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- 25 Jan 2021, 3 nights
- 2 Guests
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Charleston in South Carolina gives travellers a taste of true Southern hospitality. It's one of the USA's oldest cities, dating back to 1670, and features charming antebellum buildings, cotton plantation houses and horse-drawn carriages. It won’t take you long to see why it was voted “best-mannered city in America” for 10 years running, with friendly locals ready to converse in their warm American drawl. You can dine on traditional shrimp and grits or fried whiting with spicy red rice influenced by the Gullah-Geechee people.
Charleston encourages you to live like a local, with hostels based in houses from the 1840s with double porches and rocking chairs. You’ll feel right at home with four communal kitchens stocked with free oatmeal and hot drinks, with the added bonus of free Wi-Fi. You'll find a Charleston hostel with a vegetable patch and flower garden, and occasionally bonfires are lit in the evenings. Charleston hostels have single-sex dorms or private rooms with en-suites.
Charleston’s Historic District is a step back in time, with old-fashioned stores that were the backdrop for scenes in The Notebook. The French Quarter was part of the original “walled” city of Charleston and is best known for Rainbow Row, a stretch of 13 brightly painted historic homes. Park Circle is a fashionable new neighbourhood in North Charleston with delis, wine bars and breweries along East Montague Street. Charleston Harbor is where you’ll find Waterfront Park with lawned areas ideal for picnics and a landmark pineapple fountain.
Many of Charleston's local attractions try to get to grips with the city's slave-trading history. At the Old Slave Mart Museum, once a slave auction gallery and now one of the country's oldest African-American museums, you can learn about the history of slavery in the South. To delve deeper, head to McLeod Plantation Historic Site. It's an important heritage site for the local Gullah-Geechee people where you can tour the plantation buildings and hear how enslaved people fought for their freedom. Back in the modern city, boat trips in the harbour give you the chance to spot dolphins.
Bicycle is a great way to get around Charleston and to surrounding neighbourhoods and plantations. There's also a city-wide bus service and a water taxi that ferries passengers around Charleston Harbor. Charleston International Airport is 16km outside the city with flight connections across the USA. You can get a CARTA bus from the airport to downtown, which takes around 30 minutes. You'll find a Greyhound bus station in North Charleston, halfway between the airport and the city centre.