spring break in Charleston, S.C.
We went on our first “big” trip as a family to Charleston, South Carolina over spring break! It was wonderful. We had planned and looked forward to this trip for over a year, and I’m really sad it’s over!
Charleston is such a beautiful place. Eric and I have been there three times now, and we will definitely keep going back. Our best man and his wife (and their three kids) live in Mount Pleasant, which is a suburb of Charleston. We typically only get to see them once or twice a year for a few hours when they come to Iowa, so it was a delight to get to spend several days with them in their home. Our kids made memories playing in the backyard together, fighting over swords and roasting marshmallows over the fire. And every night after we put them to bed, the adults got to have deep (and not-so-deep) conversations about life, family, faith, etc. Honestly, the slow moments were the best moments … just getting to do life together since we live 1,222 miles apart.
Garrett and Lauren are excellent hosts and made us breakfast every morning and offered to make us dinner every night (one night we did a low country boil at their house which ended up being one of our favorite meals!), but we also got to experience a few of the wonderful restaurants in and around Charleston.
WHERE TO EAT
Home Team BBQ: Any barbecue place that has queso is a winner in my book. Great food and casual atmosphere!
Leon’s Oyster Shop: Confession: we didn’t actually get to eat here. We went, but they were unexpectedly closed due to electrical issues. This is top of my list for next time!
Taco Boy: After learning that Leon’s was closed, this was Plan B, and it saved the day! We sat outside, which I highly recommend as the patio is outstanding! Get the appetizer trio!
Jack’s Cosmic Dogs: We kept driving past this place and were so intrigued! It’s a casual space-themed hot dog/corn dog joint that also serves delicious malts. Very quick and kid-friendly!
Luke ‘n’ Ollie’s Pizzeria: A delicious pizza place near Isle of Palms Beach that serves pizzas and slices (bonus: there’s a Ben & Jerry’s stand right next door!)
Millers All Day: If you like breakfast food, this place is for you! It’s a cute place on King Street that serves breakfast all day. They have a photo booth, too! (For what it’s worth, this was our most expensive meal.)
Minero: Saving the best for last. This was my favorite meal of the trip (if you know me, you know how much I love Mexican food). Everything was tasty and I’m always relieved when we show up somewhere and realize it’s very kid-friendly. Go during Happy Hour for good deals!
Since we were on vacation, we definitely made room for a few treats!
Sugar bakeshop: Great cupcakes, but unfortunately I can’t vouch for anything else as we showed up mid-afternoon and they were already sold out of a lot. It’s a cute little place (emphasis on little)!
Savannah Candy Kitchen: This candy store is right across the street from the Historic Charleston City Market. Our kids were getting a little antsy on our two-mile walk downtown (fortunately they were in a double stroller for most of it) so we popped in quick to get them a treat.
We didn’t make it to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams this time, but I always recommend it!
THINGS TO DO
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum: The first day, we took a tour of the USS Yorktown and USS Laffey (both were built during WWII). Rooney loved following the self-guided tours. I was actually very sad the gift shop closed before we were done because Finch keeps talking about the destroyer we got to tour and it would be the perfect souvenir!
Laurel Hill County Park: One morning we went for a great two- or three-mile walk (with strollers) near our friends’ house. There are a few different trails, a small lake and an oak tree alley that rivals the one at Boone Hall Plantation!
Charleston Fun Park: It rained one afternoon, so we headed to the arcade for a little indoor fun. They also have go karts, a climbing wall, putt-putt golf, bumper cars, mini bowling and a virtual reality roller coaster. A fast way to spend $50! ;)
Isle of Palms Beach: The temp outside was only mid-60s, but we had to take our kids to the beach for the first time! They loved it and it was Rooney’s favorite part of the entire trip. I highly recommend seeing a sunset at the pier!
Rainbow Row: These 14 row houses on East Bay Street are painted bright pastel colors. We bought a souvenir Christmas ornament with these houses on it, so we had to get a picture, too!
Waterfront Park: A gorgeous place to run or walk. The pineapple fountain is so iconic and pretty!
The Battery/White Point Garden: This is another beautiful place to walk, surrounded by green grass; shady oak trees; a gazebo; and several Civil War cannons, monuments and statues.
South of Broad: The houses in this area are just gorgeous and every single alley is photo-worthy. The wisteria at 52 Meeting Street was just starting to bloom when we were there and it smelled so good!
Three things we didn’t do on this trip, but I highly recommend if you’re in the area:
Cypress Gardens: A truly amazing preserve — the guided swamp boat ride through trees and lily pads is really something special. You will see alligators up close! This is where the boat and swans scene was filmed for The Notebook.
Boone Hall Plantation: The Avenue of Oaks you drive through when you arrive is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The mansion here (you can tour the first floor) is Allie’s house in The Notebook.
Seacoast Church: If you’re visiting over the weekend (or first Wednesday of the month), I highly recommend checking out a service at Seacoast!
BEST. TRIP. EVER.
On the way to the airport, I told Eric that we should both to take a bunch of two-second videos that I could mash up into a longer video. He totally nailed it, I added some music, and I have already watched it more times than I can count.
’Til next time, Charleston! I am already making a list for our next visit and would love your recommendations!