Growing up in the southern United States, Charleston, South Carolina, has always held a particular spot in my heart. My life has changed a lot since my first time in the city, but Charleston has undoubtedly maintained the charm that I remembered. The cobblestone roads, beautifully restored houses, and tasty restaurants all make this city appealing to visitors. It was recently ranked the World’s Best City by Travel + Leisure. If you’re like me, you love to take pictures of the new cities that you visit. With this in mind, I’m going to be taking you through the most photo-worthy spots in Charleston as well as hopefully inspiring you to visit sometime soon!
1. Rainbow Row
Rainbow Row is a line of colorful historic homes located on E Bay Street. While this is currently one of the most photographed places in Charleston, these houses were left in deteriorating conditions after the Civil War. We have a couple of Charlestonian women to thank for the preservation of the now pastel-colored homes. These ladies, including Susan Pringle Frost and Dorothy Haskell Porcher Legge, bought the houses and decided to paint them using a bright Caribbean color scheme. In the present, Rainbow Row is full of green, pink, purple, blue, and yellow tones, making it one of the most photo-worthy spots in Charleston.
2. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Magnolia Plantation is located approximately a 30-minute drive from Charleston’s Historic District. Furthermore, it is the oldest plantation in the southern United States. Three different houses have been built on the land over time, and the same family (the Draytons) still owns the property after 15 generations! The best part of visiting Magnolia Plantation is, without a doubt, the gardens. They are so beautiful that people have been drawn to the area as tourists since the 1870s. These romantic-style gardens are organized so that, no matter the time of year you visit, you can always find flowers on the grounds. To see what flowers are currently blooming at Magnolia Plantation, click here.
3. Nathaniel Russell House
There are so many gorgeous historic homes in Charleston that it’s often hard to choose which to visit. Of the four homes that I toured, the Nathaniel Russell was by far my favorite. While most houses in the city were built similarly, the NR house was styled after a London townhouse. This causes it to stand out as different from any other construction in Charleston. Nathaniel Russell was extremely wealthy during his lifetime, so his house is anything but plain. Everything from the one-of-a-kind spiral staircase to the brightly-colored walls screams ostentatious. You can find more information here.
4. Edmondston-Alston House
The Edmondston-Alston house was constructed between 1820 and 1828 in a style that is quite typical to this area, the Charleston single house. Nonetheless, this particular home is unique because of its location along the High Battery. The home’s piazza porches allow a stunning view of the waters. I recommend visiting during the holiday season because then you’ll have the opportunity to see the house decked out in all of its Christmas garbs. Not only that, but the Edmondston-Alston house also hosts an event called Christmas 1860 in December. On these special nights, actors in period costumes help you to get a feel for the turbulent events leading up to the Civil War.
5. The Battery
If you think I’m talking about the batteries that run your electronic devices, you haven’t spent much time in Charleston. The battery in this southern city is a defensive sea wall built where the Cooper and Ashley Rivers meet to form the harbor (located on S Battery Street). I’ve always imagined that if I ever lived in Charleston, I would take evening walks along the battery. There is nothing more enjoyable than being able to feel like you’re in a seaside paradise even when you’re actually in a rather large city, and this is what makes Charleston unique. On a warm day, the path along the harbor is brimming with people walking their dogs and enjoying a bit of sunshine.
6. Chalmers Street
Just as in the case of Rainbow Row, Chalmers Street was not always the charming road with vibrant houses that it is today. Initially, this street was lined with pubs as well as the area of the city where slaves were bought and sold. Chalmers Street is still lined with cobblestones that were created from ship ballasts, transporting you back in time as you make your way from one end to another. My personal favorite house on this road has to be the infamous Pink House, located at number 17.
7. The Historic District
While many of the places I have mentioned are within the historic district, the best part of finding photo spots is exploring! Some of my favorite Charleston streets include Tradd Street, Water Street, and Church Street. Make sure to reserve a bit of time during your visit to stroll these areas and see what you find!
Check out my favorite Charleston travel guides below. Click the book cover to see inside!
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