As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Charleston’s beauty is steeped in a history dating back to its beginnings in 1670 when it was Charles Towne. Known as the “Holy City” for its over 400 churches, Charleston allows you to step back in time to explore its beginnings and how it has become a vibrant destination worldwide. Here are just some highlights of what you can expect to see when you visit Charleston:
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is at the top of the list for any trip to Charleston for a couple of reasons. Founded in 1676, it has witnessed the birth of the nation, saw the ravages of the Civil War and was able to change along with the times. The gardens are America’s oldest publicly accessed gardens, opening to visitors in 1870. It is also America’s largest (and last) romantic-style garden, where you can wander down seemingly overgrown paths and get lost in the beauty of it all (just watch out for alligators!). Take the guided tours of the main house where you’ll learn the history of the plantation, and the Magnolia Cabin Project tour which is dedicated to preserving and understanding the history of slavery and their struggle for freedom.
John’s Island and Angel Oak. John’s Island is the largest island in South Carolina and is the fourth largest island on the East Coast. Considered part of Charleston, it’s easy to get to from downtown. Make sure that you stop to see Angel Oak Tree – one of the nation’s oldest living trees and is thought to be over 400 years old. And if you are a fan of The Notebook, several places in and around John’s Island will look familiar.
Sullivan’s Island Beach. Charleston has some beautiful beaches to her name, and the one that stands out above the others is Sullivan’s Island. It has seen very little commercial development, making it a great getaway to enjoy a weekend in the sun. While there, make sure to visit the Sullivan Island’s Lighthouse, which is by far one of the more modern lighthouses in the country (it even has an elevator!). It was built as a replacement for the Morris Island Lighthouse which was in danger of being destroyed by erosion in the 1950s.
Fort Moultrie. Fort Moultrie is one of the oldest forts still standing on the East Coast. Located on Sullivan’s Island, American colonists began to build this fort as a defense against the British during the Revolutionary War. While it withstood the initial attack in 1776, it was eventually captured in 1780 before being returned at the end of the war. It played a role in the Civil War and was an active fort through 1960. Take the guided tour of the Fort to learn more about its storied past.
McLeod Plantation Historic Site. Established in 1851, the McLeod Plantation is an important Gullah/Geechee heritage site that has recognized its cultural and historical significance. Here you will learn the story of the slaves that worked the sea cotton plantation and their fight for freedom, justice and equality. The tour of the plantation will allow you to experience the lives of all people who shaped and influenced Charleston’s past and future.
Historic Charleston City Market. Opened in 1804, Charleston City Market is one of the oldest public markets in the United States, and is one of the most-visited places in Charleston. Initially housing meat, vegetable and fish vendors, today it is home to over 300 vendors selling a variety of unique items.
Fort Sumter. No trip to Charleston would be complete without stopping at Fort Sumter where the first battle of the Civil War began. Before taking the ferry out to the fort itself, spend some time in the Visitors’ Center to give you a little context to the history behind the fort and the surrounding area. As you walk around the fort, you’ll see remnants of its history from the Civil War until it was officially decommissioned in 1948, including cannonballs still lodged in the walls and the old cannons pointed out towards the sea in defense of the fort.
Are you ready to experience the charm and rich history of Charleston? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re happy to help you plan your trip.
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