The city of Charleston, a two hour and 15 minute drive from Hilton Head Island, is one of this country’s most popular destinations. In fact, it received Condé Nast Traveler’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards as “Top U.S. City.”
Visitors experience a charming blend of English and American heritage, and modern amenities influenced by Charleston’s reputed Southern lifestyle.
Charleston lives her history. It was founded in 1670 on a charter of religious freedom as the colony of Charles Towne. It is known as the “Holy City” because it has over 300 churches of various denominations. Church spires are still the tallest structures, just as they were when sailing ships used them for landmarks, or when Union troops sighted their guns on them.
This beautiful city has been and continues to be preserved, restored, and protected. Its vast Historic District is filled with tiny alleys, walled gardens, and stately homes. Charleston’s harbor dominates the view. Historic Fort Sumter where the Civil War began stands in the distance while sailboats and Sea Islands dot the horizon.
Stroll along cobbled streets. A peek through hand-wrought iron gates set in high garden walls will reveal beautiful private gardens reminiscent of days gone by. See the antebellum town mansions where gentlemen planters spent as much time indulging in their passions for politics and pleasure as they did managing their vast rice and cotton plantations.
Visitors can choose from a number of guided tours year around. Carriage rides and harbor tours are two of the most popular. Walking tours specialize in everything from the city’s history to pirates and ghosts. Many historic buildings and museums are open to the public daily.