4 days in Charleston SC pinterest image

If you’ve read about Charleston, SC before, you probably know that it’s known for its charming and beautiful scenery. This coastal city is also a magnet for visitors from all over the world who are eager to explore its rich culture and delicious cuisine. Whether you’re looking for something outdoorsy or prefer a city-centric experience, 4 days in Charleston SC will offer you the opportunity to do just that.

If you’re looking to explore the South and visit a few of its most beautiful cities, then Charleston, SC is the perfect location. As someone who has visited Charleston, SC on a few separate trips I have learned a lot about the city and know many hidden spots that locals love!

Moreover, Charleston provides an excellent opportunity to immerse in the local culture. The city is one of the best places to experience Southern hospitality and learn about historic plantations, plantation life, and other local themes that give this place such a special charm.

If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting city and want to spend your time here doing as little or as much as possible then you need this 4 days in Charleston SC itinerary!

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Posing in front of the Angel Oak tree near Charleston SC
Angel Oak Tree

How to spend 4 days in Charleston SC

Day 1

  • Explore King Street and Historic sites like Charleston City Market, Rainbow Row, The Battery or Waterfront Park
  • Breakfast, Lunch or Brunch – Callie’s, Miller’s All Day, Brown Dog Deli or Bodega
  • Book a tour of your choice or visit a museum or The Aquarium
  • Book a Day or Sunset Cruise
  • Check out the rooftops at The Vendue or The Dewberry
  • Have a drink at Camellia’s Champagne Lounge at The Hotel Bennett
  • Dinner at Husk, Fig or Amen Street in downtown

Day 2

  • Take a drive out to Wadmalaw Island to visit Deepwater Vineyard and The Charleston Tea Plantation. Stop by Angel Oak on the way and stop at Low Tide Brewery on the way back.
  • Or
  • Take a drive out to Folly Beach for the day and have breakfast or lunch at Lost Dog
  • If you want to visit a Plantation on this day, I’d recommend heading to Magnolia Plantation or Boone Hall which are not far from downtown. There also are plenty of great places to eat in West Ashley and Mount Pleasant. If you’re in West Ashley check out Bear-E Patch for breakfast or Home Team BBQ for lunch or dinner. If you’re in Mount Pleasant check out Tavern & Table or any of the restaurants at Shem Creek.

Day 3

  • Day trip to Kiawah Island
  • Breakfast or Lunch at Jasmine Porch
  • Golf at one of the many courses
  • The Ryder Cup Bar and The Ocean Course Club house for lunch
  • Beaches and Cream for ice cream and desserts
  • Tomasso or Cherrywood BBQ for dinner

Day 4

Since this is your last day, I’d recommend reserving it for anything that you did not get to do the other 3 days. For example, if you didn’t get a chance to see all the sites downtown like The Battery or Rainbow row.

What is Charleston best known for?

Charleston is best known for delicious food, great beer and southern charm, no contest! Some of the best restaurants in the world call Charleston home. Charleston is a uniquely beautiful place, with a special charm that is impossible to replicate anywhere else in the country.

Delicious Food: The food in Charleston is phenomenal! There are so many spots for some of the best food that the south has to offer. From seafood to Southern comfort food, there is something for everyone!

Great Beer: There are so many breweries in Charleston that we can’t visit them all! My favorites are Commonhouse Aleworks, Edmunds Oast Brewing Co., Munkle Brewing Co. and Low Tide Brewing! But honestly, there’s so many all around the Charleston area that you really can’t go wrong.

Southern Charm: That southern charm that southern people are so well known for is truly a thing in Charleston! The people of this city are ridiculously friendly and welcoming. It doesn’t matter if you are from out of state or if you have been living there your entire life, they will make you feel at home.

Is Charleston SC expensive to visit?

It’s all relative but, if you’re staying in downtown Charleston or visiting during a busy time of the year – Charleston can get expensive. But it doesn’t have to be!

The white bridge at Magnolia Plantation
Magnolia Plantation

Here are some ways to make Charleston SC less expensive:

  • Don’t stay in downtown Charleston
  • Use Points and Miles for your hotel or accommodations
  • Eat where the locals eat
  • Find the free activities

Don’t stay in downtown Charleston

There are times of the year where you can get an inexpensive place to stay downtown, but the hotels on King Street are very expensive. Try looking at hotels in the surrounding areas like Mount Pleasant, West Ashley or closer to the airport.

Charleston is a small city, so these areas will be a short drive from the city center. Also, these areas will be closer to some iconic Plantations and other areas of interest.

Use Points and Miles for your hotel or accommodations

I will always mention this tip! If you have your heart set on staying in downtown Charleston, you can off set the cost by redeeming points and miles that you get from using credit cards, loyalty programs, shopping portals etc. I have some posts on this!

Eat where the locals eat

Any restaurants in touristy areas are going to be expensive and they are not always the best just because everyone goes there. It’s the restaurants off the beaten path, the “hole in the walls” that you really want!

Find the free activities

There’s honestly so many free things to do in Charleston! Read on for a list!

How many days do I need in Charleston?

4 days in Charleston SC is the perfect amount of time to soak in all the history and experience what the city has to offer. Charleston is a charming city. Whether you are looking to explore the history, culture, or art of the city, or you just want to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather, Charleston is a perfect fit for you!

What is the best month to visit Charleston SC?

The fall months, October through November are probably the best months to spend 4 days in Charleston SC. It will be less crowded in the fall, but the Spring is also a great time to visit. However, I have visited in January and in July and those were amazing as well.

January was a little chilly, but the city was not crowded so we loved it! We stayed on Kiawah Island on the beach and it was magical! I don’t love laying out on the beach when it’s hot, but taking walks on the beach when it’s a little chilly is my favorite!

Although it can get chilly during the fall and winter months (even early spring), when the sun is out it doesn’t matter.

We visited during July 4th one year and had the best time. Charleston had so many great activities and a restaurant on the water at Shem Creek even had their own fireworks. We had a table at Saltwater Cowboys and had a blast!

Basically, you can’t go wrong when visiting Charleston any month out of the year!

Getting to Charleston

The most efficient way to get to Charleston is by plane. We live in South Florida and have both driven and flown to Charleston. Flying is hands down the way to go! Getting to and around Charleston is quite easy. The city is located on the South Carolina coast, near the border with North Carolina.

However, if you do need to drive it’s pretty easy to get to Charleston by car. Charleston SC is centrally located between Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head. It has access to several highways and is a relatively short drive from cities in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.

Fly Breeze Airways non-stop to Charleston

We got lucky because Breeze Airways started offering non-stop flights from PBI to CHS. They were the only airline offering a non-stop flight and it was super affordable! This was our first time flying Breeze Airways and it was great. Breeze Airways was founded by David Neeleman who also cofounded Jetblue, so we knew that it would be a breeze (see what I did there)!

Breeze Airways has several non stop flights going in and out of CHS to many cities throughout the country. So, if you haven’t checked out Breeze Airways yet this is your cue!

The easiest way to find flights is to use Google’s free flight tool – Google Flights. You can set flight alerts and book a deal when you see one! Most airlines let you cancel within 24 hours no questions asked and if it’s after 24 hours then you can usually cancel or change your flight without penalty (just pay the difference for the new flight).

Before you book your flight, check out some of my other posts:

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Things to Do in Charleston SC

The Boone Hall Plantation house
Boone Hall Plantation

One of the best things about a long weekend in Charleston, SC is that you can experience the city’s rich history and amazing architecture. The city has a long, impressive history, so you’ll want to make sure to visit some of Charleston’s historic sites as well.

The Battery and the Old City Cemetery are both on the National Register of Historic Places, so you can find out more about their history and see why they’re important. You’ll also want to check out the Citadel (Military Academy) and the College of Charleston.

You can also check out some of the city’s many festivals and events, like the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (usually in early March). There’s so much to do and see!

Historic sites:

Museums and Aquarium:

Plantations, Gardens and Parks:

Entertainment:

Shopping and Markets:

What are things to do in Charleston, South Carolina, that are free?

4 days in Charleston SC does not need to be expensive. There are so many things to do and see that are completely free. Check out this post from Explore Charleston about free things to do in Charleston and see the list below!

Free and Fun things to do in Charleston SC:

  • Charleston City Market
  • Angel Oak Tree
  • Charleston/Riley Waterfront Park
  • The Battery
  • Rainbow Row
  • Fort Sumter – no entrance fee, but you do have to pay for the ferry to the island.
  • Folly Beach
  • Shem Creek Park
  • West Ashley Greenway
  • Charleston Tea Plantation
  • Charleston Farmers Markets
  • Stroll down King Street and Historic District
  • Marion Square Park
  • Mace Brown Museum of Natural History

Charleston Tours

You can visit all of the above sites on your own or if you more prefer a guided tour experience then definitely check out Charleston Tours on Viator.

Here are some of our favorites:

There’s also walking tours, food tours, ghost tours, you name it! We really like using Viator because it’s so easy to book. Most tours offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before for a full refund! This way if your plans change you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Get cashback when you book through Viator!

Don’t forget to stack on cashback offers when you book through Viator. I like to use my Citi Premier card (after activating the offer). And if you like shopping portals, you can stack that onto your purchase.

Shopping portals like Rakuten even let you connect a rewards program like American Express so you can earn rewards points. You can even use points to book these tours via a credit card portal like Citi Thank you Points or Ultimate Rewards.

If you’re new to shopping portals, check out this guide to maximizing shopping portals from The Points Guy. I always check Cashback Monitor so I can see which shopping portal is offering the best cashback!

Visit the Breweries, Distilleries and Vineyards

If you enjoy a good adult beverage then Charleston SC is the place for you! There are so many really great spots in downtown Charleston and the surrounding areas. Chances are that wherever you stay, you’ll have a brewery or distillery near you!

Brewery District Downtown Charleston SC

Free shuttle of all the breweries in downtown charleston in the charleston brewery district
Free shuttle to all the breweries in downtown Charleston

If you love beer, you need to spend the day down at the Brewery District near downtown Charleston. Every Saturday, there is a hop on/hop off trolley shuttle that will take you to all 10 of the breweries in the district. The trolley runs from 1pm-9pm every Saturday and anyone can ride it.

  1. Tradesman Brewing Company
  2. Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company
  3. BrewLab
  4. Cooper River Brewing Company
  5. Palmetto Brewing Company
  6. Baker & Brewer
  7. Revelry Brewing Company
  8. Fatty’s Beer Works
  9. Lo-Fi Brewing Co.
  10. Munkle Brewing Co.

Our favorites in the district are Edmund’s Oast, Revelry, Fatty’s and Munkle. My husband really enjoyed the vibes at Munkle and Fatty’s. Fatty’s serves Delta-8 infused beer and also has a vending machine with Delta-8 gummies.

Firefly Distillery

Drinking a cocktail at the firefly distillery in Charleston SC
Firefly Distillery in Charleston SC

Firefly Distillery has some of best spirits that we have ever enjoyed. I’d recommend signing up for a tasting, you get a shot glass and taste 12 spirits! Well, it’s actually 6, but if you have 2 people you can share. They have 2 spirits each round that you can choose from.

I love how some options can be mixed together like the lemonade (made with fresh lemons!) and the sweet tea to make an Arnold Palmer. Some of the spirits taste exactly like dessert, my favorite is the Pecan Pie. It comes in a whiskey or vodka. It’s honestly so delicious!

The distillery is a great place to spend the day as well. They serve cocktails that you can enjoy outside under the pavilion. There’s also monthly events including live music and food trucks. It’s really a fun and family friendly place to be.

Other Favorite Breweries and Distilleries

  • Holy City Brewing
  • Low Tide Brewing
  • Estuary Beans and Barley shares a parking lot with Charleston Distilling Co.
  • Commonhouse Aleworks
  • Ship’s Wheel – Hard Cider

Commonhouse Aleworks and Ship’s Wheel are located on Park Circle which is a great place for shopping, restaurants and bars!

Deep Water Vineyard

We're taking a picture in front of the Deep Water Vineyard Tasting Room
Deep Water Vineyard fun

Deep Water Vineyard is a little further out on Wadmalaw Island, but it’s also a great way to spend an afternoon. They grow muscadine grapes which if you’ve never had muscadine wine can be very different, but they have partnerships with other vineyards and serve other varietals as well. They also serve Mead from their brand Bears Bluff Meadery.

We loved the vibe at Deep Water, they host events and 4 main festivals every year. You should definitely check them out and visit their website!

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Places to Eat in Charleston

Charleston’s food scene is really amazing so this is list is pretty long, I’m sure you will find something to suit your palate.

Took a picture of my coffee from Bodega Sandwich Shop in Downtown Charleston
Bodega Sandwich Shop

Downtown Restaurants

Fine Dining – you need reservations

  • Fig
  • Husk
  • 82 Queen

Non Fine Dining

  • Daps Breakfast Imbibe
  • Baquette Magic – multiple locations
  • Brown Dog Deli
  • Ladles Soups – multiple locations
  • Bodega – sandwiches and coffee
  • Miller’s All Day – Brunch, get the banana bread!
  • Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit – get there early because of long lines
  • Fast & French
  • Lewis BBQ
  • Rodney Scott’s BBQ
  • Moe’s Crosstown Tavern – Burgers!
  • Blind Tiger
  • Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar – Oysters!
Carmella's Dessert Bar
Carmella’s Cafe and Dessert Bar

Dessert Cafe’s

  • Carmella’s Cafe and Dessert Bar – great drinks!
  • Kaminsky’s
  • Off Track Ice Cream

Wine Bars

  • Bin 152 – you can try wines by the glass that you would normally only be able to get by the bottle at most other places.

Recommended Charleston Restaurants further from Downtown

brunch food at Bear-E Patch in Charleston SC
Brunch at Bear-E Patch
  • Bagel Nation – multiple locations
  • Early Bird Diner
  • Xiao Bao Biscuit
  • Home Team BBQ – multiple locations
  • Nico – Oysters!
  • Saltwater Cowboys – great place on the water
  • Tavern & Table
  • Lost Dog Cafe – Folly Beach
  • Bear-E Patch Cafe – hole in the wall with amazing breakfast!
  • Bowen’s island
  • The Tattooed Moose – multiple locations, definitely a hole in the wall. You come here for the duck fat fries!

Where is a good place to stay in Charleston SC?

You can stay in downtown which can be expensive, but there are a few hotels that I would recommend staying at or at least visiting! I like Hilton hotels, but Marriott has a lot of great hotels in the area as well.

If you don’t stay downtown, you can stay in the surrounding areas like West Ashley or Mount Pleasant or closer to Charleston International airport. The surrounding areas are 15-20 mins from downtown Charleston.

Recommended Downtown Hotels

Camellias champagne lounge at the hotel bennet as part of 4 days in charleston
Camellias Champagne Lounge at The Hotel Bennett
  • The Mills House Hotel is currently part of the Curio Hotel Collection which can be booked with Hilton Honors points!
  • Hampton Inn Charleston-Historic district is super cute and also part of the Hilton family! It’s located in the Historic district so it’s a good location for some of the historic sites.
  • Hilton Club Liberty Place Charleston is a beautiful Hilton Hotel near the Aquarium and King Street.

Recommended Downtown Hotels to visit

The Citrus Club floor at The Dewberry hotel
The Citrus Club at The Dewberry
  • The Vendue is a gorgeous art inspired hotel with an awesome rooftop bar!
  • Hotel Bennett is home to Camellias Champagne lounge which is absolutely gorgeous! It’s also next door to Marion Square where the statue of John C. Calhoun was removed in 2020. The square is located near several landmarks and a great place for a picnic!
  • The Dewberry has a great vibe, I’d recommend stopping by for a drink in The Living Room or going up to the rooftop and grabbing a drink at The Citrus Club!
  • The Charleston is rich with Charleston history! Have a drink at The Thoroughbred Club and/or have dinner at The Charleston Grill (fine dining). If you’re looking for some upscale shopping, check out The Shops at Charleston Place.

Day Trips from Charleston

One of the best things about a 4-day weekend in Charleston, SC and a long weekend itinerary is that you can spend a day or two and discover the surrounding areas. There are plenty of nearby places to visit, and with the Lowcountry being so close, it’s easy to get out of the city and into natural beauty.

The Ocean Course Clubhouse at the Kiawah Island Resort - one of the options for a day trip during a 4 days in Charleston SC itinerary
The Ocean Course Clubhouse at the Kiawah Island Resort

Kiawah Island SC

Kiawah Island is only about 45-60 mins from downtown Charleston, but it’s a day trip affair. The Kiawah Island Golf Resort is definitely worth a visit. There are great restaurants, golf courses, a spa and just an all around beautiful place. The Spa at The Sanctuary is the only 5 Star, 5 Diamond Spa in the state of South Carolina.

The resort has 5 golf courses, one of which is the world renowned Ocean Course. The Ocean course was the home of the 2021 PGA Championship and the back drop for the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance.

The Ocean Course Club house is a great spot to sit for lunch, have a drink and just watch the golfers at the 18th hole with the ocean behind them. They partner with Low Tide brewing to serve their house special “The Ocean Course Ale”. It’s super tasty!

The Ocean Course Ale at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Enjoying The Ocean Course Ale on The Ocean Course

Isle of Palms SC

On our most recent trip to Charleston, we could not get a tee time at Kiawah Island resort, so we drove out about 45-60 mins to Isle of Palms SC to golf at Wild Dunes Charleston’s Island Resort. The course had beautiful scenery and honestly may even be our first choice on our next trip!

Wild Dunes Charleston’s Island Resort is owned by Hyatt Hotels and has 4 different options for accommodations – Sweet Grass Inn, Boardwalk Inn, Residences at Sweet Grass and Wild Dunes Vacation rentals.

Montage Palmetto Bluff SC

The Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort is a gorgeous resort offering golf, dining and experiences like bike riding or a shooting club. It’s definitely worth the drive for the scenery alone. The Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort is about 2 hours from Charleston SC.

Standing in front of a tree at Magnolia Plantation
Magnolia Plantation

Ready for your trip to Charleston SC?

The bottom line of your 4 days in Charleston SC is to slow down and enjoy your time with friends and family. Charleston is a great place to do this, as it’s a small city that’s full of culture and history!

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