A Local’s Guide to Charleston, SC

From local to tourist, here is a quick guide of the beautiful town of Charleston, South Carolina.

I am lucky enough to live where everyone else tends to spend their vacations. For 4 years in a row so far, Travel & Leisure’s readers have voted Charleston as the Number One City in the United States, and in 2016, it was voted as the Number One City in the World. Southern Living also voted Charleston has the Best City in the South of 2017.

Charleston is a beautiful city and it is growing more and more day by day. In the Charleston area, there are many different things you can do in the different zip codes.

In Southern Living’s magazine, A South’s Best, Charleston was voted as the South’s Best City in 2017. They had put this quote in the article on Charleston and thought it was too good not to share.

If you want to get away from the “tourism crowd” and do or see something more unique and common to the locals, continue reading! 

Charter Boat Fishing: Charleston & Mount Pleasant Area

Charleston is a great place to fish! As a tourist, you might not have a boat or know where to go in the water so that is why you can go fishing through charter boat companies. Sweet Grass Fishing Adventures is the company I definitely recommend! Bo Hutchison, the captain, will put you on a ton of fish, show you where to go, and have a great time! If you want to go fishing with Bo, tell him I sent you and he will give you $25 off! Check out his Facebook page here, and give him a call!

Cost: $450 for 4 hours, but worth every penny! Mention that I sent you and get $25 off!
Time: Charters are 4 hours!

This fish was not caught with Bo, but Bo will put you on even BIGGER fish!

Pitts Street Bridge: Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

Pitts Street Bridge is a beautiful place to take a walk by yourself or with your dog and catch the sunset. Looking out to Sullivan’s Island and the Charleston Harbor, you can see giant homes, church steeples across the harbor, and a view of the Ravenel bridge.

Cost: Free
Time: Visit as long as you want! It is about a half mile long so if you are just going for a scenic walk or bike ride, it won’t be too long. It is always open to the public!

Toast of Charleston: Charleston, SC 29401

One of my favorite brunch places downtown! Toast offers a wide variety of delicious food options, mimosas, and amazing coffee. They don’t take reservations so I would recommend going on a random day during the week instead of a Sunday morning after church so it won’t be too busy. Check them out, here! Pictures below are of me and my friends outside of Toast!

Cost: Average to Medium, TripAdvisor says it is about $11-30 a meal
Time: Expect a line when you go if you go during a “meal time” but the service is averagely quick!

Sullivan’s Island Beach Access: Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482

More recently I have noticed more people are starting to find my little hidden gem. The beaches in Charleston have become incredibly crowded during the busy seasons so finding the beach without the crowd is rare. Right at the end of Sullivan’s Island next to Fort Moultrie is a tiny and hidden beach access. It is on the end of the island so your entire view is of the harbor and the Ravenel Bridge. There is limited parking spots here but my favorite time to go is for the sunrise or sunset.

If you kite board or wind surf, this is also a good place to go! Since your “ocean” is technically the harbor, there are good winds for the water sport!

Cost: Free
Time: As long as you want! Open 24/7 to the public.

Ashley Catherine Photography

Kayak or Paddle Board in Shem Creek: Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

Shem Creek is a very popular waterway in Mount Pleasant. It is right over the other side of the Ravenel Bridge. It is a beautiful waterway to see local Charleston homes, shrimp boats, restaurants, and a ton of dolphins and pelicans! Kayaking and Paddle Boarding is very popular in Shem Creek and it is fairly inexpensive!

Cost: $40-65
Time: Rental times range from 4 hours, 8 hours, and 24 hours!

Red’s Ice House: Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

Red’s Ice House is a restaurant right on the water of Shem Creek. It has great food, inexpensive beers, and unique views. Dolphins are almost always swimming right in front of the restaurant!

Cost: Average
Time: No matter the time you go, it will most likely be busy. But the wait time is not terrible!

Morris Island Lighthouse: Folly Beach, SC 29439

There is a lighthouse in Charleston County right near Folly Beach. It is (for the most part) only accessible by boat. If you’re lucky and the tide is low enough you could walk/swim out to it. On big holidays like the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, the locals get together on their boats and create party barges! It is a ton of fun and a good time.

Cost: Free to visit, just have to pay for either your gas on the boat or someone to take you out!
Time: As long as you want!

Ashley Catherine Photography
Ashley Catherine Photography

Boone Hall Plantation: Mount Pleasant, SC 29466

Boone Hall Plantation is a beautiful southern plantation. The property is full of history with beautiful views of the creeks, oak trees and pastures with a large white plantation style home. After paying an admission fee, you get to go on a variety of tours around the plantation. During certain seasons, they hold festivals, concerts, and fairs. Boone Hall is also a farm that offers strawberry and other fruit picking as well as a pumpkin patch! You can also get married here and host other events.

Cost: To get into the plantation: $12-24 ~ If going to an event you will just have to pay the ticket fee. If you are going to pick fruit or pumpkins, it is typically free to go out to the fields, you just have to pay for how much food you get!
Time: Depending on the season, times will vary of when you can get into the plantation. You will probably spend 1-3 hours here!

Boat Landings: Mount Pleasant, SC 29466 & Awendaw, SC 29429

Ever since I could drive in high school, I would take a short ride out to boat landings wherever I could find them. There are a good bit in Mount Pleasant, like Remley’s Point, and also some in Awendaw. I use these boat landings as a quiet place to clear my head and look out to the creeks and waterways to enjoy the view. These spots are also beautiful places to try to catch as many sunsets as you can. Some of the boat landings are also good places to fish!

Cost: Free
Time: The more popular boat landings will most likely be busy on weekends and days with good weather, but spend as long as you want here

Angel Oak Tree: Johns Island 29455

This tree is a little far out from Charleston and it is not something that locals necessarily visit all the time. HOWEVER, it is BEAUTIFUL! Bring a blanket and a sandwich and have a picnic! There is nothing else here besides the tree so it is not a “full-day” kind of thing. But it is a very peaceful and beautiful spot for families and friends!

Cost: Free
Time: They are open to the public from 9am – 5pm Monday through Saturday and 1pm-5pm on Sundays. It will probably be a 30 minute to an hour visit, if that!

Charleston RiverDogs Game: Charleston, SC 29403

Charleston has their very own minor league baseball team, it is a good place for friends, family, and little kids to have a fun time eating hotdogs, boiled peanuts, and cotton candy! Some nights they have $1 beer and hotdog specials! Tickets are easy to get and fairly inexpensive!

Cost: $8-21
Time: Games are typically on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in the evening and the games typically last 2-3 hours!


Charleston is the place to visit for sure! I hope my list of unique and more “local” things to do in my beautiful home town will make your trip even better! 

A BIG thank you to my good friend, Ashley, for taking some of the pictures for this post! Follow her on Instagram!


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11 thoughts on “A Local’s Guide to Charleston, SC

    1. Thank you!! Some were taken by myself and others by my good friend Ashley! Her photography Instagram is linked on the post. Xo

  1. Love that you included places that aren’t super touristy and overly crowded. I ADORE Charleston after vacationing there a couple of times, and I recently told a friend who had visited that I would literally move there tomorrow! I just love the whole vibe. 🙂

    I’ve been to Boone Hall Plantation! It’s my goal to visit every single plantation in Charleston, haha. So far, I think I’ve seen about 3 or 4 of them.

    You’re making me want to go back now!

    1. Now that Charleston has become so much more popular, it is difficult to find quieter places! I’m glad my post made you want to visit, that was my goal!! Xo

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