Charleston, South Carolina is one of those cities that everyone should see at least once, if not more. It’s as uniquely charming as any place you’ll find. That’s why I felt a twinge of regret when I knew I was going to Charleston for meetings but that I wouldn’t really have time to get a good look around. Much to my surprise, my meetings ended a day early, so all of a sudden I had 24 hours to spend here if I wanted to stay. The only issue was that I’d need to find my own hotel for a night. Searching for Charleston hotels at the last minute can be time-consuming and it can be expensive if you don’t have the time to compare rates and shop a bit. I pulled out my phone and gave myself 10 minutes to see if I could find a hotel room in Charleston before deciding what to do next.
I got onto HotelTonight and searched for Charleston hotels. As it turns out, 10 minutes was much more time than I needed, as there was no need to shop around after seeing what HotelTonight had to offer. I found a hotel that was right for me, booked a room quickly and easily and I was all set within minutes. I packed my things into my rental car, which I extended for a day, and drove over to my new hotel. Armed with information from the staff members there on where I should go and what I should see, I was off on my day of exploring.
If you were asked to take a photo of somewhere in the United States that depicted the Old South, you’d probably pick downtown Charleston. The buildings seem to exist from a different time in our existence, the streets are lined with gorgeous palm trees and the people are about as friendly as you could ever hope to encounter. I walked around downtown for a bit and marveled at the architecture, at the plethora of local shops for gifts and other items and at the restaurants, some of which are renowned across the globe. This was a beautiful downtown setting.
New Orleans isn’t the only city with a French Quarter. Charleston has a French Quarter as well, and while you can certainly find all the nightlife you need here, it’s a bit different than the more well-known neighborhood in New Orleans. There is a lot of history here, and as I walked down a few narrow streets in this area I realized that this was a haven for artists. I lost myself looking at the works that were on display, but I also wanted a nice cup of coffee to give me that mid-morning boost I was looking for. I found a local place and just sat there, drinking my coffee and watching people.
I headed outside of the city a bit to see the Isle of Palms. This is a smaller community of approximately 4,000 people. Yes, there were palm trees everywhere, but there was also a lot to do outside. This piece of land is shaped like a bowling alley, as it’s 7 miles long and a mile wide. I found a gorgeous park and walked around a bit, watching families at play with their children and their dogs. I also got hungry as it was lunchtime. I asked someone where I should go if I wanted traditional southern food, and I was given directions to a nearby place. I was glad I asked that question as soon as I got my food. It was a tremendous lunch, and I was ready to continue with my day.
Mt. Pleasant was on the way back to Charleston, so I decided to spend a bit of time here as long as I was heading in that general direction. This is a much bigger community than the Isle of Palms, home to about 75,000 people. Here there were museums, parks, plantations, historical sites and plenty more to see and do. There were more shops here as well, so I decided to stop and fill a bag or two with high-quality gifts from locally owned merchants. My loved ones would appreciate these unique items, and I was excited to give them to them and tell them about this day.
I decided to go back out towards the edge of the county and stopped in at a little community known as Folly Beach. Something about the name intrigued me. This is a place where the beach life is what dominates, and while there were tourists here there were also plenty of locals out enjoying the day and the stunning coastline. All of this time near water got me hungry for seafood for dinner, so acting on a recommendation for the second time that day I stopped into a restaurant that served local catches. There’s something about seafood this fresh that makes the meal incredibly memorable. I savored every morsel.
As I headed back to my hotel, I reflected on my day. Charleston is a city where time seems to stop in certain respects, and that includes the people who are always willing to stop and help you out if you’re looking for something or need information. I was grateful for that, and I was grateful that I found HotelTonight, which made finding a Charleston hotel simple and easy. I would come back to Charleston someday, and I would book my lodging with HotelTonight when I did so.