A Girlfriend’s Weekend in Charleston SC

A Girlfriend’s Weekend in Charleston, SC

This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for writing this post, however, all opinions are my own.

Charleston South Carolina Weekend

Everybody needs some time away and there is no better way to rest, relax and refresh than a weekend trip with the girls! Get the girls together, make some plans and head to Charleston, SC.

Charleston is one of the most charming cities around. Add that to the number of things there is to see, eat and drink and you and the girls will never want to leave.

Getting to Charleston

Photo Credit: Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle

 

If you are a South Carolina local/native – you know where Charleston is. Doesn’t everybody? If you aren’t, the Charleston International Airport is right outside the city. Once you arrive, there are lots of options for getting into the heart of the city. I would recommend a service like the Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Co.

You will experience your first taste of southern hospitality! Punctual, comfortable and reliable are all the things you want when you only have a weekend and that is what you’ll get from Lowcountry! You can also use their car service during the weekend if you want to expand outside the city.

 

Photo Credit: Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Co.

Where to Stay

Charleston is full of hotels both large and small. You will want to stay in the heart of the city in easy walking distance to all the most popular spots.

The Vendue, Charleston Art Hotel is a historic building. Originally two warehouses and now a boutique hotel. No two rooms are alike and each is decorated with different period reproduction furnishings or true antiques. The hotel is also dedicated to the arts and offers over 300 pieces of original art for guests to enjoy. Three on-site restaurants and The Rooftop lounge that overlooks the Charleston Harbor make the hotel ideal.

Other options include the French Quarter Inn or the Hyatt House Charleston.

Many say they can’t find one thing wrong with the French Quarter Inn. The location, right at the city market and a short walk to King Street, you will be right in the middle of the best shopping, the best eating and the best sight seeing Charleston has to offer. The friendly and helpful staff knows how to show visitors southern hospitality. The rooms are perfect. Champagne on check-in and fresh baked cookies with milk at night – who could ask for anything more!

The Hyatt House Charleston is a bit more reasonably priced for Charleston and also offers a location that makes it easy to walk to most of the city highlights. This is an all suite hotel which is always a plus when traveling with friends. A separate living space is a great spot to meet and share a cocktail before heading out for the evening. Omelet Bar and H Bar offer great meals and a 24 hour market lets you prepare small meals or snacks in your suite.

What to Do

Historic antebellum mansions, Civil War sites, and trendy boutiques and restaurants highlight Charleston’s charm. The city offers a year round calendar of festivities and entertainment. 

Plan an afternoon exploring The Battery, its famous South of Broad neighborhood, and White Point Gardens. Stroll past charming homes and iconic buildings until reaching the tip of the Charleston peninsula that overlooks Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began.

The historic Charleston City Market is an absolutely delightful, several-block-long collection of artisan stalls, antique stands, and culinary (and spice) purveyors. This is also where you’ll find locals weaving the iconic sweetgrass baskets. 

Several gracious plantations and gardens of the past are in the Charleston area. The most beautiful are Middleton Place, which showcases America’s oldest landscaped gardens; Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, founded in 1676 along the Ashley River; and Drayton Hall, with its well-preserved 18th-century home.

Serving as the main shopping district of Charleston for centuries, King Street is a bustling mecca lined with local boutiques and internationally known brand name stores alike, as well as fine-dining restaurants, cafés, art galleries and more. Explore world treasures in the antique district, south of Market Street or discover the trendy Upper King district just north of Calhoun.

The Charleston Museum, the South Carolina Aquarium and Charleston Waterfront Park will entertain you all for several hours during your visit. Head out for a tour (and some drinks) at High Wire Distilling, then grab tickets for a sunset sail aboard The Schooner Pride. The possibilities are endless!

Charleston is also blessed with beautiful beaches just minutes outside the city. Folly Beach is home to Lowcountry surfing, a maritime forest, and the Morris Island Lighthouse. Sullivan’s Island is one of the most relaxing and family-friendly beaches on South Carolina’s coast. And Isle of Palms is known for its outdoor activities.

Where to Eat

So many restaurants – so little time. Do you want to eat like a local? Do you want to experience some of the best fine dining around? 

Husk for dinner is a must. It’s located in a converted Victorian-home. Other great spots include FigXiao Bao Biscuit, and Butcher & Bee.

For brunch you should head to Poogan’s PorchHominy Grill or Lowcountry Bistro. Shrimp and grits! If you just need a quick sandwich, head to Goat. Sheep. Cow.

King Street is where you’ll find hoppin’ bars. It’s got some great gems like ProofThe Cocktail Club and Prohibition

 So, grab your BFF’s and head to Charleston, SC for a weekend!




Cruising from the Port of Charleston South Carolina

We all know that one of the most annoying and stressful parts of cruising is getting on the cruise ship. The time consuming and crowded, long lines can be a real pain so when you are planning to take a cruise, one of the first things you look at is where your cruise will leave from. The bigger the port, the longer the lines. Living just a short drive from Charleston in South Carolina, I automatically looked at availability from the Port of Charleston.

cruises charleston

Most people say the Port of Charleston, when compared to other ports, is small, old and out of date. I think charming is a better word since the city of Charleston is a great charming and historic place to visit itself. Charleston, South Carolina’s port is served by only one major cruise line – Carnival Cruise Line, with only one ship docking there.

The port is easy to get to by car and also offers shuttles from Charleston International Airport.

Because of it’s small size, leaving from the Port of Charleston is without a doubt one of the easiest and quickest ports to board a cruise. When you arrive by car and follow the directions to the secure parking for the length of your cruise, the port personnel are friendly, efficient and guide you through the process within minutes. Mid-way through the parking process, you will stop, unload your bags and porters will place them in containers to be loaded on the ship. Be sure your cruise tags are on your bags! You will continue to your parking spot and within minutes load a shuttle to the ship.

Parking in the secured area costs $20 per day of your cruise which you should be prepared to pay when entering the area.

When you enter the terminal building itself, getting through security is simple as long as you have all of your documents in order. The Port of Charleston employees are both pleasant and efficient as you make your way to the Carnival Cruise Line personnel servicing the desks. Keep your documents handy at all times since you will need to show your identification and cruise documents at several spots.

Charleston has long been regarded one of the country’s top travel destinations for its history, natural beauty, and Southern charm, and it’s an ideal cruise port with an efficiently run operation. Although the building and site are old, not at all like the Port Canaveral or Miami terminals, it is a usable cruise terminal that offers quick and efficient service. The South Carolina State Port Authority has been hoping to build a new, modern, state of the art terminal for several years but as of now those plans have not been finalized. The new 35 million dollar terminal will allow for larger and more cruise ships at the port. In the meantime, the “old” port terminal works just fine!




Want an Oceanfront Escape? Head to the Holiday Inn Oceanfront in Surfside Beach, SC

Surfside Beach, SC is a hidden gem along the ocean. Just south of Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach offers beautiful sand, great food choices and is just a few minutes drive away from all the activities of Myrtle Beach without staying in the middle of the beach crowds. It’s the perfect spot for a fall getaway and this Oceanfront Escape Package makes it perfectly affordable too!

The Holiday Inn Oceanfront in Surfside Beach, SC Offering a Very Appealing “Oceanfront Escape Package” Following the Completion of an Impressive $4 Million Renovation

Surfside Beach Holiday Inn

Looking for a fun fall getaway?  You should consider taking advantage of the enticing “Oceanfront Escape Package” that is being offered by the Holiday Inn Oceanfront at Surfside Beach in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. Making it even more appealing, the beachside hotel completed an extensive $4 million renovation in April, which included the remodeling of the 133 guest rooms, an updated lobby, the remodeling of the outdoor pool & patio area, and enhanced landscaping. The fresh new look and enhanced outdoor areas make this full-service oceanfront property even more appealing to leisure and business travelers alike.

Located just steps from the sparkling shoreline, the hotel now features completely updated, well-appointed guest rooms with all-new furniture, crisp white bedding, and new carpet. The balconies in each room each feature new sliding doors and updated furniture, perfect for lounging with a stunning ocean view. 

Bright, beachy colors and sleek modern furnishings greet guests when they arrive in the newly enhanced lobby. Additionally, the hotel’s expansive oceanfront pool area features a beautiful new cobblestone pool deck, as well as new lounge furniture, complimentary cabanas for guests, a fire pit & bocce ball area, hot tub, and attractive new privacy fencing and exterior landscaping. The hotel’s popular Shoreline Restaurant, which offers delicious food and drinks, now features a new outdoor dining area for guests, which is perfect for taking in the incredible oceanfront views.   

In addition to accommodations in a newly renovated guest room, the “Oceanfront Escape Package” includes a $20 food & beverage credit for use at the hotel, breakfast-for-two, and a welcome amenity. Available through December 31, 2018, the package starts at $99 per room, per night, plus tax, based on double occupancy. Note that the package price varies based on the dates of the stay and the room type selected.

Additional offerings at the hotel include the popular poolside Shoreline Lounge, a complimentary 24-hour fitness center, an on-site 24-hour business center, live entertainment, and 6,500 square feet of indoor meeting space. Plus, an array of water sports are within walking distance of the hotel, which includes jet skis, banana boats, parasailing, deep sea fishing, and pier fishing.

Other nearby area offerings include Wild Water & Wheels water park, Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade, Ripley’s Aquarium, Broadway at the Beach, The Market Common, and Children’s Museum. 

For reservations for the “Oceanfront Escape Package,” or for additional information on the Holiday Inn Oceanfront at Surfside Beach, call 1-877-666-3243 or (843) 238-5601, or visit hisurfsidebeach.com , specifically hisurfsidebeach.com/special-pkg .

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About Holiday Inn Oceanfront at Surfside Beach

Managed by Hostmark Hospitality Group, the Holiday Inn Oceanfront at Surfside Beach is a full-service beachside hotel offering leisure, business and group travelers the perfect place to relax and enjoy their trip. The hotel features 133 well-appointed, newly renovated guest rooms and 6,500 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space as well as an expansive oceanfront deck with an outdoor pool, complimentary cabanas and the Shoreline Lounge. Additionally, the hotel also shines as a wedding venue. Whether lovebirds want to tie the knot on the oceanfront deck at the hotel or right on the beach itself – a luxury not permitted in many neighboring beach towns – the team at the Holiday Inn Surfside is ready to help plan the perfect event. The property has won Wedding Wire’s Couple’s Choice award for three consecutive years and was recently nominated for the South Carolina Women’s Magazine Gold Medal Awards. For more information on the hotel, visit hisurfsidebeach.com .




Planning a Perfect South Carolina Family Vacation – How to Make Your Family Happy

When planning a family vacation, one of the goals is to design something that will make everyone happy. I mean, after all, not everyone has the same ideas of what is fun. Therefore, compromising on family activities is a must. One way to make sure that everyone in your family will be happy is having options that will appease everyone. Below are some of my favorite South Carolina family vacation locations, that I am sure your family will love too.

South Carolina Family Vacation

The Perfect South Carolina Family Vacation

Riverbank Zoo and Garden – Columbia

Zip-lining, carousel rides, rock walls, and a train ride are just a few of the options that families have when visiting the Riverbank Zoo and Garden. Let’s not forget getting up close and personal with the wildlife. Families will also be able to watch presentations on Sea Lions, and Penguins. All of this happens in between the gorilla feedings and the aquarium dives that everyone can watch. While here, families will also be able to walk through 70 acres of beautiful gardens that have over 4200 different species of exotic and native plants. I like the garden area, to relax and enjoy the scenery. It also gives the kids some time to unwind too.

South Carolina Aquarium – Charleston

The South Carolina Aquarium is in Charleston. Here families will be able to enjoy a 385,000-gallon two-story aquarium. I can say, their touch tank is sure to keep kids entertained too. It has stingrays, sea urchins, and hermit crabs to name a few wildlife creatures that kids can touch and hold. Families will also be able to see an American Eagle as well as American Alligators. While here, families will also learn about the conservation of animals. What better way to teach our kids? Being hands-on, and learning in a fun way, is the best way.

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – Greenville

Your kids will love you even more for visiting The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. Kids love learning from interactive activities, and this museum is perfect for it. There are so many hands-on activities your kids will be busy for hours. From Bib’s World, where they learn about sustainable mobility and play on multiple structures made of Micheline tires, to the 7 News Studio, where kids can role-play their favorite news persona’s. Parents will also love The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. After all, we are never too old to learn and play too. 

Fort Sumter – Charleston Harbor

Fort Sumter is guaranteed to be a favorite family spot. Located in the Charleston Harbor, families especially dads will love learning about Fort Sumter’s role in the Civil War. In fact, the first shots of the Civil War were fired from Fort Sumter.  While here families will also learn about how South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, to later join the Confederacy. Kids will love everything from the ferry ride to the cannons. Also, they can even become a junior ranger. I would recommend packing a few family snacks, or even plan a picnic lunch while here. 

Kings Mountain Military Park – Blacksburg

The Kings Mountain Military Park is sure to be a family favorite too. The Kings Mountain Military Park is more of a laid-back, stroll through the park kind of family vacation spot. Families can watch a 26-minute video in the Visitors Center. Followed by looking at artifacts. Families can even tour the battleground that helped turn the tides during the Revolutionary War.  If you are planning on coming here, make sure to keep an eye on the calendar, as they do offer live reenactments of the battle that took place here. During these reenactments, families will also be able to watch demonstrations of woodworking, blacksmithing, and leatherworking and how life was back in the 1700’s.

Broadway Grand Prix – Myrtle Beach

Your family is sure to love Broadway Grand Prix. Broadway Grand Prix will cater to all the family members that need speed, games and relaxing fun. I mean everything, go-carts, arcade, sky coaster, and miniature golf. The Broadway Grand Prix is sure to provide your family with hours of fun. Although in the event, your family needs more fun their sister parks Wild Water Wheels, Myrtle Waves, Ocean Drive Amusement Park will be sure to deliver even for fun.

Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park

One of the most popular and pleasant gardens in South Carolina, Brookgreen Gardens is 18 miles south of Myrtle Beach and sits on 9,100 acres of lushly landscaped grounds of four colonial-era indigo and rice plantations. Oak trees covered in Spanish moss, palmettos, dogwoods, and azaleas, in all their glory, as well as hundreds of sculptures, including many done by the owner, Anna Hyatt Huntington, who developed the site in the 1930s. Across the highway is the 2,500-acre Huntington Beach State Park , which sits on land carved out of the Huntington estate. Besides a nice beach and a popular campground, it features the Moorish-style castle called Atalaya that was Anna Huntington’s winter home.

I love exploring South Carolina. These are just a few of my favorite vacation spots. Remember, for a successful family vacation; everyone needs to have fun. Diversity is one way to achieve a fun family vacation. Let’s face it; a family vacation can never have too much fun. Even if you add in some learning experiences too, everyone can be happy. 

Have you been on a South Carolina family vacation? If so, what has been your favorite South Carolina family vacation spot?




Discovering South Carolina – Everyone Should Visit at Least Once!

I admit I’m probably a little biased since I live here. I didn’t grow up here but came to South Carolina at 50 years old. Why? Having grown up and raised my family in the North East, I wanted a warmer climate. I didn’t want to ever see snow again. I didn’t want to ever shovel snow again. So I packed up everything we owned and moved to South Carolina.

Discover South Carolina

Mountains in the west and the ocean in the east – South Carolina offers something for everyone. Mostly a mild climate (except for a very short time in January and early February) the state is full of beautiful destinations, untouched land, beaches and more.

No matter where you visit in South Carolina, the state is full of history. It was at Fort Sumter near Charleston where the first shots of the American Civil War rang out in April of 1861. Four years later, Confederate President Jefferson Davis conceded defeat at the Burt-Stark Mansion in Abbeville. Anyone that loves history will be in all their glory walking around Charleston for a day. A trip between Charleston and Myrtle Beach will surprise you as you learn all about the history and culture of the Gullah, descendants of African slaves who have historically inhabited this Low Country area and developed a distinct culture and language still preserved today.

South Carolina Food

Be sure to bring your appetite. Fresh, just off the boat seafood is on the menu of every local waterfront restaurant. A locals favorite, Low Country boil, consists of shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn boiled to perfection and served in a heap right on the table. And then there’s the barbecue! Barbecue tends to be regional and depends on where you are in the state. There are four different types of sauces to try on your barbecue in South Carolina – vinegar and pepper, mustard, light tomato and heavy tomato – some restaurants serve them all – others have their own specialty. One thing for sure, with over 200 barbecue restaurants throughout the state, you will definitely be able to try lots and decide which one you like best. Shrimp and grits – in many different styles are also a staple on many restaurant menus.

Golf and Beaches

South Carolina is a year-round golf destination and home to hundreds of golf courses. No matter what part of the state or time of you year you visit, you’ll be sure to find a course. The top ranked courses are along the coast and often host major PGA events throughout the year.

South Carolina has miles upon miles of coastline and beaches. Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Kiawah Island are all well known but there are many less known and low-key beach areas for a quiet get-away. In the Charleston area you can explore the beaches of Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island and Seabrook Island. Heading north to Myrtle Beach there is also Huntington Beach State Park and the beaches of Pawley’s Island.

Myrtle Beach is a lively vacation spot that is full of amusements, boardwalks, entertainment and beaches. After a day on the beach you can head to the north end to Barefoot Landing full of restaurants and shops, the House of Blue or the Alabama Theater. The south end is home to the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk with a long line of restaurants to choose from. In between stop at Broadway at the Beach packed full of entertainment for everyone.

Eclectic and upscale Pawleys Island, on the south end offers beautiful beaches and attractions both on and off the water. Historic inns and great food are worth the stop. On your way to Pawleys Island, along Highway 17, beautiful Brookgreen Gardens is a stop to make. The gardens are a national landmark that will have you awe-struck as you roam through the acres and acres of gardens and sculptures.

Further south is the port city of Charleston. Full of Southern hospitality, cobblestone streets, historic sites, the City Market and nearby beaches. It’s no wonder the city has seen a boom in filming as movie-makers try to capture all that charm and natural beauty on land and by the sea.  “Notebook” stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling shot several scenes inside old Charleston-area plantations, such as the Boone Hall Plantation and the Calhoun Mansion. Stroll along The Battery, a landmark defensive seawall and promenade, to walk in the same steps as actors and actresses. Explore America’s oldest landscaped gardens at Middleton Place, which also served as the backdrop for scenes in “The Patriot.”

The Mountains

If the beach isn’t the way you want to spend some time, take your trip to new heights to the mountain region of South Carolina. With spectacular hiking trails, scenic waterfalls and sweeping views, the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

Family-friendly hikes up the Blue Ridge Mountains and whitewater rafting down the Chattooga River, are great ways to spend some time. The western part of South Carolina is also full of small towns that offer small town culture, great local food and hidden gems to make a stay in the area perfect. Towns like Abbeville, McCormick and Calhoun Falls offer visitors a slice of small-town culture with plenty of shopping, dining and recreational options for a fun family vacation. A drive on the Savannah River National Scenic Byway will take you through these small Southern towns, on back roads lined with century-old clapboard houses and historic churches, rolling farmland and scenic lakes. Along the way you’ll have the chance to swim, kayak, camp and bike or just kick back and enjoy life in the slow lane!

Whether you like the beach, want to play golf or want to hike your way through your next vacation, South Carolina is the place to visit!

Planning a trip to the beach? Check out Myrtle Beach on a Budget and 40 Fabulous Things to do in Myrtle Beach