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Where to Stay in Charleston: 8 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

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If you’re wondering where to stay in Charleston, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered all the best hotels, inns, rentals, and more for a fun and relaxing trip to Charleston. You’ll find that most of downtown Charleston offers luxury hotels in historic settings, but there are plenty of budget and mid-range hotels in the outlying areas.

Founded in 1670, the “Holy City” of Charleston, South Carolina, offers southern hospitality and charm along all its cobblestone streets and historic buildings. The angelic nickname comes from its history of religious tolerance and the abundance of churches, temples, and cathedrals.

Charleston combines the wrought iron, lush gardens, and historic streets of New Orleans with the gingerbread trim, narrow alleyways, and tropical touches of Key West.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out Charleston native Darius Rucker’s video for “Come Back Song.” You’ll see all sorts of Charleston scenery, including the stunning Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge that connects downtown to Mount Pleasant. Let’s get started!

TL;DR: Top Picks for Accommodation

1. South of Broad

South of Broad is located south of Broad Street (easy enough). It’s a mostly residential area on the waterfront. The historic and colorful Rainbow Row, located on East Bay Street, is part of this neighborhood.

Accommodations in South of Broad

Two Meeting Street Inn

Two meeting street inn
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Two Meeting Street Inn is one of Charleston’s best hotels. It offers Southern hospitality in a gorgeous setting of antique furniture, wrought iron gates, and lush gardens with live oaks and flowering shrubs.

Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, breakfast on the veranda, and antique furniture. It’s near White Point Garden and the Battery.

20 South Battery

20 south battery
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Built in 1843, 20 South Battery has 20 luxury rooms and suites. Guest rooms and suites feature deluxe bath products, luxury linens, and unique artwork. Guests can also enjoy beautiful gardens, wraparound porches, and stunning views.

South of Broad Apartment

This South of Broad apartment is within walking distance of the Battery and King Street. It has two bedrooms and one bathroom and can accommodate three guests. It’s a second-floor unit with a kitchen, living room, and dining area.

Things to do South of Broad

  • Check out the historic and perfectly pastel Georgian row houses of Rainbow Row.
  • Relax along the waterfront at White Point Gardens, which offers views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor. A gazebo, Civil War cannons, and giant live oak trees exist.
  • Hang out for the sunset along the waterfront near the US Coast Guard Station.
  • Visit the Federal and Greek Revival design and antiques at the 1825 Edmonston-Alston House.
  • Check out the formal gardens, colonial furniture, and 1740s kitchen at the Georgian-style Heyward-Washington House. Built-in 1772, George Washington stayed there (so we’re assuming he slept there, as well). Thomas Heyward, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, owned the home.
  • Relax among the peaceful ambiance of stained glass, engraved wood, and gilded accents of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
  • Tour the neoclassical Nathanial Russel House, built in 1808 near the High Battery. It features a three-story staircase, wood plank floors, and engraved moldings.
  • Book a tour of Fort Sumter National Monument.

See Related: Things to Do in South Carolina

2. The French Quarter

French Quarter
Image by Jrozwado used under Creative Commons License

Settled by French Huguenots in the 17th century, the French Quarter is home to art galleries, restaurants, and shops. It is located within the “walled” city of Charleston and is bordered by Meeting, Broad, Concord, and Hasell Streets.

In addition to being the best neighborhood to stay in for nightlife in Charleston, the French Quarter is the best neighborhood for history, shopping, and dining.

The area gained its name from the large French population that influenced the architecture and local culture. If you’ve been to New Orleans’ French Quarter, you’ll recognize the abundance of wrought-iron architecture and other historical details. The Port of Charleston is just east of the French Quarter, which makes it convenient if you’re headed off on a cruise.

See Related: Best Tours in Charleston

Accommodations in the French Quarter

The French Quarter Inn

 French Quarter Inn
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The French Quarter Inn luxury hotel is just off Market Street. This boutique hotel welcomes guests with custom furniture, luxurious linens, and king suites with balconies, fireplaces, and oversized bathrooms.

There’s an on-site restaurant, a conference area, and a fitness room. Enjoy views of the historic district and Charleston City Market. Bicycles are available for borrowing.

The Saint Hotel

The Saint Hotel
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Sleek and modern, the Saint Hotel is in the middle of the historic district and is known as one of the top hotels in Charleston. Rooms offer free Wi-Fi, daily European-style breakfast, a lobby bar, and a lounge. Enjoy those Cooper River and city center views as you stay in Charleston at this luxury hotel.

Market Pavilion Hotel

Market Pavilion Hotel
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The Market Pavilion Hotel has a rooftop bar and pool, a terrace, a restaurant, and meeting rooms. It’s one of the best hotels for walking distance access to historic Charleston City Market, Waterfront Park, the Cooper River, and the French Quarter.

Harbour View Inn

Harbour View Inn
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Harbour View Inn has rooms with free Wi-Fi, a mini-fridge, luxury bath products, and waffle-weave robes. Some rooms have 14-foot-tall ceilings, exposed brick walls, and unique artwork. Enjoy amenities such as craft cocktails and nighttime milk and cookies. The rooftop terrace offers stunning views of the harbor, Cooper River, and the historic district.

See Related: Best Restaurants In The New Orleans French Quarter

27 State Street

At 27 State Street, a French Quarter bed and breakfast, you’ll feel like you’ve entered an 1800s European setting. The scene has vintage furniture, 100-year-old oak plank flooring, and four-poster mattresses.

Enjoy free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast on the veranda, and gourmet French press coffee. The hotel is within walking distance of Waterfront Park, the King Street Antique District, and most other sites in the historic district.

Emeline

Emeline
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Built in 1852, Emeline puts on a modern and contemporary ambiance. It offers free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, a library, a garden, a fitness center, and a spacious outdoor area with a fireplace and seating. Dogs up to 75 lbs. can stay with their human companions in Charleston. This is one of our favorite pet-friendly hotels in Charleston.

The Loutrel

The Loutrel
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The upscale Loutrel is situated between State Street and Church Street. It offers 50 rooms, including king, queen, and suites. Some have balconies and additional seating areas.

Enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, a welcome cocktail, bicycles to borrow, a fitness center, electric car charging stations, and a complimentary breakfast. Head to the rooftop terrace for panoramic views of the historic district.

The Spectator Hotel

Spectator Hotel
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The elegant Spectator Hotel has a Prohibition-style bar, a library, and refined guest rooms with soaking tubs, luxury linens, custom furniture, and balconies. Guests can enjoy a welcome cocktail, free Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, and a Nespresso machine.

Things to do in the French Quarter

  • Shop for art, jewelry, sweetgrass baskets, apparel, hats, and more at the Charleston City Market—the market site dates to the 1790s.
  • Take a selfie or your next Christmas card photo in front of the Joe Riley Waterfront Park pineapple fountain. While you’re there, relax on a bench in the park and enjoy waterfront views.
  • Check out the stunning architecture of the area churches, Circular Congregational Church, the French Huguenot Church, and St. Philip’s Church.
  • Peruse paintings, pottery, portraits, and photography at the Gibbes Museum of Art.
  • Learn about history at the Old Slave Mart Museum, built in 1859 between Chalmers and Queen Streets.
  • Take a photo on the steps of the stately US Customs House.

3. Harleston Village

Harleston Village covers the areas north of Broad Street to Calhoun Street. It extends west of King Street to the Ashley River.

The College of Charleston is the main event in this area of town, and you’ll see many college students heading to class and hanging out. The neighborhood is home to residential townhouses with stunning gardens.

Accommodations in Harleston Village

John Rutledge House Inn Bed and Breakfast

John Rutledge House Inn in Charleston, South Carolina
Image by Hotels.com

The John Rutledge House Inn Bed and Breakfast is easy to find. It’s the one covered from gates to balconies with ornate wrought iron. The former home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, it offers Southern charm in its 19 guest rooms.

Amenities at this downtown Charleston hotel include free Wi-Fi, afternoon tea and hors d’oeuvres, deluxe or continental breakfast, a mini-fridge, and Tempur-Pedic beds.

Some rooms have marble fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and canopy beds. It’s one of our top choices for the best place to stay in historic Charleston.

Wentworth Mansion

Wentworth Mansion

Wentworth Mansion, a 19th-century Victorian mansion, features tin ceilings, Tiffany glass, and parquet floors. 21 guest rooms and suites offer free Wi-Fi, a full breakfast at Circa 1886, a mini-fridge, off-site health club access, and evening port, sherry, or brandy. Suites have fireplaces, libraries, and separate sunrooms.

Belvedere Charleston

Porticos, piazzas, and Ashley River views await at the historically elegant Belvedere Charleston. Located among historic homes and modern townhouses, this two-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex has a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, and living area—a private entrance on Queen Street to stay at this luxury hotel in Charleston.

Things to do in Harleston Village

  • Walk around the College of Charleston campus.
  • Visit the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art within the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston. Check out art and exhibits by new and upcoming artists at this Charleston museum.

4. King Street

King Street
Image by Btcsc user used Creative Commons License

King Street is Charleston’s main shopping destination between Broad Street and Calhoun Street. It features art galleries, antiques, apparel, locally owned bookstores, gift shops, and well-known brands like Aeropostale, Quiksilver, Earthbound Trading Company, Louis Vuitton, and more!

Accommodations on King Street

Belmond Charleston Place

Charleston Place
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The Belmond Charleston Place luxury hotel offers several dining options, a fitness center, a full-service salon and spa, and an indoor swimming pool. For a family or group stay in Charleston, choose from club rooms, suites, and junior suites with Juliet balconies, reading nooks, plush sofas, and eight-person dining tables.

The Restoration

The Restoration
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Located in the historic district, The Restoration has a restaurant, two bars, an outdoor pool, fitness facilities, a conference area, and a rooftop terrace. Some rooms have a full-size refrigerator, separate seating areas, and adjoining room availability. Charleston attractions are within easy access to this hotel.

Things to do on King Street

  • Take in a live music show at the historic Riviera Theater.
  • Spruce up your home décor at a wide array of interior design shops.
  • Dine on Lowcountry cuisine and seafood at Prohibition, Pour Taproom: Charleston, A.C.’s Bar & Grill, The King Street Public House, and The Darling Oyster Bar.

5. Radcliffe-Borough

Radcliffe-Borough
Image by Parrot of Doom

The Radcliffe-Borough neighborhood is found north of Calhoun Street. It’s surrounded by Rutledge Avenue St. Philip Avenue, and Morris Street on the north.

It’s home to the nightlife and the college life of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Accommodations in Radcliffe-Borough

493 King Battery

King Battery
Image by Expedia.com

493 King Battery has two bedrooms and two bathrooms and can accommodate up to six guests. This second-floor rental is near all the historic downtown area’s shopping, activities, tourist attractions, and the waterfront. There’s free Wi-Fi and a full kitchen at this downtown Charleston hotel.

Things to do in Radcliffe-Borough

  • Visit the Gothic Revival Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul. The Episcopal church was constructed in the 1800s.
  • Head across the river to the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, the Mount Pleasant Pier, Shem Creek Park, or other attractions in nearby Mount Pleasant.
  • While across the river, check out the Cold War Submarine Memorial in Mount Pleasant.

6. The Garden District

Calhoun, King, Mary, and East Bay streets border the Garden District on the central-eastern side of the city. As the name suggests, the neighborhood has beautiful gardens and parks with river views.

Accommodations in the Garden District

The Garden District is full of beautiful and historic luxury hotels and inns. It’s one of the coolest places to stay in Charleston. You won’t find budget hotels in this area, but that’s a good reason to splurge, right?

The Dewberry Charleston

Dewberry Charleston
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The Dewberry Charleston Grand Hotel offers spacious rooms in an elegant and modern setting. It offers free Wi-Fi, three restaurants, a bar, a fitness center, conference space, a full-service spa, an outdoor terrace, and gardens, making it one of the best luxury hotels in Charleston.

Francis Marion Hotel

Francis Marion Hotel
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Francis Marion Hotel opened in 1924, offers stunning views of the historic district, the harbor, area mansions, and more. Elegant rooms are decorated in soothing shades of blue and include free Wi-Fi, coffee makers, pillowtop mattresses, and cable television.

Some rooms offer full kitchens and extra seating areas. This historic Charleston hotel has an on-site restaurant and a Starbucks for that morning cuppa Joe.

Hotel Bella Grace

Hotel Bella Grace
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The boutique Hotel Bella Grace offers free Wi-Fi, a mini-fridge, fitness facilities, and electric car chargers. It has a historic yet modern design and is located near downtown Charleston’s dining, shopping, and attractions. Spacious suites have fully equipped kitchens and seating areas.

Hotel Bennett

Hotel Bennett Charleston
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The Hotel Bennett Charleston offers guests a swimming pool with sun loungers, a fitness center, a restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. The rooftop patio offers amazing views of downtown Charleston’s historic district, harbor, and local sites. Guest rooms feature elegant furnishings, marble floors, and soaking tubs.

Historic Downtown Cookhouse Apartment in Garden District

If you’re looking for vacation rentals, this historic downtown apartment offers one bedroom and one bathroom. It is professionally decorated with antiques and historic brick floors and can accommodate four people.

The outdoor space includes a fountain, a table with an umbrella, and seating. It’s near the live oaks and fountains of Wragg Mall, the College of Charleston, and shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Things to do in the Garden District

  • The Charleston Farmers’ Market, located in the six-acre Marion Square, offers local specialties, crafts, and organic produce. Even when the market is not open, the city has a nice green space, and events are held there.
  • Visit the district’s other parks: Tiedemann Park, Wragg Mall, Vangie Rainsford Park, and Wragg Square.
  • View loggerhead sea turtles, river otters, alligators, and more at the South Carolina Aquarium.
  • Book a historic horse-drawn carriage ride. Entertaining and knowledgeable guides lead tours around the city, sharing trivia and pointing out the top sites.
  • While you stay in Charleston, travel across the scenic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant offers a small-town feel and laid-back attitude, with many things to do and sites to see.

6. Cannonborough / Elliotborough

Cannonbourough/Elliotborough
Image by AmericanWay

The neighborhood of Cannonbourough/Elliotborough is found along King, Cannon, and Spring streets (they run parallel). You’ll find boutiques, bakeries, and stores among the laid-back and residential streets, making it one of the best neighborhoods to visit in Charleston if you like a stroll.

Accommodations in Cannonborough/Elliotborough

Comfort Inn Downtown

Comfort Inn Downtown Charleston
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For one of the best Charleston hotels on a budget, you can’t beat the Comfort Inn Downtown. It offers free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, a full breakfast buffet, free coffee, a meeting area, and a fitness center. It’s near all the attractions and activities of the historic district.

The Ashley Inn B&B

Ashley Inn
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The Ashley Inn B&B, constructed in 1832, is near the Medical University of South Carolina and King Street. It’s a wonderful place to stay and explore in Charleston. Rooms feature charming décor, verandas, and four-poster beds.

Serene Cottage

This serene cottage vacation rental has a beautiful garden and a heated saltwater pool. It has one bedroom and two bathrooms and can accommodate four guests. Relax by the koi pond or have lunch at the outdoor dining table.

The interior is bright and modern, with stunning wood plank floors, a sleek kitchen, and lots of windows. This is one of the best places for couples or small families to stay in Charleston.

Things to do in Cannonborough/Elliotborough

  • Shop for surf ware at Rogue Wave.
  • Indulge in a wide selection of sweet treats at Sugar with a stay in Charleston.
  • Take a walk, drive, or bicycle ride to the Westside to visit Citadel Military College, Hampton Park, or Joseph P. Riley Park (home of MLB’s Riverdogs)

7. Wagener Terrace

House at Wagener Terrace
image by Warren LeMay is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Located at the city’s north end, Wagener Terrace features upscale restaurants, nightlife, live music, craft beer, and microbreweries. It’s in the area around Morrison Drive and Meeting Street and is a great choice for a stay in Charleston.

Accommodations in Wagener Terrace

Being more of a residential location, Wagener Terrace doesn’t have the luxury hotels and inns of other neighborhoods, but you’ll find some nice cottages and rental options.

Hampton Inn Charleston – North

Hampton Inn Charleston
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The Hampton Inn Charleston—North is a great mid-range hotel in Charleston. It has an outdoor pool, a business center, and a fitness room. It’s near the airport and North Charleston, as well as all the attractions of the historic areas and Mount Pleasant.

WoodSpring Suites Charleston Airport

WoodSpring Suites Charleston Airport
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While located a bit further up the road in North Charleston, WoodSpring Suites Charleston Airport is a good choice to stay in Charleston due to its airport access and proximity to the historic district and other attractions in Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach, and Kiawah Island. It’s pet-friendly and has a fitness room, full kitchens,

Things to do in Wagener Terrace

  • Visit the historic mausoleums and tombs at Magnolia Cemetery.
  • Check out the microbreweries, live music, bars, and nightlife along Morrison Drive and Meeting Street.
  • Take in a concert, hockey game, or play at the North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center.

8. James Island

James Island where to stay in charleston

Located just across the river from downtown Charleston, James Island is a great choice for a family vacation or a romantic getaway. It’s only about 15 minutes from all the historic area shopping, fine dining, and attractions. It’s also convenient for day trips to Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, or Isle of Palms, as well as other sites in West Ashley, a small district of Charleston.

If you’re interested in visiting other areas – such as Mount Pleasant, Kiawah Island, and North Charleston – you may consider hotels and vacation rentals on James Island and West Ashley rather than the historic districts when you stay in Charleston.

Accommodations in James Island

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Charleston Riverview

La Quinta Inn
Image by Booking.com

Located just across the Rt. 30 bridge from downtown Charleston, the La Quinta Inn & Suites offers views of the Ashley River and boats just across the road at the Ripley Light Marina. There’s an outdoor pool and a fitness room. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, a daily breakfast, and a coffee maker.

Sleep Inn Charleston – West Ashley

Sleep Inn Charleston
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Bright and colorful, the Sleep Inn Charleston – West Ashley offers free Wi-Fi and a daily hot breakfast. Amenities include a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a desk. This great-budget hotel is near West Ashley, Folly Beach, and Mount Pleasant.

Cambria Hotel Charleston Riverview

Cambria Hotel Mount Pleasant
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Cambria Hotel Charleston Riverview is located along the Ashley River and is easily accessible to downtown Charleston. The hotel features a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool with patio space. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi and a business center.

Springhill Suites by Marriott Charleston Riverview

Springhill Suites by Marriott Charleston
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Springhill Suites by Marriott Charleston Riverview is one of the best places to stay in Charleston to visit the French Quarter, the Citadel, the College of Charleston, or MUSC. Choose modern rooms offering free Wi-Fi, a buffet breakfast, a fitness room, a kitchenette, and an outdoor pool. Enjoy the riverfront and marina views.

Holiday Inn Charleston-Riverview, an IHG Hotel

Holiday Inn Charleston
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The high-rise Holiday Inn Charleston-Riverview is off Highway 17, overlooking the Ashley River. It has an outdoor pool, fitness room, business center, restaurant, and lounge.

This is one of the best places to stay to enjoy Charleston’s attractions, as well as nearby Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and other sites in West Ashley. The hotel offers a free shuttle to downtown Charleston.

Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront/Downtown

Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront
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The Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront/Downtown is on the Ashley Marina. This pet-friendly hotel near Mount Pleasant offers an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, an on-site restaurant, and a business center.

Residence Inn by Marriott Charleston Riverview

Residence Inn by Marriott Charleston Riverview
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The Residence Inn by Marriott Charleston Riverview offers studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom suites. Amenities include free breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, a fitness center, an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, and a convenience store at this Charleston Marriott hotel.

The Cottage at Byrnes Downs

The Cottage at Byrnes Downs is one of the best places to stay on James Island for couples exploring and visiting North Charleston. It has one bedroom and one bathroom to accommodate two guests. Shady live oak trees frame the cottage, featuring a cozy interior with a small kitchen and a relaxing front porch.

Things to do on James Island

  • Visit the unique triangular-shaped Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse. Built-in 1962, it’s one of the “youngest” lighthouses in the country. You can’t climb it, but it’s a fun photo op while visiting Sullivan’s Island from the city center.
  • Take a day trip to the sand and surf of Folly Beach, Seabrook Island, Isle of Palms County Park, or Kiawah Island. Seabrook Island is formerly known as Simmons Island. The barrier island of Seabrook Island is popular with birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
  • Head about 20 minutes away to the 400-year-old angel oak tree near Johns Island.
  • Magnolia Plantation Gardens is about 25 minutes away and makes another fun day trip from Charleston hotels.
  • West Ashley Park has disc golf courses, fishing, playgrounds, and soccer and softball fields.
  • Tee off at one of the nearby championship golf courses.
  • Head across the Ashley to North Charleston, the Firefly Distillery vineyard and winery, Drayton Hall, or the North Charleston Fire Museum.

How to Get There

Charleston International Airport (CHS) is the closest airport to fly into when visiting Charleston, South Carolina. Located in North Charleston, it is about 9.7 miles from downtown Charleston.

How to Get Around

If you plan to stay in Charleston, the Charleston Water Taxi offers service to several attractions. It departs from Waterfront Park, Patriots Point (site of the USS Yorktown site), Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, and the Maritime Center, which is near the South Carolina Aquarium.

By land, you can use the city transit system, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), which provides service throughout the area. The DASH Shuttle also travels to attractions around the area.

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