Charleston is a city that is rich in history and that exudes the delightful Southern charm. One could easily spend an entire vacation getting to know its culture and visiting its recreational attractions. When you start looking beyond Charleston, it’s easy to be daunted by the task of searching for a place to visit. With mountains in the north and beaches in the south, there’s so much ground to cover and plenty to see. Here are 5 recommended day-trip ideas from Charleston:
1. Float down the Edisto River
The Edisto River, one of the longest free-flowing blackwater rivers in North America, is a perfect place to spend an afternoon cruising down the river. The river is located northwest of Charleston and the journey of 35 miles (56 kilometers) will take you around 50 minutes. The river is especially pleasant to sail down during the summer, as water levels dip and the speed of the current drops, so traveling just a couple of miles down the river could take up your entire afternoon. Visit Givhans Ferry State Park if you want to camp out to get the full river experience. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, Carolina Heritage Outfitters offers canoe trips where you can float by some of their treehouses built right next to the river. These incredible accommodations can be booked by anyone, so don’t take too long to make your decision!
Carolina Heritage Outfitters
Address: 1 Livery Ln, St George, SC 29477, United States
Opening Hours: 9 am - 5 pm
Contact: +1 843-563-5051
Website: Carolina Heritage Outfitters
Not to be confused with the Beaufort in North Carolina (same spelling, different pronunciation), Beaufort, South Carolina, is the second-oldest city in South Carolina. It has a proud heritage. The city has preserved its antebellum architecture well, and is known for its Historic District, which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Coupled with its beautifully maintained buildings, this city is dotted with cute shops to explore. Beaufort also has a large Marine Corps presence. Within the city lies the Marine Corps Air Station, where pilots are trained for the Marines, and the nearby Parris Island is where you will find the Marine Corps Recruit Training Center. During graduation days, you’ll see families gathered around the town as well as during many other Marine events held throughout the year. Overall, this city boasts a friendly and laid-back atmosphere. Beaufort is 72 miles (116 kilometers) from Charleston and takes about 90 minutes to get to.
Civil War Reconstruction Tour of Beaufort by Van
Price: from 40 USD
Duration: around 2 hours required
History and Movie Tour of Beaufort by Golf Cart
Duration: 1 hour
A 96-mile (154.5-kilometer) drive from Charleston will get you to Myrtle Beach in slightly under 2 hours. Myrtle Beach is situated in the center of a 60-mile (96.6-kilometer) stretch of beach land known as the “Grand Strand”. The Grand Strand is any golfer’s mecca, offering over 100 golf courses for you to choose from, around 50 of which are in Myrtle Beach. But if you aren’t a fan of golf, there’s more to the coastal city. There is, of course, the beach. Many people visit to enjoy the gentle surf, and there are lots of beach activities for the whole family to partake in. During peak periods, if you find the beach too crowded for your liking, just head further north or south of the downtown district, you’ll find things get quieter and less crowded. Catch The Carolina Opry at night or merry-make over a medieval-style meal to make your trip even more memorable!
The Carolina Opry
Price: from 49 USD
Duration: around 3 hours required
Myrtle Beach Medieval Times Tickets with Dinner and Tournament
Duration: 2 hours
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4. Tour around Savannah
To learn more about the rich history behind the Southern culture, visit Savannah, Georgia, 109 miles (175 kilometers) from Charleston. The drive over the state line will take you just a little over 2 hours. To start your trip, drop by the visitor center to sign up for one of their many available trolley tours. The tours are informative and entertaining, giving you a nice combination of history and humor. Learn more about the once-thriving cotton industry in Savannah at the Cotton Market in River Street, just along the Savannah River. And be sure to visit their public squares; 21 of the original 24 public squares still exist today! If you’re tired of history, drive over to Tybee Island, a beautiful barrier island just 20 minutes off the eastern coast of Georgia. There’s plenty to explore on its beach and within the tallest lighthouse in Georgia, the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum.
Old Town Trolley Tours
Price: from 12 USD
Duration: around 2 hours required
Contact: +1 855-245-8992
Website: Old Town Trolley Tours
Tybee Island Light Station and Museum
Address: 30 Meddin Dr, Tybee Island, GA 31328
Price: from 7 USD
Opening Hours: Open every day, except Tuesday, 9 am to 5.30 pm. Closed St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
Duration: around 1 hour required
Contact: +1 912-786-5801
5. Head to the capital of South Carolina, Columbia
The capital of the Palmetto State is located 115 miles (185 kilometers) from Charleston and the trip will take you approximately 2 hours. When visiting the capital, the state house should be on your list of places to see. The state house shares a wealth of historical and architectural information about South Carolina and is adorned with park-like grounds. The architecture of the building is astounding and tells tales of the American Civil War; bronze stars emblazon the spots of the structure that were damaged by artillery shells. Columbia is also the home of the only fully-fledged national park in South Carolina, Congaree National Park. It boasts large swampland that plays host to an astonishing biodiversity of flora. A canoe or kayak will get you around the park nicely, and traveling on the water is also the best way to visit the most interesting parts of the park.
South Carolina State House
Address: 1100 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9 am - 5 pm. Saturdays, 10 am - 4 pm. Closed on Sundays
Duration: around 2 hours required
Contact: +1 803-734-2430
Have a taste of true Southern hospitality
Similar to Charleston, there is a warm sense of welcoming in all of these places that truly represents what most people think of as Southern hospitality. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices; just pick a destination and make your way there! Let the locals tell you what’s good and what’s not. Be warned though, it isn’t easy to resist their Southern charm and you might just end up having dinner with them. Then again, that’s not a bad thing, is it? Book your trip to Charleston and have fun exploring.
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