A smiling couple poses under the sprawling branches of a large tree at one of the 18 romantic weekend  getaways from Charleston, SC, as highlighted on the TravelingFranklins.com blog.

Discovering the perfect weekend getaways from Charleston SC, can turn a regular weekend into an extraordinary romantic experience. While a weekend in Charleston itself is amazing, with so much to do and see, the nearby cities and towns can transport you someplace you’ve never been while also staying within driving distance.

In this guide, you’ll get a taste of 18 romantic weekend getaways you can embark on from the Lowcountry of Charleston. These weekend trips will take you to places like Savannah, GA’s cobblestone charm, Hilton Head’s beaches, and the lush Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, NC.

My husband and I have traveled throughout the Southeast region of the United States and these are some of the best weekend getaways from Charleston, SC, and its surrounding area. No matter where you choose to visit, you can’t go wrong!

Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links, meaning that at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

1. Folly Beach

Folly Beach, affectionately known as “The Edge of America” is a barrier island about 12 miles from downtown Charleston. It’s a great place for waterfront restaurants and casual eateries where you’ll enjoy fresh seafood and Southern favorites.

It will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic, which can turn into more like 2 hours if it’s a busy weekend or holiday. We visited on July 4th weekend so it was pretty crowded.

Typical accommodations include cozy beachfront cottages and boutique hotels. Activities at Folly Beach include water sports like surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. You can also rent bicycles to explore the island or visit Folly Beach Pier for fishing or a romantic stroll.

  • Vacation Vibe: Laid back, bohemian, beachy.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 20-30 mins without traffic. It could be 2 hours on a busy weekend or holiday.

2. Isle of Palms

Sunny silhouette of a sprawling oak tree with a person playing golf in the distance at a scenic golf course near a waterfront.
Golfing at Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms is a barrier island just a stone’s throw from Charleston, SC. The beautiful beaches, premier golf courses, laid-back atmosphere, and proximity to Charleston, make it a great quick getaway. It’s about 18 miles from downtown Charleston, 30 minutes by car.

In Isle of Palms you can go kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing or play a round of golf at one of the island’s scenic courses; or explore the area by bike.

During our visit, we drove out to the Wild Dunes to spend the afternoon playing golf. The views from the golf course were amazing. One minute you’re surrounded by trees and the next you’re in the marina with sailboats in the background.

  • Vacation Vibe: Upscale, relaxing, coastal.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 30 minutes by car.

3. Edisto Island

Edisto Island is a hidden gem along the South Carolina coast and offers a tranquil and secluded escape with unspoiled beaches. It is located about 50 miles from Charleston, SC, about 30 minutes by car.

Edisto Island’s beaches are known for their natural, untouched beauty so if you’re looking for a serene beachfront getaway, you will not be disappointed. It’s the type of vacation where you embark on scenic bike trails or curl up with a good book on the beach.

During your visit, make sure you visit Edisto Beach State Park for fishing at the pier, hiking or biking the trails, shelling on the beach, or watching a sunrise.

  • Vacation Vibe: Secluded, natural, peaceful.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 30 minutes by car.

4. Kiawah Island

The Rolex clock at the Ocean Course Clubhouse on Kiawah Island, featuring clear skies and the clubhouse's welcoming facade
The Ocean Course Clubhouse at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Situated along the South Carolina coast, Kiawah Island is a serene and luxurious retreat, perfect for a romantic day trip. It’s about a 45-minute scenic drive from downtown Charleston.

My husband and I enjoyed a stay at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort which is luxury at its finest. Everything from the views, the restaurants, the rooms were all 5-star. It is no wonder the resort is the only 5-star and 5-diamond rated in South Carolina.

We also traveled around the island checking out the beautiful homes. The landscapes didn’t seem real, they were truly picturesque!

Kiawah Island has ten miles of pristine beaches, a great spot to watch the sunset. In January, it was a bit chilly, but the weather was amazing. The island’s natural beauty with its marshes and maritime forests, provides a beautiful backdrop for a romantic getaway.

  • Vacation Vibe: Tranquil, laid back, luxurious.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 45 minutes.

5. Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina, approximately 70 miles or about an hour and a half away from Charleston is a quaint, historic town on Port Royal Island.

There’s a lot of history in Beaufort as it’s the second oldest town in South Carolina. Explore the historic district, where you’ll find charming boutiques and art galleries. You can also go on a self-guided tour, take a carriage ride, or attend one of the local festivals in town.

Popular activities include strolling along the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, watching the boats glide by, or embarking on a scenic kayak tour.

  • Vacation Vibe: Historic, serene, coastal
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 1 1/2 hours by car.

6. Hunting Island State Park

Hunting Island State Park, is a secluded paradise located off the coast of South Carolina, and the most popular park in the state. It’s known for its beaches, historic lighthouse, and as a natural sanctuary.

The park is approximately 85 miles southwest of Charleston, SC, making Hunting Island easily accessible for a day trip or weekend getaway. There are five miles of unspoiled beaches and a large network of trails through the maritime forests. It’s also a popular sport for camping, kayaking in the lagoon or creeks, and fishing.

  • Vacation Vibe: Untouched, peaceful, scenic.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 1 1/2 hours by car.

7. Bluffton, South Carolina

Bluffton, South Carolina is about 95 miles from Charleston and approximately 2 hours by car. It offers a blend of relaxation and Old Town charm with quaint shops and art galleries.

Positioned on the banks of the May River you’ll enjoy kayaking through the marshes, or on a guided boat tour. For a taste of history visit the Bluffton Oyster Company, one of the last remaining oyster shucking facilities in the state. Learn about the local oyster harvesting process and try some fresh seafood.

  • Vacation Vibe: Quaint, charming, relaxed.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 hours by car.
Charming gray A-frame house with a white arched door and diamond-shaped windows, trimmed with red accents, in Bluffton, South Carolina. Pristinely manicured lawn and trimmed bushes with bare crepe myrtle trees in front, under a clear blue sky

8. Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Pawleys Island is a small, serene barrier island about 70 miles northeast of Charleston, SC. It’s a tranquil coastal setting with unspoiled beaches, historic landmarks, and the legendary “arrogantly shabby” lifestyle.

Pawleys Island has many accommodation options from cozy beach cottages and historic inns to luxurious vacation rentals with ocean or creek views. The nearby Brookgreen Gardens, a combination of art, history, and zoo in a garden setting, is a must-visit.

  • Vacation Vibe: Peaceful, quaint, coastal
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 hours by car.

9. Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina, is approximately 115 miles northwest of Charleston, about 2 hours by car. The city’s history is both deep and wide, with sites like the South Carolina State House and the historic homes in the Robert Mills Historic District.

Visit the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden for both exotic animals and themed gardens. Throughout the year, Columbia hosts many festivals and events such as food festivals, craft beer events, and outdoor concerts.

  • Vacation Vibe: Historic, lively, urban.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 hours by car.
A tranquil avenue in Savannah, GA, where towering oak trees interlace above, adorned with Spanish moss, forming a verdant archway over a peaceful, unpaved road.

10. Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia, stands out as a romantic getaway steeped in history and southern charm. It is located roughly 108 miles from Charleston, SC, about 2 hours by car. This historic city is known for its architecture, picturesque squares, and moss-draped oaks, I mean what could be more romantic?

We love spending time in Savannah and one of the things that makes it unique is their open container policy. You can walk around with open containers of alcohol (16 oz plastic cups). One of our favorite things to do in Savannah is a haunted pub crawl, so if your idea of romance is something spooky, you’re in the right place.

There’s also the Savannah River, along the border of Georgia and South Carolina. It’s the perfect place to watch the riverboat cruises, buy candy from Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, or grab a bit to eat from a riverside cafe. Savannah, Georgia is one of our favorite romantic getaways!

  • Vacation Vibe: Historic, charming, romantic.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 hours by car.

11. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Visitors enjoy a tranquil evening walk on Harbour Town Pier in Hilton Head, SC, under the illuminated sign, with a beautiful sunset providing a vibrant backdrop.
Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island, a crown jewel of the South Carolina coast is located approximately 95 miles from Charleston, SC, and 2 hours by car. The island is 12 miles wide and home to world-class resorts and fine dining. You can experience laid-back activities like bike trails, golf courses, and kayaking. You can also browse the boutique shops and art galleries.

Beyond the beaches, you may want to take some time to explore the Gullah Heritage Trail. During a tour, you’ll gain insight into the Gullah Geechee culture, unique to the Sea Islands, and learn about the traditions, language, and history of the descendants of enslaved Africans who have preserved their heritage over centuries.

  • Vacation Vibe: Relaxed, scenic, charming.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 hours by car.

12. Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is approximately 115 miles northwest of Charleston, SC, about 2 hours by car. The park showcases some of the tallest trees and the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the Southeastern United States.

The Congaree River and its adjacent creeks give way to canoeing or kayaking. It’s a great activity to spot wildlife such as river otters, turtles, and many types of birds. You can take this opportunity to pack a lunch and head to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, which offers picnic tables and grassy areas under the shade of trees. The perfect place for a romantic picnic!

  • Vacation Vibe: Wild, majestic, tranquil.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 hours by car.

13. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

A bustling day at Myrtle Beach with Pier 14 in the foreground, featuring the wooden pier structure and the blue building adorned with American and Canadian flags under a soft cloudy sky.
Pier 14 Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is located approximately 95 miles northeast of Charleston, SC, about 2 hours by car.

Myrtle Beach is known for having many entertainment options like live music, theater performances, and comedy clubs. If you’re looking for something fun and romantic take a ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel.

You can also enjoy water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, and scuba diving, or explore the nearby state parks and wildlife reserves.

  • Vacation Vibe: Fun, beachy, vibrant.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 hours by car.

14. Camden, South Carolina

Camden, South Carolina blends equestrian culture, and Southern charm, located approximately 115 miles northwest of Charleston, about 2 hours by car. As the oldest inland town in South Carolina, it boasts a rich colonial history.

In Camden, you can explore historic sites, antebellum homes, and museums, like the Camden Revolutionary War Site. It’s also known for its deep equestrian roots and hosts several prestigious horse racing events throughout the year, including the Carolina Cup and the Colonial Cup.

  • Vacation Vibe: Elegant, historic, tranquil.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 hours by car.

15. Aiken, South Carolina

Nestled in the heart of South Carolina’s Thoroughbred Country, Aiken is a quaint town located approximately 140 miles west of Charleston, about 2.5 hours by car. Aiken’s downtown area is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants set among historic buildings.

The city is renowned for its rich equestrian heritage. You can attend a polo match, horse race, or other equestrian event, depending on the season. You and your partner may even want to take a horseback riding lesson at one of the many stables.

For romantic walks, there’s always the Hopelands Gardens or Hitchcock Woods, one of the largest urban forests in the United States.

  • Vacation Vibe: Equestrian, historic, charming.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 2 1/2 hours by car.
view of the front of a charming southern apartment building showing 3 entrances with floral, greenery and benches in front of each door.

16. Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is located approximately 212 miles northwest of Charleston, about 3.5 to 4 hours by car. This city has emerged as a cultural and culinary hotspot, with its scenic downtown, parks, and arts scene.

Make sure you visit Falls Park on the Reedy with its cascading waterfalls and the iconic Liberty Bridge, which is a centerpiece of downtown Greenville. It’s the perfect place for a romantic walk through the gardens or a picnic by the river.

  • Vacation Vibe: Chic, cultural, Scenic.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 4 hours by car.

17. Asheville, North Carolina

A smiling couple taking a selfie with the grand Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, visible in the sunny background
The Biltmore House and Gardens

Asheville, NC in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is an artistic city with historic architecture, and panoramic mountain views. It is approximately 267 miles from Charleston, around 4 to 5 hours by car. We’ve done the drive from South Florida which took a whopping 12 hours and it’s not as scenic of a drive as it is from Charleston.

Asheville’s location in the Blue Ridge Mountains gives you many opportunities to explore hiking trails and scenic drives. Our favorite was when we visited the historic Biltmore Estate during their Christmas festivities. There’s nothing more romantic than a cozy mountain town.

  • Vacation Vibe: Eclectic, artsy, hilly.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 4-5 hours by car.

18. St. Augustine, Florida

Aerial view of St. Augustine, FL, showcasing a tranquil beach with gentle waves lapping at the shore, a distinctive rocky jetty, and a picturesque community with varied architecture close to the waterfront.

St. Augustine is known as the nation’s oldest city and is located approximately 250 miles south of Charleston, SC, about 4 hours by car. It’s a nice mix of historic cobblestone streets, ancient buildings, and beautiful beaches.

St. Augustine is one of the most romantic cities and one of our favorites in Florida. As native South Floridians, we love the diversity of landscapes when visiting Northeast Florida. The historic, coastal charm of the city comes out when you visit places like the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the United States.

Of course, the beaches in Florida do not disappoint, Anastasia State Park has beautiful beaches that are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or enjoying a romantic sunset walk.

  • Vacation Vibe: Historic, romantic, enchanting.
  • Drive time from Charleston, SC: Approximately 4 hours by car.

Ready for Weekend Getaways from Charleston SC?

When planning your weekend trip from Charleston, South Carolina, it can be hard to choose which is right for your romantic getaway. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 18 romantic trips, each giving you an array of possibilities from peace and tranquility to active and adventurous.

What’s great about this list is that you can choose to stay closer to home or drive a little further out while still staying within 5 hours of Charleston. There’s no reason to hop on a plane when you can get in your car and go from a coastal beach setting to quaint historic charm.

So what are you waiting for? The perfect weekend adventure is calling!

Looking for more romantic getaways?

promotional graphic with a picture of a couple taking a selfie with a mountain background promoting readers to join the free facebook group "lazy budget travel tips"

Want to Travel More for Less?

Become a Budget Traveler! Head over to my start here page and grab my free budget travel cheat sheet  – it’s packed with valuable tips to help you create your own winning budget travel strategy.

Similar Posts