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Charleston for beginners!

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Edinburgh, Scotland
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Charleston for beginners!

Hi

My husband and I are setting off for a much anticipated holiday to Charleston and Savannah (with a short side trip to Hilton Head)at the beginning of May. I have used the information on the forums to pick our accommodation - Andrew Pinkney inn and the 1895 Inn - but I am now getting slightly panicky about not missing anything! We will not have a car but we have good Scots tongues in our heads and are not shy about asking directions. We hope to stroll the squares and visit plantations and mansions but there is so much to choose from! Where to begin? We don't want to spend our time rushing from one thing to another we want to relax and enjoy. Also being from a cool northern country I am not sure about the temperature. We picked May in the hope that it will not be too hot and humid. Is it still warm in the evening? We also want to visit the beach, one poster said that there were quite a few to choose from? Any advice from residents or seasoned travellers would be extremely appreciated.

Thanks

NC
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1. Re: Charleston for beginners!

I'm confused- you said you won't have a car...how do you plan to get around? Your two best beach choices around Charleston are Folly Beach and Isle of Palms. I prefer IOP.

RE: weather - hard to call it - it could be warm or cool in the evening in May. Come prepared for any scenario.

RE: Plantations - I'd pick Boone Hall and Middleton.

Best wishes.

Charleston, South...
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2. Re: Charleston for beginners!

Not having a car is not a problem. Your first stop should be at the Visitors Center. They have lots of maps, brochures and discount tickets. They can also help you reserve tours to the plantations etc. They can help you plan each day.

Then take a carriage tour and get an idea of what you want to see then start touring.

Charleston is very easy to get around with the tourist maps (available all over downtown) and people are very friendly and usually do not mind if you ask them for directions.

May will be warm but it can be cool on the water and sometimes in the evenings so dress in layers. Tuck in umbrella and wear comfortable shoes. Consider a sunhat (men & women), sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

The beaches are not near the historical area.

Middleton Place would be my first choice for a plantation.

Charleston, SC
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3. Re: Charleston for beginners!

May I assume you know about the Savannah Scottish Games which begin on May 2 and end May 5? http://www.savannahscottishgames.com

I'm wondering too how you'll get from there to here. While in Charleston, I'd recommend getting a day (or multi-day) pass for the Downtown Area Shuttle. Mark your hotel's location on this map; the shuttle is a hop-on, hop off, designed for visitors. ridecarta.com/shared/…1023_dash_routes.pdf

ENJOY!

Edinburgh, Scotland
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4. Re: Charleston for beginners!

I didn't explain our plans properly. We will hire a car on our last day in Charleston to get to our 3 day stay in Hilton Head and from there to Savannah where we will return it to the hire company on our arrival.

Charleston, South...
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5. Re: Charleston for beginners!

You may wish to save the plantation for the the last day and plan to go to a beach (either Folly, Isle of Plams or Sullivans Island) in the late afternoon on that same day. Enjoy the historical area on foot prior to renting a car. The historical area of Charleston is very walkable.

Columbia, South...
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6. Re: Charleston for beginners!

The weather in May will be very nice, you shouldn't even need a sweater in the evening. I'm not sure how long you'll be spending in Charleston, but I'll assume you'll be here for at least two days. Here are my suggestions:

1. Definately stop at the visitor's center and get a map and also purchase the passes (I forgot what they are called) that allow you access to all but one of the historical homes, Middleton Plantation, Drayton Hall and the museum. It costs under $40 per person.

2. I would not get a trolley/bus pass as it is not needed and a waste of money in my opinion. Everything is within easy walking distance (and short distances in between each attraction), with the exception of the plantation and Drayton Hall.

3. Then I would start by touring the historical homes, they are all quite impressive. I would suggest, you add Calhoun Mansion to your itinerary. It costs $15 per person, but is the BEST historical home, by far, in Charleston. I guarantee you'll be impressed! All the above can easily be done in two days.

4. In the evening, there are plenty of ghost tours to choose from. They are a lot of fun.

5. Go to Middleton Plantation. You could easily spend four or more hours here. The gardens should be in bloom then. Plan on eating lunch there. It is truly FANTASTIC. You can either take a tour bus here, or go here on the last day when you rent your car on your way to your next destination.

Charleston is a wonderful walking historical city. Whatever you choose to do, you will have an amazing time!

Edinburgh, Scotland
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7. Re: Charleston for beginners!

Thanks to all who have replied with good advice. Our plans are 6 days in Charleston, 3 in Hilton Head and 5 in Savannah and we don't mind a long walk provided there are good watering holes (beer) on the route.Please keep the suggestions coming in as you can't beat advice from locals or those who have done it before.

Charleston, SC
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8. Re: Charleston for beginners!

Borntotravel is right about the pass - with the possible exception of visiting the Aquarium and taking the Ft Sumter/Harbor Cruise. If you do walk up that way (instead of taking the Shuttle) walk on East Bay Street and cut over on Calhoun. (don't try to walk along the harbor as it is very industrial for a number of blocks up to the Aquarium area).

Columbia, South...
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9. Re: Charleston for beginners!

CultureHound - you are so right about walking along the harbour. We did that the last time we were there (because we thought we could see the water) and it was just industry and you couldn't see the water. Won't be doing that again!

cincinnati ohio
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10. Re: Charleston for beginners!

hey nancy may i gave you a private message.

i hope you read it.

for culture hound what are you referring-----------

to when you say you cant walk the harbor-----------

at fort sumpter.i had to put a space in -----------

between and not be cut off.since i cant ----------

read what others have wrote on here.-------------

everything on the right is taken off.-------------

its like its cut off.i cant read it.-------------

major bummer.the lines indicate where -----------

the words are cut off.

i just heard that charleston was voted

the friendliest city online...how cool.