Charleston, the gem of South Carolina, is a place perfect for any explorer. It’s a perfect combination of historic significance and grace and modern commodity. Its splendid old buildings and parks remind visitors of the city’s past, while free Wi-Fi and new craft beer pubs represent the city’s step into the 21st century. All in all, Charleston has something for everyone.
Charleston has a huge list of beautiful things to do and see, but if money is very much an object to you, you’ll have to be smart with your tour. Luckily you have the internet and like-minded thrifty people to collect some tips on how to explore Charleston on a budget.
Hit the beach
When you arrive in Charleston and handle your accommodation, it’s time to spend your first day at the beach. You can grab some cheap fast food and have a picnic as you watch surfers catch prime waves of the East Coast. When the surfers call it a day, you can explore the location and treat yourself to a beachfront dinner (there are cheap options like fried chicken sandwiches or fish and chips).
Take a walk around The Battery
During the Civil War, the Charleston peninsula had a battery site, so the lower part of the peninsula has since been known as The Battery. This neighborhood with a frightening name is actually speckled with antebellum mansions and different points of interest for architecture and history buffs. While exploring The Battery, rest at the White Point Gardens, the beautiful municipal park.
If you want something more colorful, there’s a similar neighborhood in Charleston called Rainbow Row. Rainbow Row is a series of 14 houses, each one painted a different color. These houses are the postcard site and a great example of why Charleston architecture attracts residents and tourists.
Book a tour
There’s no better way to discover a place than to take a tour. Charleston is blessed with a waterside location, so you have to find some affordable adventure tours & activities for the entire family. If you’re looking for cheaper tours, you should definitely choose between Capers Island wildlife tour, dolphin cruise, blue crabbing tour (and crab cookout) and kayaking tours. If you want something cost-effective and classic, a historic walking tour will tell you all about the deep and historical roots the waterways have for the city.
Cross the Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge
Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge is a popular attraction build in 2005. This single cable-stay bridge was once known as the Cooper River Bridge, and it attracts walkers, runners and tourists thanks to its spacious pedestrian lanes. If you want to spend an active day in the city, traverse the bridge’s 2.7 miles, but most visitors just stop for pictures halfway through before turning around (making the full 5 miles is not an easy task for most). The sight of the bridge and its surrounding is very impressive, plus it’s easy to find playgrounds, restrooms and boardwalks in the nearby park.
Visit Fort Moultrie
With only an affordable ferry ride, you can have the entire Fort Moultrie at your disposal free of charge. During the Revolutionary Way, this fort served as a protector of Charleston and its harbor from the British troops, and today, you can explore the recreated barracks and enjoy the wonderful views of Sullivan’s Island.
Save up at Charleston City Market
It’s inevitable to spend money while traveling, but make sure to spend your savings smartly, by hitting the Charleston City Market. This place sells everything from clothes to delicacies from its Great Hall and open-air sheds. At the weekend, the market works at night too, and that’s the best time to grab some handmade goods. If you’re hungry, there are a few food stalls inside the market and many restaurants outside its walls.
Relax at the Waterfront Park
Finish your Charleston adventure with a chill day at the park. Right next to the Charleston City Market, you can find Riley Waterfront Park ideal for families and couples. This spot is perfect for picnics, and the kids can splash around in the park’s fountains. And if you’re worried about being unplugged for too long, the park has free Wi-Fi!
All in all, it’s more than possible to get a good feel of Charleston without splurging. These exploration ideas above are all affordable, many of them free, so you can prolong your stay and have a blast in South Carolina.