Meticulous gardens, historic homes, plentiful sunshine, and famous beaches are a few reasons Charleston, South Carolina, is a tourist favorite—but plan a visit before mid-June or after September, as summertime temperatures drive even the locals indoors. Charleston is most festive during the annual Spoleto arts and music festival that starts Memorial Day.
This famous 1,400-year-old live oak casts 17,000 square feet of shade beneath its enormous canopy. Angel Oak Road, John’s Island
Locally celebrated for its fresh eggs, this Trappist monk’s residence features lovely gardens, a spiritual gift shop, and a glimpse of the monastic life. 1098 Mepkin Abbey Road; (843) 761-8509
Wide sandy stretches, temperate waters, and surf-friendly waves characterize the area’s beaches. Twenty minutes from downtown Charleston, Folly Beach draws the surfing crowd, while Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms to the north attract swimmers.
Tucked in an old brick railroad warehouse, this local favorite serves fresh, sustainable seafood. 39-D John Street; (843) 722-8838
Five Loaves Cafe
This sunny spot emphasizes flavorful vegetarian soups and sandwiches, in-house roasted meats, and generous portions. 43 Cannon Street; (843) 937-4303
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island
The resort’s oceanside spa promises Southern-style rejuvenation with treatments inspired by the sea, maritime forest, and botanic gardens. 1 Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island; (877) 683-1234
The Inn at Middleton Place
Set on an old plantation, this inn is committed to organic gardening, recycling, composting, eco-friendly cleaning products, and energy-saving lights. 4290 Ashley River Road; (800) 543-4774