Looking for the perfect place for your romantic getaway? Here's our experience celebrating our anniversary in Charleston, SC.
This past November, Trent and I celebrated 25 years of wedded bliss.
So we wanted to do something special, but not too over the top for this anniversary celebration.
We wanted someplace quaint - a little bit of city, but not too busy.
After a few months of researching romantic getaways, we found the perfect place in Charleston, South Carolina.
Y'all know I love vintage things and Trent is really into American history. So what better place than one of the largest cities first established in North America.
So if you are looking for a great place to spend your anniversary with your sweetheart, enjoy these tips from our vacation we made last year to the city of Charleston.
Celebrating Our Anniversary in Charleston, SC
(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)
Our trip was 6 days including travel from Birmingham.
I'll break down the trip by days as well as sharing the things we loved most about our anniversary trip as well as share any date ideas that we found interesting.
Let's start with where we stayed.
Our Hotel - Liberty Place
So, I have to admit - I am a hotel snob.
Hotels need to be really clean for me to feel comfortable in them, so usually when I search for a hotel, I look for the newest or most recently renovated.
When I found Liberty Place - it was a perfect fit for us.
It's located near the approximate location of the history Liberty Tree - where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the city's citizens.
Hoping for a trip steeped with history, this was the perfect place to plan our stay.
It's a brand new hotel with all the amenities - including a full kitchen!
Plus it was close enough to walk to everything, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle of historic downtown Charleston to enjoy a quiet evening in the room.
We set off from Birmingham on Sunday morning. The drive took about 7 hours.
We had so much fun reminiscing of our years together, singing along to our favorite playlists and binging a few podcasts to help pass the time.
Trent surprised me with a visit to the Downton Abbey Exhibition in Atlanta. We are both huge Downton fans and had just finished rewatching the entire series...again...again.
The exhibition is fantastic, filled with props, tons of costumes and even a few sets built that you could walk through.
If you get a chance to visit, I highly recommend the guided tour where you can hear more detail than what is listed for each exhibit.
We had so much fun! I'm not sure how long the exhibit will run, but if you are traveling through Atlanta - this is a fun excursion.
After that, we got to our hotel around 7 pm.
That first night, we went to the grocery store to stock up for a few meals to eat in our room for the week.
We recommend finding a hotel with full kitchens available.
While the city of Charleston is renown for the best restaurants around, it's a great option to be able to eat in your room to save on costs instead of eating every meal out.
The next morning, we didn't focus on too many tours and activities. Our goal for this trip was to have quality time together so we took things nice and slow.
Since this was our first time here, we mainly wanted to get our feel for the city and walk through beautiful downtown Charleston taking in all the historical homes.
We visited Market Street where you can find lots of great handmade souvenirs. Then we grabbed a quick lunch at TBonz Gill and Grill. Their steak was amazing!
We visited the Old Slave Mart Museum. It's a dark part of our nations history and is very sobering, but such a great exhibit to see.
TIP: When we visited, you could get a discount if you purchased a pair of tickets for this museum and the Exchange, which we visited the next day. It's a great way to save a few bucks on tickets.
We were wowed by the historic charm of the city. Even the cobblestone streets, alleys and walkways were beautiful.
We walked the famous Rainbow Row historic district that afternoon and were amazed at the spectacular view of colorful and historic homes.
And you won't want to miss all the beautiful churches. Charleston is known as the Holy City.
Some of our nations oldest churches are in this city and you can't miss the towering steeples as you walk the streets.
We took a romantic stroll until sunset and enjoyed a small dinner we made in our kitchen ourselves.
We were able to celebrate our anniversary in Charleston, SC with a low-key, but beautiful day.
After hearing about Callie's Hot Little Biscuit - we made that our first stop in the City Market. One of the best biscuits we've ever had! I recommend getting the mix and match so you can sample their specialty biscuits like their cinnamon and country ham biscuits.
Take a stroll along the Charleston City Market. It's a 4 block, mostly open air marketplace where you are sure to find handmade souvenirs from local artisans or a gift shop to enjoy.
Next we wanted to see Charleston Harbor and walk along Battery Street. On our way, we visited Washington Square in the Charleston Historic District.
After that, we walked down the residential side of King Street and it was filled with some of the most beautiful homes we have ever seen.
Next we went to White Point Garden.
It's an ideal place to sit for a quiet moment together and enjoy the gazebo in the center of the park.
We walked along Battery promenade and enjoyed the waterfront park.
We planned to see Fort Sumter the next day, so it was neat being able to see it from the seawall.
Old Exchange and Provost
Next we visited the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon and got to hear some interesting history about historic Charleston.
I know a dungeon is not one of the most romantic things to do on an anniversary trip, but we loved it. The tour guides were funny and very informative. It's the only standing portion of the original city wall built in 1701.
That is the original brick still standing for the past two and a half centuries!
And how could I resist this cutie?
This was our anniversary dinner early in the evening and it did not disappoint!
Poogan's Porch is loaded with southern charm.
We started with some Fried Green Tomatoes with delicious bacon jam.
Trent ordered the Chicken Fried Pork Chop and I got their Famous Fried Chicken. And our waitress treated us to a dessert for our anniversary. We had the pecan pie and it. was. amazing!
We walked around a bit more but that was a full day! So we went back to our hotel room for a romantic evening in.
Here's a tip
Make sure to pack good walking shoes! I had sensible shoes, but wished I would have worn better ones, especially on the days we hit almost 17,000 steps!
Visiting where the first battle of the Civil War was amazing. Since Fort Sumter National Monument is built on a manmade island, you have to take a boat ride to get there.
We took the first tour of the day, which means you get to see the rising of the flag over the fort.
The park ranger asked for volunteers which included some veterans, school kids, and of course Trent raised his hand.
It was a very emotional moment and we were honored to be a part of that day.
Seeing the crumbling brick that still stands after the nonstop bombardment was moving as well.
When you are there you know you are in an historic site.
One of the most interesting things of the of trip was seeing the cannon shell still embedded in the wall after all these years.
This national historic landmark is a must see!
Amen Street Fish
We had a nice lunch at Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar.
You can't be this close to the ocean and not get seafood. At least, that's what Trent thinks.
Personally, I don't care for fish, but you go wherever your sweetheart goes, amiright?
After lunch, we headed to one We purchased a combo ticket from the Charleston Museum to tour the Heyward-Washington house and the Joseph Manigault house.
George Washington stayed at the Heyward-Washington House and since it is connected with the Museum, the tour guides were very knowledgeable.
We were able to tour the main house and enjoy the beautiful gardens in the back.
Burwell's Stone Fire Grill
You can't visit Charleston without experiencing one of their popular restaurants.
One mistake we made was not making a dinner reservation ahead of time so we weren't able to get into some of the finer restaurants.
But we chose to celebrate our anniversary dinner at Burwell's in Charleston, SC.
We decided to split a steak dinner but get their delicious appetizers of deviled eggs and Wagyu beef.
The eggs were square! And they were drizzled with truffle sauce and garnished with candied bacon.
The wagyu beef was brought to us rare that we cooked ourselves on a 700 degree lava rock.
We were treated to a creme brûlée dessert from the restaurant and we left full and happy!
This was the second part of our historic home tour we purchased so we started our day visiting this beautiful home.
Trent is a BBQ connoisseur and this is the best BBQ both of us have ever had. The brisket was especially delicious. Even the sides weren't afterthoughts. They were perfected just as much as the BBQ.
We even considered moving to Charleston just to be able to eat this BBQ on a regular basis.
It's really cool because you order by the pound. It's pricey - but oh-so-worth it!
The only downside it that it is definitely a place you can't walk to.
If you don't have a way to get there, the next BBQ place would have been Poogan’s Smokehouse. If it's anything like our dinner Poogan's Porch - I'm sure it's delicious!
Next we went over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to Mount Pleasant to visit Boone Hall Plantation.
Boone Hall Plantation
All it took was the entrance down that tree lined drive to fall in love with this place.
It was certainly romantic walking the beautiful grounds seeing the trees coated in Spanish Moss.
The house tour was...meh. It's not an original plantation, but was built to replicate many others in the area.
But the surrounding areas were a joy to explore and learn about.
We especially loved the dock house and stole a quiet moment next to the water away from the crowds.
Trent said that was his most peaceful moment of the entire trip.
Our plan was to see a beach before we left, so we headed toward Sullivan's Island.
Sullivan's Island Beach
We couldn't be this close to the beach and not take a quick detour to see some waves - even if it was drizzling.
It was a quick stop as you could see the rain coming in from the ocean.
A last minute event for the day. We didn't realize we were so close to Fort Moultrie and we quickly ran went through with 30 minutes before the doors closed.
Not only was it the best way to end the day, but it was a perfect sunset ending to an incredible vacation.
The next day we came back home, but not without a quick breakfast from Callie's Hot Little Biscuits.
Must Do's While in Charleston:
- Walk down a cobblestone street
- Visit Rainbow Row
- Stroll through the Graveyards
- Visit Dock Street Theatre
- Enjoy a Charleston Culinary Tour
- Tour a Plantation
- Visit either Fort Sumter or Fort Moultrie
- Splash in the Pineapple Fountain
We would definitely come to Charleston, South Carolina again. There were lots of things we weren't able to see or didn't have time to visit.
Our trip was in November of last year, which was perfect weather with not a lot of crowds. But I hear that coming during the summer months would be a lovely time to take in the beaches.
It's truly worth walking the city so you can explore each alley and cobblestone street.
The one thing we would have done differently is to break the trip into two separate trips with shorter days.
How We Saved on Costs
I'm all about finding ways to save money and vacations are no exception for this penny pincher!
- Driving there instead of flying - while jet setting off to a new location sounds romantic, once we crunched the numbers, the logistics were more costly with renting cars or Ubers to get to some of the attractions we wanted to visit
- Renting a hotel room with a full kitchen - Charleston is definitely known for it's great food, but having the ability to hit a grocery store when we first arrived to stock up for a few meals really saved us a lot of money
- Hotel concierge coupons - We made sure to ask our concierge for coupons for local attractions and found many discounts for places we wanted to see as well as finding a few new ones to check out
- Eat an early dinner - since we planned to save money by eating some meals at our hotel room, beating the dinner crowd and eating our larger meal earlier in the day helped us save a few bucks on dining costs. There are some fantastic restaurants that you will definitely enjoy!
Other fun things you could check out that we missed
We weren't able to get to all the fun things we had hoped to see and do, so here are a few more ideas for your special occasion
- Take a cooking class - many are offered by some of the cities top chefs
- Rooftop Bar - take in a happy hour and watch the sunset fall over the beautiful steeples that scatter across the city
- Angel Oak Tree - thought to be the oldest living oak tree east of the Mississippi
- Pineapple Fountain - It was closed for repairs while we were there, and we were sad to miss seeing it working
- Ghost Tours - there are many to choose from, or do what we did and explore the graveyards surrounding the many churches
- Horse Drawn Carriage Ride - we didn't take one, but heard many of the tour guides as they passed by
- More Plantation Tours - We enjoyed our visit to Boone Plantation, but would have loved to have visited the others, like Magnolia Plantation, Drayton Hall, or Middleton Place
- Visit the sandy beaches - Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Sullivan's Island have gorgeous public beaches you can visit.
- Boat Tour - take a cruise of the harbor
All in all this was an amazing experience seeing this beautiful city steeped in rich history with unique architecture to explore.
And it was the perfect backdrop for celebrating our 25th anniversary.
Charleston, South Carolina is such a beautiful place full of opportunities for romance, plenty to see for history buffs, and a short distance away from sunsets on the beach.
It definitely makes our list for romantic cities.
Have you ever been to Charleston? Is there anything I missed?
Take a moment and share your favorite activities!