Bucket List with Lesley
I’ve visited Charleston on multiple occasions. Once upon a time I dated a guy who went to College of Charleston and even got accepted here myself, but ultimately chose another (and, ahem, better, school nearby 😉 ). Some of my best friends grew up here, and one of them graduated from the Charleston School of Law. Excuses kept coming in for me to return, but my most recent trip had a special spin to it.
Some of you may remember when I took a complete stranger to southeast Asia with me last year for 14 days, and you probably thought I lost my mind…and perhaps I did.
Oops, I did it again when I took yet another stranger with me on a trip to Charleston, South Carolina last week. Like me, Lindsay (pictured bottom left) grew up in Arkansas. She, along with her entire family, has had crazy run ins with cancer on multiple occasions. After Lindsay’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer three different times, Lindsay’s younger sister Devon (pictured bottom right) was also diagnosed as well as Lindsay herself. They underwent double mastectomies only 9 days apart from each other, both coming out stronger than they were before.
I love traveling, I love meeting new people, and I especially love being in the presence of bravery and fearlessness. After my favorite hospital, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, introduced Lindsay and I about a month ago, I knew she’d be the perfect addition to a Charleston trip. The flights were immediately booked and we were pumped to take on the #1 city in the world while spreading breast cancer awareness.
Where to STAY in Charleston
The Inns Charleston graciously hosted our Charleston stay. If you’re visiting Charleston for a wedding, a bachelor/ette party, a cancer-free vacay, or just as a chance to get away from it all, I recommend The Inns because 1) it’s located two blocks from King Street and 2) their collection of Victorian style homes are TOO CUTE and 3) they have full, amazingly stocked kitchens and 4) you can rent them on Airbnb or VRBO and 5) I’m doing a giveaway with them THIS WEEK on my Instagram account so go enter to win now!
What to DO in Charleston
Kayak or paddle board on Shem Creek at sunset with Nature Adventures Outfitters – This was probably my favorite activity while in Charleston. Shem Creek provides the most BEAUTIFUL scenery, not to mention the wildlife jumping and flying past you makes it even more fun. Porpoises and seagulls were e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.
Visit the Angel Oak Tree – I’ve never seen a tree so massive in my entire life. I wanted to climb this thing so badly but alas, Lindsay and I traded scaling trees for tree poses 🙂
Walk the Magnolia and Middleton Plantations – Okay, maybe don’t walk the plantations in 90+ degree weather because let’s be real, you should probably be in a body of water somewhere but man, they were pretty. Pro tip: don’t wear a maxi dress while walking said plantations. You may get attacked by ants that crawl all up and down your dress, causing you to freak out and get naked in a plantation. I’m not saying that happened to me, and I’m not not saying that happened to me….
Sail Charleston with Water Music Charters – Captain Greg is amazing and specializes in bachelorette parties so ladies (and gents), book your ride today 🙂
Bike the Ravenel Bridge – My friend did this last week while in Charleston, and she said it was a slight incline pretty much the entire way. If you’re in for more of a workout and less of a leisurely bike ride, go for it.
Meander your way from the Battery towards Rainbow Row – I just want a big antebellum mansion on the water. Is that too much to ask?! Ahhh, taking in the architecture along the battery was a great way to spend the morning.
Learn how to make Palmetto roses from a local – This isn’t as easy as it may seem, but I can now create a rose from palms and die happy. Score.
Feel the sand beneath your toes at Folly Beach.
Afterwards, Head into Surf Bar (named one of the 50 Best Southern Bars by Garden & Gun) for a refresher where you can write on a dollar bill and staple it to the wall. On second thought, I’m not even entirely sure why we did this. Oh well, wasn’t my dollar 😉
Hit Sullivan’s Beach but don’t miss Home Team BBQ – Go for the beach, stay for the Painkillers…and then you probably won’t remember why you stayed at all, wink wink.
Create your very own progressive dinner – We had another couple join us while in Charleston last week who made their own progressive dinner one night. They started at the Charleston Distillery, then ventured on to the Darling Oyster Bar, off to Prohibition, then Jeni’s Ice Cream, then King’s Cookies the The Watch rooftop. #couplegoalsAF
Peruse the Charleston City Market – I could’ve spent another hour going from stall to stall here. Also, call me crazy but I wanted to purchase the famous grass woven baskets that are popular around Charleston but was highly unaware they went for a pretty penny. I might choose to spend $700 on a plane ticket over a basket right now, but once travel blogging pays off, I’ll be back for you 🙂
Visit the Old Pit Street Bridge – Beautiful spot to watch the sun go down.
Shop King Street – As I window shopped, I could feel my bank account quivering already.
Two Sisters Walking Tour – Charleston is chock full of history, and these women can tell you all about it. Some people choose the ghost tours and some the walking tours…to each their own.
But most importantly, where to EAT in Charleston
167 Raw – We had the pleasure of having Chef Mike come to the Inns to cater a pink themed breast cancer dinner for us on our last evening in town. I also stopped by to see the intimate restaurant on East Bay St and for everyone looking to eat here, expect a wait because this place is definitely loved in Charleston.
Leon’s – Start the night with a frozen gin & tonic or frozé. End the night with oysters or fried chicken.
S.N.O.B. – The acronym from Slightly North of Broad caught my attention as my group and I were meandering East Bay Street. It was definitely up there as favorite meal in Charleston not just because of the food (shrimp and grits come highly recommended here) but because of our lovely waitress Marsha. I had only known her for 5 minutes but already wanted to be her BFF. I hope she somehow reads this and realizes just how much of an asset she is to the restaurant <3
Xiao Bao Biscuit – If you like Asia comfort food and aren’t afraid of spice, this gas station turned restaurant is just for you.
The Daily – Quick breakfast
Hominy Grill – Stay-for-a-while breakfast
Hall’s Chophouse – Good staple steakhouse
Darling Oyster Bar – A must if you’re into oysters
Husk – Charleston’s most talked about eatery
Royal American – hole in the wall bar, but a fun bar indeed
Jeni’s Ice Cream – Nom
Luke’s Craft Pizza – Takeout and damn tasty