Older than the United States, Charleston has streets lined with buildings that date back hundreds of years. Step back in time in this very Southern port city, which boasts cobblestoned lanes, antebellum mansions, historic churches, one of the oldest public markets in the country and formal gardens. Many of its homes are open to the public, such as the Heyward-Washington House, whose original owner signed the Declaration of Independence. Take the ferry to Fort Sumter and you’ll learn about another of Charleston’s claims to fame, as the place where the first battle of the Civil War was fought.
Outside the city, many of Charleston’s plantations have been restored and visitors can explore the homes and slave quarters, gardens and acres of land. Fans of the film The Notebook will recognize Boone Hall Plantation; Magnolia Plantation & Gardens lays claim to the oldest public gardens in the country.
Shop along legendary King Street or in the Charleston City Market for unique local gifts. Dine on fresh seafood and Lowcountry cuisine at some of the many restaurants that have impressed critics. Wherever you go in Charleston, you’ll experience the city’s famous Southern hospitality and the leisurely pace of life, which serves as a valuable reminder to slow down and enjoy the day.