With its cobblestone streets, historic mansions, and beautiful parks, Charleston is a city that is filled with beauty and wonder around every corner. From the breathtaking views of the harbor to the lush greenery of its many gardens, the city offers both visitors and locals alike a wealth of beautiful places to explore. Whether you’re visiting the city for the day, looking to rent an apartment in Charleston, or purchase a home in the area and currently browsing listings on Redfin, there is no shortage of beautiful places to discover in this enchanting Southern city. Let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful places in Charleston, from its iconic landmarks to its hidden gems, to help you navigate this picturesque city.
1. Shem Creek Boardwalk
Shem Creek Boardwalk is a popular destination in Mount Pleasant offering stunning views of the creek, marsh, and surrounding wildlife. Visitors can walk along the boardwalk, enjoy the fresh seafood restaurants, and watch local fishermen bring in their daily catch.
“Shem Creek Boardwalk is the perfect place to go kayaking or paddle boarding. But if you’re not into water sports you can take a leisurely morning walk along the boardwalk and enjoy the gorgeous Charleston scenery,” shares local guide What the Clique.
2. The Battery
The Battery is a historic park and promenade located at the southern tip of Charleston. It features a row of beautiful antebellum homes facing the Charleston Harbor and is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to stroll, jog, or bike along the scenic waterfront.
Amy Quinn Hill Photography notes, “The Charleston Battery is a picturesque waterfront located at the junction of the Ashley River and Cooper River, forming Charleston Harbor. Featuring a seawall promenade and beautiful antebellum homes, it’s steeped in rich history and an idyllic place for outdoor activities, such as fishing, walking, jogging, and cycling.”
“My favorite thing to do in Charleston is being on or near the water,” adds Molly Fienning, CEO/Co-Founder of Red Clay Hot Sauce. “Every evening, I finish my day with a solo walk or bike ride with my boys along the Battery as the sun sets. It’s my favorite place in Charleston.”
Photo courtesy of Amy Quinn Hill Photography
3. Middleton Place
Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and a historic plantation located on the Ashley River. The plantation was founded in the late 17th century and has been owned by the Middleton family for generations. The main house and its beautiful gardens, designed in the 18th century by Henry Middleton, have been well-preserved and are open to visitors for tours. The gardens feature a wide variety of plants, including camellias, azaleas, and magnolias, and are considered some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States.
4. Church Street
Church Street is a historic street located in the heart of downtown. Lined with beautiful old homes and historic churches, it’s a popular destination for visitors looking to experience the city’s rich history and architecture. Visitors can take a stroll along the cobblestone street, visit the historic St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, or stop at one of the many charming shops, galleries, or restaurants along the way.
“If you’re looking for a beautiful place in Charleston, be sure to check out the churches and their breathtaking steeples,” says local Carmen Ash Coblentz owner of Carmen Ash Photography. “There are around 400 churches and steeples, and many of my favorites are on and around Church Street and are all surrounded by giant magnolia trees.”
Photo courtesy of Carmen Ash Photography
5. Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park is a beautiful public park located on the Charleston Harbor in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The park was designed in the 1990s and its most iconic feature is the pineapple fountain, a large and ornate fountain that serves as a symbol of Southern hospitality. The park also features a large pier, which offers stunning views of the harbor and surrounding area, as well as a pavilion, which hosts concerts and events throughout the year.
6. Rainbow Row
Rainbow Row is a series of colorful historic houses located on East Bay Street. The houses were built in the 18th century and are famous for their unique pastel colors, which were added in the 1930s and 1940s when the neighborhood was being restored. The houses are a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can take a stroll along the street to admire the colorful architecture and learn about the history of the area.
“Rainbow Row is a charming and iconic stretch of historic houses that showcases a vibrant display of pastel hues. Each house boasts its unique character and style, adorned with colorful facades and meticulously preserved details. Walking along Rainbow Row feels like stepping back in time as the vibrant colors and quaint charm transport visitors to a bygone era. It has become one of Charleston’s most popular landmarks, attracting locals and tourists alike to admire its captivating beauty and snap memorable photographs,” remarks Destination Vista.
7. King Street
King Street is a historic street known for its charming shops, restaurants, and historic architecture. The street is divided into three distinct areas: Upper King, Middle King, and Lower King. Upper King is home to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and nightlife spots, while Middle King is known for its boutiques and shops selling antiques and art. Lower King, which is the oldest section of the street, features many of the city’s most historic buildings, including St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and the Charleston Library Society.
8. Angel Oak Tree
The Angel Oak Tree is a large and ancient live oak tree located on Johns Island. It’s estimated to be over 400 years old, stands at a height of 66 feet, and has a trunk circumference of 28 feet. The tree is believed to be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River and is a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world. The Angel Oak Tree is named for the Angel family, who once owned the land where it stands. The tree’s branches spread out in all directions, creating a canopy that covers an area of approximately 17,000 square feet.
9. Fort Sumter National Monument
Fort Sumter is a historic fort that played a pivotal role in the American Civil War, serving as the site of the first battle in 1861. Today, Fort Sumter is a popular tourist destination and is managed by the National Park Service. Visitors can take a ferry to the island to tour the fort and learn about its history, which is documented through exhibits and artifacts on display.