If you only have 1 day in Charleston, SC to visit then it’s best to be as organized as possible. There’s so much to do in the city that spending 3 days is recommended to get the full Charleston experience. From historic sites to restaurants and more, we’ve got you covered so you can start planning the best Charleston vacation.
1 Day in Charleston, SC | The Compete Guide
1 Day in Charleston | Table of Contents
Planning for 24 Hours in Charleston
First things first…let’s start planning what your goals are before we begin. Are you more interested in wandering around and stumbling upon cool things or would you like to hit a few must-see sites? Remember that “all who wander are not lost” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Top Sites to Visit
There are a number of top sites that most people want to experience when visiting Charleston. Below we’ll highlight our recommended must-do Charleston tours and attractions:
- Get a Charleston Tour Pass – Includes 100% full admission to the top tours and attractions. Also includes a mobile pass which will help you stay organized with maps. You can instantly make reservations and skip the lines when you get there.
- All tours and attractions below are included with a Tour Pass
- Fort Sumter Tours
- Carriage Tour
- Walking Tour – everything from ghost, haunted to history and more.
- Harbor Tour
- Guided Mini-Bus Tour
- Historic House Museums
- Plantation Tours
- History and Art Museums
- Waterfront Park – where the famous pineapple fountain is located (great for a selfie) and also has a large pier that extends into the Charleston harbor.
Where to Park and Getting Around
If you drove a car then this is vital to figuring out before arriving. There are two areas that we recommend parking.
- Visitor Center Parking Garage – this is a good spot if you plan on hopping on the Free Trolley Bus since all routes intersect here (we even have a map posted for use).
- 63 Mary St, Charleston, SC 29403
- Parking Garages Around the City Market – there are a number of large garages that you can go to. Checkout the parking garage map for more info. Park here:
- 84 Cumberland St, Charleston, SC 29401
- Free Historic Trolley – There are 4 routes but you’ll probably just use two of the 4 routes. The Meeting/King route and the Aquarium route are the two main ones.
- Additional info on Getting Around Charleston
Parking Garage Map
Top Recommend Charleston Restaurants + Breweries
You’ve gotta eat so it may as well be good! Charleston has some amazing places to eat. We are not in a position to recommend a bunch of great food places but here are a few of our favorites:
Charleston Restaurant Map
Charleston is home to some amazing breweries. Here’s a sampling of a few…there are 40 or so breweries in the area.
Charleston Brewery Map
Charleston Area Beaches
Maybe you want to just checkout the amazing beaches around Charleston. If so, see what beach is where and what we recommend.
- Folly Beach – our favorite beach that really has it all. A great pier, restaurants and bars. This is known as the more laid-back beach with a surfer vibe.
- Sullivans Island – we don’t recommend this beach since there isn’t readily available public parking or restrooms for use. You must find a parking spot on residential streets which is limited…we feel on purpose to keep people away :) There are some good restaurants and bars in this area however.
- Isle of Palms Beach – family friendly with fairly ample parking. We recommend parking at the Charleston County parks lot. There are a few great restaurants and bars along with public restrooms which is nice.
- Further reading – The Ultimate Charleston Beach Guide