Visitors can see this vibrant and hospitable coastal city by foot, car, bus, boat or horse-drawn carriage. Sightseeing tours offer such focuses as African-American history, the Civil War, pirates, ghosts, plantations, islands, wildlife, marine life, architecture, mansions and gardens.
Golf enthusiasts will find plenty of nearby courses and ocean lovers can choose from a variety of beaches; then, at night, visitors can relax with a dinner cruise on historic Charleston Harbor.
The city of Charleston is home to many special events each year, including the famous Spoleto Festival USA, more than two weeks showcasing opera, dance, music, theater and visual arts in late spring.
For those who wish to get an insider's view of Charleston's historic homes and beautiful gardens, the Historic Charleston Foundation puts together the Festival of Houses and Gardens in the spring and the Preservation Society of Charleston arranges the Fall Tours of Homes and Gardens.
Each April, visitors can take part in the Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk.
I attended college here for two years, and I can tell you that when visiting such a historic city, staying in a hotel chain just doesn't do the trip justice. Fortunately, Charleston is home to a wide assortment of bed and breakfasts, some large and some small.
Many of Charleston's bed and breakfasts are as historic as the city itself; all of the Charleston inns included on the next three pages of this feature were built before 1905 and are located in the downtown historic district.