School/college is back in session – CHECK! Fall is around the corner – CHECK! Girlfriend is getting married – CHECK! Tired of taking care of everyone else – CHECK! Need a break – Check! Whatever the reason, it’s clearly time for some R & R and a Girls’ Weekend Getaway – BIG CHECK! It’s no secret, thanks to Travel + Leisure’s annual awards, that Charleston, South Carolina is one of the best and hottest (literally and figuratively) destinations for a variety of reasons: great culture, great food, great accommodations, and lots of Southern Charm. These, along with a few others, make Charleston an ideal spot for a Girls’ Getaway Weekend. The quaint streets, local shops, tasty treats, and history lessons around every corner make for a slow-paced visit perfect for you and your BFFs.
Here’s your Ultimate Guide for making the most of your Charleston Girls Weekend Trip including tips for places to stay, eat, shop, and must-do things to see whether this is your first or fiftieth visit!
WHERE TO STAY:
Charleston is experiencing a boom in tourism thanks to amazing ratings like being named Travel + Leisure’s Top U.S. Travel destination. With more visitors, the demand for accommodations has also grown. There are new boutique hotels and older hotels that have gotten a face-lift, but with such demand, the costs have also soared, too. That’s not to say that you have to sacrifice… oh no. That’s only to say consider how you and your girls want to divide and conquer and where you want to spend your money. A few general tips:
- If you or one of your BFF’s are a member of a hotel reward program, start there first.
- Book directly through the hotel especially if it is a smaller inn and trendier, newer boutique hotel as they offer delightful perks (like cocktails, breakfast, bikes, cocktails again, nightly sweets….) if you make your reservations directly through them.
- Consider other options like a Bed & Breakfast or my Hidden Gem,
The Inns- Charleston, which is a cluster of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments that can be joined together for a large party.
- Be flexible with your dates (as much as possible). Sometimes moving one night can change the rate.
- Always check the special rates and packages on the hotel website. Often, these contain great perks that you plan to include during your stay (can you say “Spa Treatment”), and when included in the package, can drive your total costs down.
- Give yourself plenty of time and plan ahead. I bookmark some of my favorites and subscribe to their newsletters months in advance to make sure I know if a special offer hits the wire.
Budget (Less than $150 per night):
Moderate ($150-200 per night):
Splurge Worthy (over $200 per night)
For more detailed information about my favorite places to stay (including these and a few others), click HERE to read my post, The 16 Best Places to Stay in Charleston.
WHERE TO EAT:
Charleston is heaven for a FOODIE! You can literally eat your way through the day usually starting at your hotel. I’m feeling a bit of guilt even trying to narrow down the options and construct a smaller list so as not to overwhelm you; the struggle is r-e-a-l. As a full disclaimer, the places I have listed are by no means the one-and-only to try, but I have tried to offer up a starting point to experience a bit of the diverse food culture that Charleston offers. I have also linked to more in depth articles that share a wider range of cafes, corner delis, diners, award winners, and classics. My advice is to spend some time before you arrive deciding on your course of attack especially for dinner. Many of the more popular spots require a reservation for both lunch and dinner, and some fill months in advance. It pays to do some prep work! Also, many of the restaurants do double duty in that they may offer breakfast and lunch OR lunch and dinner. Again, with proper planning, you can squeeze in many of your favorites just maybe not at prime service time.
Too many to count…seriously! Rather than re-list my favorites, click HERE to read my post, The Foodie Guide: 39 of the Best Restaurants in Charleston.
Or, for the oyster lovers, click HERE to read, Charleston’s 15 Best Oyster Bars.
It doesn’t take long to discover that the Charleston Rooftops are where things happen! Many have commanding views of the city skyline, the harbor, the steeples, and the magically sunset…what better setting to enjoy a relaxing glass or wine or speciality cocktail? Here are just a few to try:
WHERE TO SHOP:
So what’s a girls’ trip without a little shopping sprinkled in? Once again, Charleston offers a wide range of selections from art and antiques, to modern home goods, to beautiful paper products and delicious candles, to clothing that makes her feel as chic as you look. Here are just a few of the more unique boutiques that you don’t want to miss.
THINGS TO DO:
Once again, too many to count! Based on your interests and your energy level, click HERE to view and/or download my checklist of 99 Things to Do in Charleston (plus 1 hidden gem).
Or, Pin It and read it later!
Whether you’re interested in relaxing at the spa or beach or touring some of the beautiful period mansions along the Battery and Rainbow Row, there is truly something for everyone in the Holy City.
A weekend is never enough time to do everything which is why Charleston keeps welcoming travelers again and again. Hopefully, this guide has given you a starting point to plan a memorable Girls Getaway Trip, but my advice is to leave ample time to just explore the city. Some of my favorite visits included bike rides around the peninsula and leisurely strolls through the beautiful parks, lovely cemeteries, and hidden alleyways. What a great way to celebrate fabulous friends!