A Travel Guide for Charleston on a Budget

Welcome to Charleston, a city known for its southern charm, fabulous food, and historic significance. To ensure that you leave this city loving it as much as we do, we have create a detailed travel guide for Charleston on a budget. Learn the tips and tricks of the locals to help plan the perfect trip!

Planning Your Trip

Charleston Fort SumterBefore coming to Charleston, check out our posts on the 10 best places to visit in Charleston and the top 5 free things to do in and around the city. If you’re only only around for a few days, then refer our guide on planning a weekend trip instead. And of course, don’t forget to check out a few of our walking tours of Charleston.

Regardless of what you opt to do, don’t forget to consider getting the Charleston Heritage Passport as it could potentially save you quite a bit.

Lastly, learn what will be in bloom while you’re visiting! Charleston is famous for its incredible greenery.

Other helpful resources include:

Getting Around Charleston

The best way to get around Charleston? Walk! It’s easy to navigate and the historic area is small enough that you really don’t need a car. If you are arriving by plane, there are many ways to get downtown from the airport.  For additional tips, check out our posts about getting Charleston around without a car and navigating the free public transportation.

If you are driving in from a nearby city, then we have some basic suggestions for getting around by car and navigating the many bridges that lead into the Charleston. The most challenging part of driving in Charleston is definitely parking. Street parking is extremely limited and mostly zoned. In order to avoid a ticket, read up on where to park before leaving for your trip.

Attractions 

Despite its size, Charleston is home to many museums, markets, and historic sites that are well worth a visit. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites. Just click the link to learn more about visiting each.

Famous Charleston Neighborhoods/Streets

Rainbow Row in Charleston SCRainbow Row — One of the most famous streets in Charleston, Rainbow Row features a series of beautifully colored houses, right in the heart of the Historic District.

Charleston Battery Homes — Some of the largest and most beautiful houses are located along the Battery, which used to house a battery cannons to help protect the city.

Art Districts — Gallery Row and the French Quarter are known for their “art walks,” which take place on the first Friday of certain months.

Visiting Plantations

Charleston PlantationThe city of Charleston and the surrounding area boast a large variety of historic plantations that are well worth a visit. If you are having a difficult time deciding which to see, consult our Charleston plantation guide.

Specific plantation guides:

Charleston’s Magnolia Plantation

Holidays & Events

Charleston really comes to life during the holiday season. If you are planning a winter trip to the city, consult our guide to spending the holidays in Charleston for suggestions on special events and excellent photo ops. One of our favorites is the Charleston Christmas Special, a local tradition that should not be missed. There are also many things to do on New Year’s Eve in the city.

Another great holiday to celebrate in Charleston is Halloween. Many of the plantations host fright nights and Free Tours By Foot offers seasonal ghosts tours. Brave enough to explore the darker side of Charleston on your own? Check out the most haunted places in Charleston, or read up on some local ghost stories like those about Philadelphia AlleyCircular Congregational Church, and the ghost of Sue Howard Hardy…if you dare!

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