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Updated: November 1st, 2020
Below is a list of best places I would visit on a trip to this location. My picks fit my personality and interest. Everyone has a different interest so you may not like everything I listed which is fine. If you like a place, I recommend saving it to Google Maps for a future trip down the road. I made sure to include the address or GPS to make it easier to find. You can find out more about me in the "About Me" section to see if we share common interests.
In the info below, the yellow cost number is just an estimated amount at the time I checked their website; over time, the amount could change. With the cost of a hotel room, I'm pricing a queen bed for two people for a night on the weekend, and the amount shown is before taxes. These figures are just a rough estimate of what places could cost, so if incorrect, I apologize.
- Callie's Hot Little Biscuit
476 1/2 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
They are known for their little southern biscuits. Food & Wine, Southern Living, The New York Times and Oprah, all have written good reviews about Callie's Hot Little Biscuit. I would get Bacon Egg Cheese Biscuit Sandwich and 3 for $6 mix and match hot little biscuits with cinnamon, blackberry, and shortcake.
- The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli
2617 Devine St, Columbia, SC 29223
The best cinnamon rolls in South Carolina is what some people say about Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli. One of their cinnamon rolls was featured on the Food Network. They come in different flavors like for example banana foster, apple cobbler, and strawberry cheesecake to name a few. A true hidden gem of the Columbia community.
- The Original Pancake House
4840 Forest Dr, Columbia, SC 29206
A great pancake place that has been doing all-day breakfast for over 20 years. Must be doing something right if you are open for that many years. I would order the apple pancake with fresh Granny Smith apples and pure cinnamon glaze and some of their famous bacon.
- Fort Sumter
340 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401
Its a nice ferry ride out of Charleston Harbor to Fort Sumter secluded on an island. The park ranger will give a tour of the fort when you arrive; altogether, you spend about an hour on the island. Plenty of time to take photos of the cannons. The ferry departs from two locations, either near the South Carolina Aquarium or Patriots Point Naval Museum.
Ferry Cost: $24.00
- South Carolina Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29401
South Carolina Aquarium was announced as one of ten recipients of the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. The aquarium puts a lot of effort into helping sea turtles. Their animal exhibits take you throughout South Carolina from the mountains to the oceans. The centerpiece is the two-story, 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank, where you will see Caretta, a 220-pound loggerhead sea turtle hanging out with some sharks.
Adult Admission: $29.95
- Magnolia Plantation
3550 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414
Yes, I know about Middleton Plantation, but I feel overall that Magnolia Plantation has more to over to the public. It is Charleston's most visited plantation. Magnolia Plantation was selected as one of "America's Most Beautiful Gardens" by Travel + Leisure Magazine, which is the only garden in South Carolina to have that honor. It is the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870. The plantation has numerous tour options, e.g., boat, tram, and house tours.
Adult Admission with All Tours: $60.00
- Mace Brown Museum of Natural History
202 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29401
Part of the College of Charleston, the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History, has about 1,000 fossils on display. A favorite exhibit is a reconstructed jaw which houses real teeth from the giant extinct shark Megalodon. It is free admission to visit the museum.
Admission: Free but Donations Welcome
- North Charleston Fire Museum
4975 Centre Pointe Dr, North Charleston, SC 29418
This museum has the largest collection of professionally restored American LaFrance fire apparatus in the country. All the museum pieces in the collection still function properly and can still fight fires. One of the best museums dedicated to fire fighting in the United States. Plenty of good photo opportunities at this museum.
Adult Admission: $6.00
- Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
In my opinion, Patriots Points is the best place to visit in the Charleston area. One of South Carolina's most popular tourist attractions with more than 300,000 visitors each year. You can explore an aircraft carrier, a submarine, a destroyer, and a Vietnam War exhibit. I have much respect for this museum on how they honor the United States military.
Adult Web Admission: $24.00
- South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201
A great museum to learn about local South Carolina history along with traveling exhibits. The South Carolina State Museum features four floors of permanent exhibits on history, art, natural history, and science. Two current exhibits being the feature at the museum is the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes and Apollo 50: Journey to the Moon. The Boeing Observatory which is part of the museum usually has special events Tuesday evening as an added bonus.
Adult General Admission: $8.95
- Congaree National Park
Parking Lot: 33.83014, -80.82284
The largest river swamp in the southeastern United States, the Congaree National Park, is very underrated when compared to other parks. Not sure if they still offer free canoe tours with a ranger guide, but if they do, take advantage of it because it was a unique experience. Two best trails to hike at Congaree National Park would be the Boardwalk Loop Trail (2.4 miles) and the Oakridge Trail (6.3 miles). Both trails start at the same parking lot which is convenient.
- Columbia Museum of Art
1515 Main St, Columbia, SC 29201
The art museum has an impressive collection of European, American, Asian, and modern and contemporary fine and decorative art. The museum receives more than 150,000 visitors a year. I would be interested in seeing Claude Monet's The Seine at Giverny because I always have an interest in impressionist paintings. If looking for a deal, go on the first Thursday of the month for free admission.
Adult General Admission: $10.00
- Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia, SC 29210
Riverbanks Zoo is the largest midsize zoo in the United States with over 2000 animals. They also secretly have tucked away one of the nation’s most beautiful gardens. I visited a few years back and I remember how shock at how good Riverbanks Zoo was, very underrated. The zoo draws about a million visitors a year. A new Southern white rhino exhibit will be opening in the summer of 2020.
Adult General Admission: $19.95
- Halls Chophouse
434 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Best steakhouse and service in Charleston go to Halls Chophouse. They also rank third by Tripadvisor for "Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the United States for 2020." After the main course, save room for dessert ( Southern Caramel Cake) because they excel in that department.
- Poe's Tavern
2210 Middle St, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482
Poe's Tavern Sullivans Island is one of the best burger places in the Charleston area. The restaurant has an Edgar Allan Poe theme because the famous writer called that area home in his early years. I would order the Tell-Tale Heart, a burger topped with a fried egg, applewood bacon, and cheddar cheese.
- Rodney Scott's BBQ
1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
There are a few excellent BBQ places in Charleston, Rodney Scott is toward the top of the list. The restaurant was named one of the 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetit Magazine. In 2018, Rodney Scott was awarded the James Beard Foundation's award for Outstanding Chef Southeast. I would order Rod's original whole-hog pork sandwich, 6oz of pit-cooked whole hog, served open face on white bread topped with Rod's sauce, and crumbled pork skins.
- Lewis Barbecue
464 N Nassau St, Charleston, SC 29403
Lewis Barbecue is another excellent BBQ place that ranks high among peers in the Charleston. The local Charleston paper named Lewis Barbecue best BBQ, ribs, brisket, and pitmaster for 2020. I would order the El Sancho (Loco Version), a sandwich with pulled pork, chopped beef, and hot guts sausage topped with pickled red onion.
- Park Pizza Co.
1028 E Montague Ave, Charleston, SC 29405
Park Pizza Co is one of the top pizza places in Charleston and ranks in the top 100 in the United States. They offer a ton of different pizza options. I would order the SPACEBALLS, a pie sauced with marinara, topped with mozzarella, ricotta, meatballs, garlic, and oregano. The pizza of the month for November is the The Mayflour, pizza sauced with olive oil, topped mozzarella, dried cranberries, walnut stuffing, sage sausage and green onions.
698 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Leon's Oyster Shop offers the best chicken sandwich in Charleston. The restaurant is located in an old body shop that belonged to Leon Ravenel. The restaurant space pays homage to the building's history by keeping the garage doors, concrete floors, and some remaining memorabilia from Leon himself.
- The Southern Belly BBQ
819 Harden St, Columbia, SC 29205
They serve some incredible creative sandwiches that pack much flavor at Southern Belly BBQ. People say that they have the best BBQ in Columbia. My choice would be Southern Belly Dipper, which is brown sugar rubbed barbecue topped with melted swiss and bacon served on a bakery fresh french roll with Southern Belly white bbq sauce. I appreciate their Star Wars fandom when calling extra meat on their sandwiches “Wookie Size” and one of their sauces the “Dark Side.”
- Sidewall Pizza Company
99 Cleveland St, Greenville, SC 29601
This place is known for their brick oven pizza, some people say it’s the best pizza in South Carolina. I would order the “Little Pepperoni” pizza which is a pizza topped with a bunch of mini pepperonis, mozzarella cheese, and crust is flavored with butter garlic sauce with pecorino romano cheese.
- Northgate Soda Shop
918 N Main St, Greenville, SC 29609
Northgate Soda Shop is known for its old school burgers and ice cream floats. The most famous burger on the menu is the Pimento Cheeseburger. This place was included in a film as one of the 100 great hamburger joints in America by George M. Motz, a burger expert.
- Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery
205 Cedar Lane Rd, Greenville, SC 29611
If you hit the Swamp Rabbit Trail on your bike, you need to stop here and grab lunch. They make some delicious sandwiches, and the ingredients come from local sustainable farmers. I would order a Ham & Cheese sandwich with extra bacon and maybe few cookies from the bakery for fun.
Places to Stay
- The Spectator Hotel
67 State St, Charleston, SC 29401
+ One of the top hotels in Charleston year after year.
+ Complimentary bicycles to borrow
+ Personable butlers are offer
+ Prohibition-style bar
+ A gourmet continental breakfast is delivered to your door each morning
Average cost a night on a weekend in December: $382
- Zero George
Right Side, 0 George St, Charleston, SC 29401
+ Within walking distance of the excellent restaurants, shops, and museums
+ Private garden courtyard
+ Complimentary bikes
+ They restored the historic property to reflect all the wow of old Charleston while setting new style and comfort standards.
Average cost a night on a weekend in December: $399
- Wild Dunes Resort
5757 Palm Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451
+ Best beach resort close to Charleston
+ The beach
+ The Grand Pavilion features two oceanfront pools ideal for swimming alongside the ocean, and in the middle is Beachside Burgers & Bar.
+ Golf Digest says Wild Dunes Resort has some of the best golf courses in South Carolina.
Average cost a night on a weekend in December: $176
- Hotel Trundle
1224 Taylor St, Columbia, SC 29201
I love their concept, take three historic Columbia businesses, combine them to make a boutique hotel that pays homage to the community. Also, in a great location downtown Columbia within walking distance of a lot of exciting places. Southern Living Magazine selected Hotel Trundle as part of its Southern Living Hotel Collection. A shortlist of 24 hotels, this group of hotels showcases some of the South’s most exceptional experiences in hospitality.
Average cost a night on a weekend in December: $149
- Aloft Columbia Downtown
823 Lady St, Columbia, SC 29201
The location of the hotel makes it very attractive, walking distance to a few places on the list in the downtown Columbia area. I feel the Aloft hotels try to be sleek and modern with their style, bright color scheme, and plenty of clean lines. They call it “Artistic Urban Design.” If thirsty at night and looking for a nightcap try the W XYZ Lounge.
Average cost a night on a weekend in December: $119
- Swamp Rabbit Inn
1 Logan St, Greenville, SC 29601
Swamp Rabbit Inn is a six-bedroom modern bed and breakfast in downtown Greenville. It is the ideal place to stay if your goal is to bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Only two blocks from the trail and if needed you can rent bikes at the inn. The place looks really inviting, a “home away from home” feel to it.
Average cost a night on a weekend in December: $97
21 and Up Fun
Again these are my picks that fit my personality and interest. If you feel that I left one-off that may interest me or other people, message me on Facebook about the location. I value a person's opinion and never just discard the information. Always looking forward to learning about new places to add to my Google Map. ~ Shawn