Charleston, South Carolina: A 48-Hour Travel Guide

Do you have an upcoming trip with 48 hours in Charleston, South Carolina scheduled? Trying to figure out how to make the most of it? We did just that, and have numerous tips to share with you for a culturally rich and authentically local experience.

We hit the road from Atlanta, Georgia to Charleston, SC on a Friday morning. We made the drive in just about 5 hours, and thanks to our 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid – we only used half a tank upon arriving in the coastal town, which equated to about $20 dollars worth of gas!

I want to highlight this cost because if you live in driving distance of Charleston, it’s really the perfect inexpensive weekend getaway.

48 Hours in Charleston, South Carolina

48 Hours in Charleston, South Carolina

Prior to our 48-hour road trip to Charleston, my only knowledge of the city was that it is similar to Savannah, Georgia. The look and feel of the cities are definitely alike. However, Charleston has more of a Spanish vibe to it. You’ll find the same Southern hospitality there as in Savannah, yet you kind of feel like you’re in Europe. All of this to say, you’ll fall in love.

Where to Stay in Charleston, SC

We stayed at Belmond Charleston Place during our 48 hours in Charleston. It’s located in a convenient area of the city, and an easy walking distance to some of the best shopping, dining, and attractions that the city has to offer. The hotel has a beautiful Georgian-feel paired with a very attentive staff. We absolutely loved our stay there.

If you stay at Charleston Place, make sure you treat yourself to room service one morning. I haven’t had a morning as relaxed in that one in quite some time. I enjoyed every moment of that self-care.

Charleston Place Room Service

When to Visit Charleston, SC

If you have flexibility in the time of year that you visit, I recommend going in March. While the weather can always change, generally speaking, it will be warmer than the winter months and not quite as hot as it will be in the upcoming spring and summer months. Weather aside, there’s another reason why you should consider March…

Charleston Wine + Food Festival

The Charleston Wine + Food Festival is an absolute delight. In 2020, they celebrated their 15th year of the festival, which champions the region’s unique food and beverage offerings through world-renowned culinary experiences. The annual event brings top chefs, winemakers, authors, storytellers, artisans, and food enthusiasts from around the globe for a five-day event that spans the first full weekend each March.

And aside from the tasting tents, this festival also offers some incredible events where you get to know the chefs and the stories behind their dishes more intimately. We took part in a “Breaking Bread” event with James Beard Award semifinalist Reem Assil of Reem’s in California. Reem is a Palestinian-Syrian chef, who combines her love of baking with her heritage.

Charleston Wine + Food Festival

Charleston Wine + Food Festival

One of the best ways to truly experience a city’s food scene is to visit during a food and wine festival. You can sample tasty offerings from numerous local restaurants, meet locals, and soak up the city’s vibe.

So what was our favorite dish from the festival? I would have to award that to Little Jack’s Tavern for one incredibly tasty house-made tavern burger. Regardless of the time of year you visit Charleston, a stop by Little Jack’s Tavern is one I highly recommend.

Charleston Wine + Food Festival

Charleston Walking Tours

Another great way to see Charleston when you’re limited on hours is by doing a walking tour. We had the pleasure of taking one the morning before we went to the food and wine festival. We were able to see and learn about a lot of the city’s history and get in a little exercise before a rather decadent afternoon.

Charleston, SC Walking Tour

Have a Night Out at The Establishment

Charleston, South Carolina is without question a culinary capital. There is no shortage of amazing options when it comes to restaurants, bars, and cafes. That being said, we do have a favorite, and that’s The Establishment.

This restaurant is not only known for fresh and exquisitely prepared seafood, but they also have incredible cocktails, a unique wine offering, live music, and overall, a refined yet relaxed dining atmosphere.

(Our recommendation: An Old Fashioned + Spaghetti with lamb ragout, pecorino toscano, and mint) 

The Establishment - Old Fashioned

Looking for after-dinner drinks? Check out Cane Rhum Bar for a Pina Colada Old Fashioned. You won’t be disappointed.

Visit The Battery

Before we left Charleston on a Sunday afternoon, we took a drive down to The Battery for a stroll. This area has a beautiful backdrop of the harbor as well as some truly remarkable southern-style homes.

The Battery is a landmark that was named for a Civil War coastal defense artillery battery at the site. It’s bordered by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, and it stretches along the lower shores of the Charleston Peninsula. It’s a great area to go jogging, have a picnic, or take a few photos!

2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Fun Road Trip Tip: If you’re headed back to Atlanta from Charleston, and you’re a fan of the brands Anthropologie, Free People, or Urban Outfitters, I encourage you to make a pit stop in Augusta, Georgia at Final Cut. It’s a giant outlet store where samples and overstock from those brands end up (and heavily discounted). It’s always a must-stop for us any time we’re near Augusta, and it never disappoints!

2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Our road trip to Charleston, SC was made possible by our friends at Toyota, who provided our accommodations, entertainment, and a 2020 Camry Hybrid for us to make the journey from Atlanta to Charleston. We had the perfect weekend getaway, and we’re already planning our next trip to the little slice of coastal heaven.


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Emily Sprinkle, also known as Emma Loggins, is a designer, marketer, blogger, and speaker. She is the Editor-In-Chief for Women's Business Daily where she pulls from her experience as the CEO and Director of Strategy for Excite Creative Studios, where she specializes in web development, UI/UX design, social media marketing, and overall strategy for her clients.

Emily has also written for CNN, Autotrader, The Guardian, and is also the Editor-In-Chief for the geek lifestyle site