Charleston is one of the best cities in America to visit. With its rich history, extensive culinary scene, and proximity to water and beaches, Charleston is somewhere you’ll want to visit time and time again. Before you can enjoy all the things Charleston has to offer, you must figure out where to stay. There are several incredible areas to stay in Charleston, but in this article we’ll focus on our three favorite areas including Downtown, Folly Beach, and Sullivan’s Island. Each of them has something unique to offer.
This Where to Stay in Charleston Guide Features:
- Neighborhood / Area Recommendations with Photos
- Hotel Recommendations
- Vacation Rental Recommendations
- Restaurant & Bar Recommendations
Most visitors stay in the heart of the city in Downtown Charleston. The amount of culinary experiences, shopping destinations, and sightseeing in just the downtown area could keep you busy for months. You’ve probably heard of King Street, which is the road that runs down the center of downtown. King Street has a lot to offer, from some of the best restaurants in the city to antique shops and high-end retailers.
Downtown Charleston has many other gorgeous destinations as well, including The Battery, Waterfront Park, and Rainbow Row. Bulldog Tours offers ghost, food, and history tours that are really fun and informative. We’d also recommend checking out the Historic Charleston City Market and the South Carolina Aquarium. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from, but we’ve listed our very favorite ones below.
Our favorite restaurants and bars in downtown Charleston: Edmund’s Oast, Le Farfalle, Halls Chophouse, Darling Oyster House Bar, The Rarebit, The Gin Joint, The Ordinary, Husk, Leon’s Oyster House, Revelry Brewing, Kudu, and The Citrus Club.
Best Hotels in Downtown Charleston:
- The Spectator
- French Quarter Inn
- Wentworth Mansion
- Ansonborough Inn
- Hotel Bennett
- The Dewberry
- The Restoration
Best Vacation Rentals in Downtown Charleston:
- Charming Studio Apartment – Loft / 1 bath – Sleeps 2 – 200+ Five Star Reviews
- Mid-1700s Carriage House – 2 bedroom / 1.5 bath – Sleeps 4 – 75+ Five Star Reviews
- Two Bedroom on King Street – 2 bedroom / 2 bath – Sleeps 8 – 60+ Five Star Reviews
- Contemporary King Street Apartment – 2 bedroom / 1 bath – Sleeps 6 – 50+ Five Star Reviews
- Charming South Of Broad Kitchen House – 2 bedroom / 2 bath – Sleeps 4 – 50+ Five Star Reviews
- Three Bedroom on East Bay – 3 bedroom / 2 bath – Sleeps 6 – 25+ Five Star Reviews
- Four Bedroom with Parking – 4 bedroom / 2 bath – Sleeps 10 – 30+ Five Star Reviews
Best Bed & Breakfasts in Downtown Charleston:
- Two Meeting Street Inn
- 86 Cannon
- The Governors House Inn
- 21 East Battery
- 1837 Bed & Breakfast
- 22 Charlotte
Photos of Downtown Charleston:
Folly Beach is a laid back beach down about 25 minutes from downtown Charleston. The area is a popular destination for beach vacationers and locals alike. With over 20 restaurants and bars, several shops, and the beach, it’s a guaranteed good time. Just remember, there is no alcohol allowed on the beaches at Folly Beach, so make sure you imbibe before or after your beach day. If you decide you want to paddleboard, Charleston SUP Safaris offers paddleboard rentals, lessons, and tours. Also, Isla Surf School offers surf lessons, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Best Hotels in Folly Beach:
Best Vacation Rentals in Folly Beach:
- Renovated House Four Blocks from the Beach – 2 bedroom / 2 bath – Sleeps 5 – 150+ Five Star Reviews
- Family-friendly Three Bedroom House – 3 bedroom / 2 bath – Sleeps 6 – 60+ Five Star Reviews
- Luxury Home with Ocean Views – 4 bedroom / 3 bath – Sleeps 8 – 20+ Five Star Reviews
Photos of Folly Beach:
Sullivan’s Island is about 20 minutes from downtown Charleston and is another great destination for a beach vacation. This area only allows a limited number of vacation rentals, so you’ll see way more locals than tourists. Sullivan’s Island is also laid back, but definitely has an upscale vibe. There are about a dozen restaurants as well as a few boutiques along Middle Street, the main road on the island. Sealand Adventure Sports is a spot where you can rent bikes, golf carts, paddleboards, surfboards, beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and more. This definitely isn’t a place for big, rowdy groups, and be warned—they have a very strict noise ordinance to protect the permanent residents.
Best Hotels on Sullivan’s Island:
There are no hotels on Sullivan’s Island, which maintains the small, beach town charm. Check out the top vacation rentals below.
Best Vacation Rentals on Sullivan’s Island:
- Oceanfront Luxury Home with a Heated Pool – 5 bedroom / 5.5 bath – Sleeps 12 – 60+ Five Star Reviews
- Six Bedroom Oceanfront Oasis with Pool – 6 bedroom / 5 bath – Sleeps 12 – 60+ Five Star Reviews
- Beachfront Condo – 2 bedroom / 1 bath – Sleeps 4 – 100+ Five Star Reviews
- Island Home with Pool & Hot Tub – 5 bedroom / 3.5 bath – Sleeps 12 – 25+ Five Star Reviews
- Oceanfront House with Pool and Volleyball Court – 6 bedroom / 5.5 bath – Sleeps 12 – 40+ Five Star Reviews
Photos of Sullivan’s Island:
Other great areas to stay near downtown Charleston are Isle of Palms, Seabrook Island, and Kiawah Island.