I've lived in the low country of SC for 31 years now so I guess that's almost close enough to call me a local except the locals around here would never go for that. The lovelies were all born and raised here which does make them locals. Whether you're a native Charlestonian (benyeh) or 'from off' (comyeh) the area has much to offer in things to do and food to savor. With that in mind, these are a few of our favorite places to go in the Charleston area. So, if you're ever in Charleston, SC, check out these places or let me know and the lovelies and I will take you on a tour!
Things to Do;
1. A Walking Tour is a MUST if you come to see downtown Charleston. This is the very best way to see everything you want to see and learn many interesting, historical facts about the area. Walking tours allow you to see everything you need to see: Waterfront Park, the historic houses, the Battery, Rainbow Row, the churches, etc. There are several wonderful walking guide books or, as I mentioned, let us know you're coming! We can meet you downtown or I can put you in touch with a couple of 'benyehs' who give walking tours. No need to jump on the tourist train. Everything's better when a local shows you the town. Of course, they are many available books available and this is a good way to go as well. Wear comfortable shoes!
We have taken the pirate tour and it was interesting but mostly, it was just fun.
2. The Plantations. They're ok. Not my favorite thing to do around here but a pretty good way to spend a day, especially if you're bringing kiddos. This is a definite tourist thing to do. I love y'all but I won't be joining you for the plantation tours. You really need to plan an entire day for these.
Middleton Place was my favorite:
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. We always went here when each of the lovelies were in 2nd grade. The second grade at our school had a huge Charleston unit that included 7 (or was it 8) field trips and the kiddos LOVED it:
3. The Beaches. Mainly, Folly, Sullivan's Island, and Isle of Palms (IOP). My favorite is Sullivan's Island but most tourist and college students prefer Folly. Tourists also prefer IOP. Regardless, during the season, it's going to be crowded everywhere. IOP now has the title 'county park' at the end of the main drag and the police out there have delusions of grandeur that would put Kayne to shame. Folly also has a county park
4. The Market. No matter how many times I've been to the Market I never tire of it. While you would see this on your walking tour, take a day for shopping and include the Market.
5. The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. This is a must and so much fun, especially if you are visiting with kiddos. The lovelies and I always enjoyed visiting the Old Exchange and the Provost Dungeon was our favorite because you get to hear stories and see wax figures of pirates! As an added bonus, the tour guides are wonderful and dress in periodic clothing.
7. Shem Creek: Across the bridge in Mount Pleasant, Shem Creek is mostly known for it's restaurants but now, we have a park that features boardwalks with fantastic views of the creek and the surrounding wetlands.
The FOOD (Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Folly)
1. Fleet Landing. This place takes first on my list because I LOVE THIS PLACE! The food is fantastic and so is the service. I love the location and the prices are reasonable- something you don't often find in Charleston.
2 Poogan's Porch. Because, the ghost. But the food is good too! (Charleston)
3. Shem Creek: There are several places to eat on Shem Creek but I really like two of them best: Red's Icehouse and Water's Edge. RBs USED to be my favorite back in the day, but I have not been there in the last ten years at least so I can't tell y'all how the food is now. The food used to be fantastic! I have friends who highly recommend Vickery's Bar and Grill and Tavern & Table but I have only eaten at Vickery's once and it was so-so and I've never tried Tavern & Table.
Red's Ice House: I LOVE this place and it is my favorite on Shem Creek. Now this is going to sound funny but, you do not go to Red's for the food. Not that it's bad, it's not the best food around. But the location and atmosphere is perfect- sort of a casual, rustic charm. Of course, I usually sit outside to enjoy the creek but inside is nice too.
Water's Edge: I really enjoy this one too because of the location and the food. It's a bit more upscale than Red's but that doesn't mean too much when you're talking about Shem Creek. You also have the outside dining option right on the creek.
R,B.'s Seafood Restaurant: As I mentioned, this used to be a favorite but I have no idea what it's like in there now. I think it does still offer outside dining.
Vickery's Bar and Grill: This one is located on the same side as Water's Edge. I've only been there once and I found it to be so-so. Y'all might love it, though!
Tavern & Table: I have not eaten here before so I can't comment on anything personally. I do, however, have friends who love going there.
4. Page's Okra Grill (Mount Pleasant): You're not going to get a great view like you will on Shem Creek but the food? YUM! As in OMG, YUM!
5. The Pickled Palate (Mount Pleasant): I have not been, yet, but I have friends who LOVELOVELOVE this place. Extremely casual.