Charleston. Also known as The Holy City.
Founded in 1670, Charleston — South Carolina’s most populous city — is among the oldest cities in the United States. The city’s rich and colorful history, beautiful beaches (not far from the city), delicious food, arts, festivals, and gardens attract millions of visitors every year.
If you plan to visit the city or are already there and thinking about exploring it, here are some of the best places to visit in Charleston.
Joe Riley Waterfront Park
One of South Carolina’s most famous attractions, this beautiful eight-acre park stretches along half a mile of the Cooper River waterfront, featuring stunning views of some of the city’s most celebrated landmarks, including the Cooper River Bridge, U.S.S. Yorktown, Fort Sumter, and the Charleston Harbor.
Located inside the park is the much-loved Pineapple Fountain, where kids can splash and play to their heart’s content. It’s not just the kids, though. Adults flock to it, too, for Instagram-worthy photos.
The fountain offers great photo opportunities and is particularly breath-taking during sunrise and sunset.
But that’s not all. There’s much to enjoy in the park. You can pelicans on the pier, jog along the trails, or stroll along oak-lined pathways enjoying nature at its colorful best.
The park comes into its own at night as the Pineapple Fountain lights up.
Situated about a half-hour drive from Charleston is Middleton Place, a plantation that is, today, used as a museum and is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States.
Spanning 110 acres, it contains gardens, House Museum, Stableyards, Eliza’s House (named after its last occupant, Eliza Leach), and more. Together, they help visitors travel back in time and have a peek into the lives of people who lived and worked there — both the masters and the slaves.
The House Museum contains “an extraordinary collection of original portraits, furniture, silver, china, documents and other objects that belonged to and were used by family members.”
Stableyards are particularly entertaining and educational for those interested in learning about eighteenth and nineteenth-century working plantation life.
There are also a couple of shops — The Museum Shop and Garden Market and Nursery — with plenty of cool stuff. So make sure you stop by.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
If you have any interest in the history of the US military, especially that of the US Navy, you can’t miss this museum.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is home to three museum ships — USS Yorktown (an aircraft carrier), USS Laffey (a destroyer), and USS Clamagore (a submarine).
The aircraft carrier has much onboard to see and enjoy, including dozens of aircraft and the Medal of Honor Museum. There’s more.
On the surrounding grounds, there are the Cold War Memorial and Vietnam War exhibits.
The self-guided audio tour is available for the carrier and is totally worth the small additional fee.
Fort Sumter National Monument
Fort Sumter National Monument is a part of the Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park — which also includes the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, and Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island.
The attack Fort Sumter (originally built to protect Charleston against a naval invasion) is believed by many to have been the start of the American Civil War. The ruins of the fort have been well-preserved and even restored to some extent.
The brickwork in the fort is quite impressive. And on some of the bricks, you can even see the fingerprints of the child slaves—a sad reminder of a discomforting but historical fact.
There’s a lot you can learn from a visit to the monument, and there are knowledgeable and friendly rangers to help you.
The fort can be accessed by a pleasant 30-minute ferry ride from the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center or Patriots Point.
So these were some of the places you must visit if you’re in Charleston. I must add that due to the pandemic, some sections might not be open, or there could be certain restrictions. So make sure you do the necessary research before visiting.
Also, please follow the guideline. Have fun but stay safe.