3 Days in Charleston, South Carolina, is enough to see all the tourist spots, eat at amazing restaurants and catch a sunrise or two! Here’s my tips on where to stay in the city with parking, where to eat gluten free and the best places to catch the perfect photograph.
Charleston Day 1: King Street, City Market + hotel check-In
We arrived at our hotel in the heart of the city ready to see and do everything Charleston had to offer. King Charles Inn, which is now the Ryder Hotel Charleston, was the perfect location for our 3 days in Charleston. A hotel within walking distance to all the tourist spots and best restaurants.
King Street + Dinner at Sticky Fingers Rib house
With half the day left to sight see and eat, we chose to browse King Street, walk Historic Charleston City Market and have dinner at Sticky Fingers Rib House. They had an entire gluten free menu but my favorite item was the sticky potato skins!
It was early to bed afterward. We had a sunrise photo shoot the next morning with Charleston Photography Tours.
Charleston Day 2: Folly Beach, Edisto Island + Waterfront Park
Charleston Photography Tours picked us up and brought us to Folly Beach to photograph the sunrise. Our second location for the tour was Edisto Island where we photographed the Spanish moss hanging from the tree-lined streets.
With the half day photography tour, we returned to the city around 1:00 PM. There was a Mellow Mushroom on King Street just a couple minutes walk from Ryder Hotel Charleston. We scarfed down the Kosmic Karma gluten free pizza.
Tour Waterfront Park + the Battery
Afterward, we headed toward Waterfront Park. A cruise ship had just arrived and the street corners were packed with people. Therefore, we decided to skip the crowds and hit up the Battery (White Point Garden).
As dinner approached, I felt the need to indulge my sweet tooth and have dessert for dinner. I had heard Kaminsky’s had gluten free sweets. The dessert café was packed with tourists but we happened to get the last, quiet table in the back. Unfortunately, the only gluten free options were a flourless chocolate cake and milkshakes. The cake was good, but I think I’d save my calories for a different restaurant.
Charleston Day 3: Rainbow Row, Battery + Historic District
Eat Breakfast: Kitchen 208
*05/10/2019 As of March 2019, Kitchen 208 shut its doors. We were sad to hear this news as this restaurant was our go-to for breakfast each time we visited Charleston.*
After breakfast, we walked to Rainbow Row on East Bay Street. The thirteen brightly-colored houses are the “most recognized historical site in Charleston”.
First constructed in 1740, these homes were utilized by merchants for business. They would live on the top floor.
The Rainbow Row homes were not the pastel shades they are today until 1931. A revitalization of the homes thanks to Dorothy Porcher Legge.
We continued our stroll to the Battery and stopped to enjoy the warmth of the spring sunshine as we took in the beautiful homes. Since we started the day so early, the streets were quiet and void of other tourists. We took advantage of this and found ourselves wandering along back alleys and streets. The backyards of Charleston homes may be small, but every square inch is a landscaped oasis.
Around lunch time we found ourselves at the Four Corners. Each corner of the street has a building representing different legal jurisdictions: St. Michael’s Episcopal Church (God’s law), Charleston City Hall (city law), the Charleston County Courthouse (state law) and the Federal Courthouse (federal laws).
Eat LUnch: Brown Dog Deli
We followed Broad Street East as we heard there was an amazing sandwich shop, Brown Dog Deli, one block away. They will make any sandwich you want gluten free. I had the classic Philly and Nick had Turkey in the Straw. Be sure to plan extra time as more than likely there will be a wait to “eat in”. We sat outside in the covered backyard.
King Street Shopping + Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
We spent the afternoon shopping on King Street and mead tasting at the Savannah Bee Company. To finish our day or touristy-goodness, we rode a horse drawn carriage around the city. I highly recommend Old South Carriage Company. Our tour guide was personable and full of fun facts about the area. We felt fortunate to have walked most of the streets the tour brought us down. It helped us understand where we had been.
We finished the day watching the sunset at Waterfront Park and enjoying dinner at Minero Restaurant. *Update March 21, 2023 – This location is permanently closed. However, if you travel to the Atlanta location, the food is phenomenal. Check out my Where to Eat Gluten Free in Atlanta Georgia!
3 Days in Charleston Conclusion
As you can see, three days in Charleston is plenty of time to experience a majority of the tourist sights. We still have a few more things to see on our list. However, the next time we visit, we’ll be spending most of our time eating. Charleston is one of the first cities I’ve visited where I never had to worry about where I would be able to eat gluten free next. That very fact makes it a perfect vacation spot.