With beautiful beaches, fabulous golf courses, and a rich sense of history, Charleston offers up something to appeal to just about everyone. Actually, there are so many exciting things to do here that planning a quick trip to the area can actually be quite overwhelming.
If you have to squeeze as much Charleston as possible into a quick 48-hour visit, here is a starting point that will introduce you to the broad range of experiences available in the Carolina Lowcountry.
Day One – She Crab Soup & Horse-Drawn Carriages
Located in Charleston’s historic French Quarter, 82 Queen is one of the most popular high-end dinner options in town. They are best known for their She Crab Soup, which makes a perfect introduction to dining in Charleston upon your arrival.
Following a quick lunch at 82 Queen, head over to the Old South Carriage Co. to continue your introduction to Charleston. This horse-drawn carriage tour will highlight all of the most famous parts of the city and provide you with a general sense of direction.
After spending the afternoon riding around town in a horse-drawn carriage, it only makes sense to have dinner in an old stable, but Circa 1886 isn’t just any old horse stable.
This former stable in the Wentworth Mansion’s garden is actually one of the most impressive fine dining locations in all of the Carolinas, and Executive Chef Mark Collins has created an inspiring menu of high-end Lowcountry cuisine.
After dinner, you can spend your first night in town at Stars Rooftop & Grill Room, which has been voted the best rooftop bar in Charleston. The downstairs restaurant is also excellent, but it is all about that craft cocktail nightcap on the roof for this visit.
Day Two – Plantations, Museums, and Husk
On your first full day in Charleston, you will already have a basic overview of the city and some delicious meals under your belt, so it’s time to dig a little deeper into the heart of the south.
Our first stop today will be one of the many preserved plantations surrounding the area. Take your pick between Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Boone Hall Plantation, Middleton Place, or McCleod Plantation Historic Site and spend the morning learning about the rich history of the area.
For lunch, we’re heading to Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters. This is a classic southern lunch spot that specializes in fried chicken, oysters, salads, and beer. You’re going to be tempted to order the fried oyster sandwich, but don’t overlook the Char-Grilled Oysters, which are one of the best bites in the city.
The Gibbes Art Museum is our afternoon destination, and here you will learn about the history of the artists of the Lowcountry and how that history connects to the thriving art community that exists here today.
(Choose Your Own Adventure Option: If art museums aren’t your thing, this is also a great time to hit the links at one of the many local golf courses, spend some time exploring the downtown shopping, or relaxing at the beach!)
If you have seen the Netflix series, The Mind of a Chef, then you already know that a visit to Sean Brock’s Husk is an absolute must when you are in Charleston. This will be one of the best locally-sourced fine-dining experiences of your life no matter what you choose to order. Enjoy!
Following your meal, head over to The Cocktail Club to have your mind blown all over again by the incredible bartending skills on display at this craft cocktail bar.
Day Three – Hominy Grill & The Notebook
At this point in the trip, you have already had more than enough delicious food, but we aren’t quite done yet.
Hominy Grill on Rutledge Ave is our first stop today for one of the best brunches in Charleston. They have different menus depending on the day and time you visit, but you can always get the two dishes they are best known for: Shrimp & Grits and the Charleston Nasty Biscuit. We recommend both.
Before you head out of town, make one last stop in Mount Pleasant for a casual stroll down historic Pitt Street.
Here you will find the Old Village Post House, which was famously featured in The Notebook. Take some time and enjoy a scoop of ice cream here, just like Allie and Noah did.
Where to Stay in Charleston
There are dozens of lodging options to choose from all over Charleston, but the one that stands out most for many visitors is Wild Dunes. This stunning resort is located right on the beach and offers enough amenities to keep you busy for days without ever even making it out to the rest of the city.
If you are looking for alternative options, The Restoration is a very trendy option that is located right in the heart of downtown Charleston. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, 86 Cannon is a historic home that will really give you the feeling of staying in the old south.
No matter where you stay or what you do, 48 hours is just barely enough to scratch the surface of all that Charleston has to offer. But with this guide in hand, you are sure to enjoy your first visit and can expect to book many more after that.