this burger sometimes.. pure perfection.
Where to Stay in Charleston:
I actually ended up staying in all of these three hotels and they are all pretty different. The Charleston Place, a Belmond Hotel, is a luxury hotel that has amazing chandeliers throughout the hotel and it’s absolutely breathtaking. They also have an incredible pool area with a hot tub. The Grand Bohemian Charleston is a very fun and colorful hotel. They have art throughout as well as a gallery inside the hotel. Everything from the headboards in the guestrooms to the bathrooms, make it a very Instagrammable hotel. Oh and of course the pink lobby. The Vendue, Charleston’s Art Hotel of course has so much art throughout the lobby, every floor and in the guestroom. It is the perfect hotel for art lovers. It also has a really fun rooftop to go to for happy hour and a gorgeous view of the city.
Where to Explore in Charleston:
- Rainbow Row: Two words.. Instagram heaven! It is one of the most beautiful streets I have ever seen in the U.S. and it reminds me so much of Nyhavn Harbour in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is also a must-see destination in Europe (I went there on a girls trip a few years ago and absolutely loved it!)
- King Street: It is the main street in downtown Charleston and you will find a variety of restaurants, shops and parks
- Church Street: It is a historic street where you can see a lot of beautiful homes
- Waterfront Park: You need to get a stunning photo of the pineapple water fountain!
Best Travel Essentials:
- Box of disposable face masks: We are all going to have to wear face masks for the foreseeable future so I highly recommend buying disposable masks for a trip
- Compression socks: They are great for long flights
- Disinfecting wipes: I always like to wipe everything down as you can’t be too safe
- Emergen-C Vitamin packets (currently 41% off): I always take one when I get on a flight. The last thing you want to do is get sick on a trip!
- Hand sanitizers: These are great to have even if you’re not traveling
- Noise cancelling headphones (currently 51% off): if you’re on a plane, you definitely want some peace and quiet
- Packing cubes: It’s a game changer. It makes packing so much easier and makes it really simple to find what you are looking for when you’re unpacking
- Portable charger for your phone: don’t run the risk of running out of battery during your trip!
- Sleep mask: You want to be able to sleep and not let light keep you awake
- Travel wallet / passport holder: It’s good to keep everything in one place and organized. The last thing you want to do is lose an important document or money
- YETI Tumbler: I usually fill mine with ice until the top and then just fill it with water. I LOVE cold water and that the Yeti leaves it cold for hours and hours
*Note these essentials work for both men and women, and all fit into a carry-on. They work for road trips, domestic travel and international travel. I also included some COVID-related essentials.
Feel free to email me or leave any questions in the comments section! Have you ever been to Charleston? It’s a perfect destination for solo travelers, groups of friends, families and couples. Follow my adventures on Instagram @therealkika
terrifiedamateurApril 7, 2021 at 6:42 pm
Beautiful photography (as always), Kika, and your picturesque descriptions are even more alluring! Relatives live in the Charleston area, and your post made me realize my neglect of them has been most shameful…
Oh, I endorse – most enthusiastically – your advice to take Emergen-C. A few years ago I caught a flu on the return flight from vacation. It was the only time in my life I had the flu, and I don’t want to repeat it. Ever!
I’m not going to end on that defiant note, though. Your report is much too glowing for anything other than a warm conclusion.
RizyApril 8, 2021 at 10:56 pm
Very informative and your presentation is awesome… I see places through your eyes…. I hope to see more…. All the best…
kikacarvalhoApril 8, 2021 at 11:20 pm
Thank you so much! You’re too kind!
RizyApril 10, 2021 at 12:52 pm
VictoriaApril 14, 2021 at 9:19 am
Very beautiful post with a lot of useful information, hope to visit Charleston one day 🙂
kikacarvalhoApril 14, 2021 at 9:55 am
Thank you so much! So glad to hear that!
GrammyeApril 22, 2021 at 10:37 pm
Your food pics. Making me so happy. I love South Carolina, too! I think it’s time to go to Charleston!
cookingwithripsJune 3, 2021 at 9:14 pm
Love the beautiful photos, thank you for sharing! 🙂
kikacarvalhoJune 3, 2021 at 9:19 pm
You’re too sweet!!
thesimluxOctober 27, 2021 at 11:22 pm
I was not too far from there recently. Now I know where to go when I go again! Thank you!!
kikacarvalhoOctober 27, 2021 at 11:27 pm
It’s so fun!