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Day Trip to Charleston, SC (& How it Compares to Savannah)

On our very last day of our Bahamas/the South vacation, we spent a day wandering through Charleston. We debated quite a bit if we should have cut our time in Savannah short to spend at least a night (or two) in Charleston. But when it was all said and done, with the time we had for our trip, we planned everything perfectly. Three nights in Savannah was just what we needed for a more relaxing getaway, and tackling Charleston in one day made for the perfect end to a rather amazing vacation.

To read about our entire tip, you can catch up here:

Bahamas: Spanish WellsHarbour Island & Eleuthera
Savannah & Tybee Island

Late April. Friends, it was a hot day, reaching a little above 90 degrees. We were pretty sweaty walking around, but when we thought about how home was cool, gray and rainy, we were okay with it!

We drove from Savannah to Charleston, and highly recommend you do the same! One of my favorite parts of the trip was just driving around and taking in the scenery. I wish our schedule had been a bit more relaxed so we could have pulled off the road to take in some of the attractions and plantations because they all seemed wonderful. I'm hoping that someday, I can take a really long road trip from New York all the way down the Eastern Seaboard through the South to really experience it.

Need that perfect Instagram shot? These pretty little blue bikes are available to rent all over. 

I loved Savannah, and in a very different kind of way, I loved Charleston. If I had to recommend one over the other, it'd be insanely difficult, and I think it would depend more on the vacation you'd like to have. I will admit, I probably had a slight preference for Savannah. It was definitely smaller and more manageable, and therefore, a lot more relaxed. But, keep in mind we did Savannah for three nights, and did a day trip to Charleston, so I may be a bit biased. Charleston was lot more crowded with people when we were there, while in Savannah, we felt like we had a lot of room to breathe while wandering, and felt like we were at a slower pace. However, I've since talked to a few people who have also been to both destinations, and some agreed with me, and some said they had the opposite experiences with Charleston being more relaxed and less crowded.

Charleston also seemed a teensy bit more modern (although, still very historical and traditional), while in Savannah, I did often feel like I had stepped back in time.

The food scene in both destination is out of this world, but I got the impression that Charleston wins in this category. There were hundreds of restaurants to choose from, and around every corner, they seemed to multiply. If you're a foodie, you can't go wrong with either, but Charleston likely wins.

Overall, we both loved each destination for different reasons. They're both insanely picturesque and give you that perfect Southern vibe you may be looking for. Savannah is a little more deeply rooted in tradition and moves a bit more slowly, and is very easy to manage for even just a day. Charleston is more spread out and a bit more vibrant. Both will make your jaw drop when it comes to architecture!

Walk Around
Much like Savannah, we had such a great time just wandering the streets. I'm pretty sure Josh was getting tired of me stopping to take a picture of every house I saw, but the architecture here is simply amazing. Many of them weren't quite as grandiose as Savannah, but they were just as stunning, and I loved taking in all of the little side streets.

City Market
While planning our day in Charleston, I actually planned to skip the City Market because I thought to myself, "You've seen one, you've seen them all." But we ended up popping into the Callie's Hot Little Biscuit location here because it happened to be the most convenient, and man, walking through, I was super impressed. I wish we'd had time to really go into all the shops because it wasn't your average city market. The retailers were wonderfully creative, rustic and really catered to traditional Southern with a Farmhouse vibe, and I was super into it.

Biscuits from Callie's Hot Little Biscuit can't be missed!

Pineapple Fountain & Waterfront Park
We strolled through the Waterfront Park area and took refuge from the sun on a bench under the trees, and of course, we had to see the Pineapple Foundation. It was smaller than I thought it would be, which kind of made it even cuter. The views from the riverside walkway were beautiful (and reminded me a bit of smaller, less ritzy coastal towns), and the park benches here are seriously perfect.

The Battery
Guys, the houses along Battery Row are no joke, and they're the kind of houses that make you think "What do these people do for a living!?" That's all I really need to say. You'll run right into it from the Waterfront Park area, and one house in particular was my absolute favorite - I just loved all the lanterns on every level of the home.

My favorite house!

Can you just imagine sitting one of three front porches on a warm summer night?

Rainbow Row
So, it's a huge tourist area, but I kind of loved Rainbow Row. There were groups of people with their cameras out taking photos of the colorful houses on this street, but they really are beautiful. The surrounding streets are also really lovely, and it's worth it to venture off en foote and take them in as well.

Looking down one of the side streets off Rainbow Row. 

Side street off Rainbow Row.

King Street Shopping
We didn't spend too much time shopping, but we did eventually find ourselves on King Street and so many of the shops are spectacular. We popped into Candlefish which is heaven if you're really into (obviously) candles. The store is impeccably merchandised, too, making it even more of an experience. We also popped into White's Mercantile, which had a really great mix of cute, unique finds and giftables. I walked away with an adorable set of measuring spoons, which was pretty much the only souvenir I bought our entire trip! They have a few locations in the South, mostly in the Nashville area, and also offer luxury farmhouse rentals that were renovated and designed by the owner of the shops. It was a really great little find. But, going back to King Street, you could spend the whole afternoon here, so if you like a good shopping spree, you won't be disappointed.

My kind of shopping.

And that was the end of an awfully amazing trip! Have you been to Savannah and Charleston? Did you prefer one over the other?

Paperbag Pants: Boden
Bag: Sold out, but similar here from same brand in same color

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