Charleston is one of America’s oldest and most historic cities. Nestled on the South Carolina coast, its culture, cuisine, and architecture blend English, French, West African, and traditional Southern influences to create a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else in the country. While it’s draped in Lowcountry elegance, there are plenty of things to see and do that won’t break the bank. Read on to find out how to make the most of a visit to Charleston on a budget.
SET OUT ON FOOT
Downtown Charleston is definitely walkable, and there is a lot to take in around the downtown core. The design district around King Street is full of cool boutiques that wouldn’t be out of place in New York City. Head to St. Philip Street for ivy-draped historic neighborhoods brimming with 19th-century historic charm. Stroll along the waterfront battery at White Point Gardens past cannons and mossy live oaks and take in incredible views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor.
MAKE A STOP AT THE MARKET
The Charleston Farmers Market at Marion Square Park is a must-visit for any weekend itinerary. Running Saturdays from April to December, the market is alive with local food vendors and artisans, and features live music from gospel to bluegrass. Pony rides are available for children, and there are lots of options for breakfast or lunch under $10. Marion Square Park is perfect for people watching and thanks to its location in the heart of the city, it’s an ideal base to begin your Charleston adventure.
BRIDGE THE GAP
Connecting downtown Charleston to the suburb of Mount Pleasant, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was constructed in 2005 to replace two older bridges spanning the Cooper River. This striking cable-stayed bridge features a pedestrian and bicycle lane, and making the crossing is a great way to inject a little activity into your city exploration. You’ll be treated to sweeping views of the city and ships docked at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.
HIT THE BEACH
A beach escape is within easy reach of downtown Charleston. Just 20 minutes away is Folly Beach, a quirky surfer’s village home to awesome bars and restaurants. It’s a big hit with families and locals, and you’ll often see surfers hitting the waves along “The Edge of America”. The beaches of Sullivan’s Island are pristine, and with smaller surf that Folly Beach, it’s a great destination for those with younger children. Parking is free around both Folly and Sullivan’s Island Beaches.
TOUR A TEA PLANTATION
Learn what Lowcountry life is all about on Wadmalaw Island, just a few miles from the city. It’s home to the Charleston Tea Plantation—the only tea plantation in the country. Tour the lush green grounds, explore over 300 varieties of tea plants and pack a lunch for a quaint picnic. Admission and tea factory tours are free, and trolley tours around the plantation are just $10.
Now you’ve got a full itinerary of interesting things to see and do in Charleston that won’t bust your travel budget. Find InTown Suites extended stay accommodations along your route for affordable accommodations.