South Carolina

Preserving the Past: 7 Of Charleston's Historic Vacation Gems

Vacation ideas for your next Charleston, South Carolina, getaway

The Vacationeer
Picturesque aerial image, antebellum architecture lined waterfront, the Battery, Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston, South Carolina, beckons travelers with its timeless charm and a long list of historical sites. Today, this low country city embodies a fusion of classic and contemporary, providing an ideal backdrop for a great getaway. 

Colorful pastel row homes, palm trees, blue skies, Rainbow Row, Charleston, South Carolina.   

Here are seven vacation ideas, from must-see historical places to what to eat in Charleston.

There’s something for everyone, whether you're a history buff or want to learn a little about the cobblestone streets and antebellum architecture you’ll pass as you explore this walkable city.

1. Rainbow Row

Stroll along the historic streets, and you'll soon find yourself at Rainbow Row, an Instagram-worthy stretch of brightly colored Georgian-style townhouses.

These picturesque row homes date back to the 18th century when merchants resided here, painting their homes vibrant hues to signify their prosperity. The pastel exteriors reflect the city's vibrant spirit and offers a sneak peek of what life may have been like.

2. The Battery

Aerial shot, woman walking, the Battery, Charleston, South Carolina.    

One of the most iconic landmarks, the Battery, stands proudly, offering waterside views while you stroll alongside Charleston Harbor.

Dating back to 1973, the Battery was once home to Fort Wilkins and serves as a reminder of the tumultuous Civil War that once divided the nation.

Today, this promenade offers unmatched views of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, the USS Yorktown, Fort Moultrie and Sullivan's Island. Also nearby is Liberty Place, a Hilton Club, offering Owners and Guests an ideal place to take in the sunset.   

3. Avery Research Center For African Heritage

No reflection of Charleston's history is complete without recognizing its role in the transatlantic slave trade. For travelers seeking to connect with the African American heritage of Charleston, a visit to the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture is an enlightening experience.

The center celebrates the contributions of African Americans to the city's history, culture and society. It serves as a reminder that history is not just about grand landmarks but also about the untold stories and diverse perspectives that shape a city's identity.

Beautiful garden image, mature Live Oak tree, flowers in bloom, peacock, Charleston, South Carolina.    

4. Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens

Another must-see historical site is the Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens. This living piece of history offers an authentic glimpse into the historic South, with its meticulously preserved grounds and majestic oak-lined avenue.

Spend some time in its Black History in Museum Exhibit and be sure not to miss the Slave History Presentation for a more complete look at America's history.

5. The Charleston Library Society

Charleston's historical significance also satisfies art and literature enthusiasts. The Charleston Library Society, founded in 1748, is one of the oldest private lending libraries in the United States. Today, it continues to inspire visitors with its collection of rare books and its commitment to preserving intellectual pursuits.

6. Cultural Cuisine

Couple strolling Charleston street to upscale restaurant, low country cuisine, South Carolina.    

Traditional landmarks alone aren't the only way to experience Charleston's rich history.

The city's culinary heritage provides a taste of its diverse influences. Whether you're indulging in classic low country cuisines like shrimp and grits or savoring the flavors of the Gullah Geechee culture, Charleston's booming food scene celebrates its history, diversity and creativity.

7. French Quarter

Complete your tour of Charleston's historical sites with a visit to the iconic French Quarter. Gas lamp-lit, cobblestone streets lead the way to historic churches, such as St. Philip's Episcopal Church, where generations have gathered to find solace and strength. The Huguenot Church's soaring steeple and stunning architecture are a testament to the city's religious heritage.

Read "Why You Should Add Charleston To Your Foodie Travel Destination List (And Where To Eat When You Arrive)" for more Charleston vacation ideas. 

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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