12 hours in Charleston, SC
We have been wanting to make it to Charleston since we moved to SC, but work, other activities, and logistics haven’t made it possible… until a few weekends ago!
Troy’s mom and sister came out from Idaho and Utah, respectively, and we all decided heck, let’s do Charleston one of the days they were here! We knew we wouldn’t be able to see and do everything I’ve been dreaming of seeing and doing, but we could do a couple of things, enjoy some time away and always go back another day.
Let me tell you! I LOVE Charleston, South Carolina! One day (not even a day- 12 hours!), and I am hooked on this adorable oceanside city. The history, the charm, the beauty, seriously I could move there tomorrow and I would be content.
I made a list a few months ago of places we wanted to explore when we first moved out here. Then each place had it’s own list of things to see and do (I like planning vacations!). Charleston was on that list, so we picked a few things from its to see/do list and made it happen! We left the house at 7am. It’s a 3 hour drive, but we made pit stop in Columbia, so we ended up reaching Charleston at 10:45am. We brought things for sandwiches and snacks, and made a quick lunch before heading to the visitor center for the fort.
Our first stop was Liberty Square where we boarded our ferry boat to take us out to Fort Sumter National Monument.
At Liberty Square we entered the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, where we purchased our tickets for the ferry to the fort. Adults are $21, children are $13 and children 3 and younger are free. We got tickets for the 12pm ferry and had a little bit of a wait, so we wandered the visitor center and watched the sailboats on the harbor. This was also the kids’ first time seeing the ocean, which was exciting and so tempting, they just wanted to swim!
The ferry ride was about a half hour, and we were able to entertain the kids by walking around the three decks and watching the water. We saw pelicans diving, lots of sailboats, and took in the gorgeous skyline of Charleston from the harbor.
But, I couldn’t get enough of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge! It was amazing! The bridge was finished in 2005, stands at 573 feet, and spans over the Cooper River connecting Charleston to Mount Pleasant. It is a total of 13,200 feet long! It is impressive to say the least.
As we approached the fort, it was shocking to me to see how small the island the fort was on, and the fort itself, was. I kept thinking, how does that not sink into the ocean?!? But obviously it works, being as it’s been standing there since 1811!
Once we disembarked the ferry, we had 1 hour to explore the fort and the museum on the island. We learned that on April 12, 1861, the Confederate Army opened fire on Fort Sumter, and after 34 hours they overtook it. After that, the Union would try to retake Fort Sumter for 4 years. All of the brick on the island is original brick from the fort. In the walls, you can find original mortars and cannon balls that had been fired at Fort Sumter, stuck into the bricks and never detonated. They are now petrified there as artifacts. The cannons were all found, either at the fort or from across the harbor in Charleston, and restored. Some are as old as 1830! The National Park services even has a program called Adopt-A-Cannon, to help fund conservation efforts.
We got to see where the barracks once were, and where they kept the weapons and gunpowder. There was a monument to the men, and one woman, who lost their lives that first day when the Civil War started.
The original flag that had flown over Fort Sumter during the Civil War. Amazing!
Our hour to explore was over way too soon, and we were hurrying to get back to the ferry boat. It was a very educational experience, and even though the kids didn’t understand, they both enjoyed looking at the cannons, wandering the ruins, and of course riding the ferry.
On our return trip, we had an awesome view of the USS Yorktown battleship, which is harbored in Mount Pleasant at Patriot’s Point. We did not have the time, and the kids did not have the energy, to visit it on this trip, but we plan on going back soon! I mean, just look at that!!
For our next stop, we unanimously voted to see the ocean! So we drove over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and drove into Sullivan’s Island.
This bridge was awesome! The grandeur of it was almost overwhelming. A very cool, fun experience!
As we drove, we passed through Mount Pleasant, then crossed a draw bridge into the area called Sullivan’s Island. I was all sorts of charmed and infatuated! The houses, businesses, and streets were so cute. We could smell the ocean before we even saw it. It was a little paradise, and it felt miles away from the busy downtown of Charleston.
We were lucky and found a parking spot right by a public beach access, and we all literally took off for the water.
Troy and I haven’t been to the beach in about 3 years, and neither of the kids have ever been. We didn’t take swimming suits because I knew we didn’t have enough time to full on swim, but I did bring extra clothes… and it’s a good thing I did too! Both kids were in the water to their waists before we could do anything about it!
We played, found sea shells, watched a little crab, and got good and soaked! It was a rejuvenating 45 minutes playing in the wonderfully warm, salty water. And the beach we found!! Oh my goodness, it was heavenly, not too busy, and easy to find and get to.
Once we had changed clothes, we drove into town and found the CUTEST treat shop to cool down. Beardcat’s Sweet Shop!
We enjoyed gelato (I got Oreo and Wild Berry) and coconut macaroons. It was delicious and refreshing. The atmosphere was laid back, fun, and friendly. They had a variety of treats, ranging from gelato and sorbet, baked goodies, and cookie dough. Free water was available, too, which was much appreciated. The staff were so friendly and helpful as we stood around debating what to choose. It was the perfect little find for a yummy treat!
We drove back into Charleston after enjoying our treats, found a place to park and just started walking around downtown. What better way to explore a new place than just walking around and EXPLORING!
We came upon Waterfront Park and found the iconic Pineapple Fountain. What is not to love about a pineapple as a fountain?! So cute!
We walked The Battery as the sun was setting and a cool breeze was coming off of the ocean. Ocean breezes are just good for the soul I think. LOVE.
And we found Rainbow Row, a street lined by adorable, colored, historic houses! And the purple one (my favorite color btw) is for sale! Aahhh! These houses are the longest cluster of Georgian row house in the U.S. and they are wonderful!
After walking around and soaking in the wonder of historic Charleston, we found a restaurant for dinner.
Blossom was the perfect ending to our day! We were all starving and the food was DELICIOUS! Their plates were good sized for a decent price, and their kids’ menu gave a variety of choices for our picky eaters to decide from. I ordered the Blue Crab Raviolis (yum!) and Troy had the Jumbo Shrimp. We ate so fast I didn’t get pictures of the food! So I guess you’ll have to go there to see it and find out just how good it was hee hee.
AND I didn’t get a picture of the restaurant either, because we were so hungry walking in I didn’t think about it and by the time we walked out it was too dark. Oh well. But I DID get a picture of our sunburnt family!
I can not say enough how much I LOVED Charleston!!! We will be going back ASAP I hope!
If you have any recommendations for our next trip, leave me a comment! I’d love to hear them! Thanks!
Oh and P.S. I’m just going to leave some more pics right here for you to enjoy of downtown Charleston. You’re welcome!
Last one I promise!!!