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Charleston is one of the most popular destinations in the southern United States. I’m not at all exaggerating when I say that Charleston stole my heart and that I want to visit again very soon.
Actually, if I was able to travel to Charleston once a month, I’d totally do it.
As you stroll through Charleston’s colorful and sophisticated historic district, the buzzing and warm atmosphere makes it so, so easy to understand this charming city’s widespread appeal.
Charleston was voted the “Number 1 Travel Destination in the United States” multiple times, after all.
Brightly painted homes. Cobblestone streets. Palm trees standing proud near the shimmering water.
Personally, I’ve always wanted to visit Charleston, ever since I watched Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” episode about the remarkable food scene thriving on seemingly every corner.
And don’t even get me started on the beauty of southern architecture. I want to own a home with a porch just because of Charleston!
So, without a doubt, my solo trip to Charleston was one of the best travel experiences that I’ve ever had in my life.
And … I was surprised I didn’t see more solo travelers on my trip, to tell you the truth! I talked to many cool couples and small groups of friends here, but I didn’t encounter a single person traveling alone.
Come oooooon. Really?
In this post, I hope these reasons help inspire you to book “a plane ticket for one” to South Carolina.
You’ll seriously fall in love with everything that Charleston has to offer visitors. Don’t be scared to go alone.
7 Reasons to Take a Solo Trip to Charleston
Honestly, I could write a book why you should take a solo trip to Charleston, but this is the internet and no one has time for a novel.
In this post, I mostly focus on Charleston’s fantastic tourism infrastructure, safety, and food.
Eating Alone is a Friendly & Fun Experience
As you know, I used to have a fear of eating alone in public. This anxious and avoidant behavior was crippling as a solo traveler, because while I wanted to sample incredible food, I didn’t want to deal with the embarrassment of asking for a “table for one.”
I avoided eating at restaurants for years.
In Charleston, it’s very easy to eat alone and still have a wonderful meal. You simply cannot skip the best restaurants in Charleston.
First of all, the most popular downtown restaurants have a bar where you can order a cocktail and still try the best food options on the menu. So chat with the bartender and forget the awkwardness of solo meals.
Charleston’s most famous restaurants welcome solo diners, too.
For example, Husk Restaurant has a rustic and cozy bar separate from the main dining room. It’s the perfect place to order the famous Husk burger and make conversation with other patrons.
Another popular restaurant, F.I.G., is home to a bar and communal table. I sat at the communal table, and enjoyed pleasant conversation over gnocchi and fine wine.
Ultimately, don’t worry about eating alone on your trip to Charleston. You’ll be just fine.
Charleston’s Food Scene is Incredible
As a solo traveler, you’ll fall deeply in love with Charleston’s food scene, but not only for the ease of sitting at the bar.
You’ll love the food itself.
For instance, I always discover that when I’m eating alone that I focus more on the flavors and textures of a good meal than I would be if I was busy talking with friends or family. Take this time to truly savor your meals.
On my solo trip to Charleston, these delightful food options still stand out in my mind as being exceptionally delicious:
- The Burger at the Bar at Husk
- BBQ Spread at Poogan’s Smokehouse
- Chocolate Chai Donuts at Glazed
- Shrimp and Grits at Slightly North of Broad
- She Crab Soup at 82 Queen
If you can’t decide where you want to eat (I don’t blame you), then I highly recommend doing a three hour food tour of downtown Charleston to sample the best cuisine in the city.
The guide will offer insight on culinary in the South Carolina Lowcountry. And you’ll make even more friends with fellow travelers!
Safety is Not a Problem in Charleston
As a solo female traveler, safety is always at the forefront of my mind. And I’m happy to say that I had very little to worry about in Charleston.
For example, I walked throughout the most popular historic areas – day and night – and didn’t have any problems. No one stopped me to ask for money, nor did I feel uncomfortable in any of the areas of Charleston that I explored on my trip.
As a whole, Charleston is safe compared to other cities in the Deep South.
However, do not throw caution to the winds in Charleston either. As a woman, especially, you should trust your instincts and not worry about being rude to complete strangers. Your physical safety is worth more than rudeness.
Therefore, if you feel unsafe, then duck into a shop or restaurant, or get an Uber to take you to your accommodation.
You’ll also want to consider your safety if you book a solo trip to Charleston in August and September. Those months are smack in the middle of Hurricane Season, which might cause issues considering Charleston is a coastal city.
Last but not least, be careful not to drink too much in Charleston. Yes, this city has spectacular rooftop bars that you should definitely see, such as the one at the Vendue Hotel, but at the time, don’t drink a lot, particularly at night and alone. Know your limits.
Charleston is Very Walkable
I love “walkable cities” as a solo traveler. Not fussing about transportation takes one more task off my plate. And Charleston is the perfect place to use your own two feet to effectively get around.
In particular, if you’re staying in the historic areas, such as Charleston’s French Quarter, then you can easily walk to most of the popular tourist attractions without too much trouble.
Is a car still valuable? Yes, if you want to visit the plantations or beaches or Fort Sumter.
However, it’s easy enough to take an Uber outside of Charleston, and plenty of tours to the top plantations and to Fort Sumter are available for you to book.
Personally, I had a great time aimlessly walking the beautiful streets on my solo trip to Charleston. It seemed like every home had a historical plaque explaining the family’s significance.
Lastly, I would recommend bringing a Charleston guidebook with you, so you’re able to plan out your walking itineraries. You don’t want to miss anything!
Making New Friends is Easy in Charleston
Have you ever heard about Southern hospitality? It is totally a thing in southern cities, such as Savannah, which is another great solo travel destination. And this abundant warmth still exists in Charleston too.
I’ve lived in New Jersey all my life. As a whole, we’re a very reserved and impatient group of people, considering that we’re squished inside the most densely populated state in the entire nation. We don’t have time for chitchat in these parts.
So at first it was surprising to hear people say “good morning” when they passed me in the streets in Charleston! Surprising and lovely!
As a solo traveler, I always found someone to talk to at a bar or a cafe (such as Pounce Cat Cafe). Both tourists and locals alike were welcoming and kind to me, and as a result, I never truly felt alone on my travels in Charleston.
However, pack some of your patience in Charleston too. People will want to talk to you in shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Life moves at a slower pace here than other parts of the United States. Embrace it!
Charleston is an Ideal Place to Spoil Yourself
For me, Charleston was the perfect city to recharge my batteries and give myself a heavy dose of self-love.
I highly recommend treating yourself to a gift on Charleston’s most popular shopping street: King Street.
You’ll find a lot of cool and independent boutiques, as well as other small speciality stores. Charleston is rapidly growing, so it’s important to support the family-run and local businesses that give this city an extra special flair.
For example, I purchased a few totes and books at Blue Bicycle Books, a locally owned used book shop in the heart of the city.
If you’re a traveler with a stressful job, then Charleston will provide you with the perfect pampered getaway!
Lastly, what’s nice about Charleston is you don’t need to take a ton of time off work if you live on the east coast. 3 days in Charleston is the perfect amount of time to see this wonderful destination without feeling too rushed. This is a city made for long weekends.
Affordable Accommodation DOES Exist
At first glance, accommodation in Charleston is quite, uh, expensive.
Charleston’s high rates initially turned me off. Not many people can afford rooms over $300 a night.
However, I eventually figured out a plan to make staying at Charleston feasible. What was that plan? I discovered NotSo Hostel! This cute hostel made visiting Charleston a reality without breaking my bank account (too much).
My Hotel/Hostel Recommendations
- Church Street Inn, from TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com
- Indigo Inn, from TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com
- NotSo Hostel, from TripAdvisor.com
Apartment rentals are available in Charleston, too. Feel free to use my link to receive $55 off your first qualifying stay on AirBnB, which is the biggest resource for renting apartments.
Charleston is truly wonderful, guys. I hope you had a good time reading this post about going on a solo trip to Charleston.
So what about you? Do you plan on taking a solo trip to Charleston? What do you want to see and do on your visit to this incredible city? Share all your thoughts in the comments section.