Charleston: A City Steeped in History

Located right off of South Carolina’s coast, Charleston is well known for its impressive historic architecture, its gardens, and its warm and friendly people. This city is the very picture of Southern charm, and one of the best places to experience the South’s long and fascinating history.

Charleston was first settled in 1670, making it one of the country’s oldest and most historic cities. It was the site of the Civil War’s official beginning, and home to the nation’s first library.

Charleston also has a long religious history, and features a wealth of beautiful historic churches. This has earned it the nickname of “the Holy City.”

Charleston’s attractions, nightlife, history, beauty and overall charm have made it one of the country’s best and cities to visit.

What to See

Old City Market: The Old City Market is a 200-year-old Charleston institution. Open until 6 p.m. each day, 364 days a year, the Market is a perfect place to enjoy some sunshine and some shopping. Tourists and locals alike visit the more than 100 vendors who line the streets, selling everything from locally renowned sweetgrass baskets, to jewelry, to handmade crafts. If you’re dreaming of an iconic horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown, this is the place to take one.

Waterfront Park: Charleston’s coastline is one of its many charms, and Waterfront Park is the perfect way to enjoy it. Lounge under a palm tree on a classic park bench, watch ships come in and out of the harbor, stroll along the walkway or splash in the fountains on a hot day.

The Battery/White Point Gardens: One of Charleston’s most visited parks, The Battery serves as a defensive seawall, a picturesque promenade, and a historic site. Ammunition was stored here during the Civil War, and wartime cannons and cannon balls dot the landscape. The park offers striking views of both the peninsula’s coastline and some of the city’s most beautiful historic 19th century mansions.

Middleton Place: This historic plantation was built in the 1730s, and features the oldest landscaped gardens in the U.S. It served as home to a prominent Charleston family whose members played a key role in America’s early history. Burned by Union soldiers during the Civil War and toppled by an earthquake in 1886, the Plantation was restored in the early 1900s, and is now a museum that welcomes visitors.

Fort Sumter National Monument: This Federal fort sparked the start of the Civil War, when Confederate soldiers fired on and eventually captured it. Union soldiers would spend the next four years trying to capture it.

Charles Towne Landing: This State Historic Site is well worth a visit for history lovers and kids of all ages. The site’s most exciting attraction is a village that recreates life as it was for early settlers, complete with a 17th century replica of a ship and functional cannons that are regularly fired for spectators. There are also nature trails for hiking and a natural habitat zoo that features native wildlife.

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