The twisted branches of massive oak trees form a canopy over a sun-dappled path, lacy moss cascading from the trees like a gauzy curtain. Below the gnarled limbs, the bright pinks and purples from flowering azalea bushes glow in the afternoon sunlight. Nearby, the sound of waves crashing ashore and the distant cry of seagulls promise cool relief from the balmy afternoon. But the real magic is located downtown, where cobblestone streets and meticulously-restored buildings with wrought-iron balconies and brightly-painted shutters transport visitors back to another time. Charleston, South Carolina is a uniquely beautiful city that retains the history and charm of the Old South while moving steadily into the future.
If you want to be a part of Charleston’s rich history and dynamic culture, you won’t need petticoats, a tricorn hat, or even a parasol. While history permeates the Charleston landscape, this is a modern city with a strong economy. Tourism is a major industry, and Charleston is home to a variety of restaurants, shops, hotels, and bed and breakfasts. It is also home to one of the nation’s largest seaports and major businesses such as Boeing, Piggly Wiggly, and Blackbaud. Ready to rent in Charleston? Here’s what you need to know before selecting your new apartment!
Things to Do in Charleston:
To really gain an understanding of the history of this important city, visit the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. Located along the Ashley River, this is the point where English settlers first arrived in 1670, establishing the Carolina colony. Today, the park contains a 17th-century settlement site, hands-on exhibits in the visitor center, a self-guided history trail, the Animal Forest natural habitat zoo, the Legare-Waring House, and the Adventure – a replica of a 17th-century sailing ship.
From there, visit the Magnolia Plantation, the oldest garden in America. The public gardens opened in 1870. It has been named one of “America’s Most Beautiful Gardens.” The Magnolia Plantation was founded in 1676 and is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry.
Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site is one of the nation’s best-preserved tabby fortifications. Dorchester was a trading town that was established in 1697. The city was abandoned at the start of the Revolutionary War, and today it is an important archaeological site. Visitors to the park can watch archaeologists work as they uncover more of this remarkably-preserved site, which includes a brick bell tower, a log wharf, a school, houses, and more.
Other important Colonial destinations in Charleston include Middleton Place, a 1755 house museum with some of the most beautiful gardens in the nation; the Powder Magazine, the state’s oldest public building built sometime around 1713; Drayton Hall Plantation, the country’s oldest unrestored plantation house, built around 1750; and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, built in 1771 on the location where Blackbeard and his crew were once imprisoned in 1718.
Another must-see is the Charleston Museum, founded in 1773 and the nation’s first museum. The museum is located in two houses in Downtown Charleston, the Heyward-Washington house and the Joseph Manigault house. The Heyward-Washington House was built in 1772 by one of South Carolina’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Heyward, Jr. President George Washington stayed at the house for one week in May 1791, which is why it has traditionally been referred to as the Heyward-Washington House. The Joseph Manigault House was built in 1803 and is a beautiful example of Federal-era architecture.
While you could spend decades exploring Charleston’s impressive history, there are other things to do in this dynamic city. Charleston’s beautiful beaches, golf courses, and spectacular parks and gardens are just the beginning. Take the ferry to Fort Sumter, the place where the Civil War began, or head to the South Carolina Aquarium and see species native to South Carolina, such as otters, stingrays, jellyfish, alligators, and sharks. Visit the art galleries in the French Quarter. Go shopping at Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant, Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre, or explore downtown’s boutiques and specialty shops.
Step back in time by shopping at the Historic Charleston City Market, an open-air market that covers four city blocks and is open year-round. Spend the afternoon at Folly Beach and enjoy swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Folly Beach also contains historic sites, the Morris Island Lighthouse, and a maritime forest. Explore the churches scattered throughout the “Holy City” – many are historic, dating back to America’s infancy. Or, just spend the afternoon strolling down King Street, an area famous for its shops, restaurants, and bars.
What to Consider When Moving to Charleston:
Charleston is located on a peninsula at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast. Beach-goers flock to nearby Folly Island and Morris Island for the sun and surf, while the rivers and lakes provide boating and fishing. But it is the well-preserved architecture and rich history that attracts the tourists – the city was founded in 1670, named for King Charles II of England. “Charles Towne” flourished, and by 1690 it was one of the largest cities in the New World.
While it’s no longer the largest city in the nation, Charleston is the second-largest city in South Carolina – and it is also the oldest. Much of the architecture has been meticulously preserved. The oldest stone building in Charleston is the Pink House, built sometime between 1694 and 1712. The tile roof on this distinctive building dates back to the 18th century. During the 1700s, the Pink House was a tavern. Today, it is an art gallery.
If you decide to rent an apartment in Charleston, it isn’t just beauty and history you’ll be getting – this city is famous for its Southern Hospitality, twice named one of America’s Most Friendly by Travel + Leisure magazine. Southern Living magazine called Charleston “the most polite and hospitable city in America.”
Why Charleston Apartments Are Hot:
History really does live in Charleston – so does fun, adventure, and excitement. Charleston enjoys one of the best-performing economies in the US, home to a flourishing tourism industry and a growing IT sector. Charleston is home to the College of Charleston, the Citadel, the Medical University of South Carolina, the Charleston School of Law, and the Military College of South Carolina. Charleston is also home to Joint Base Charleston, the Port of Charleston, and the Charleston International Airport.
But it’s the cobblestone streets and amazing history that will make you fall in love with Charleston – along with stunning plantation homes, breathtaking gardens, hidden waterfalls, and beautiful beaches. Of course apartments in Charleston are hot – there’s no other city quite like it!
Enjoying the charm and history of locations such as Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, and Colonial Dorchester.
Elegant, historic plantation homes such as Boone Hall, built in 1743, and Middleton Place House Museum, first built in 1705.
The Old City Market, built in 1841, still features hand-woven baskets in addition to antiques, a flea market, shops, and restaurants.
Catching a live performance at the historic Dock Street Theatre, which first opened in 1736.
The oldest building in the Carolinas, the Powder Magazine, was completed in 1712 and is a National Historic Landmark.
In addition to amazing history, Charleston features beautiful beaches, sailing, marinas, water parks, and canoeing.