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Manhattan Beach

Charleston, Savannah

One week, Parent-friendly trip to Charleston - stay, do, see, eat

My husband, 3 year old daughter, 3 month old daughter and I are going Charleston for a wedding at the end of April. I have never been to Charleston and heard it's a lovely city with history, food, and beauty to behold. I am eager to get out and about (in between going to a wedding and the rehearsals) and want to make the most of this trip!

- Where should we stay? (I've heard historic Charleston is nice but my taste veers towards VRBO or Four Seasons-like hotels). 

-What are hidden gems to see or do in the city? Old plantation that George Washington gave a speech at? I'm in! Moss-covered canopy lanes? Sign me up. Cool speakeasy bar? Done and done.

- What are the must-eat restaurants? (kid friendly and not kid friendly - we're bringing our nanny).

- Any other insider scoop on this town....

*oh and if you have any knowledge on Savannah, that may be on our list to see for a day.

Thanks so much in advance!

6 Answers

top answer by
Ashley from Durham (North Carolina)

Best place for a good, upscale Southern culinary experience:  Anson--they grind their own grits in house (reportedly with a huge stone mill), and I had the best scallops ever there. House specialty is a whole-cooked fish with the bone in. They cut it a special way and teach you how to eat it table-side. Worth the little extra work.

Low-key lunch with the best she-crab soup: TBonz Gill & Grill in the market area. Seriously, really good she-crab (it's a Charleston specialty). Otherwise it's a burger and fried pickle kind of place, but they have a pretty good seasonal beer rotation.

Chill speakeasy: Unfortunately, there was an actual Speakeasy, but it no longer exists. Look up The Gin Joint and have the bartender surprise you. One of the best cocktails I've ever had.

Any of the plantations are worth visiting. Don't let the girls get into the Spanish moss. It tends to be infested with redbugs.

There's a pier in walking distance of the market/downtown area with huge porch swings. I've seen dolphins cresting twice. It's a nice place to catch a cool breeze and a break from the humidity. Very good gelato shop on the walk there. Further down there's a pineapple fountain that you can actually wade into, it's lowered into the ground and nice and cool as well.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Anson (restaurant)
  2. TBonz Gill & Grill (restaurant)
  3. The Gin Joint (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Liz from Albany (New York)

If you are willing to go out of the way for those moss-covered roads, check out Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. It's an old plantation home which features horses, reenactments, and beautiful architecture. It's quintessential Old South. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Boone Hall Plantation (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Adam from Okinawa

If you're looking for a high-end hotel in close proximity to everything, I would highly recommend you stay at Charleston Place Hotel.  There are a ton of restaurants near by and most of the historic attractions are within walking distance.  There is a "hidden" speak-easy style bar on East Bay Street, if I'm not mistaken.  I'm sure you can Google it.  It sounds like you would also enjoy touring the plantations.  The kids will probably love Waterfront Park.  There's a a couple fountains and some swings on the pier.  As far as fancy dinners, one of the most renowned restaurants in the South is located on the bottom floor of Charleston Place.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Charleston Place Hotel (hotel)
  2. Waterfront Park (attraction)
4 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Ruth from Southern Pines

I like VRBO also, but there is nothing like staying in the heart of Charleston Historic District.  We have stayed at the The Mills House Hotel and Meeting Street Inn. Both are beautiful. Mills House is in the center of everything.  Meeting Street Inn gives you a taste of Old South decor.  You must take a carriage ride tour of the city. The historic and local tidbits you learn are priceless. There are several mansions that offer tours in town and around the area.  If you go to one outside of Charleston it will take up most of your day and you would not see much of Historic Charleston, which really is what you should see. There is a treasure everywhere you look. For a short first trip I would spend my time on a carriage tour then explore Meeting Street, Old Slave Market Museum area, and The The Battery area which has gorgeous old Live Oak trees and statues and a grand view of the Harbor and waterfront Antebellum Mansions.. That would be a full day.  If you have time there are antiques shops, art galleries and shopping on King Street. Your 3 year old will enjoy running around the Battery Park and also the Waterfront Park which is off Bay Street behind the Slave Market area. Several of the streets are one way. This map shows which street are one way and which direction the traffic flows. It also shows the location of the Waterfront Park.   Hope you have a great trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Charleston Historic District (neighborhood)
  2. The Mills House Hotel (hotel)
  3. Meeting Street Inn (hotel)
  4. Meeting Street (attraction)
  5. Old Slave Market Museum (attraction)
  6. The Battery (attraction)
  7. King Street (attraction)
  8. Waterfront Park (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Holly from Carmel (Indiana)

I don't know if I'm late answering your question since April is right around the hopefully have booked your hotel.  April is a very busy month in Charleston and the prime spots are likely booked.  Hotels:   The Mills House Hotel at 115 Meeting Street is nice.  You can also rent a home so you'd have more flexibility for your family.  Here's a link to one on East Bay..  Also, take your stroller and walk the new Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge which has a great view of the ocean and Charleston--an experience you won't forget.  There's a wonderful park under the bridge for the children and a little cafe where you can sip a cold drink after the walk.   Charles Towne Landing is a possibility for an outdoor escape where you walk trails through a primitive "zoo" of sorts.  Alligators are a must see!  April would be a great time to be outdoors as the mosquitos won't be thick yet.  Be sure to bring sunscreen and bug spray just in case.  The humidity will be awful--just so you know...take extra precautions for your hair-styles and clothing choices.  The azaleas will be amazing so you will hopefully have some great photo ops!  The beaches are sadly not great.  Good for a stroll and sand castle building but the water is gray and the shell collecting leaves you wanting.  Hope this little bit helps!  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Mills House Hotel (hotel)
  2. Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge (attraction)
  3. Charles Towne Landing (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
kym from Raleigh

The Battery is a real nice area to walk around. Open spaces to relax or play, waterfront, and beautiful houses to look at! Market Street is popular-lots of shopping. If you like seafood Hyman's Seafood is good but there is always a wait!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Battery (attraction)
  2. Market Street (attraction)
  3. Hyman's Seafood (restaurant)
1 thanks

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