Charleston, SC - (see Map)

107 Miles 2 Hours

Website: http://www.charleston.com/

Charleston is the oldest and second-largest city in the southeastern State of South Carolina. Founded and settled by English colonists in 1670, Charleston grew from a colonial seaport to a wealthy city. Its 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. After the defeat of the Confederacy, the war had shattered the prosperity of the antebellum city. Short on funds, Charleston was forced to repair its existing damaged buildings rather than replacing them.

Today Charleston is considered "the most polite and hospitable city in American. It is known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants and mannerly people. Charleston has 54 hotels, 45 vacation rentals and 742 restaurants.

Charleston has some of the most gorgeous historic churches. These churches were built around the 1700s and 1800s representing all religious cultures. Another place of interest is the Historic House Museums. They include the Aiken-Rhett House, Calhoun Mansion, Edmondston-Alston House, Thomas Elfe House, Heyward-Washington House, Joseph Manigault House and the Nathaniel Russell House. These are some of the most beautiful antebellum homes which were built between 1772 and 1818.

There are many types of tours ranging from Carriage Tours, Flying Tours, Boat Tours and Dinner Cruises, Walking Tours, Ghost Tours and Special Interest Tours. Other activities include Biking, Kayaking and Canoeing.

Charleston also offers some beautiful plantations: Boone Hall, Middleton Places, Drayton Hall, and Magnolia Plantations & Gardens.

The Historic Charleston Market is the oldest open-air market and the most frequently visited site located in the French Quarter. The Historic Charleston Market has long been home to a wide variety vendors who sell hand woven baskets, foodstuffs, jewelry, silver, pottery, leather goods, clothing, photography, artwork and all varieties of notions and novelties.

Don't forget to visit the Forts and National Historic Sites. Charleston is where the American Civil War began at Fort Sumter; the first fort on Sullivan's Island Fort Moultrie; the French and Indian War, American Revolution, and War of 1812 Fort Johnson and Battery Wagner. Also located across the river is Patriots Point. Patriots Point is home to the USS Yorktown, USS Clamagore and USS Laffey.