Charleston, SC Travel Guide: Must-See Attractions, Restaurants, and Activities


Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and southern charm, Charleston, SC is the ideal destination for virtually every travel enthusiast.  When I visited the city last year, I was already planning a way to get back to the area. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or celebrating an upcoming graduation with your high school senior, Charleston has something special for everyone. Here’s my Charleston, SC travel guide to help you plan your South Carolina adventure!

Travel Photographer, Kellie of Kellie Rochelle Photography, is pictured alongside her friend & fellow photog wearing fun sunglasses in the back of The Pink Figgy next to a pink house on Rainbow Row in Charleston SC.

Best Charleston SC Restaurants to Try


Located in a historic home in downtown Charleston, Husk offers traditional Southern food with a modern twist. Their dishes are made from ingredients sourced from local South Carolina farms.   Be sure to head to the bar & patio in the separate kitchen house for classic cocktails and appetizers!


This farm-to-table restaurant is a favorite among locals for it’s fresh, seasonal ingredients.  Fig’s dishes are a nod to life in Lowcountry with selections ranging from fresh seafood to pork schnitzel (as of June 2024, their menu is updated regularly.) Perfect for a romantic anniversary dinner!

Lewis Barbecue

For a more casual vibe, head to Lewis Barbecue. Their Texas-style brisket is legendary, and the outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying the South Carolina weather. You’ve not lived until you’ve tried real-deal Southern barbecue and all of the irresistible sides to go along with it!


If you love Greek or Mediterranean food, you’ve got to try Stella’s while you’re in the neighborhood!  The menu is comprised of authentic Mediterranean comfort food you would find in every Greek home.

Travel Photographer, Kellie Rochelle Photography, is pictured smiling in The Pink Figgy in Charleston, SC during a branding photo session on Rainbow Row.

Romantic Things to Do in Charleston, SC

Carriage Ride through Historic Downtown

Take in the history of downtown Charleston on a horse-drawn carriage ride with Old South Carriage. Your guide will teach you about some of the city’s most historic landmarks in an entertaining way.  There is an option for a completely private tour or you can bring the entire family along for the ride!

Sunset Sail on the Schooner Pride

Experience breathtaking sunsets on Charleston Harbor aboard the Schooner Pride, Charleston’s only 3-mast sailboat.  The views are unlike any other & the epitome of a romantic Southern evening!

Row through Cypress Gardens

Remember the scene in The Notebook when Noah takes Allie on his rowboat?  That was filmed at Cypress Gardens in Charleston & you can do it too! Spend the day on a guided boat tour of the Cypress-lined swamp, watching the native wildlife of the area. This location is about a 40-minute drive outside the city, but well worth this unique experience.

Two photographers laughing and wearing fun sunglasses during a branding photoshoot are pictured in a small, pink convertible in downtown Charleston.

Family-Friendly Activities in Charleston SC

South Carolina Aquarium

 Located on the historic Charleston Harbor, South Carolina Aquarium features a variety of marine life and interactive exhibits that kids (and adults!) will love. Hang out at the touch tank for a hands-on experience with some of the marine life or head over to the Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery to take a peek at some of the sea turtles the staff are rehabilitating.

Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park is perfect for a family day out with its splash fountains, swings, and stunning views of the harbor. Don’t forget to take a family photo by the iconic Pineapple Fountain.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Located aboard the USS Yorktown, Patriots Point is an educational and exciting experience for both kids and adults. This hands-on history lesson gives visitors a unique look at several naval exhibits and includes a medal of honor museum.

Kellie of Kellie Rochelle Photography is pictured in the front seat of a small pink convertible next to a palm tree in South Carolina during a photography retreat in Charleston.

Top Photo Spots in Charleston SC

Rainbow Row

These colorful historic houses on East Bay Street make for a perfect backdrop. Early morning is the best time to avoid the crowds, but it’s totally worth the visit! When I was in Charleston last year, a friend and I did a joint branding session at Rainbow Row, and I’m still loving the colorful backdrop.  I have so many ideas for senior photos, couples, or maternity too!  It’s very unique and versatile.

White Point Garden

White Point Garden is a photography dream with all of the features this Charleston park offers! From the gazebo at its center to the centuries-old oaks, it’s a picturesque area in downtown Charleston with views of historical landmarks & monuments you won’t find elsewhere. 

Angel Oak Tree

Just outside Charleston, Angel Oak Tree, a Southern live oak, is estimated to be over 400 years old and is a breathtaking spot for photos. It’s a sight to behold and considered the largest live Oak east of the Mississippi.

Two photographers are pictured in downtown Charleston wearing sunglasses beneath palm trees during a shared photoshoot.

Outdoor Activities in Charleston SC

Folly Beach

Folly Beach is a great spot for surfing, paddleboarding, and simply soaking up the sun with stunning views of the ocean.  Just outside Charleston, this beach is full of great restaurants and the options are endless for fun in the sun.  You may even catch a festival while you’re there!

Charleston Tea Garden

Take a tour of the only tea plantation in North America, Charleston Tea Garden. The scenic drive out to Wadmalaw Island is worth it. You can even tour the production building while you’re there.  The best part?  There’s no admission fee!

Kayaking on Shem Creek

Go on a guided kayak expedition along Shem Creek for a fun history lesson while you enjoy views from the water and take in the wildlife.  You’ll likely even see a dolphin or two!

A photo from a trip to Charleston, SC is shown, featuring houses in the background on Rainbow Row, a top photo location for the Charleston area.

Charleston, SC Photoshoot

In September, this North Dakota photographer will be flying back to Charleston for another visit & a photoshoot!  Whether you’re looking for unique engagement photos, you want senior photos unlike any others, or you’re planning a babymoon and want photos to celebrate, Charleston makes for such a beautiful backdrop for photos.  I’ll have time for one -maybe two- sessions during my stay.  Professional photos are the ultimate way to be fully present during a vacation, allow me the honor of preserving your memories for years to come!

North Dakota Travel Photographer

Hey, I’m Kellie, a family, senior, and brand photographer serving Williston, ND and beyond! I provide my clients authentic, heartfelt, inspirational photos that tell their stories through my lens.  Are you envisioning photos that celebrate a special occasion in a unique way?  Let’s make it happen!  Take a look at my portfolio and let’s chat about how we can make your dream photos a reality.  Want some inspiration in the meantime?  Be sure to follow me on Pinterest or come say hi on IG, FB, and TikTok! 

If you enjoyed this post, check out these related blogs:
Charleston Branding Session
Group Travel Photography Session

share on

you love our work and you're

Ready to work together?

I can’t wait to hear from you!

book now