Doing the Charleston (South Carolina)
March 26, 2022 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning a bachelorette trip to Charleston, South Carolina, for a weekend this May. Four of us arrive on Thursday night, including the bride; two of us arrive Friday late morning. Check-out at the Airbnb is 11 am on Sunday and most of us leave town then. I have two questions: one about water activities, and one about nightlife.

Within this timeframe, is it realistic to do two water activities? We are thinking of renting a Folly Beach cabana on Friday and doing a private sailboat charter on Saturday. However, we also want time to explore King Street, do a house tour, and have a classic bachelorette night on the town. That brings me to my second question. Do you have any recommendations for outdoor night life? Not just rooftop bars, but rooftop bars with a DJ/dance floor.

I am leaning toward just one water activity at the moment so that there is time for leisurely strolling and lingering breakfasts. It would be great to get a sense of the size of the city from those familiar with it. I'm planning from California, where everything is huge and far away.

I already checked previous Asks for food and activity recs (esp. this one about COVID-safe activities) but if you have something else you feel passionate about, I would love to hear it! The group likes bookshops, cafes, history, gardens, cocktails, and cute photo opps. Thank you for your help!
posted by tasseomance to Travel & Transportation around Charleston, SC (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I don't live in Charleston. I've always loved Folly Beach. It is rarely crowded, the beach is wide, and there are some beach-type restaurants on the main st. that are good. Correction: there is often a crowd at what is called the 'wash-out' where surfers go. But that's a small part of the beach.
posted by tmdonahue at 5:48 AM on March 27

I do live in Charleston. That sounds like a totally feasible amount of things to do. I can't think of any nightclub/dance floor rooftop bars, but then I am a boring old person. The closest vibe would be the rooftop bar at Starz, which was about half bachelorette parties the one time I was there. The most frequently recommended rooftop bars are on boutique hotels -- the Vendue, the Dewberry, and the Restoration, all quite nice -- tend to attract an older, mellower crowd but would be a nice place to start a night out with a classy cocktail to watch the sun set.
posted by dr. boludo at 10:08 AM on March 27

Best answer: I don't live in Charleston but my brother does and I visit frequently, most recently over New Year's when I stayed at Folly Beach for a change of scenery. I love Folly, if you'd like more specific recs for there let me know!

For your coffee shop/lingering breakfast, try Harken Cafe, it's just the cutest.

I'd rather do the two water activites and cut the house tour, but to me it does seem like too much to do in one day if in addition you're trying to spend time wandering about King St. and get lunch and dinner in that area on Saturday.

Cute photo ops are a dime a dozen.

Echoing the above I am also not aware of any rooftop bars with DJs but Starz is probably closest. I've been there a few times but only ever for rehearsal dinner after parties or bachelorette parties. It's definitely that kind of vibe.

Apologies if this isn't necessary advice but absolutely make reservations for all meals.

In terms of size, there's more then enough to do in the walkable parts of downtown to keep you occupied for a day. Do keep in mind that Folly is 25-30 minutes away or more depending on traffic.
posted by CheeseLouise at 9:58 AM on March 28

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! We had a great time. I will a few notes to this thread for future Mefites:

-CheeseLouise was absolutely correct about making reservations everywhere. I would add to also call ahead to confirm: we found that a few places had us scheduled for indoors when we had requested outdoors. It was Mothers Day weekend and a big weekend for graduations, so that compounded the business!

-Plan ahead for Uber and Lyft pickups. We found it impossible to get a rideshare from the airport and ended up taking a taxi, which I suggest (bring cash). From that point on, we scheduled our rideshare pickups as far in advance as possible, on the recommendation of one of our drivers. There just aren't many drivers available.

-The Bulldog Tours history walk was surprisingly honest, nuanced, and inclusive.

-We rented a catamaran for three hours through Om. It ended up being $150/pp with tip and it was absolutely worth it.
posted by tasseomance at 11:46 AM on May 25

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