< More Posts

The Perfect Charleston Weekend Getaway Itinerary

April 26, 2024
Weekend in Charleston

Heading out to a weekend getaway in Charleston, SC? Oh, you're in for a treat—it's like jumping right into the most charming postcard you've ever seen. You'll be wandering through streets that echo the footsteps of the folks who've shaped this glorious place. Packed with that unmistakable Southern allure and layers of stories from the past, we're excited to show you the coolest spots to check out, the yummiest places to grab a bite, and the coziest nooks to stay.

Trust us, Charleston's got it all. If you're feeling like you want to do more one day, and less the other, no problem. If you want some options each day, this itinerary has that too. Make it yours. Now, buckle up, friend, because we're diving deep into the heart of the South. Here's to a Charleston weekend getaway filled with joy, exploration, and a whole lot of Southern hospitality.

Table of Contents:

Day 1: Explore the Essence of Charleston

Day 2: Immerse Yourself in Charleston’s History and Cuisine

Day 3: Embrace the Natural Beauty of Charleston

Getting to Charleston
Where to Stay
When to Plan Your Getaway

Day 1: Explore the Essence of Charleston

Morning Sightseeing - Iconic Sites

You've arrived in Charleston! Welcome friend! Let's go make some memories. Here's an itinerary that starts in the morning but can be flexible depending on your arrival.

Charleston Battery

The Battery

Start your weekend in Charleston with a wander around The Battery, a defensive seawall named after a coastal defense artillery battery from the Civil War Era. As you stroll along the seawall, let yourself get swept away by the views where the Ashley and Cooper rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean from Charleston Harbor. Check out the beautifully crafted antebellum homes looking out on the harbor, serving up some seriously Insta-worthy scenes both by the water and beyond.

Joe Riley Waterfront Park

Joe Riley Waterfront Park

The nearby Joe Riley Waterfront Park is a tranquil spot with a stand-out Pineapple Fountain. The park overlooks Charleston Harbor and the Cooper River and is a great place to stretch your legs, rest on a bench, birdwatch, or gaze out at the water. You've got choices here for location, too: explore the riverfront or inward walking paths, either way, you're in for a treat. With its iconic fountain, this gem of a park is Charleston's pride and joy.

Philadelphia Alley

Philadelphia Alley is a hidden slice of downtown Charleston, wrapping charm in its narrow embrace. This lesser-known alley, brimming with tales, has lived through back alley brawls and the 1796 Fire. It's got stories, like the Whistling Doctor's lingering melodies. It's like the city is sharing its secrets, one whisper at a time. Why not turn a simple walk into a journey through history?


Choose from two delicious recommendations that are bound to leave your tastebuds dancing!

Blind Tiger Pub

Blind Tiger Pub

Voted the best bar and outdoor patio in Charleston, the Blind Tiger Pub is a great stop during your weekend in Charleston. Alongside local spirits and pub grub, it's got a fascinating history. In 1893, the first “Blind Tigers” were born in Charleston as a rebellious response to the temperance legislation called “Dispensary” laws that the governor mandated at the time. So, if you want to explore the history, even as you are exploring the local cuisine, go to the Blind Tiger Pub.

Miller's All Day

Miller’s All Day

For those craving brunch all day, Miller's presents an irresistible menu featuring locally sourced ingredients highlighting the best Lowcountry cuisine. It’s also the perfect place for those who love a cocktail, coffee, tea, and mouth-watering baked goods. You can find Miller’s All Day downtown, on James Island, or at their traveling food truck.


Old South Carriage Tour in Charleston

Old South Carriage Tour

Getting the lay of the land and the best of the city is a priceless experience on your first day, and taking a Historical Carriage Tour is a great way to do it. Journey through Charleston's captivating past on a horse-drawn carriage with a friendly and knowledgeable guide. It's both an informative and leisurely way to see the city and hear its stories while discovering the places you want to explore further.

Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row

Make sure Rainbow Row tops your Charleston weekend agenda! It's not just an iconic slice of the city— it's a vibrant tale of history and the perfect backdrop for your photos. Picture this: 13 historic houses, dating to the late 18th century, that once housed traveling merchants before sadly slipping into neglect. Then, in the 1900’s, a splash of bright pink paint began the remarkable journey of transformation. These homes, once a faded memory, now stand as a testament to revitalization and charm, embodying the spirit of community and rebirth. Dive into the colorful legacy of Charleston's Rainbow Row and get swept up in its remarkable story.

Have you finished the agenda for the day? Take a break for the rest of the afternoon—you've earned it on your first day! Or, if you want a little more action, check out a point of interest on Day 2 if you're eager to continue.

Dinner /Evening

Choose from four recommended dinner options that best suit your taste.



If you have to stop for dinner, why not make it an experience? Husk's changing menu means you’re always going to get something unique! This food spot serves up local produce, and its menus change as the produce does, always giving its guests the best in-season ingredients to create plates that redefine southern cuisine.



Magnolias is the perfect place to have dinner on your first night if you prefer to follow more traditional tastes. Their Southern dining and refined atmosphere are the epitome of Southern cuisine. If you are looking for upscale Southern dishes, this spot has 30 years of experience perfecting its craft. This is the restaurant for you.

Oak Steakhouse

Oak Steakhouse

This American steakhouse lives in a historic bank building from the 1800s. Its arched windows, high ceilings, delicate metalwork, fireplaces, and 150-year-old floors cultivate the perfect environment for a special evening for two or a group of friends. It is one of the best steakhouses with locally and regionally sourced seafood and produce and an intentionally crafted list of wines.

End of Day 1

Ah, we trust Day 1 of your Perfect Charleston Weekend was nothing short of magnificent. Now, kick back, sip on a soothing nightcap at the hotel, and gear up for another day filled to the brim with enchanting tales and sights around Charleston. Here's to making tomorrow another day to remember, exploring the heart and soul of the South together.

Day 2: Immerse Yourself in Charleston’s History and Cuisine


We've got two options for small or large morning appetites!

Poogan's Porch Brunch

Poogan’s Porch

Start your day with a warm welcome in this Victorian townhouse that serves some of the city's best Lowcountry breakfasts. Acknowledged by Martha Stewart Living, Southern Living, The Travel Channel, and more, Poogan’s Porch is a beautiful dining experience.

Callie’s Little Hot Biscuits

Callie’s Little Hot Biscuit

For smaller plates, grab a bite of these famous biscuits, a staple of Southern food that will fuel your morning adventures. Just looking at one of Callie’s Little Hot Biscuits is enough to convince you to add this stop to your list!

Museums & Mansions + The City Market

Choose from these exciting Charleston landmarks, or explore them all if you wish!

Aiken Rhett House

Aiken-Rhett House

The Aiken-Rhett House, located in the heart of Charleston, offers a unique glimpse into the antebellum South. This historic residence is known for its preservation(rather than restoration) and allows you to step back in time and experience the home as the Aiken family lived in it for nearly 150 years. The property retains its original slave quarters, stables, and carriage block, providing a rare opportunity to understand the full spectrum of life during that era. Its extensive collection of original furnishings, artwork, and personal artifacts is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in American history, architecture, or the complex narratives of the antebellum period. Discover this home before you visit—Charleston's 19th Century Gem.

Heyward Washington House

Heyward-Washington House

Built in 1772 for Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, this Georgian-style double house showcases the rich history of a founding patriot. The house garners its name from Heyward and President George Washington, who stayed there during his 1791 visit. It is also significant because of its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1978 and home to an exceptional collection of historic Charleston-made furniture, including the Holmes Bookcase.

Nathaniel Russell House

Nathaniel Russell House

The Nathaniel Russell House is a unique window into the grandeur of early American life, showcasing the opulent lifestyle of the mercantile elite in Charleston during the late Colonial and early Federal periods. The home was designed in neoclassical architecture, with an impressive three-story, cantilevered flying staircase. Beyond its architectural significance, the museum provides a deeper understanding of the diverse social strata of the time, from the affluent Russell family and their success in commerce and slavery to the artisans who crafted the home’s lavish details. A visit to this home is enlightening and captivating for history and design lovers.

Williams House Charleston

Williams Mansion (Formerly Calhoun Mansion)

The Williams Mansion will reopen to welcome visitors again in the spring of 2024, promising a unique journey back in time to experience the opulence and grandeur of one of the South's most beautiful private residences. Dubbed as “the handsomest and most complete private residence in the South,” this mansion offers a rare glimpse into the architectural and cultural splendor of a bygone era, making it an essential visit for history enthusiasts, architecture aficionados, and anyone looking to immerse themselves in the lavish lifestyle of the Gilded Age. Its impending reopening has been highly anticipated.

Interested in learning more about Charleston's historic homes and how to visit them? Check out the most esteemed historic homes to help.

City Market

City Market

For a change of pace from the mansion visits, take a stroll through the Charleston City Market, which showcases the cultural tapestry and traditions of the region. In this market, you can find many local artisan treasures like sweetgrass baskets, originally made for winnowing rice on plantations, and now regarded as treasured works of art and quintessential souvenirs, bearing the Certified Authentic Handmade in Charleston seal to guarantee local craftsmanship. Beyond shopping, the market offers an opportunity to meet local artisans and entrepreneurs and enjoy local cuisine and perhaps a welcome snack while you browse.


Are we feeling peckish after soaking in the morning’s historic treasures? We’ve got three local favorites lined up for you. Trust us, each spot is a culinary delight waiting to curb those cravings.

Charleston Crab House

Charleston Crab House

The Charleston Crab House, located on Market Street, Shem Creek, and James Island, offers a fast, casual, and delectable seafood dining experience. The menu is a seafood lover's delight, featuring golden fried hush puppies with honey butter, chilled crab dip, BBQ shrimp & grits, and an assortment of fresh oysters.

Fleet Landing

Fleet Landing

Fleet Landing stands out as Charleston's premier waterfront dining destination, at 186 Concord Street, right at the City Market's edge in the city's historic downtown. Lunch is served from 11 am to 3:30 with popular favorites such as the Chilled Blue Crab Dip, The Charleston Cobb Salad, or the decadent Seafood Tower.

Henry’s on the Market

Henry’s on the Market

Henry’s on the Market, located at the heart of historic downtown Charleston at 54 North Market Street, holds the distinguished title of being the oldest continuous restaurant in both Charleston and the state of South Carolina since its inception in 1932. Enjoy its eclectic blend of offerings, including live music, a serene southern porch and rooftop deck for alfresco dining, an exclusive dance lounge, and a classic speakeasy bar. Renowned for serving up the best seafood in town at reasonable prices, including their signature She-crab Soup and an impressive Seafood Platter, Henry's is a delicious display of Charleston's culinary tradition.

Museums of Art and History

After sufficient refueling, you're ready to tackle the afternoon exploring Charleston's captivating museums, which feature some of Lowcountry's finest historical artifacts and art.

Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum, hailed as America's First Museum since its founding in 1773, stands as a testament to the history and culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry. This place isn't just a treasure trove of artifacts; it's a center of discovery, preservation, and education. With its extensive collections and dynamic exhibitions, the museum invites a deep exploration into the stories and heritage that shape the region.

Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art serves as a pivotal cultural hub, hosting Charleston's premier visual arts events. The museum's commitment to 'Access for All' underlines its dedication to making art accessible to everyone, reflecting its role as an important community asset. With its exhibitions and events, the Gibbes Museum of Art is a venue to explore the transformative power of art.

Old Slave Mart Museum

Old Slave Mart Museum

This museum is located in the heart of Charleston and stands as a poignant reminder of a somber chapter in American history. Opened in 1938, The Old Slave Mart Museum is often mistaken for other names but holds the distinction of being the first museum focused on the African-American slave experience, holding the last surviving slave auction gallery in South Carolina, providing a unique and moving experience. With many descendants of those enslaved in Charleston on staff, the museum does more than recount history; it connects visitors with the personal stories and realities of those who lived through this tragic period.


Day 2 wouldn't be complete without an exciting selection of dinner options. Choose from three of Charleston's Finest.

FIG in Charleston


With a strong emphasis on purity of flavor and the highest quality ingredients, FIG stands out as not just a dining establishment but a celebration of the Lowcountry's culinary heritage. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing products full of integrity, flavor, and soul, skillfully integrating these seasonal treasures into its nightly menu. This meticulous attention to detail results in plates such as Ricotta Gnocchi with Lamb Bolognese and Slow Baked Yellowedge Grouper.

167 Raw Oyster Bar

167 Raw Oyster Bar

167 Raw Oyster Bar is a quintessential New England-style Oyster Bar and is a seafood lover's paradise with a lively atmosphere. It is an inviting destination for seafood enthusiasts looking to indulge in the freshest offerings from the East Coast of Canada down to the local waters of Charleston and beyond.

Chubby Fish

Chubby Fish

Another great seafood option for your weekend in Charleston, SC is Chubby Fish. Embracing a chef-driven, dock-to-table concept spearheaded by Chef James London, this eatery is celebrated for its fresh, innovative seafood dishes. Situated in the historic Elliotborough neighborhood, Chubby Fish prides itself on partnering with local fishermen and farmers, thereby guaranteeing the freshest seasonal ingredients available. The ever-changing menu showcases the best catches from the Atlantic Ocean and nearby rivers.

Charleston Old South Carriage Ghost Tour

Take a Charleston Ghost Tour

Cap off your evening with a thrilling Ghost Tour before or after dinner. Discover the only haunted horse-drawn carriage tour in Charleston, which provides an exhilarating experience and immerses you in the haunting tales of one of America's most notorious cities. Accompanied by an expert guide and horse, ride by the mysterious alleys, graveyards, and churches where ghosts, pirates, and patriots roamed and may still linger to this day.

End of Day 2

Phew, what a day today was, huh? Just wow—you really leaned into the adventure, and honestly, it’s so refreshing to see. Make sure to hit the hay and recharge those batteries because, let me tell you, day 3? It's shaping up to be nothing short of legendary.

Day 3: Embrace the Natural Beauty of Charleston


Saffron Restaurant and Bakery

Saffron Restaurant and Bakery

Saffron Restaurant and Bakery is known for its delightful array of Middle Eastern cuisine and desserts, which have won the hearts of locals since 1986. Start your day with a fulfilling breakfast of buttermilk pancakes, freshly baked croissants, or a plate of hearty shrimp and grits.

Historic Plantations and Nature

Your visit to Charleston would only be complete with a visit to the historic plantations around here. Seriously, they're not just beautiful—like stepping straight into a story where every corner tells tales of triumphs and trials. These places capture the essence of the South's prosperous days, but they don't shy away from the hard truths of slavery that are part of the story, too. It's this mix, the sweet with the bitter, that makes a visit so unforgettable.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC

Magnolia Plantation

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a quintessential destination in Charleston that deserves a spot in your Charleston weekend getaway. From its horticulture to its natural beauty, it’s one of America's first tourist attractions and public gardens that opened to the public in 1870. Here, you can wander through the splendor of its manicured gardens, the mystique of the Audubon Swamp gardens, and maybe spot some wildlife, such as egrets, herons, and turtles.

Boone Hall

Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation symbolizes the South's heritage and is a living museum that tells a rich and complex history dating back to its establishment in 1681 by Englishman Major John Boone. Recognized as the #1 Plantation in the Charleston Area by USA TODAY 10BEST, it offers visitors an immersive experience into the past with its majestic avenue of oaks planted in 1743, the stunning Georgian-designed mansion rebuilt in 1936, and the preserved slave cabins that offer a poignant look at the lives of the enslaved Africans who were an integral part of the plantation's history. Boone Hall presents a live presentation of the African slaves' culture, providing a deeper understanding of their contributions and struggles.

McLeod Plantation

McLeod Plantation

McLeod Plantation Historic Site is a 37-acre property established in 1851. This Gullah/Geechee heritage site offers a profound glimpse into some of the most significant periods of America’s past. With its stunning riverside pavilion, majestic oak allée, and the ancient McLeod Oak, believed to be over 600 years old, the plantation stands as a beautiful representation of the Lowcountry’s cultural landscape. The site honors the enslaved people whose labor and culture have become a memorable part of the region’s foundation. With guided tours available throughout the day and an innovative self-guided tour app, visitors have multiple ways to explore the site’s past and ongoing story.

Middleton Place, Charleston SC.

Middleton Place

Step into America’s earliest landscaped wonder at Middleton Place, where the grandeur of 1741 lives on 110 sprawling acres. It's more than just gardens; it's a journey through the lives of Founding Fathers, the stories of resilience from enslaved people, and the artistry of bygone crafts. Whether you're strolling through the blooms, exploring the historic house, or visiting the Stableyards, there's a story at every turn. Dive deep with Beyond the Fields for a real talk on America’s past, or keep it light with artisan keepsakes to remember your visit. With a delicious restaurant on-site, Middleton Place is where history meets the heart.


82 Queen

82 Queen

Established in 1982 by three visionary restaurateurs, 82 Queen has carved its niche as a premier dining destination in Charleston's historic French Quarter. Set against the picturesque backdrop of three quaint buildings and a charming garden courtyard, 82 Queen has mastered the art of Southern culinary excellence with a welcoming atmosphere. Whether it's catering services for events like birthdays, weddings, and corporate gatherings or providing an ideal spot for a memorable meal out.

Eli’s Table

Eli’s Table

Eli's Table merges bold, global flavors with the freshest local ingredients. It’s known for the creative flair of its Executive Chef and novel approach to favorite classic dishes, ensuring a memorable meal every visit. Beyond the inventive Brunch and Dinner menus, Eli’s Table also offers an exceptional venue for special events, promising to make any occasion unforgettable with its extensive menu options.

Hannibal's Kitchen

Hannibal’s Kitchen

Renowned for its soul food cuisine, Hannibal’s Kitchen has been satiating the appetites and hearts of locals and visitors for over 40 years. This family-owned and operated restaurant offers a range of delectable options from the best shrimp and grits in Charleston to signature dishes like shrimp & crab rice, all seasoned with a homely touch. Beyond its diverse menu that features daily soul food specials.

Afternoon Boat Tour & Shopping

Harbor Cruise boat in Charleston,SC

Charleston Harbor by boat

Hop on the Carolina Belle, folks, for a leisurely 90-minute sail through the heart of Charleston's beauty, packed with history and charm. This excursion with Charleston Harbor Tours sails past more than 75 landmarks, such as Fort Sumter, right where the Civil War kicked off, with the breeze telling tales of yesteryear. Imagine getting up close with the USS Yorktown, not to mention there's a chance to catch a glimpse of dolphins and pelicans along the way. Tours are at 11:30, 1:30, 3:30, or sunset.


Who doesn't want a piece of Charleston charm to take home? Pick up some souvenirs on your last day; there are plenty of shops to wander around and discover on Day 3. Besides the fancy, classic malls like Charleston Mall or the Shops at Charleston Place, there is an eclectic, vibrant mix of family-owned gems, creative havens, and cultural treasures that will have you reaching for your wallet quicker than you can say sweet tea!

Check out the shopping on King Street for some interesting shops, such as Blue Bicycle Books, a book lover's paradise where stacks of used, rare, and local books reach sky-high. Are you hunting for a beach read or a keepsake coffee table book? This is your spot. Croghan's Jewel Box is a family-owned, century-old institution that offers not just exquisite trinkets but also pieces of Charleston itself - think elegant, crystal camellia bowls that catch the light just right.


Choose from three exciting culinary options; we guarantee it's going to be hard to choose just one!

High Cotton

High Cotton

Looking for a refined dining experience? High Cotton is a perfect option. It is known for its commitment to Lowcountry cuisine and an inspired beverage program that perfectly complements its meals. High Cotton sets the tone with its cuisine and daily live music that enhances the dining experience. The ambiance, combined with top-notch service, makes it an excellent choice for those looking to savor the rich culinary traditions of the South.

Charleston Grill

Charleston Grill

Charleston Grill is an award-winning establishment that offers an extraordinary dining experience. With a seasonal menu and imaginative dishes that blend innovation and tradition, this is a great option for culinary lovers. This classic spot caters to those who appreciate fine dining and is open daily, with the dining room welcoming guests from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM



The talented chef, cookbook author, and PBS star Vivian Howard curated Lenoir's delicious cuisine. Guests can expect a warm, hospitable environment reminiscent of being invited into a home rather than just dining at a restaurant. It offers diverse menu items throughout the week, including the unique meat-n-three on Sundays as well as extended bar hours.

Charleston Airport

Getting to Charleston

Your weekend escape to Charleston, SC, kicks off the moment you hit the road. Opting to drive is a perfect choice—it's your ticket to meandering through the city at your leisure, discovering hidden gems between each charming destination. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also convenient, as are pedicabs from Charleston Bike Taxi or Charleston Pedicab. Traditional taxis from Charleston Cab Company and Charleston Green Taxi are also readily available to get you around the city.

Should the sky be your starting point, Charleston International Airport warmly welcomes you, serving as your seamless entry to our storied streets. We suggest grabbing a rental car once you land. Trust us, it’s the golden ticket for weaving through Charleston's weekend activities with the freedom to pivot to spontaneity at any turn.

You can still enjoy the sights without a car a shared shuttle bus departs every 15 minutes and includes multiple stops. Uber and Lyft will also pick up passengers from the Charleston International Airport.

Where to Stay During Your Charleston SC Weekend Getaway

Choosing the right home base can set the tone for and convenience of your whole trip. Here's where you might want to drop your bags:

The Vendue

Stay in the French Quarter

The French Quarter is located in the historic district and is known for its picturesque cobblestone streets and elegant architecture. With well-preserved buildings, it’s a design lover's dream and boasts art galleries, boutiques, fine dining, and significant landmarks like Rainbow Row.

The Best Places to Stay in the French Quarter:

Elliott House

Stay in the Historic District

The Historic District is in the center of the city, making it the prime local for maximum exploration. From easy access to landmarks and endless dining, this is a great place to stay during your weekend in Charleston, especially for first-time visitors.

The Best Place to Stay in the Historic District:

The Dewberry

Staying in Marion Square

If you are planning to shop, Marion Square is the prime location for you! It’s proximity to King Street, the primary shopping destination and easy walking to dining spots. This area is about a 20-minute drive from some of the city’s most popular landmarks.

The Best Places to Stay in Marion Square:

Rainbow Row

When to Plan Your Weekend in Charleston

There’s no wrong time for a Charleston weekend getaway.
However, spring and fall offer mild weather and the full bloom of Charleston's natural beauty, making them peak travel months. If you want to avoid the crowds, the summer and winter months may be your best bet. Summer brings the heat and bustling energy, while winter offers a cooler and laid-back exploration of the city.

We hope your Charleston, SC, Weekend is nothing short of spectacular and that the itinerary hits the mark. When you find yourself hungry for more of this incredible city, our Charleston Travel Guide is there to dive deep into the heart of the city with you.

So, y'all make sure to swing back our way, alright? There's always another story, another hidden nook of Charleston waiting to be discovered. In the meantime, find out a whole lot of great tips and information on our Charleston Blog.

Privacy Policy