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Navigating the US: Getting Around in Charleston, South Carolina

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Getting around Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina, is bursting with historic Southern charm. The city almost feels suspended in a different time, with its antebellum architecture and surrounding plantation landscapes. A stroll through Waterfront Park offers beautiful views and a serene atmosphere. Whether you’re visiting Charleston for its upbeat historic center, or for a peaceful getaway, you’ll leave feeling renewed.

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Recommended Modes of Transportation

Charleston is best explored by car, although if you don’t need to leave the city’s historic district, your own two feet will also do the trick. Visitors can easily explore most of the city’s major historical sites by foot and also with the help of the four convenient DASH trolley lines.

Unfortunately, the plantations, which are a significant part of Charleston’s rich history, are outside the historic district and are not within walking distance.

Major Highways and Roadways to Know

The major highways include U.S. Highway 17, which cuts across the Charleston peninsula, and Interstate 26, which terminates just northwest of the historic downtown at U.S. 17. Interstate 526 is an outer beltway which forms a loop from U.S. 17 to the Charleston International Airport.

Also worth noting are the major streets in the historic downtown in peninsular Charleston. The major east-west street is Calhoun Street, while the major north-south street, King Street, is the main shopping street in downtown.

Alternative Ways of Seeing the City

The most authentic way to tour the city is by a horse- or mule-drawn carriage, and there are many vendors available at the Market in downtown Charleston, happy to offer historic tours.

Another informative option is a tour offered by Gray Line of Charleston, which provides a choice of guided mini-bus tours of the historic and charming city of Charleston. These tours are specifically designed to provide tourists with a fun and informative peek into the city’s well-preserved past.

Getting around Charleston

Another great option is one of the many available walking tours. There are tours available for just about every interest including pub tours, Civil War tours, culinary tours, ghost tours, Gulla tours, architecture tours, art tours, and even pirate tours.

Best Places to Park

If you’re driving downtown, it’s most practical to park is the Visitor’s Center for $1.00 an hour. Other parking is available, but it can be tough to find, so check out for a convenient map and information on a free App, which provides GPS and directions to show you exactly where all the parking garages are in Charleston.

Airports and Car Rentals

Charleston is served by Charleston International Airport, which is located about 12 miles northwest of historic downtown. Taxis to and from downtown cost about $25 and shuttles arranged by Airport Ground Transportation cost about $14 per person to downtown. Finally, a number of rental car companies are available at the airport terminal.

Hotels and Attractions

Charleston has something to offer everyone. Whether it’s an energetic nightlife or historic tours that tickle your fancy, this city offers an array of options. Below is our list of must-see attractions during your stay in Charleston.

Still not convinced? Check out these 25 reasons you need to visit Charleston, SC.

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