Charleston is America’s most beautifully preserved architectural and historic treasure, with a rich, 300-year history just waiting to be discovered. Hundreds of significant and lovingly preserved structures from the colonial and antebellum periods grace the historic district’s narrow streets. Church bells toll the hour as history unfolds around each and every corner. In no other place are the past and present more intertwined.
The entire Charleston area is a never-ending feast for the senses, with history serving as the main course. Visit Charles Towne Landing, the site where the original settlement was established in 1670. Explore the Charleston Museum, our nation’s first museum, or Patriot’s Point, the world’s largest naval and maritime museum and home of World War II’s Fighting Lady, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown. Drive to Fort Moultrie, scene of the first decisive American victory of the American Revolution, and a mainstay of shore defense until 1947. Take a scenic boat tour to Fort Sumter, the man-made island fortress where the Civil War began.
World-famous plantations and gardens offer visitors a fascinating glimpse into life during the antebellum era. Informative tours of the Charleston area are offered daily and are a must for all who want to truly appreciate this living museum. The area’s lush sea islands and sun-drenched beaches offer as much recreation or relaxation as your heart desires. Golf is on a world-class level, with challenging courses reflecting the natural beauty of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Charter fishing on the Gulf stream or inshore waters is readily available.
Shopping is one of our vistors’ most passionate pursuits. Marvel at native sweetgrass baskets and handmade crafts found in Charleston’s famous open-air market, or browse through inviting boutiques, art galleries and antique shops found throughout the Charleston area.
When it comes to dining, your biggest decision may be just what to try next. Every meal is a celebration of tastes, with a variety that ranges from traditional oyster roasts to fine continental dining. If festivals strike your fancy, you have come to the right place. You will be dazzled by a diverse array of special events. At any time of year, you will always find more to see, do and experience than you ever imagined ... in a place where warm welcomes have been a treasured tradition for over 300 years.
A Brief History...
Founded and settled by English colonists in 1670, Charleston grew from a colonial seaport to a wealthy city by the mid-eighteenth century. Through the mid-nineteenth century, Charleston’s economy prospered due to its busy seaport and the cultivation of rice, cotton, and indigo.
In April of 1861, Confederate soldiers fired on Union-occupied Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, thus signaling the beginning of the Civil War. Charleston was slow to recover from the devastation of the war. However, its pace of recovery became the foundation of the City’s greatest asset – its vast inventory of historically significant architecture. Short on capital after the war, Charleston was forced to repair its existing damaged buildings instead of replacing them.
After the war, the City gradually lessened its dependence on agriculture and rebuilt its economy through trade and industry. Construction of the Navy Yard in 1904, just north of the City’s boundaries, pushed Charleston vigorously into the twentieth century. During the first few decades of the 1900’s, industrial and port activities increased dramatically. Later, major sources of capital came from the Charleston Naval Base, the area’s medical industry and the tourism industry. Today approximately 4.51 million people visit our city annually generating an estimated economic impact of $3.22 billion.
America's Top City (Conde Nast Traveler, October, 2014)
The Best Cities in North America (Conde' Nast Traveler, July 2015)
America's Top City (Travel and Leisure, July 2015)