Finding where to stay in Charleston, South Carolina, can be tricky if you’ve never been before. There are several areas to choose from, all with unique vibes and different attractions. Your itinerary will determine which area is best for you.
While Charleston is a large city in South Carolina, it’s easy to get around. No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll easily be able to reach all the best things to do in Charleston. Almost every neighborhood also offers a great mix of urban landscaping with views of the Charleston Harbor.
Stay downtown if you’re a first-time visitor, or book a room in the historic area if you want to sightsee and take some walking tours. Charleston’s distinct history, colorful architecture, and southern hospitality will make you never want to leave. Here are the best hotels in Charleston, SC.
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Charleston Accommodation Quick Guide
Looking for a place to stay in Charleston quickly? Check this simple guide:
The Vendue: A unique stay in the French Quarter, The Vendue used to be a warehouse. Now, it’s an antique hotel full of local and international art. It’s within walking distance to the historic district, so you get the best of both worlds.
Comfort Suites Charleston West Ashley: West Ashley isn’t one of our listed neighborhoods, but this hotel is worth mentioning because it’s one of the only places within walking distance to Antique Mall of Charleston and the Cultural Arts Center. The amenities are basic, but they do have a large outdoor pool and a free hot breakfast.
Charleston Place: Looking for some luxury in the historic district? Charleston Place has exquisitely decorated rooms with chandeliers, marble counters in the kitchenettes, and artwork in every room. The rooftop has a pool where you can sunbathe with a cocktail or watch the sunset. There are also three on-site restaurants and a spa.
Homewood Suites by Hilton: This is a great choice if you want to stay downtown with a large group or your family. They offer large suites at a surprisingly affordable price. With a suite, you can also cook your own meals instead of dining out every night. Homewood Suites is a great choice for budget travelers who want a hot breakfast, a fitness center, and a free shuttle service!
If you’re looking for a simple and quick stay in Charleston, booking a place downtown will give you access to everything you need. It’s the top place to stay for first-time visitors.
And if you only have a short time in Charleston, it will also give you enough time to see the most important attractions during your limited time.
Downtown is also the best place to stay if you love shopping and nightlife. Browse the boutiques during the daytime and hit up the bars and clubs at night.
Budget—Best Western Charleston Inn: One of the best budget downtown Charleston hotel stays, Best Western has a huge outdoor pool and a very well-equipped fitness center. It’s only 5 miles from the City Market and 6 miles from King Street. Enjoy free breakfast and the kitchenettes in every room make it easy to whip up a snack.
Mid-Range—Charleston Marriott: A great lowkey hotel within walking distance to all the main attractions downtown. If you want to spend a relaxing day, Charleston Marriott has everything you need, from an outdoor pool, a bar, a restaurant, and a fitness center. The City Market and Charleston Museum are only 3 miles away.
Luxury—The Dewberry Charleston: Great location within 13 minutes walking to the South Carolina Aquarium and a 3-minute walk to the Charleston Museum. For a truly luxurious stay, book a full suite for an in-room bar, marble bathtubs, dining areas, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The Historic District is actually part of downtown but has some distinct characteristics that make it worth booking a room. When you think of the photos you see on Instagram and Pinterest of Charleston, they are all taken in the Historic District.
There’s plenty of sightseeing to do, including viewing the picturesque color houses and antebellum architecture.
Charleston City Market is located in the Historic District. You can also reach The Battery and White Point Gardens in just a few minutes walk from most hotels and Airbnb’s.
Budget—Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina: Finding a budget hotel in the historic district can be a difficult task. Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina is right next to the water taxi station that can take you into the historic part of the city. Staying here, you get amazing views of the city and the harbor. There’s also a hot tub and a gym.
Mid-Range—Hyatt House Charleston/Historic District: This is a great modern hotel less than one mile from the Cooper River and 4 miles from Patriots Point. Book a basic room for a comfortable bed, free Wi-Fi, and free breakfast. You can also book a suite if you want a kitchen, pull-out bed, and a separate living room area.
Luxury—Planters Inn: A luxury stay in the historic downtown is unmatched in Planters Inn. it’s right near the shuttle stations, so you can ditch the rental car and get around by bus or foot. They’re only 0.5 miles from Waterfront Park. All the rooms have 10-foot ceilings, marble bathrooms, and fireplaces.
To visit the cobblestone streets and some of the oldest churches in the city, stay in the French Quarter. Most of the historic homes in the French Quarter have been turned into museums and art galleries. Taking self-guided tours or tours with guides is a great way to explore the lovely historic homes in the French Quarter.
If you’re looking for a small and quaint neighborhood, the French Quarter is also a great place to stay. It’s much smaller than downtown and the historic district. Along with the historic homes turned into galleries, you’ll also find many bars and restaurants to keep you entertained at night.
Budget—Best Western Charleston Inn: Only a 5-minute walk from the Historic Charleston City Market and 6 miles from all the shopping on King Street. The basic rooms have everything you need including comfortable beds, coffee makers, and microwaves. Enjoy the free breakfast and the outdoor pool! They also have a 24/7 fitness center if you want to burn off some vacation calories.
Mid-Range—The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel: Set in an old house built in 1853, this hotel has been completely renovated to an upscale lodging option. Only 1.5 miles from the aquarium and a 4-minute walk from the city market, it’s in a perfect location. Book a suite for some extra room and a wet bar. Make sure to carve out time to swim in the outdoor pool and relax in the courtyard.
Luxury—French Quarter Inn: An amazing stay right in the middle of the French quarter. You can walk to the Charleston Market in just 3-minutes. Upgrade to a suite if you’re traveling with a large group so you can get a pull-out sofa, a fireplace, and a terrace. All the rooms come with fridges and designer toiletries.
Top Things to do in Charleston
To really experience the Deep South, visiting Charleston is a must. Get treated with real southern hospitality from all the hotels and restaurants. The rich history also means you will have plenty of opportunities to visit museums and meander through art galleries.
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Check out these main attractions in Charleston:
- Historic Charleston City Market: This is one of the largest markets in Charleston, covering almost four blocks of nonstop activities. There are over 300 vendors, and they all make and sell locally made products. Try some typical southern food or buy a handcrafted item to bring home.
- Old Slave Mart Museum: Visiting the first African American slave museum in the USA, is a must when in Charleston. The city was once the largest slave-trading port. Learn the chilling history of the slave trade and how it still impacts Charleston to this day.
- Fort Sumter National Monument: One of the oldest forts in the US, dating back all the way to the Civil War. You can take a beautiful 30-minute ferry ride from Charleston to the fort. Then, take a self-guided tour or let a park ranger lead you through the grounds.
- Charleston Farmers Market: This top market is open from April to December every weekend. It’s a great farmers’ market and a fantastic place to get produce and plants. The spices and small pieces of artwork are great souvenirs to bring home.
- Morris Island Lighthouse: Found at the very beginning of the Charleston harbor, the Morris Island lighthouse was built in 1876. Get the best views of the lighthouse at sunset from the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve.
- Ravenel Waterfront Park: This park is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful Charleston weather. It’s 8-acres and offers stunning views of the Cooper River. You can also see the Charleston Harbor and the U.S.S Yorktown from the park.
Or for more ideas, check out these popular tours:
How to Get to Charleston
Charleston has a pretty large airport that’s only 12 miles away from the city center. You should easily be able to get a flight into Charleston International on most major airlines. If you’re road-tripping through the southeast US, Charleston can also be reached on most major roads.
U.S. 17 runs through the city, and I-26 also ends in Charleston. These interstates also connect to Myrtle Beach, Savannah, and Columbia. If you’re coming from one of those major cities, you’ll find it extremely easy to reach Charleston.
How to Get Around Charleston
Charleston has a shuttle that goes to all the major tourist attractions downtown. The buses are free, but they only operate in the downtown area. If you are staying in another neighborhood or a suburb of Charleston, you will need a rental car.
You can also choose to use Uber and Lyft to get around. They’re both popularly used in the area, and you should have no problem getting drivers near where you’re staying.
When to Visit Charleston
As a southeastern US city, Charleston can get stifling hot in the summertime. Winters can also get pretty cold, with a few snowy days every year.
To get the best weather and the least amount of crowds, visit Charleston from March to May or September to November. You’ll experience mild temperatures. Hotel prices will also be lower, and the main tourist attractions will be less crowded.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions people often ask when planning a trip to Charleston.
What do I need to know before visiting Charleston, SC?
Charleston is a beautiful historic city, but there are some unsafe neighborhoods you should avoid when visiting. The ones outlined above are some of the safest areas you can stay while enjoying your time carefree and with no worries.
Try to avoid the areas of Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, and West Ashley. They have higher crime rates than other parts of the city and can be unsafe to walk around at night.
How much time do you need to visit Charleston?
Three to four full days in Charleston are needed to see all the best parts of the city. If you’re staying downtown, you won’t need as much travel time and might be able to see the city in less.
Plan at least a full weekend though, to really enjoy Charleston without feeling like you’re in a rush. And more, if you can.
Where to stay in Charleston near the airport?
There are a few hotels in Charleston near the airport. Choosing to stay in one of them can make a quick trip easier. Try booking a room at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Charleston Airport or Courtyard by Marriott North Charleston Airport/Coliseum.
Is Charleston Safe?
Charleston is considered pretty safe to visit, especially if you are staying downtown or in the historic district. You should still follow basic safety rules, though, as you would in any city you’ve never visited. Try not to walk around by yourself at night and keep your belongings close to you when walking downtown or taking the buses and shuttles.
Now you Know Where to Stay in Charleston, South Carolina!
Ready to choose where to stay in Charleston South Carolina? Hopefully, this guide gave you some inspiration on where to book your accommodation. The best hotels in Charleston offer incredible amenities, southern customer service, and are within walking distance to some of the most popular attractions.
Getting from one part of town to the other is also easy as the city’s roads are well labeled. The bus service and Uber are also amazing ways to get around. Spend your days in Charleston hopping from place to place so you can do everything you want in the city before you have to head out.
Have you recently been to Charleston? What neighborhood did you stay in?
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