I made it very clear a few weeks ago that my main goal of my trip to Charleston was to discover whether or not it was a beach-town getaway. In a recent article for Conde Nast, I explained the results of my research, that yes, it definitely is, so long as you know where to stay. Charleston proper is a peninsula and surrounded on three sides by water, but when it comes to sand between your toes and beach bars, the nearby barrier islands are where you want to set up shop.
So I got my answer, but now that I’ve visited and explored, I am, truth be told, more confused than ever.
Growing up in New Jersey, I have forever been familiar with people from the northeast taking off down I-95 to the Outer Banks, Myrtle Beach, and Hilton Head areas of the Carolinas, but rarely have I heard of anyone heading down to Charleston for a long-weekend or beach vacation. Distance I suppose could be a reason, if you completely ignore the fact that Hilton Head is about two hours south of Charleston.
I want to take nothing away from the other areas mentioned above, but none of them are able to offer the combination that Charleston can, the beach culture along with the colorful, historic town that includes youthful nightlife, a strong shopping scene, and an abundance of respectable restaurants (specifically seafood).
Charleston has the traditional flat and wide east-coast beaches, but the lowcountry waterways were my favorite outdoor feature of the area. They are incredible for stand-up paddle boarding – you feel like you’re lost in the wilderness, and for the most part, the currents and tides are manageable.
Northeasterners, take notice, and please inform me why Charleston has failed to land on your radar. Is it a lack of marketing up that way, or is there a specific reason? As always, feel free to shoot me a note if you’re interested in finding out more about Charleston, including where to stay, eat, play, etc.
Here are a few photos from the trip: