While living in Charleston, South Carolina, can seem like a vacation in itself, part of the magic of the area is its central location to so many great places. The cobblestone streets of Charleston can be hard to top, but you’ll find no shortage of charming destinations just a short drive from the city. From scenic coastal escapes to historic landmarks, you’ll find plenty of options for day trip destinations.

To help you find your next adventure after settling into your new home in Charleston, we’ve compiled a list of great day trip destinations. It’s quite possible you’ll find yourself falling in love with the Lowcountry all over again.

Savannah, Georgia

Travel time from Charleston: 2 hours

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone

This Southern gem of a city is lined with moss-draped oak trees and its own cobblestone streets. Savannah, GA, is every bit as beautiful as it is steeped in Southern hospitality and rich history.

You can stroll through one of the many historic squares to glimpse some of the meticulously well-preserved architecture. Each historic district contains stately mansions, charming bed and breakfasts, and towering churches.

There are plenty of things to do in the streets of Savannah. You can go sightseeing in a horse-drawn carriage, take a riverboat cruise, and enjoy a delicious dinner. If you enjoy the nightlight scene, you can sample some drinks and live entertainment in the city market. Thrill-seekers will enjoy a visit to the eerily beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery.

You’ll also find no shortage of culinary delights in Savannah. Savannah offers everything from Southern traditions like fried green tomatoes and low country boils to the indulgent flavors of five-star dining.

Beaufort, South Carolina

Travel time from Charleston: 1.5 hours

Photo Credit: Carrie A Hanrahan

Nestled on Port Royal Island, surrounded by lush marshes and the scenic Beaufort River, you’ll find the quaint bespoke coastal town of Beaufort. This small town is one of the oldest in South Carolina, and its streets are lined with antebellum charm. You’ll find stylish shops, historic mansions, and a thriving art scene with numerous galleries and studios throughout the town.

Beaufort offers several tours, including horse-drawn carriage, boat, and even golf cart tours. These tours offer a glimpse into this southern town’s storied history while providing a glimpse of the picturesque views abundant in the area.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Travel time from Charleston: 2 hours

Photo Credit: Christian A Perry

Hilton Head Island, SC, has pristine beaches and luxurious amenities. From spa facilities to world-class golf courses, this Southern island is the ultimate in relaxation.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also find no shortage of adventures in the wild of Hilton Head. You can kayak, paddleboarding through scenic marshes, or bike along scenic trails. No matter the route you choose, you will surely be surrounded by the peace and tranquility that comes from being connected to nature.

If you’re looking for the perfect beach area, Hilton Head offers 12 miles of coastal paradise. Spend your day building sandcastles, catching waves, or simply relaxing in the sun. Any day spent on the coast of Hilton Head is sure to be a good one!

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Travel time from Charleston: 25 minutes

Photo Credit: Thomas Trompeter

On the outskirts of northern Charleston you’ll find the historic Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. This 464-acre estate has been owned by the same family since the 1700s. Great care has been taken to restore much of the grounds, including the plantation house that burned during the Civil War. The surrounding slave cabins have been restored to reflect the time before the Civil War as representative of the Old South.

While rich history is abundant at Magnolia Plantation, the gardens are the true treasure of the expansive grounds. As America's oldest formal gardens, these gardens have been attracting visitors since the 1870s. Across the grounds, you’ll encounter 66 acres of beautiful botanical gardens.

In addition to the garden, you’ll find many other paths to explore, including a historic river boardwalk along the Ashley River and through the bamboo garden. You can also visit the Wildlife Center to learn about rescued wildlife that represents the native species of the area.

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Travel time from Charleston: 40 minutes

Photo Credit: JASON TENCH

If tranquil shores with unspoiled beaches call to you, you will want to make the trip to Kiawah Island, SC. This barrier island, just east of Wadmalaw Island, has plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and is a favorite spot for golf enthusiasts and fishermen.

Kiawah Island boasts several coastal habitats, including maritime forests, marshes, and dunes. There are many different nature trails available to hike, along which you may spot some of the island’s abundant native wildlife. A large population of alligators call this small island home!

When the hustle and bustle of the city streets of the Holy City Charleston start to wear you down, a day trip to Kiawah Island will provide you with some relaxation and rejuvenation.

Congaree National Park

Travel time from Charleston: 2 hours

Photo Credit: EWY Media

When a hike through the woods is what you need to clear your head, you’ll want to visit Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC.

This park contains an ancient hardwood forest, the largest and oldest of the bottomland hardwood forests in the United States. A hike along one of the park's many trails will reveal a beautiful canopy of towering trees and a diverse display of native species.

Inside the park, you’ll also find a section of the Congaree River. You can experience the river by kayak or canoe, and guided canoe tours are available for those interested in learning more about the area.

Folly Beach

Travel time from Charleston: 15 minutes

Photo Credit: Margaret.Wiktor

Folly Beach is just a quick drive from downtown Charleston if you’ve only got time for a short day trip. This laid-back coastal town attracts surfers from across the nation who come to ride the waves of the Atlantic.

You can spend the day sunbathing and watching surfers on the sandy shores of the beach and enjoy lunch at one of their many oceanfront restaurants. Afterward, stroll along Folly Beach Pier and cast a line, and catch your dinner. If you hang around later in the day, you’ll discover a vibrant nightlife scene with many options for live music and refreshing cocktails.

Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens

Travel time from Charleston: 30 minutes

Photo Credit: Vollverglasung

History buffs will enjoy a visit to Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. Upon arrival, you’re greeted by a stunning row of majestic, moss-draped oaks leading to the meticulously preserved grounds and a grand plantation house. This marvel of Southern architecture was built in 1861 and is one of America’s oldest working plantations.

In addition to tours of the plantation home, Boone Hall offers exhibits and live presentations showcasing the Gullah culture, a unique culture adopted by African slaves who once worked the farm. The slave cabins have been preserved and are open for tours. On the grounds, you’ll also find a spectacular garden and a beautiful butterfly pavilion.

Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Travel time from Charleston: 15 minutes

Photo Credit: Nataliya Hora

Located in Mount Pleasant, SC, off the shores of Charleston Harbor, this interactive museum offers a glimpse into America’s naval and maritime history.

Patriot’s Point harbors three impressive vessels that played significant roles in wars throughout American history. Visitors can explore the ships, museums, and memorial exhibits with a purchased ticket.

Guided tours are also available in addition to unique interactive experiences. Guests are invited to fly a Navy Aircraft through a flight simulation. You can also participate in a Flight Academy to further test your skills as a naval pilot!

Edisto Island

Travel time from Charleston: 1.1 hours

Photo Credit: Jon Bilous

About an hour outside of Charleston, you’ll find Edisto Island, one of South Carolina’s many sea islands, a string of barrier islands spanning much of the SC coast.

This island is known for its small town charm, delicious seafood, and natural beauty. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Edisto Beach State Park, where they can hike, fish, or enjoy the park's unspoiled beaches.

The island also offers several historic sites, including Edisto Island Museum and Botany Bay Plantation. These sites explore the rich cultural heritage of the island.

Charleston Tea Plantation

Travel time from Charleston: 40 minutes

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Hovey

The Charleston Tea Plantation is a historic site and is the only working tea plantation in the United States. You can take a trolley tour through the expansive tea field or stroll along the scenic walking trails and admire the area's natural beauty.

Inside the gift shop, visitors can sample a variety of freshly brewed teas. After picking a favorite, you can stock up on your favorite teas and take a piece of the plantation home.

Huntington Beach State Park

Travel time from Charleston: 1.5 hours

Photo Credit: MarynaG

Huntington Beach State Park is located north of Charleston in Murrells Inlet, SC. This park offers expansive beaches, hiking and biking trails, and freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities.

History buffs will enjoy a visit to Atalaya. This Spanish-style castle was built in 1931 by Archer and Anna Huntington, local philanthropists famous for their arts and conservation contribution to the area.

Myrtle Beach

Travel time from Charleston: 2.25 hours

Photo Credit: Kevin Ruck

If endless entertainment is on the agenda, Myrtle Beach makes the perfect day trip. This seaside city offers a treasure trove of entertainment options. Myrtle Beach has everything from wax museums to aquariums full of deep sea wonders to thrilling amusement park rides.

You’ll also find a plethora of food and dining options. Broadway on the Beach offers over 100 shops and more than 20 restaurants. Here you’ll also discover several state-of-the-art theaters and additional fun excursions like helicopter rides and go-kart tracks.

Of course, if you’re after sun and sand, you’ll find no shortage of that at Myrtle Beach. You can park your toes in the sand and enjoy the miles of sandy shores in this oceanfront city. You can also find several options for water sport equipment rentals, from jet skis to banana boats.

Hit the Road for a New Adventure

Whether you’ve called Charleston home for years or are looking to move into the area, you’ll find no shortage of incredible weekend getaways and road trip opportunities within a short drive of the city. From a hike through the woods to a day where you step back and immerse yourself in southern history, you will surely find your ultimate adventure close by!

For guidance on finding the perfect home in Charleston, NV Realty is here to guide you!

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