Charleston, SC

Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Move to Charleston, South Carolina

George J. Ziogas

See what makes this a great place to live, learn and work

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Charleston, South Carolina sits on an Atlantic Ocean inlet and offers easy access to natural and big city amenities. Travel + Leisure magazine named Charleston as America's best city seven years in a row. Here are seven reasons why this coastal gem should be your next home.

1) Easy Ocean Access

One of Charleston's biggest assets is its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Head north of the city about 13 miles, and you will find Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island. These destinations include well-maintained public beaches, and Sullivan's Island is home to one of the final lighthouses to be built in America. If you prefer tamer waters, the nearby Intracoastal Waterway provides opportunities for stand-up paddleboarding. To the south of Charleston are Kiawah and Seabrook Island. Both of these barrier islands offer luxurious villas, golf courses and pristine private beaches.

2) Beautiful Cultural Sites

If you love beautiful buildings, Charleston has every style imaginable. The city offers examples of Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Art Deco, Queen Anne-style and more. You're bound to see cupolas emerging from the lush vegetation or wrap-around porches stretching across the fronts of houses as you walk through the city. The famed Pink House, built out of pink Bermuda stone and situated on a cobblestone street, dates back to about 1694. Charleston is also the site of several former rice plantations, including Drayton Hall and Magnolia. Magnolia, founded in 1676, features impressive gardens, nature tram rides, trails and a tour of African-American history. Just next door is Drayton Hall, which dates back to 1738 and remains South Carolina's lone unrestored plantation house.

3) Innovative Food

The farm-to-table revolution of the past 30 years has helped the restaurant scene in Charleston flourish. Charleston offers classic southern fare, inventive cuisine and food infused with elements of the city's Caribbean and African roots. There really is something for everyone. For an upscale dining experience, visit Circa 1886. Located in a carriage house, this restaurant serves anything from an elegant take on grilled cheese, which includes cured yolk powder and caviar, to buttermilk fried red hen. For more traditional fare, head to Codfather for the perfect plate of fish and chips, or savor some soul food at Bertha's, which holds a James Beard Award for America's Classics.

4) Great Live Music

If you love great music, Charleston has plenty of venues where you can hear up-and-coming talent as well as established performers. Pair a beer with live music at The Pour House, or take in some jazz with your favorite cocktail at Charleston Grill. Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center also plays host to many bigtime performers, and Charleston Music Hall books an eclectic variety of names.

5) Terrific Retirement Destination

Charleston is an excellent place to retire. With year-round warm weather and natural amenities just out your back door, it's easy to understand why Charleston tops so many lists of best places to retire. With relatively low property taxes, you will be able to enjoy a few more trips to the golf course and restaurant scene downtown. Just be sure to choose a home with an extra bedroom for all of the visitors sure to show up on your doorstep.

6) Ample Recreation Options

While the ocean may be the big draw in Charleston, there's no shortage of other recreation options. James Island County Park offers 643 acres for camping and biking, as well as a lazy river at Splash Zone Waterpark. At Wannamaker County Park, you will find a mix of woodlands and wetlands, trails and access to Whirlin' Waters Adventure Waterpark. Head just a little further north to find the Wannamaker North Trail, an unpaved adventure for mountain bikers. Downtown, you can rent bikes by the day or week for a little sightseeing.

7) Excellent Schools

If you have school-age children, rest assured that Charleston is home to many excellent public and private schools. The South Carolina Department of Education now uses online report cards so that parents can evaluate prospective schools as they decide where to live. Plus, both the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University contribute to the city's cultural amenities and offer ample educational opportunities for learners of all ages.

With easy access to natural beauty and city amenities, it's no wonder that Charleston has topped so many lists of the best places to live. If you're pondering retirement options or looking to relocate to a thriving area, check out what Charleston has to offer.

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