8.1.23

My 4th of July in Charleston

Editor’s Note — if you’re looking for additional Charleston recommendations, here are some other posts to check out: 

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Over the 4th of July weekend, I spent a long weekend in Charleston, South Carolina to visit my sister, Lindsey! She is doing travel echo and living in Charleston, so since I had the holiday off work, I combined it with some PTO and made a long weekend out of it, arriving on Friday and flying home on Tuesday morning. Charleston has long been one of my favorite cities, and exploring it with Lindsey was so much fun. Because she brought her car with her to CHS, we were able to explore not only historic downtown, but Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach, and Sullivan’s Island more easily than if we had only been relying on Uber.

I’ve visited Charleston in all seasons, but this trip reminded me just how HOT (!) it is in the summer. It is not for the faint of heart given the humidity. At one point on our trip, Lindsey and I walked about a mile from Post House Inn to Pitt Street Bridge in Old Village Mount Pleasant during the heat of the day and we were dripping in sweat by the time we arrived. So, while summer is great to head to the Charleston-area because of the beaches, if you are wanting to do a lot of walking around to explore the history, I would suggest one of the other three seasons — and I say that as someone who generally does not mind the heat. It’s just simply not comfortable to be outside for an extended period of time in the heat of the day!

This was one of my favorite trips to Charleston — and one of my favorite trips of the year! The night before I left, I cried because I didn’t want the fun with my sister to be over. I’m so lucky to have made so many good memories with Lindsey in one of my favorite places! x

HOW TO GET THERE —

Getting to Charleston from the DC area is very easy — there are plenty of direct flights from both DCA and IAD, and the Charleston Airport is a great small airport, with just two terminals and lots of great food options. While I am usually partial to flying out of DCA given it is closer to my apartment, for this particular trip, I had a flight credit on United, so it made more sense to fly out of IAD, given that is their hub. My parents live close to Dulles, so my mom was kind enough to give me a ride to the airport, and after enjoying a mimosa at the airport lounge, it was a smooth flight to CHS!

Lindsey was at work when I landed, so I grabbed an Uber over to her apartment to drop my bags off. There’s an Uber pickup area at CHS that’s right across from the airport entrance, so it’s very easy to find your driver, and I’ve never had a problem getting an Uber at the airport — or anywhere in Charleston for that matter.

WHERE TO STAY —

For this trip to Charleston, I stayed with Lindsey at her apartment, which is just minutes from downtown Charleston. However, I have stayed at hotels many, many times in downtown Charleston. My go-to is the Marriott Courtyard Charleston Historic District — it’s a clean, modern, simple hotel in the heart of downtown Charleston. The location is unbeatable as you can pretty much walk anywhere you want to go, and since I tend to not spend too much time at the hotel when I’m on a trip. The rooms are spacious and it’s definitely been well maintained over the years.

If you’re looking for a more upscale option, I’ve really enjoyed my stays at both Zero George, a boutique hotel that’s on George Street in converted historic buildings, and The Dewberry, a beautiful, mid-century modern hotel. I’ve also stayed at The Charleston Place, a Belmond Hotel, but candidly, it felt a little older and the air conditioning wasn’t the best — which is a must in Charleston. I also don’t recommend The Embassy Suites in the old Citadel building — it felt very dated and didn’t feel very clean — and the Courtyard Marriott is on the same block and a much better value.

In the future, I would love to stay at The Hotel Bennett, which I’ve been to for drinks before and is absolutely stunning. I also have heard wonderful things about staying at The Mills House Hotel, which I always love taking pictures at — it’s the pink building in the picture above!

WHERE WE ATE & DRANK —

As with all trips to Charleston, there was no shortage of good food + drink — here’s where we wined and dined:

Little Palm at The Ryder Hotel — we kicked off our weekend with happy hour drinks at Little Palm, the cutest tropical bar at The Ryder Hotel. It’s a beautiful indoor/outdoor space, and we had a comfortable couch right by the pool. It was so fun to lounge with a bottle of wine by the water, and they had lots of great ‘Instagrammable’ vignettes you could snap  a photo with. Originally, I had considered eating a full meal there, and I am glad we didn’t — it was definitely more of a pre- or post-dinner drinks spot than the main event. You can also rent pool chairs for the day during the summer, even if you aren’t a hotel guest!

Poogan’s Porch — after drinks at Little Palm, we headed over to Poogan’s Porch for dinner. Located next to Husk, I had eaten here before, but it had been years, so I wanted to try it again. We really enjoyed our meal here, but I think I prefer 82 Queen or Husk, both of which are on the same street, because of the atmosphere. I started with the she-crab soup and then did the house salad.

The Blind Tiger — it’s a rare night you’ll find me out after dinner, but Lindsey and I grabbed drinks at The Blind Tiger with her friends after Poogan’s Porch and had a wonderful time. They have a beautiful back patio, and it had finally cooled down in Charleston to the point where it was nice to be outside. (Fun fact: a ‘blind tiger’ is another word for a speakeasy.)

Rita’s Seaside Grill — my family went to Folly Beach in 2011 on vacation, and we fell in love with Rita’s. I was so excited to eat here again before a beach day with Lindsey, and was even more excited that it held up to our memories. The food is so good, and it’s just such a wonderful ‘beach bar’ type of spot. We both enjoyed a burger with fries and split a carafe of mimosas. We ate outside on their patio, enjoying the ocean breeze before hitting the beach.

Taco Boy Folly Beach — after a day at Folly Beach, we went to Taco Boy, another spot my family went back on our vacation all those years ago and loved. (I’ve also been to the Taco Boy in downtown Charleston!) They don’t take reservations and it’s a very popular spot, so we grabbed a margarita at the bar to enjoy while we were waiting for our table. We were lucky enough to be able to sit outside, and it was such a nice evening and great people watching. We split a dip trio before each ordering the three-taco combo. What I love about Taco Boy is their tacos are delicious and somewhat adventurous, but still approachable.

Post House Inn — when my best friend Emma and I went to Charleston over NYE a few years ago, we ate dinner at Post House Inn and it was a highlight of our trip, so I knew I wanted to come back. I was excited to try it out for brunch! We both ordered mimosas and their burger, and it was such a good way to kick off a holiday weekend Sunday — no scaries were had that day!

Saltwater Cowboys, Red’s Ice HouseMuddy’s Dockside Bar — following Post House Inn, Lindsey and I went on a bar crawl on Shem Creek, which is located at one end of Old Village Mount Pleasant. On this particular day, my favorite spot we went to was Red’s Ice House because we had great seats and the bartender mixed up amazing frozen strawberry daiquiris. We didn’t eat at any of these spots, but they all have great bar food if you’re looking for a snack or a meal.

Millers All Day — on Monday, Lindsey had to go to work, so I had the day to myself. I kicked it off by treating myself to brunch at Millers All Day, a popular brunch spot in Charleston. It was packed when I arrived, but luckily, I was able to get a seat by myself at the bar that was perfect. I treated myself to a large salad and a mimosa! I enjoyed this place, but truthfully, I wouldn’t recommend waiting 60-90 minutes for this spot like some were when I went.

Citrus Club at The Dewberry — after exploring King Street, I treated myself to an afternoon cocktail at The Dewberry at the Citrus Club, their rooftop bar. I have always loved the Living Room at the Dewberry, their lobby bar, so I was excited to try the Citrus Club out. Truthfully, I didn’t love it — it felt a little too pretentious and the patrons next to me were really rude and the staff didn’t do anything to rectify the situation. I would be willing to give it another shot, but given how much I have loved The Dewberry in the past, I was disappointed.

Sullivan’s Fish Camp — a sister restaurant to Post House Inn, Lindsey and I capped off our trip at this Sullivan’s Island restaurant that has been on my “to dine” list for a while. It was such a cute spot, and I would go back in a heartbeat — they also had a gorgeous bar! We split some hush puppies to start and then I did a salad and tuna tostada. We loved our dinner on Sullivan’s Island, and I definitely want to spend more time eating there on future trips to CHS.

WHAT WE DID —

On my first and last days in Charleston, I spent it in the historic downtown — more on that in a minute. The other days, we took advantage of nearby areas. So I flew in on a Friday, and then Saturday, we woke up bright and early and headed out to Folly Beach to beat the crowds. As I mentioned, we ate at Rita’s Seaside Grill, and then headed further down the island to find parking and scope out the perfect spot to set up our beach chairs for the day. We had our cooler packed, and alternated between sunbathing and swimming all day, and it really was such a wonderful day! We changed into dry clothes in the car before heading to Taco Boy and then shopped at some of Folly Beach’s touristy beach stores before heading back home for an early bedtime.

On Sunday, we went to brunch at Post House Inn before walking down to Pitt Street Bridge, a public park right on the water in Old Village Mount Pleasant. En route, we stopped to buy lemonade from the cutest kids at a lemonade stand — and it was very much needed given how hot it was! We then hopped over to Shem Creek to go bar hopping at Saltwater Cowboys, Red’s Ice House, and Muddy’s Dockside Bar. One of the cool things about Shem Creek is there are always so many dolphins — it’s so cool to see. One day I would love to get a boat and explore Shem Creek that way.

On Monday night, when Lindsey got home from work, we did a little happy hour at her apartment while getting ready, and then made the scenic drive from downtown Charleston over to Sullivan’s Island. We parked near the lighthouse and walked on the beach during golden hour — it was pure magic. (When I win the lottery, count me in for a house on Sullivan’s Island — there are so many gorgeous beachfront properties!) We then headed over to Fish Camp for dinner — it’s a sister restaurant of Post House Inn, and one that has been on my bucket list since it opened a few years ago. The decor was so well done and the food and service were great. It was the perfect way to end such a fun trip with my sister — and I definitely want to get back to Sullivan’s Island sooner rather than later to explore more. I am dying to eat at The Obstinate Daughter!

While in downtown Charleston on this trip, since it was so hot, I mostly spent my time walking around King Street and the Charleston City Market popping in and out of stores to enjoy their air conditioning. There are so many cute boutiques and clothing stores to look into — I treated myself to a new piece of art and a few souvenirs! Some of my favorite stores on King Street to enjoy are — Lake Pajamas, Madison Matthews, Grit & Grace Studio, Salisbury and Manus, The Impeccable Pig, and Candlefish. My other Charleston posts, linked above, have more ideas on what to do and where to shop in the historic district.

I had the best 4th of July weekend in Charleston with my sister, Lindsey, and can’t wait to get back to CHS sooner rather than later — I never stay away for too long!

If you have any questions about our trip or anything we did in Charleston, Folly Beach, Mount Pleasant, and Sullivan’s Island, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below or email me at katie@atouchofteal.com.

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