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4 Days in Charleston, SC : Perfect Long weekend Itinerary

Planning to Visit Charleston for long weekend gateway?? Read my detailed travel guide on 4 days in Charleston, SC including Itinerary, places to visit and best things to do in Charleston including day trip options.

Charleston is one of the prettiest cities in the United States. It’s one of my favorite city because it has colorful places, cobblestone streets, and more. And besides that, there are many great things to do in Charleston!

If you’re planning 4 days in Charleston, I have got you covered. Because it’s perfect amount of time to explore this beautiful city ! You can cover all the major highlights and incredible sights from historical plantation visit to hitting the beaches and devouring southern comfort food! If you’re looking for most romantic gateways in South Carolina or you want to do a family vacation, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

This 4 days in Charleston itinerary is perfect for long weekend to explore the city. The itinerary includes the best things to do, places to eat and all the travel tips you need when you visit Charleston.

I visited Charleston, South Carolina for 4 days earlier this year along with Savannah during road trip to South Carolina. You can visit Charleston at any time during the year, but spring and Christmas is best time to be here!

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Practical Information for planning 4 days in Charleston SC

Getting to Charleston

Charleston is a coastal city in South Carolina. And yes, that’s considered the Deep Southern city just like San Francisco! Charleston, SC is easily accessible from the major cities of USA! When you want to spend 4 days in Charleston, you can reach via Plane, bus or car.

By Air

One of the best ways to reach the city of Charleston if you are coming from a far away places is by Airplane. Charleston International Airport(CHS) is the main airport serving the city. well-connected to major cities in the United States. So it can be very convenient for your 4 days in Charleston.

You can book a direct flight to CHS or connect through a larger airport and then fly to Charleston. You can connect here via few of the busiest routes like Atlanta, Charlotte, and Baltimore.

From the airport, you can reach the city center of Charleston by car, bus, or taxi. By car, this takes about 20 minutes. Going by taxi is another way to reach the city center. This is a fast option, but it is also the most expensive!

Moreover, the journey by bus takes about 1 hour to reach the city center from the airport! The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (known as CARTA), which offers bus service directly from the airport to downtown Charleston. You’ll hop on CARTA’s Route 11 – Dorchester/ Airport, which connects CHS to the Meeting Street Visitors Center in downtown Charleston.

By Car

Traveling by car is often the most convenient method if you are coming from a nearby place. Charleston is easily accessible by major highways and it’s one of the fastest way to get to the city as you can decide when you want to reach the city, also it is the best option for day trips near Charleston! It’s perfect option for 4 days in Charleston, SC.

By Bus

Prefer to travel to Charleston by public transport? No worries! Charleston is well-connected to other major cities in the US by both bus and train.

Greyhound Lines connect Charleston to a whole slew of different cities in the US, including New York City, Atlanta, and Charlotte. Bus is one of the cheapest option to reach Charleston, but it often takes longer!

Amtrak provides train service to Charleston via the Palmetto and Silver Meteor routes. Note that The Charleston Amtrak station is located in North Charleston, about 10 miles from downtown Charleston.

By Sea/Cruise

Charleston has a port, and cruise ships often dock at the Port of Charleston. Actually, Charleston is very popular port of call for several cruise lines. You may see Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and/or Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ships during your weekend in Charleston! 

If you’re arriving by cruise, you’ll disembark at Union Pier Terminal.

How to Get Around during your 4 days in Charleston SC

Once you’ve arrived in Charleston, you can use various transportation options to get around the city!

By foot: Many of the popular attractions of Charleston, you want to visit during your 4 days in Charleston are are easily accessible by foot, including the popular historic district. That’s one reason I just loved this small city so much! Everything is easily accessible by foot!

Walking is a great way to explore the city’s charming streets and historic landmarks! But be careful while walking as few of the city streets are cobbled stoned and make sure to wear comfortable shoes if you’re planning on walking a lot! 

But depending on when you visit, if you feel it’s too hot, plan to use alternate means of transport like UBER or other Public transit.

Biking: Charleston is a great place to go for a long bike ride – it’s pretty flat and it’s pretty easy to navigate. You’ll see plenty of bikes here, meaning rides will be slow and casual. Holy Spokes is Charleston’s most popular bike share, whereas Spinlister is kinda like the Airbnb of bikes.

By Public Bus and Free Shuttle: Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) offers bus service throughout the city, including the historic district. Fares start at $2 per person.

Yes, Charleston operates a (completely) free shuttle bus, called the DASH Downtown Area Shuttle. It circulated through popular Charleston attractions including the Historic District and lower Charleston peninsula daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day).

The free shuttles loop around the city on three separate routes; but you may need to use the Green Line (Route 211) stopping within the historic district. You can check the trolley routes here.

By Car: If you’re just planning to explore downtown Charleston and its historic district, you honestly don’t need a car. I’d recommend it if you’re planning to explore areas outside the city itself. Most of the city is pretty walkable, and there’s also public transit and Uber within the downtown area.

Also, the street parking can be pretty hard to find, and hotel parking can get rather expensive. And if you wanna visit a plantation, plenty of plantation tours include round-trip transportation from downtown Charleston.

Since we were staying a bit outside of downtown, we decided to park our car for few hours at Parking lot at the White Point Garden and we walked around the downtown! Alternatively, you can Park your car at the Visitor’s Center and take the DASH to your first stop. Much easier than moving the car around all day and worrying about parking!

Horse Carriage Tours:  When you wander around the Charleston for 4 days, you’ll undoubtedly come across horse-drawn carriages on the streets. This is one of the most popular way to visit Charleston and exploring the historic streets!

Book the Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour!

Overall, just remember that Charleston’s historic district has narrow streets, and parking can be very limited. Walking and using alternative transportation methods are often more convenient within the city center. Choose the mode of transportation that best suits your preferences and the areas you plan to explore.

Best Time to Visit Charleston, SC

There is really No Bad time to visit Charleston, SC. Charleston’s southern subtropical climate consists of mild winters and hot & humid summers. The spring and fall seasons in Charleston are relatively short but pleasant – this is the best time to visit Charleston!

Spring and Fall: Peak Tourist Seasons (March to May and September to November)

Spring and fall are by far the most popular times to visit Charleston. The weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s (Fahrenheit). The summer heat has either died down or not arrived yet, and kids are busy in school! Perfect time to visit!

Plus, all the flowers are blooming in spring and there’s tons of farmers’ markets in fall, perfect time to enjoy various outdoor activities! Also, there’s plenty of festivals and events like the ever-so-popular Charleston Wine + Food Festival and Spoleto Festival USA.

Summer: Shoulder Season (June to August)

Summer in Charleston is hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit (27-37°C). The summer in Charleston is considered shoulder season. You’ll definitely want to include some time at the beach to cool off, if you’re planning your long weekend in Charleston during the sweaty summer months!

Do note that hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. While hurricanes are not prone to hit the city directly, you’ll need to be flexible if you book during this time. You can expect the thunderstorms which can ruin your Charleston vacation Itinerary! It is advisable to stay informed about weather conditions when you plan during this time.

Winter: Low Season (December to February)

Winters in Charleston are mild compared to many other parts of the country, especially for those of you coming from the Northeast and Midwest! Daytime temperatures typically range from the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit (10-20°C).

While it’s the low season, it can be a great time to explore the city without the crowds. The hot summer is gone, the crowds thin out, and there’s fun holiday vibes and decorations around the city! You’ll also be able to find cheaper airfare and hotel rates during this time.

Consider your preferences for weather, crowd levels, and specific events when planning your visit to Charleston.

4 days in Charleston SC

How many days You Need in Charleston, SC?

I think, weekend in Charleston SC is perfect amount of time to explore the city!

Personally, I spent 4 days in Charleston, SC and I was pretty satisfied with it. Our 4 days Charleston long weekend trip was perfect to see the main attractions of the city, eat southern food and admire the colorful houses on Rainbow Row, watch sunset at The Battery, visit a nearby plantation and the beach! Charleston is a great spot for a quick weekend getaway.

If you wanna take a day trip or two to Fort Sumter, Beaufort, Plan full 4 days. Since it’s not a massive city, spending 4 days is perfect time to visit Charleston including visit to nearby islands like Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms and relaxing on Kiawah Island or Folly Beach. 

Where to Stay in Charleston

if you have only a weekend in Charleston, make sure you stay in a convenient location! The Charleston is pretty large, and staying in downtown Charleston can be pretty pricey. Save some cash by visiting midweek, and during the winter off-season.

Historic District: If you’re visiting Charleston for the first time, I highly recommend staying in the Downtown Historic District. Because it’s the heart of Charleston and center of all Charleston attractions. The area offers tons of accommodation options, from cozy bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels with different prices. You’ll find prices at higher side but it’s easy to get around during your long weekend in Charleston.

French Quarter: This is the most charming neighborhood near the historic district, known for its art galleries, boutiques, and fine dining options. In my opinion, it’s the most picturesque neighborhood in Charleston, only a few steps away from Rainbow Row! You won’t regret paying a bit more to stay here plus you definitely won’t need a car at all as everything is easily within walking distance.

  • Francis Marion Hotel: Best historic Hotel with beautiful architecture, located in French Quarter! You can experience unsurpassed views of the historic harbor !
  • Market Pavilion Hotel : Just 3 minutes’ walk of Charleston City Market and Waterfront Park. The hotel offers a rooftop pool & on site restaurant.

West Ashley: If you’re looking to save money, consider a stay across the Ashley River in the Riverview district. I really only recommend this area if you’re driving and will have access to a car for the duration of your stay. The Riverview District is only a 10 minute drive to downtown Charleston, and you’ll definitely pay less!

Mount Pleasant/ North Charleston : If you’re looking for cheap or more budget friendly options, consider staying in these area! If you have full 4 days in Charleston, you can definitely split your stay between budget stay and downtown Charleston. But if you only have weekend in Charleston, try to avoid staying in this area as it’d be annoying to drive to downtown Charleston each and every day.

Brief History of Charleston, SC

The visit to Charleston, SC isn’t complete without mentioning about the city’s rich and fascinating history, and yes, that includes its tumultuous past. 

The city was founded by English colonists in 1670 and quickly grew into major colonial port and trading center, thanks to its strategic location on the coast. Throughout the 18th century, Charleston became one of the wealthiest and most prosperous cities in the American colonies due to its trade in rice and cotton industry fueled by enslaved labor.

The city’s wealth and cultural refinement earned it the nickname “The Holy City” due to its many churches and steeples. The city was built on the backs of enslaved Africans who were brought over to work on the plantations and city’s Cotton industries.

Charleston became the center of the South’s slave trade, and it’s estimated that over 40% of all enslaved Africans brought to the United States arrived through the port of Charleston. If you want to learn more about this major slave trading Port, I highly recommend you visit a nearby plantation. 

During the American Revolution, Charleston played a significant role in the fight for independence. By the 20th century, Charleston has continued to thrive as a popular tourist destination and has gained recognition for its culinary scene, historic charm, and cultural events in the South.

Charleston’s history is complex, reflecting the broader historical narratives of colonization, slavery, war, and cultural evolution. And this makes Charleston one of the best places to visit in USA for history and architecture lover!

Summery of 4 Days in Charleston SC Itinerary

Day-1 : The Waterfront Park, explore the historic District, , Sunset at The Battery & Charleston Nightlife!

Day-2: French Quarter District, Charleston City Market & King Street Shopping, Culinary Walking Tour & Charleston Harbor Sunset Cruise.

Day-3: Visit a Plantation & Cypress Gardens, Isles of Palm at sunset.

Day-4: Fort Sumter, Angel Oak Tree & Folly Beach Sunset.

Finally, what you came here for – the perfect long weekend in Charleston 4 days itinerary! Read it now!

Note: This 4 Day Charleston itinerary assumes you have 4 full days in the city. Meaning you got here the night before and can start your first full day in the morning. You can probably squeeze everything in on Day 1 if you arrive in the early morning, but you may feel kinds of rushed!

Also, feel free to arrange the days I mentioned as you like! I have grouped together activities by location but you can group it as per your convenance! 

Also, while many people visit Charleston for its pretty architecture and southern cuisine, I highly encourage you to visit a plantation during your 4 days in Charleston. It’s a great way to learn about Charleston’s past and the Gullah culture. It is one of the best things to do in Charleston during your time in the city.

Day 1 of 4 days in Charleston Itinerary : Historic District

During the first day of the itinerary, you are going to see some sights and highlights of the city.

Breakfast at East Bay Meeting House

Start your 4 Day Charleston Itinerary with very good breakfast at East Bay Meeting House, located near Waterfront Park. This Place is a Parisian café with elements from the Southern United States. You can find a lot of different French food here.

Stop 1 : Pineapple Fountain and Joe Riley Waterfront Park

After the breakfast, it’s time to explore the City of Charleston. One of the best places to visit in Charleston — the Historic District of Charleston. Start your day by first stop at Joe Riley Waterfront Park — a large public park located on the Charleston Harbor along the Cooper river, with beautiful views of the water and the city skyline.

I loved walking along the Park, stopping to watch the surroundings and seeing the actions around me. Also, the park gets crowded during the day, so I recommend visiting as the first thing in the morning during your 4 days in Charleston SC.

4 Day Charleston SC Itinerary

In the middle of the park, you’ll find the Pineapple Fountain. It’s become an iconic landmark of the city. This is a unique fountain that looks like a pineapple. If you find yourself back here at night, stop by the Pineapple Fountain again when it’s illuminated at the night.

Stop 2 : Rainbow Row : Must visit for 4 Days in Charleston

One of my most favorite stops during my long weekend in Charleston! Rainbow Row refers to the iconic row of 13 pastel-colored historic homes on East Bay Street, and they are just gorgeous! This is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Charleston in 4 days.

I was so excited to finally visit the Rainbow Row, so of course I made sure to include it on the first day of my trip! It’s perfect photo spot for the Instagram!

These houses have pastel colors that are great to see! Together they form a rainbow, which is the reason for the name of the street! The colors make the street very unique – Charleston architecture at its finest! As it’s very pretty, perfect to visit for your 4 Day Charleston itinerary.

4 days in Charleston Itinerary
Rainbow Row

Let’s go deep into its history! The houses were built in the 18th-century and were originally used as commercial buildings, with the first floor being used for shops and the upper floors used as residences for merchants involved in trade.

However, over the time, the area faced economic decline, and the buildings fell into disrepair. But In the 1930s and 1940s, Dorothy Legge purchased several of the houses, repaired and Painted them in pastel colors to replicate the Caribbean style. The vibrant colors were continued by subsequent owners and contributed to the unique and picturesque appearance of Rainbow Row.! 

Today, Rainbow Row is the most photographed area of Charleston and stands as the enduring charm of Charleston’s historic architecture! Thankfully city authority is preserving its Pastel colors which represents city’s vibrant history & culture. Visit in the early morning to Photograph the houses without hordes of people!

Note that the houses are privately owned and are not open to the public. While you can admire the beautiful architecture and take photos from the sidewalk, please be super respectful and remember that people live here. Also, beware of the cars when you photograph it, as its very active road!

As I mentioned about the history of Charleston, there was a constant threat from other countries, such as France and Spain. Furthermore, Native Americans and pirates also formed a threat. That’s why the people of the city built a fortification wall around the settlement to defend it.

Next to Rainbow Row, you can see a sign with information about the wall. Furthermore, there is a section of the wall here. This is a great historic sight in the city of Charleston, that you should not miss out during your 4 days in Charleston!

Stop 3 : Tradd Street

Next in the Charleston itinerary – wandering around the South of Broad area to find all the pretty houses on Tradd Street! 

Tradd Street is one of the oldest and most historic streets in Charleston, full of beautiful architecture and well-preserved buildings. The street was originally named after Robert Tradd, a wealthy landowner who owned much of the land in the area during the 18th century. It is one of the oldest and most picturesque streets in Charleston!

The street is lined with a mix of historic homes that showcase various architectural styles, including Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival. Many of these houses date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

The most of the houses are grand with beautiful gardens, ironwork, and other decorative details. Look out for the iconic pineapples that adorn some of them! I love the charming architecture of tradd street so much! I could have spent hours walking the historic street, finding colorful doors to photograph and admire it!

Here are few of most photographed houses on Tradd Street :

  • 40 Tradd St
  • Heyward-Washington House (87 Church Street)
  • Sword Gate House (32 Legare Street, near Tradd)
  • Thomas Rose House (59 Church Street)

Regardless wherever you go, you’ll find a whole bunch of photo worthy spots on your walk! The entire area is absolutely gorgeous! Tradd Street is a little over a mile long and you can easily walk it !

Many homes and buildings on Tradd Street (and actually all of the Historic District) have plaques with information about the year they were built, notable people who lived in them or what the building was used for. This sounds so much interesting to know more about these historical buildings!

Stop 4 : South of Broad Area : Historic House Tour

South of Broad Street you’ll also find plenty of picturesque charming streets (notably Church Street, Legare Street, Church Street, Meeting Street and Elliot Street with even more charming Charleston homes! Here are some iconic houses in the South of Broad neighborhood:

  • The Miles Brewton House (27 King Street)
  • The Nathaniel Russell House (51 Meeting Street)
  • The Thomas Heyward House (18 Meeting Street)
  • The Aiken-Rhett House (48 Elizabeth Street)
  • The Thomas Rose House (59 Church Street)

South of Broad is renowned for its well-preserved historic homes, and these houses represents the architectural richness that characterizes the neighborhood and No weekend trip to Charleston is complete without a historic house tour!

If you’re interested in history, architecture, and interior design, don’t miss visiting one of the historical house tours. I highly recommend touring the Aiken Rhett House. It was built in the early 19th century, and is considered one of the best-preserved antebellum townhouses in the city. On a house tour, you’ll see a whole bunch of rooms, including Grand Ballroom, Dining room and a visit to slave quarters.

Book your Aiken Rhett House tour here.

Stop 5 : Walk Through White Point Garden

Now it is time to go to White Point Garden. This is a public park that you can find at the southernmost point of the Battery. There is a lot of grass, and there are old oak trees that are very beautiful.

Another great thing about the park is that you can find here many wartime monuments. There are cannons from the Civil War and there are statues. Also, from the park, you have a beautiful view of Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter, where you are going later!

Charleston 4 days Itinerary

Stop 5: Sunset at the Battery : Best from 4 days in Charleston SC

Near Charleston Harbor you’ll find the Battery, a historic promenade and defensive seawall along the southern tip of the Charleston Peninsula. It is a great place to walk and look at the sea! It’s definitely a must-see when you have 4 days in Charleston.

Also, it’s most stunning at the Sunset. You’ll get the phenomenal views of the harbor, Fort Sumter, and the Arthur Ravenel Bridge from here! Strolling around The Battery at sunset was one of my favorite activities on my 4 days Charleston itinerary.

As you walk along the Promenade, you’ll notice the water on one side and elegant antebellum homes lining the other. But they’re more like mansions and wonderful to see! This is an architectural style that was popular from the creation of the US till the Civil War. These grand houses are often referred to as “Battery houses”.

Many of these homes have been preserved and restored to their original grandeur, including the Edmondston-Alston House, Villa Margherita, Charles Drayton House, Martha Whitener House, and the William Ravenel House.

Stop 6 : Southern Country Dinner in the French Quarter

No trip to Charleston is complete without having Southern Comfort food! I am Vegetarian but adding the best of options here after reading lots of reviews.

  • Poogan’s Porch: Housed in a Victorian-style home, Poogan’s Porch serves classic Southern dishes. It’s a great spot for traditional Lowcountry cuisine.
  • Magnolias: Magnolia’s serves up contemporary Southern food like she-crab soup and shrimp and grits, as well as innovative dishes like duck confit egg rolls. Again, another Charleston foodie hotspot, so plan to make a reservation ahead of time. They have Vegetarian Options.
  • Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar: Right in the heart of the French Quarter you’ll find Fleet Landing, a seafood restaurant with stunning views of Charleston Harbor. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially for nights and weekends.
  • SNOB: SNOB, or Slightly North of Broad, is a Charleston staple known for its upscale Southern cuisine and farm-to-table philosophy. The menu features tons of southern dishes and definitely make a reservation here, it’s crazy popular ! 

Stop 7 : Check Charleston Nightlife!

If you’re up for more exploring, why not check out some unique Charleston nightlife activities! There are so many activates to choose at night from Ghost tours, graveyards and tombstones to inspect or visiting the rooftop Bar!

Here’s a few recommended options for those not ready to head to sleep after the whole day of exploration!

Charleston Ghost Tour: Charleston is well-known for its rich history and charming architecture. However, it’s also known for its ghostly past ! So, hear more about the spooky stories and Paranormal activity on Ghost tours! Whether you’re a believer in the paranormal or just enjoy a good ghost story, you’ll find these ghost tours entertaining and quite funny! Here’s a few popular ones:

Dark Side of Charleston : Charleston has long been a place where high society life is shadowed by prostitutes, corruption, crime and, scandals! Take a walk on the dark side of Charleston on an exclusive and uncensored 1.5-hour walking tour through the streets of the Holy City. Learn about its complicated history !! Book it here!

Speakeasy Pub Crawl : If you’re up for a combination history tour and bar crawl, sign up for this Speakeasy Sagas Prohibition Pub Crawl! You’ll hear interesting and wacky, outlandish stories from the 1920s – all while visiting some of the best bars and cocktail lounges and tasting some of the best cocktails in town. Plus discover the fascinating history of Charleston during the Prohibition era.

Day 2 of 4 days in Charleston Itinerary

Today, you will learn more history and see an amazing sights of the city center. So let’s start with the next places to visit during your 4 day Charleston itinerary! First sight of the day is touring the historic French Quarter with its cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and a vibrant atmosphere, secret alleyways and so on!

The district gets its name from the high concentration of French Huguenots that immigrated and lived in this area in the past. The French Quarter is known to be the most romantic of all the districts in Charleston! It’s so lovely and you can easily spend 3-4 hours here ! The entire area is so much charming!

You can wander the historic district yourself, or take a historical walking tour or daytime Carriage Sightseeing tour. There’s even Guided Walking Tour of Charleston (best from Viator) if you’re feeling a bit thirsty! And this combo tour includes a historic walking tour and entrance to a southern mansion. Basically, you’ve got lots to choose from!

But if don’t feel like to walk all day long, take this 90-minute Charleston bus tour which gives you a great overview of the city and visits all the highlights. Plus, you will be in comfortable AC sitting! 

Breakfast at Toast !! All Day

Let’s start with breakfast. A great place to grab breakfast in the historic center of Charleston is Toast! It is just walkable distance from French Quarter and great place to grab breakfast if you are going to explore the city center afterward.

This place has fresh southern food that is very delicious. Also, you’ll get French Toast and Sandwiches with fresh fruits. Perfect Place to start your Day 2 of 4 days in Charleston, SC. If you’re looking for Vegetarian breakfast options, visit the Millers All Day, in the most picturesque setting!

Here’s what not to miss in the French Quarter:

Stop 1 : Four Corners of Law

The French Quarter is home to a collection of well-preserved historic buildings that showcase various architectural styles, including Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival. As you walk few minutes from the Millers Cafe, you’ll see the St. Michael’s Episcopal Church– Prominent landmark of Charleston!

But at the intersection of Meeting Street and Broad Street, you’ll come across the Four Corners of Law! It is named so because it is home to buildings representing various aspects of law and government, symbolizing the city’s commitment to justice ! This buildings includes St. Michael’s Episcopal Church (Religious Law),Charleston City Hall (Municipal Law), Charleston County Courthouse (State Law) and U.S. Post Office and Federal Courthouse (Federal Law).

The concept of the Four Corners of Law emphasizes the coexistence of different branches of government and the idea that the rule of law governs all aspects of life. You can visit the beautiful architecture of these historical buildings while exploring Charleston in 4 days.

Stop 2 : Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

Continue your walking through the Charleston City Center by stopping at Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon. Built in 1771, the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon has a long history dating back to colonial period being one of the most consequential buildings in Charleston.

It has served various purposes throughout its rich history, including as a site of horrific public auctions of enslaved people, custom house, and post office. The building is known for its Georgian-style architecture and is a symbol of Charleston’s colonial prosperity.

Places to visit in Charleston sc in 4 days

Beneath the Old Exchange Building lies the Provost Dungeon, that has eerie and dark history! During the American Revolution, the British used the Provost Dungeon as a military prison. It is infamous for being a place where prisoners of war, pirates, and political prisoners were held in harsh conditions.

Today, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon is a museum open to the public and is a very interesting Place to look into the many layers of Charleston’s past.

Stop 3 : Old Slave Mart Museum

Yup, this museum is exactly what it sounds like – featuring exhibits and displays that explore the history associated with the city’s role in the domestic slave trade, the experiences of enslaved people and the impact of the slave trade on Charleston. 

There is no way you can escape talking about the history of Charleston without placing the enslavement of Black people at the center of the conversation. There are many places to learn about the history of the US slave trade in Charleston, but the Old Slave Mart Museum is a compelling place to start.

You will also learn about the harsh conditions of the slave market and how it impacted African Americans and their families. Its very interesting that the museum is housed in an actual building that was once used as a slave market in the mid-19th century. 

This museum serve as a reminder of a dark chapter in American history. I highly recommend visiting this museum to get context about the history of Charleston especially when you’ve 4 days in Charleston!

Stop 4 : The Pink House Gallery on Chalmers Street

While the old slave Mart Museum is telling us the dark history, it’s located on the picturesque Chalmers street! Chalmers Street, where you’ll find the museum, is one of Charleston’s famous cobblestone streets, and it is unarguably most beautiful.

Just up the street is also where you’ll find the famous Pink House – One of the best Photo Spots in Charleston!

Pink House Charleston

The Pink House Gallery was founded in 1944 by a group of local artists who wanted to promote the arts in Charleston. Today, it’s home to a diverse collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, pottery, and jewelry. 

You’ll see so many photos on social media and I wanted to visit it for its exterior Pink wall! But I came to know the building dates back to 17th century, making it one of the oldest buildings in Charleston! Sounds interesting right?

Stop 5 : Dock Street Theatre

This is one of the oldest theaters in the entire US, first built in 1736! Originally it was built as a hotel and later converted into a theater in 1809. The building has been rebuilt and renovated several times over the centuries, and is now home to the Charleston Stage Company and its managed by Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs. 

 It’s designed to replicate the style of an 18th-century theater with a beautiful Georgian-style façade. The theater serves as main venue for Spoleto Festival USA(an annual performing arts festival held in Charleston), hosting a variety of performances during the event.

Stop 6 : French Huguenot Church

One of the most beautiful church of Charleston that too painted in Pastel Pink! French Huguenot Church is was built back in the 1800s, and it’s super cute Gothic church in the heart of french quarter.

Stop 7 : Philadelphia Alley

One of the smallest cobblestone pedestrian street, the alleyway is rich in history and has a unique character. I loved walking through it, though very short walk but loved admiring the beautiful brick homes and lush greenery that lined the street.

cute alleyways in Charleston sc

The alley was named after the city of Philadelphia since many wealthy Charlestonians had connections to it in the 18th century. The brick wall on the lane’s western side flanks St. Philip’s churchyard. The eastern side traditionally held warehouses, tenements, and small residences.

Totally it’s worth to visit in the heart of the city and a must during your long weekend in Charleston! 

Stop 8 : Charleston City Market

You’re probably pretty hungry by now, so it’s the perfect time for a visit to the Charleston City market. 

Since the late 18th century, the beautiful Charleston City Market has been a center of commerce in the city. Today, it caters primarily tourists for shopping the beautiful souvenirs.

This historic marketplace has dozens of vendors selling a variety of goods such as magnets, clothing, artwork, jewelry, and of course local items like sweetgrass baskets, benne wafers, and roasted pecans.

Outside the market there’s tons of southern foodie specialties to try! You can grab quick lunch here ! Must visit Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. This is a place where you can get biscuits, sandwiches, and more food! This makes it a great place for lunch in the city center!

Stop 9 : Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum is a great museum to visit when you have 4 days in Charleston! While I am not the fan of Museums but this one is exception ! Because at this museum, you find a great collection of many things. Historic objects, natural history artifacts, and more!

The museum was founded in 1773, making it the oldest museum in the United States! Knowing this makes visiting the museum even better!

The total collection includes more than 35,000 artifacts, you can really spend hours or half day here! you quite literally walk through a Lowcountry timeline- from Native American clay pipes, to the colonial construction of the original city wall, and fancy imported French fans for antebellum society ladies, through an immersive homage to slaves that built much of the wealth of the city! 

You can visit the museum every day of the year, except for a few holidays.

Stop 10 : Food and Shopping on King Street 

After all day’s exploration, it’s time for good food ! Last stop of the day- King Street, the iconic shopping district in Charleston with tons of shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries. The history of King Street dates back to the colonial period when the street was named for King Charles II but today it remains the most popular shopping street in Charleston!

king street Charleston sc

It’s also beautiful, whether you plan on shopping till you drop or just enjoying the view, it’s worth experiencing King Street during your 4 days in Charleston. I loved strolling down the street and found plenty of trendy boutiques, high-end restaurants, Coffee shops here. Here is few of my recommendations for your visit:

  • Prohibition : Lovely vintage décor and serves good food with yummy cocktails.
  • Husk: Located inside 19th Century mansion, popular for southern cuisines.
  • FIG: ​Mediterranean-inspired restaurant famous for seafood.
  • The Black Door Cafe : Located at Mills House, this cafe serves best Coffee and breakfast.
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice-cream: Ice cream at its finest! I had tasted it in Atlanta and its best here too!

Stop 11 : Sunset Harbor Dinner Cruise

How about seeing the Charleston from the Water and that too at Sunset?? OR How about a relaxing dinner cruise on Charleston Harbor sound to you?

The most fun you can have on stary summer night in Charleston! Combine it with Sunset, dinner and music while cruising the scenic waters of Charleston harbor.

You’ll be served a 3-course Southern meal, all while cruising through the beautiful Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter, along the Battery and beneath the Ravenel Bridge. Sunset sailing is one of my favorite things to do for 4 days in Charleston.

Book your Charleston Sunset Blues & BBQ Dinner Cruise Now !

Day 3 of 4 Days in Charleston : History Beyond Charleston 

Breakfast at Beech

One of the best places for breakfast is Beech. You find this restaurant at 315 King Street. Beech focuses on serving fresh and healthy food! It’s best place for vegetarians. Their breakfast bowls are best. Try their Beech Bowl, this includes acai, granola, banana, strawberry, and more!

Today you’ll take a day trip out of Charleston to learn how Charleston acquired its wealth! If you don’t know, Charleston was one of the richest city in South USA during the 18th century! Reason it was mostly involved slavery!

All those gorgeous historic homes you saw on the first day of your Charleston itinerary? Built by enslaved people. 

While its prominent that Slavery was existent in Plantations, they obviously played an enormous role. Today, visiting one of the many former plantations remains one of the most popular things to do when spending a long weekend trip to Charleston.

Stop 1 : Visit a Plantation

Choosing which plantation to visit is hard, as they’re all super interesting and have spectacular grounds and gardens. All of them are making efforts to focus on enslaved people who worked on this land and plantations offers tours and experiences to focus on them. Here’s the most popular two:

Boone Hall Plantation: I visited Boone Hall Plantation, and I have to say this was a definite highlight of my long weekend Charleston itinerary. The grounds of Plantation are spectacular and green, and we learned a ton about life in the past. Founded in 1681, it’s one of the oldest continuously working plantations in the country and has been owned by the same family for over 300 years.

Here’s what to see and do at Boone Hall Plantation:

  • Avenue of the Oaks: You’ll arrive at Boone Hall by the mile-long driveway lined with 88 giant oak trees covered in Spanish moss. These trees were planted in the late 1700s and are one of the most photographed features of the plantation. Walk or drive along the famous Avenue of Oaks when you visit the Boone Hall Plantation.
  • Mansion Tour: Explore the Boone Hall Mansion, which dates back to 1936. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the plantation, the Boone family, and the architectural features of the mansion.
  • Slave Street and History Tour: Gain insights into the history of enslaved individuals who lived and worked at Boone Hall by taking a tour of the Slave Street and the original slave cabins. There are 9 slave cabins, built between 1790 and 1810, have been restored and are now used to educate visitors about their daily lives, work, and the challenges they faced. I highly recommend touring the slave cabins. 
  • Plantation Tractor Tour: It was one of the funny ride to tour around the Plantation grounds! You can learn about the history of plantation and various features of the property on this tour. You can also visit a vegetable garden afterwards.
  • Gullah Culture Presentations: Learn about the Gullah culture, which is an important part of the Lowcountry’s history. Boone Hall occasionally offers presentations or exhibits focusing on the Gullah culture and its contributions.

How to Get to Boone Hall Plantation: Located in Mount Pleasant, Boone is about a 25-30 minute drive from downtown Charleston. If you don’t have your own transportation, you can sign up for this Boone Hall tour that includes all admission fees as well as round trip transport from Charleston. Book your Boone Hall admission tickets in advance here!

Magnolia Plantation: Located just outside of Charleston, Magnolia Plantation is another place to add in your Charleston long weekend itinerary. It’s one of the oldest plantations in the South (founded in 1676 by the Drayton family and owned by them for 12 generations), and is renowned for its beautiful gardens.

You can spend hours visiting extensive gardens, looking out for wildlife in the Audubon Swamp Garden, taking a boat tour and guided tour of the historic Magnolia Plantation House,and the Old African American Cabin. There’s also wetlands, lakes, forests, and marshes to explore. 

Whatever you like to do, don’t miss learning about the enslaved people when you’re visiting a plantation! There is tons of camellias, azaleas, and magnolias (hence the name!) on its 60 acres. Plus you can sometimes see alligators, turtles, and other wildlife on the included train ride. If you want to see the biggest parade of blooms in Garden, visit during the spring time(early April).

How to get there: Magnolia Plantation is about a 30 minute drive from Charleston by Car. If you don’t have access to a car, this half-day tour of Magnolia Plantation includes a 45-minute guided house tour, nature tour by tram, and transportation to and from downtown Charleston.

Stop 2 : Cypress Gardens

One of the most gorgeous places to visit near Charleston, Cypress Gardens, perfect for couples and family! And yes, this is where The Notebook was filmed! 

The gardens were created back in 1927 by Benjamin Kittredge, and opened to the public a few years later. It’s located on an old rice plantation and is full of cypress trees and other native plants.

One of the most interesting things about Cypress Gardens is the swamp area. You can stroll along boardwalks and see the alligators, turtles, and lots of Spanish moss.

You can even take a boat ride through the swamp to get a closer look. The whole area looks so incredibly charming and peaceful! I visited during mid-day still it wasn’t that crowded! Don’t forget to add this beautiful place in your 4 days Charleston Itinerary.

Stop 3 : Culinary Walking Tour

Well, Charleston is famous for its history and culture but well famous for its low country cuisines. Your Long Weekend in Charleston is incomplete without enjoying as much food as possible!

Make sure you sample a wide variety of Lowcountry foods during your Charleston vacation Itinerary. The best way to try new dishes is via food tours.

You’ll learn about the city during a walking tour that mainly focus on food, but you’ll also get to taste a wide variety of dishes quickly, which means you’ll have a better idea of what to order at restaurants for the rest of the weekend in Charleston.

This popular food tour gets great reviews and is a fantastic addition to your 4 day Charleston Itinerary! You can explore the Historic District through this food tour, while you explore a lesser-known neighborhood. Both are highly recommended!

Stop 4 : Isles of Palm at sunset

After all day’s exploration, head to world class vacation destination Isles of Palm, just 30 minutes from the city center. Known for its 6 miles of white sandy beaches and delightful restaurants, this is perfect place to watch sunset and ending your day in Charleston 4 day Itinerary.

You can enjoy the beaches, kayaking, or take a Boat tour or just relax on the white sands, its your choice! After the sun goes down, dance the night away at The Windjammer. It’s a live music venue located on IOP’s front beach. After the music party, you can eat dinner here. This sounds perfect!

Day 4 of 4 Days in Charleston Itinerary : Beach Day

Stop 1 : Fort Sumter : Top Attractions of Charleston

One of the most interesting places to visit in Charleston, Fort Sumter. The fort has played important role in American Civil War. The fort is actually where America’s deadliest war began, sounds crazy right! So when you’ve 4 days in Charleston, must visit this National Monument that has so much history!

The fort was originally built after the War of 1812 as part of a series of coastal defenses. The conflicts that lead to civil war between the Northern and Southern states involved issues such as slavery, states’ rights, and economic differences had been escalating for years.

The fort is situated on an island in Charleston Harbor and it can be reached by boat (Book your tickets online here!)! The ferry which takes 30 minutes and it leaves from Patriots Point. You can enjoy this scenic boat ride to and from the island with tons of stunning views of the Charleston Harbor and the city skyline!

Once you make it to Fort Sumter, you can opt for a ranger-led tour or a self-guided tour. The National Park Rangers tell stories about the Civil War’s first battle, lead you through the actual fort, and give you lots of interesting information! Also, you can opt for self guided audio tours throughout the site.

Book your Tour and Boat Ride to Fort Sumter now.

Stop 2 : Angel Oak Tree – Top places to visit near Charleston

After visiting Fort Sumter, head to one of the most amazing places to visit in Charleston- Angel Oak Tree. The Angel Oak Tree is a famous landmark of Charleston!

This huge oak tree has been around for more than 400 to 500 years, making it one of the oldest living trees in the world. This sounds amazing, probably the tree is older than USA!

Besides that, the tree looks very cool standing at over 60 ft strong! It has branches span outwards in all directions and are very large. This looks very impressive.

Add it to your 4 day Charleston itinerary if you wanna gawk at this natural wonder and need some tranquility to beat the mid day heat! 

You can reach the Angel Oak Tree from the Historic District of Charleston in about 30 minutes.

Stop 3 : Johns Island Park

Close to the Angel Oak Tree, you’ll find John Island Park. This is a great place with nature and lots of things to do. You can walk here from Angel Oak Tree!

You find a lot of nature and plantations here, which makes it ideal for a relaxing time! There is a playground, benches, and restrooms on the park. So it is a very convenient place to visit! You need to add this for your 4 days in Charleston itinerary.

Stop 3 : Folly Beach Sunset

Longing for a beach day?? than this afternoon, you should definitely head to Folly beach. One of the famous beach near Charleston is Folly Beach. You can get here in about 30 minutes by car. The distance from the city center of Charleston to Folly Beach is about 12 miles.

Folly Beach is a great place to relax and ending your 4 days in Charleston. The main attraction of Folly Island is its gorgeous beaches but you can also indulge in other activities! The beach stretch out for miles along the Atlantic Ocean, and are perfect for surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or just lounging around in the sun.

Aside from the beaches, there are plenty of other fun things to do on Folly Beach while counting your 4 days in Charleston! You can explore the Cute local shops, bars, and restaurants. So I’d definitely recommend having a drink here as well. You can also take Dolphins Boat Tour for a change! You can also relax on the Pier with views when sun goes down! 

FAQs about Spending 4 Days in Charleston SC

Is Charleston a walkable city?

Yes, Charleston Downtown is pretty walkable. The city is known for its charming cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and a pedestrian-friendly layout. But if you want to visit far away places, you can always rely on public transport or having a car is the best option.

Is Charleston an expensive city to visit?

If you’re staying downtown, its definitely expensive! Also, there are so many high-end restaurants in the downtown area which can break your bank! But there are plenty budget restaurant, food trucks, casual restaurants, and local markets for cheap eats. Also, many of the city’s best attractions are free – Rainbow Row, Tradd Street, Pineapple Fountain, Charleston City Market, and wandering around the French Quarter all cost nothing! So, if you’re staying at budget hotel, its not that expensive!

What is Better Charleston OR Savannah?

Honestly, I recommend to visit both! Charleston is known for its picturesque streets, beautiful architecture, and rich history. Savannah is also a beautiful and historic city, with a charming historic district that features many 18th and 19th century buildings. I have visited both in one trip and loved both the destinations so much! I loved Savannah streets lined with Spanish moss-draped oak trees through the city! So visit Charleston for its food and Savannah for its drinks and nightlife!

Is downtown Charleston safe to walk at night?

Yes, Charleston is pretty safe to walk at Night. In fact, we never felt unsafe during the night ! There are lots of people out at night. The bars and restaurants stay open late through the night. You’ll never feel unsafe but make sure to avoid dark areas for your safety!

What is the best walkable area of Charleston?

Downtown Charleston is one of the best neighborhoods in Charleston and is a great place to walk around! It has all the historic buildings and monuments. If you really want to get a better understanding of the Holy City, consider taking a guided tour of downtown.

Does Charleston have a beach?

Technically downtown Charleston doesn’t have a beach but due to the city’s location, there are plenty nearby! Check out Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, Sullivan’s Island, and Isle of Palms during your visit.

If you like this post about 4 days in Charleston and find helpful, Pin it for the later!! If you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments!

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