CHARLESTON ITINERARIES

A History Buff's Guide to Charleston

3 Days to Dive Deep into Lowcountry History
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A History Buff's Guide to Charleston DAY ONE: HISTORIC HIGHLIGHTS

Check in then dive in to the Lowcountry's deep-rooted history via Charleston's storied streets, historic homes and traditional, not to mention mouth-watering, cuisine.

CHECK IN

Named for the Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion (a.k.a. the “Swamp Fox”), The Francis Marion Hotel dates back to 1924, the Golden Age of railroads, radio and grand hotels. The Charleston Renaissance was booming and Francis Marion was “the place to be.” Today, the hotel combines 1920’s style with 21st century comfort in the heart of historic Charleston, situated directly across from Marion Square.

SEE YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Traveler's choice: carriage or walking tour? Whether clip clopping around with a new furry, four-legged friend, or exploring via your own two feet, a downtown tour is one of the best ways to get your bearings and become familiar with the charm of Charleston while soaking in the destination's history with your friendly tour guide.

HOME HISTORIC HOME

Imagine what it was like to waltz across a ballroom during the age of corsets and kid gloves at two of the area’s historic dwellings, the Aiken Rhett and Nathaniel Russell houses. These museum quality structures, with their carefully preserved period furnishings, illustrate what life was like for some of Charleston’s most illustrious families during the 1800s.

A SOUTHERN MEAL TO SAVOR

Located near the antiques district, the family-owned Poogan's Porch has been serving Southern fare, including homemade buttermilk biscuits and She Crab soup, since 1976.

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A History Buff's Guide to Charleston DAY TWO: HISTORIC GROUNDS

From the site where English settlers first landed and established what would become the birthplace of the Carolina colony to the site of the start of the Civil War, spend the day walking on Charleston's historic grounds with tales to tell.

BRUNCH BITES

Fuel up for an adventurous day in Charleston with classic Southern cuisine while overlooking Marion Square at The Francis Marion Hotel's Swamp Fox Restaurant and Bar. Enjoy shrimp & grits, chicken & biscuits, or return for the notable Farmers Market Dinner and live piano music on Thursday, Friday or Saturday!

SAIL TO THE START OF THE CIVIL WAR

Sail across Charleston Harbor to Fort Sumter. It was here that the first battle of the Civil War was fought when Confederate troops opened fire on the fort. Today, you can see the maze of brick and mortar walls and plenty of cannons. The Fort Sumter National Monument features one of the country’s greatest collections of 19th century seacoast artillery.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

In 1670, the first expedition of English settlers sailed up the picturesque tidal channel and stepped ashore at what is now Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, which includes 664-acres filled with majestic oak trees.

STROLL THROUGH HISTORY

Several of the oldest gardens in the United States are located at nearby plantations, a short drive from Charleston’s Historic District. A visit to the destination’s four distinct plantations — Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation, Drayton Hall and Boone Hall — is a highlight of any visit. While winter is a bleak season in most parts of the country, Charleston in painted pink during the months of November – March, when the camellias bloom.

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A History Buff's Guide to Charleston DAY THREE: EXPLORE AMERICA'S "FIRSTS"

Charleston is home to not only the nation’s first playhouse and museum, but also to America’s oldest landscaped gardens and first municipal college. No question, this Grand Dame deserves the motto “where history lives.”

AMERICA'S FIRST MUSEUM

Founded in 1733, The Charleston Museum is celebrated as America’s first. The museum masterfully interprets the cultural and natural history of the Charleston area with hands-on exhibits that include fossils, colonial clothing and more. Be sure to visit The Charleston Museum store on the way out for special Lowcountry souvenirs.

AMERICA'S FIRST MUNICIPAL COLLEGE

The College of Charleston is the oldest municipal college in America, chartered in 1773. Take a stroll or ride a bicycle through the beautiful campus grounds, which you may recognize from Allie's college scenes in the blockbuster hit "The Notebook." Randolph Hall is where Savannah penned letters in "Dear John," and where the General Assembly convened in "The Patriot."

(ONE OF THE) OLDEST CITY MARKETS IN AMERICA

Erected in 1804, the Charleston City Market exists as one of the oldest public markets in the United States. Comprised of four historic buildings that span more than 30,000 square feet, the Charleston City Market is home to 285 local vendors, including 56 artisans who weave sweetgrass baskets, one of the region’s prized indigenous crafts.

AMERICA'S FIRST THEATRE

America’s first theatre, located in the heart of downtown Charleston, is home to the city’s finest cultural institutions including Spoleto Festival USA and the MOJA Arts Festival. Charleston Stage, the theatre company in residence at Dock Street Theatre, presents a full season of plays each year.

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