From the historic cobblestoned streets and antebellum architecture to the picturesque beaches and scenic parks, beautiful Charleston, SC promises its visitors a wholly fulfilling experience steeped in southern charm. This hidden gem of a city offers elegant, modern hotels, farm-to-table restaurants and cafés, chic boutiques, and endless outdoor activities for every type of wellness traveller. Start planning your Charleston itinerary by checking out our ten favourite ways to live well in the Holy City.
1. Stretch Your Legs
Skip the carriage ride and opt instead to see the Holy city on foot! Whether you prefer to walk with a group or meander through beautiful and historic Charleston on a self-guided tour, you'll end your day with an appreciation for the landmarks and legends that make this coastal town unique. There are walking tours for every type of traveller: check out Charleston Food Tours to get an exclusive look into the gourmet kitchens of some of Charleston's best restaurants, or Bulldog Tours for a history-packed walk with a spooky twist!
2. Eat Local
Make time to grab lunch or dinner at one of Charleston's many farm-to-table restaurants. Sustainability is quickly becoming the standard in the Holy City, and it shows in the growing number of menu options available that have been made from locally sourced ingredients. For brunch, head just outside of the King Street Historic District to try Shrimp & Grits made using local Geechie Boy Stone-Ground Grits and Carolina Heritage Farms bacon at The Grocery. For dinner, make your way to the Westside to have a Bison Burger at Harold's Cabin, a neighbourhood grocery from the 1920s that's been restored and reimagined for today. Don't forget to browse locally made ingredients and provisions available in the mercantile area of the restaurant.
3. Visit the Market
If you're in Charleston anytime from April 9th through November 26th, be sure to plan a trip to the Charleston Farmer's Market. Held every Saturday from 8am to 2pm, the farmer's market features in-season produce from local growers and uniquely crafted items from local artists and artisans.
4. Go with the Flow
Venture off the peninsula for yoga on Folly Beach with Serenity Tree Yoga. Offering Private lessons and donation-based group classes, Serenity Tree aims to guide you to "calm amongst the chaos" in one of the most beautiful settings in the Charleston area. Yogis looking for an added challenge should try a stand-up paddleboard lesson on Charleston's waterways and tidal flats with Charleston SUP Safaris. Each 1.5-hour class focuses on balance through movement in the striking natural scenery of the Lowcountry.
5. Pressed for Time?
Skip fast food, and get your fresh juice fix at one of Charleston's favourite purveyors of high-quality natural juices. Beech, located on historic King Street, offers a wide selection of pressed juices and smoothies as well as freshly made wraps, acai bowls, and locally brewed kombucha. Head over to Mt. Pleasant and visit Blend Juice Bar to try a Fruit Ninja or Oatmeal Cookie smoothie. Blend also offers fresh pressed juice and elixir shots made using ingredients sourced locally whenever possible.
6. Retail Therapy
Shopping may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider your daily workout routine, but Charleston's historic King Street features over a mile of walkable designer shops, boutiques, big name brands, and art galleries with unique items for every taste. Begin your browsing at Ibu on King Street, where you'll find luxury handmade garments created by women artists from around the world who are working toward economic self-sufficiency by sharing their art.
7. A Walk in the Park
Charleston's mostly mild weather means you'll have ample opportunity to spend time outdoors. Rent a paddleboat or bicycle at Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant, and explore rivers and sandy trails. Scale the huge outdoor climbing wall or play a round of disc golf at James Island County Park on James Island. All of Charleston's county parks feature beautiful, sweeping views of the area's marshes and wildlife.
8. Relax and Rejuvenate
Unwind and relax with a visit to the Belmond Spa at the Charleston Place hotel. Designed to be an oasis of calm amid the hustle and bustle of historic downtown Charleston, the Belmond is the perfect setting to indulge in a deep tissue massage, body scrub, or restorative facial.
9. Pedal to the Metal
Slightly faster than walking, but not so fast that you'll miss any of the iconic cobblestones or renowned historic architecture along your path, Holy Spokes Bike Share is now in the area and has over 20 bike hubs where you can use the app or kiosk to pick up a bike for daily rentals. Be sure to cross the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge before calling it a day. Spanning the Charleston Harbor, it's the largest cable stay bridge in the US. This makes is a challenge to crest, but we know you'll agree that the stunning panoramic views from the top are well worth the work it takes to get there.
10. Find your Zen
Join the Still Soul Studio on Upper King Street to learn the basics of meditation, or deepen and expand your practice in a peaceful zen environment. Founded in 1681, the Circular Congregational Church is known for its superior acoustics, making it the perfect setting to clear your mind and open your heart.