No Lowcountry vacation is complete without a trip to one of Charleston’s beautiful nearby beaches. Each beach has its own distinct charm, but all are guaranteed to make a great day trip and memory. Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and Folly Beach are all barrier islands located about 15 minutes from the downtown area. The popular summer days and even the months surrounding it offer perfect temperatures for swimming. Even in the winter, you can find people sun bathing and combing the sand. The waters are known for being fairly mild with extremely gradual slopes. Water coverage does, without a doubt, vary on the low and high tide times so check your charts. If you fear little space to move and high-rise hotels, then you can breathe a sigh of relief; all three beaches, like the rest of downtown, pride themselves on staying laid back and local.
Sullivan’s Island is the smallest and most natural of the surrounding beaches. Located at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, the island is a mix between ultimate relaxation, natural landscapes, vibrant restaurants and shopping scene, and a touch of history. The views of Fort Sumter, Morris Island Lighthouse, and the Battery are unparalleled, and the occasional meandering cruise line is always a spectacle.
Concierge Tip: Visit Fort Moultrie on the eastern end of Sullivan’s Island for an unforgettable American history lesson.
Folly Beach is a great example of the classic beach town. The surfer-esque style is home to some of the best riding in the area, and great for those who enjoy some lively company. The beach stretches six miles, and has plenty of space to find a more secluded spot. While your heading north away from the crowd, you will arrive at what is called the Washout, named for the damage struck to the area from Hurricane Hugo in the late 80’s. If you brought your surfboard, then this is the place to use it. The area is most consistent in producing solid waves for more experienced riders. Just outside of Folly Beach the area is dotted with fun restaurants and bars, perfect for post beach drinks and appetizers.
Concierge Tip: Visit the Folly Beach County Park at the west end of Folly Beach. It features dressing areas, outdoor showers, and a swimming area with lifeguards on duty. Perfect for kids!
Isle of Palms, also known as IOP, boasts beautiful white sand beaches and luxurious waterfront homes. The beach area is about the same size as Folly, and has great places to rent kayaks, boats, stand up paddleboards and even charters. One major convenience of IOP are the public bathrooms, rinsing areas, and parking. After a day at the beach, visit some of the local restaurants, bars, and shops.
Concierge Tip: Keep up with the Isle of Palms Turtle Team for updates on where to search for nests and tracks. Take a look at the photo gallery as well to see the most recent turtle hatchings.
All three beaches are sure to please any visitor, with their laid back Southern attitude, and beautiful Charleston sun. Just remember to leave the alcohol at home and be mindful of your pets, and you are sure to have a great time. While the beaches are a quick drive from the hotel, transportation to and from can be arranged by our masterful concierge team.
The South is a glorious place in springtime, and captivating Charleston, drenched in history and culture is the shining star. The flowers are in brightly-colored bloom, fragrance of mouthwatering cuisine wafts through the air and the temperature hangs in the 80s beneath sunny skies. Here is a list of festivals to help you discover all that Charleston has to offer this spring.
Charleston Wine + Food
Embark on a culinary journey during the 15th annual Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Surround yourself with a cornucopia of savory flavors as you experience events, demonstrations and parties, infusing world class cuisine with Southern charm and culture. Enjoy delectable moments with the country’s top chefs, winemakers, beverage experts, storytellers, artisans, and more. With a five-day menu of more than 100 events, Charleston transforms into a cultural buffet sure to please any palate. Feast your senses March 4-8.
Festival of Houses and Gardens
Set within the city’s historic district, this series of award-winning tours showcases Charleston’s distinctive architecture, art, gardens and culture. Festival attendees enjoy the rare opportunity to go inside approximately 130 private historic houses as well as distinctive gardens and notable properties. For 70 years, this festival has been educating those who wonder what treasures dwell behind Charleston’s magnificent carved doors and intricate wrought iron gates. Explore Charleston’s rich history and culture from March 11 to April 18.
Cooper River Bridge Run
Lace up your running shoes for the 43rd Annual Cooper River Bridge Run. One of the world’s largest 10K runs, people of all ages and fitness levels put their strengths to the test. The race course begins in Mt. Pleasant on Coleman Boulevard, crosses the beautiful Cooper River Bridge and finishes in downtown Charleston. Get filled with the feeling of pure adrenaline by participating in this healthy and fun event. The Cooper River Bridge Run will take place on April 4.
Volvo Car Open
Attracting an average of 90,000 attendees and more than 70 of the world’s top tennis players, the Volvo Car Open is one of the hottest tickets in professional sports. Celebrating its 20th year, the nine-day event is the largest women’s-only tennis competition in the world, but is more than just a tournament. During the week fans are entertained with a variety of festival-like activities such as elevated Lowcountry dining, live music & special performances, shopping and more. Game, set, match is schedule the first two weekends of April*.
*2020 Volvo Car Open has been canceled.
Spoleto Festival USA
Since 1977, this acclaimed arts festival has illuminated the city of Charleston with performances by talented artists from around the world. For 17 days, participants delve into a wonderland of art, delighting in more than 150 performances of opera, dance, theater, classical music and jazz. Now approaching its 44th season, Spoleto Festival USA is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival. Be thrilled May 22-June 7.
Produced by the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs, this companion festival is the perfect complement to Spoleto Festival USA. Running simultaneously as Spoleto, visitors are introduced to artists primarily of the Southeast region. Visual arts exhibits, classical music, jazz, dance, theatre, poetry readings, children’s activities, choral music, ethnic cultural presentations, crafts and film are all to be expected May 22 to June 7.
Spring is the perfect time to visit Charleston, and with special event packages available, Belmond Charleston Place will place all the many culinary, fashion, and artistic wonders Charleston has to offer, right at your fingertips.