Do you remember the exact moment you fell in love with Ryan Gosling? Was it the moment when he kissed Rachel McAdams during the rainstorm in The Notebook? Us too. Well, the first thing you need to know about Charleston is that the movie was filmed here, and although Ryan (“hey, girl”) may be gone, this city is still rife with true Southern gentlemen…the kind that will hold the door open for you and call you ‘ma’am’ (or um, excuse me, ‘miss’). Charlestonians will tell you two things about their beloved city…that the first ever game of golf played in the US took place locally and that they practically invented country clubs. Add historical landmarks, foodie spots, a special kind of nightlife found only below the Mason-Dixon Line, and you’re all set for a quick getaway that oozes hometown charm and hospitality like no other.
With a destination so rich in culture and history, it’s really no wonder that Travel & Leisure readers have voted Charleston the best city in the US and Canada now three years in a row. Sofia Vergara, Taylor Swift and Blake Lively have all come down for a taste of what this sweet South Carolina city has to offer. Now it’s your turn to pack your pearls, grab your gingham and inject some classic Americana into your vacation wardrobe – this is your chance to let that inner Southern belle shine. Chic sundresses are the most appropriate for daytime lunches and shopping (we’re picturing a Lisa Perry shift or Loup Charmant dipped hem dress), though keep a versatile cardigan handy to avoid air-conditioning-induced goosebumps (Club Monaco has brilliant options). Accessorize with some lady-like cat eye sunglasses and a happy, heritage tote from Goyard, and of course, some southern flair!
Summers here get very hot and humid, which often equals frizzy hair and bronzer streaks (ugh!). Avoid the devastation of humidity and escape to Charleston for a long weekend in the fall when most of the usual tourists have retreated and the Spanish moss-strewn trees begin to golden. Plus, the temps still average between 65 and 80 degrees (sounds quite perfect to us). While the cobbled streets add to the charm of this beloved city, they’re not so kind to your favorite high heels. Stick to wedges or slide on a pair of perfectly preppy Jack Rogers when on foot, and save the strappy sandals for evening. Dinnertime is your moment to show off your trendiest new outfits…perhaps a treasure you discovered in the boutiques earlier in your trip? Knowing the local penchant for frying (chicken, pork, oysters, they will throw anything in oil!) plus the massive sides of grits and cornbread, don’t be surprised if after a few meals, you’re thankful to have on some stretchy jeans (nothing is more flattering than Frame). Pour another bourbon because despite your caloric intake, you’re getting down in Dixie.