Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina Charleston County Charleston

About Charleston

Beautiful, historic Charleston is located near the middle of South Carolina's coast at the point "where the Ashley River and Cooper River meet to form the Atlantic Ocean." It is the state's second largest city and the county seat of Charleston County.

Charleston was originally called Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England, and its nickname is "The Holy City" due to the many churches that help create its skyline.

   Things to Do
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Charleston Accommodations

Charlestonian's Tip: In general, rates for Charleston accommodations are lowest in July and August, when temperatures rise, and also from December to February, when the weather's cold. October and April through early June offer the mildest weather.

Bed & Breakfasts in Charleston

  • Bed & Breakfast Inns in Charleston

    From mansions on the Battery to historic plantations, we have it all. Let us help point you to the best in Charleston bed & breakfast inns, where you can have a glass of wine and relax after a long day exploring Charleston.

Hotels in Charleston

Vacation Rentals in Charleston

  • Vacation Rentals in Charleston

    Charleston's world-famous when it comes to vacations. Our guide will help you find the perfect Charleston vacation rental – whether you want to have a wedding, a reception, a party, a retreat, or just a place to gather with family and friends. We feature carriage homes in downtown Charleston, plus waterfront and oceanfront homes located on one of Charleston's many beautiful beaches. Vacation homes are offered by first-rate local rental companies as well as individual Charleston families.

Charleston Attractions

    Charleston Aquariums and Zoos
    Aquariums and zoos in Charleston
    • The South Carolina Aquarium extends into the Charleston Harbor, allowing visitors the chance to observe bottlenose dolphins and other marine life in the Cooper River. The Charleston area also features a serpentarium on nearby Edisto Island and the famous Birds of Prey Center in Awendaw.
    Charleston Gardens and Plantations
    © Jack Nevitt
    Gardens and plantations in Charleston
    • Charleston boasts some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, including waterfront parks and historic promenades. Additionally, Charleston County was once home to 400 plantations, many of which still exist and some of which allow visitors.
    Historic Churches in Charleston
    © John Birkenheuer
    Historic churches in Charleston
    • Charleston isn't named the Holy City for nothing! Two dozen historic churches, cathedrals, and synagogues dot the streets of Downtown Charleston alone, and this is to say nothing of the historic sanctuaries spread across the islands and towns nearby.
    Historic Landmarks in Charleston
    © Larry Gleason
    Historic landmarks in Charleston
    • Use our guide to Charleston's historic landmarks to find old homes, buildings, monuments, forts, and more.
    Museums in Charleston
    © John Diskes
    Museums in Charleston
    • Charleston is home to 15 museums – devoted to everything from slavery to railroads – and there are at least a half-dozen more in surrounding Charleston County. Be sure to check each of them out with this helpful directory to Charleston museums.
    Sightseeing in Charleston
    © Paul Mulkey
    Sightseeing Tours in Charleston
    • Charleston offers a wealth of sightseeing tours, walks, and cruises to help you enjoy local nature and history. Use this guide to find everything from an art walk to a culinary tour, and a carriage ride to a sunset cruise in the Charleston Harbor. All tours convene in Downtown Charleston unless otherwise noted.
    Shopping in Charleston
    Shopping in Charleston
    • Charleston is the shopping capital of South Carolina, and downtown bustles with all types of shops and stores, from eclectic to elegant and from local to chain. Find them all here, and get started!

Charleston Arts, Entertainment, Dining

Charleston Recreation, Sports, Clubs

   Charleston Maps, Transportation

Charleston Maps

This guide will lead you to various maps of Charleston including Charleston's city limits, streets, parking, and historic districts.

Charleston Transportation

CARTA provides public bus and trolley service in Charleston County. Most routes are located in downtown Charleston, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and West Ashley. Services to James Island are limited, and there are no services to Johns Island or the Charleston-area beaches.
The Charleston area has one commercial airport. It is located 11 miles from Downtown Charleston:
Charleston also has two local, non-commercial airports. Both are open to the public.
  • Charleston Executive Airport - JZI - Johns Island

    The Charleston Executive Airport is located six miles southwest of Charleston on Johns Island. It was built in 1943 as an Army airfield. It has two paved runways, each constructed of concrete.

  • Mount Pleasant Regional Airport - LRO

    The Mount Pleasant Regional Airport – also known as Faison Field – has one paved asphalt runway.

   Charleston Jobs, Careers

  • Jobs in Charleston

    Our exclusive Charleston job board organizes jobs by type of employer, company name, and area within Charleston.

  • SC Works Trident Centers

    These branches of the Trident Workforce Investment Board provide job seekers in Charleston with employment support from job searching and application assistance to on-the-job training and education.

   Charleston Businesses
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Charleston Businesses

For a full guide to businesses located in and around Charleston, please see our South Carolina Business Directory.

Advertising in Charleston

Charleston is home to many of most top-notch ad agencies in South Carolina. Use this guide to find them:
Check out our featured Charleston marketing resources:

Dentists and Orthodontists in Charleston

Use this guide to find dental care in the Charleston area:
Check out our featured Charleston dental care resources:

Doctors in Charleston

Use this guide to find medical care in the Charleston area:
Check out our featured Charleston medical care resources:

Music in Charleston

Our guide to Charleston music and musicians features professional and recreational symphonies, choirs, and quartets; non-profit musical education organizations; bands and singers; and wedding and party bands.
Check out our featured Charleston bands:

Real Estate in Charleston

Charleston is one of the fastest growing cities in America. The following guides will put you in touch with the resources you need to help you buy, sell, build, or move.
Check out our featured Charleston real estate companies:

Security Systems in Charleston

Use this guide to find residential and commercial security systems in the Charleston area:
Check out our featured Charleston security systems company:

Other Charleston Businesses

   Charleston Economic Development

A division of Charleston County's government, the Charleston County Economic Development Department works to recruit new businesses and grow existing industries within Charleston County.
The CRDA seeks to be a catalyst for economic growth in the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester region. It also publishes an annual economic scorecard which compares Charleston to similar US metro areas.
Other Charleston economic development resources include:

   Charleston News & Media

Charleston has one daily paper, the Post & Courier. Other Charleston newspapers and magazines can be found here: Charleston is also home to an abundance of television and radio stations:

   Charleston Government

Charleston is the county seat of Charleston County. The city has the second largest population in South Carolina, with over 120,000 residents.

City of Charleston

Founded by English colonists in 1670, Charles Town, as it was originally called, was named in honor of King Charles II. Charleston adopted its current spelling in 1783. Its early economy was largely based on slave trade and slave labor. The city's current economy depends mainly on tourism.

Charleston County

Charleston County is one of South Carolina's three largest counties, with 350,209 residents as of the most recent US census. It was founded in 1769.

Charleston Area Towns, Communities

Other towns and cities in Charleston County, SC include:

Adams Run, South Carolina
© Vanessa Kauffmann
Adams Run
Awendaw, South Carolina
Cape Romain, South Carolina
© Ben Sumrell
Cape Romain
  • Cape Romain is a 64,000-acre Class I Wilderness located in northeast Charleston County. It was established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge and is accessible only by boat. Today, it is the largest nesting rookery for loggerhead sea turtles outside of Florida, averaging 1,000 nests per year.
Dewees Island, South Carolina
© Claudia de Mayo
Dewees Island
  • Dewees Island is a privately-owned barrier island located in Charleston County, 11 miles north of Charleston. It is accessible only by boat or ferry. The has seen modest development in recent years, but a covenant among homeowners maintains that the number of homes will never exceed 150.
Edisto Island, South Carolina
© John Diskes
  • Edisto is located on the coast of South Carolina between Charleston and Beaufort. Edisto Beach is located on the southern tip of Edisto Island and is part of Colleton County, while the rest of Edisto is part of Charleston County. Both Edisto Island and Edisto Beach are named for the Edisto Indians, the area's original inhabitants.
Folly Beach, SC
© Ben Sumrell
Folly Beach
  • Folly Beach is a barrier island located in Charleston County, just 15 minutes from downtown Charleston. Locals will tell you they live at "The Edge of America." The island is six miles long and offers a laid-back beach community for residents and visitors, a fishing pier, good surfing, and easy access to historic and cultural sites in the Charleston area.
Isle of Palms, SC
© Steve Rich
Isle of Palms
  • The Isle of Palms is located in Charleston County across the Intracoastal Waterway from Mount Pleasant and just above Sullivan's Island. The Sewee Indians were the original inhabitants. In early years, the island was used by English settlers, pirates, and armies but, because it was accessible only by boat, there were no full-time residents until the late 19th century.
James Island, SC
© Bill Segars
James Island
  • James Island is a large triangular sea island framed by Wappoo Creek and Charleston Harbor on the north, Morris Island and Folly Beach on the east, and the Stono River and Johns Island on the west. Affectionately nicknamed "Jim Isle," it is laced with creeks and sounds ... and well known for its fishing and shrimping, as well as its ancient live oaks.
Johns Island, South Carolina
© Mark Wickliffe
Johns Island
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
© Douglas Stewart
Kiawah Island
  • Kiawah Island is located in Charleston County. The name Kiawah, pronounced KEY-uh-WAH, comes from the Kiawah Indians who once lived here. They were a subtribe of the mighty Cusabos, a now extinct tribe that inhabited South Carolina's coast.
McClellanville, South Carolina
© David Martin
  • McClellanville is located in Charleston County on the banks of Jeremy Creek. After the Civil War it grew to be a thriving community which produced timber, rice, cotton, naval stores, and seafood. Incorporated in 1926, the town has become best known for its shrimping fleet and seafood industries.
Meggett, South Carolina
© Ginger Parker
  • In the early 20th century, Meggett was a thriving agricultural community. A spur of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad ran through town and terminated at a large wharf on Yonges Island. Produce was shipped by water and rail. At one time Meggett was the cabbage capital of the world, shipping millions of cabbage seedlings a day all over the country.
Morris Island, South Carolina
© James Karner
Morris Island
  • Morris Island, located at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, is accessible only by boat. However, the Morris Island lighthouse is visible from many of Charleston's coastal communities. Today a tiny and fragile island under constant threat of development. Morris Island was once home to several families and at least 15 buildings.
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
© Steve Rich
Mount Pleasant
  • Mount Pleasant is located on South Carolina's central coast, just east of Charleston. It was founded in 1680 and is the home of Shem Creek (known for its shrimp boats and seafood restaurants) and the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. The State Ports Authority's Wando River terminal is also in Mount Pleasant.
North Charleston, South Carolina
© Brooke Becker
North Charleston
  • North Charleston is located primarily in Charleston County but the city limits also extend into Dorchester County. Developed as a planned industrial center during the early 1900s, the city incorporated in 1972 and immediately grew by annexation, doubling its population and land area within the first year.
Ravenel, South Carolina
© Mark Cowell
Rockville, South Carolina
© Mike Lempert
  • Rockville is located in Charleston County at the end of SC 700 – also known locally as Maybank Highway – which runs from James Island, through Johns Island, and finally through Wadmalaw Island. Rockville is located at the tip of Wadmalaw but is its own municipality. The village of Rockville is situated on a stretch of Bohicket Creek where the current is unusally strong. Legend has it that Indian tribes raced their canoes here.
Seabrook Island, South Carolina
© Blake Lewis
Seabrook Island
  • Seabrook Island has a history of war, wealth, sport, and service. The island was discovered in 1666 by British Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Sanford under the employ of King Charles II. The Stono Indians occupied the island at the time of Sanford's discovery. By 1684, the proprietary government had convinced the natives to relinquish their island.
Sullivan's Island, South Carolina
© Elizabeth Belz
Sullivan's Island
  • Sullivan's Island is located just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Mount Pleasant in Charleston County. In 1776, it was here, in a makeshift log fort at the tip of the island, that colonial forces under Colonel William Moultrie prevailed against British troops who were trying to enter Charleston's harbor.
Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina
© Ralph Preston
Wadmalaw Island
  • Wadmalaw Island is located southwest of Johns Island in Charleston County. Driving onto the island on SC 700, you can stop and visit America's only working tea plantation. The rich soil and temperate climate of Wadmalaw Island has supported commercial and family farms for generations.
Other communities in Charleston County are Hollywood, Ladson, Parkers Ferry, Rantowles, and Yonges Island.

   Charleston Schools, Colleges, Libraries

College of Charleston
Vanessa Kauffmann © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Charleston K12 Schools

Charleston's public schools operate within a single, consolidated school district. The city also offers over 30 private schools.

Charleston Colleges, Universities

Several colleges and universities are located within Charleston's city limits. Located in downtown Charleston are the College of Charleston (which offers graduate degrees despite the name), and the Medical University of South Carolina. Both of these schools intertwine the city, whereas The Citadel – also known as the Military College of South Carolina – resides on a closed campus between Hampton Park and the Ashley River. Trident Tech conducts a few courses downtown as well.

Charleston Libraries, Archives

Charleston has five separate public school districts: Charleston 1, Charleston 2, Charleston 3, Charleston 4, Charleston 5. The area also offers several private schools.

   Charleston Churches, Nonprofits

Charleston abounds with churches and other non-profits, including the Medical University of South Carolina, a nationally-recognized research hospital. Learn more about Charleston's non-profits and charities below:


In addition to the hospitals at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston is served by one general hospital – Roper St. Francis, which has facilites downtown as well as in nearby West Ashley. Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center provides care for Charleston's veterans.


Charleston isn't called the Holy City for nothing! Well over 100 churches serve congregations in the downtown area and West Ashley alone. This is to say nothing of the many nearby churches in places like James and Johns Islands, both of which have been largely incorporated by the City of Charleston.


Charleston provides a wealth of charities and community service organizations for its residents.

Senior Citizen Organizations

This guide will help you locate helpful senior citizen resources in the city of Charleston and all of Charleston County.

   Charleston History, Genealogy

When the United States was a young country and many communities were little more than settlements, Charleston was already a sophisticated, wealthy port city, with schools, libraries, churches, and elegant neighborhoods. Most of Charleston's early success was based on its use of slave labor. Learn about the history of Charleston, from its earliest days on, right here:

Has your genealogical research lead you to Charleston? If so, here you will find information on family history, cemeteries, vital records and more.

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