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HomeHealth & FitnessWhat to Pack For Charleston, South Carolina

What to Pack For Charleston, South Carolina


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In ‘Pack With Me,’ influencers and editors give us a rundown of their travel must-haves and a few travel hacks to go along with them. For this installment, Associate Director of Commerce Sarah Wasilak shares what essentials are in her suitcase for a trip to Charleston, SC.

Being that my entire immediate family lives in the Charleston area, I visit at least three times a year. At this point, packing for the tourist hot spot and popular bachelor/ette party destination has become second nature to me. I know exactly what essentials to double-check that I’ve packed, just like I know which items took up too much space last trip and proved themselves unnecessary. From skin-care items and wardrobe basics to travel must haves that are also pretty useful once I touch down, I’m providing you here with my tried-and-true list of packing items.

Of course, if you’re attending a trip with a pre-planned itinerary, you probably already know whether you’ll be embarking on a beach day at Folly, Sullivan’s Island, or Isle of Palms, for example. And if you’re staying at an Airbnb or Vrbo, you’re likely able to check for staple items like towels, hair dryers, and a steamer. For that reason, this guide is mostly stocked with products that fit the Charleston “vibe.” Think: a woven bucket hat, printed cabana shirt, comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing, and retro-leaning aviator sunglasses that fare well with island-friendly outfits.

Best Packing Tips For Charleston

Whenever I go to Charleston, I try to pack neutral wardrobe basics that can be worn multiple ways. A bucket hat or baseball cap that goes with any (or preferably all) of your swimsuits and casual outfits is ideal. You’ll want to leave a bit of room in your suitcase or carry-on for souvenirs, as shopping downtown on King Street is a must do — and there’s a good chance you’ll make at least one purchase. Weather-wise, temperatures average near 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, with cooler days near 60 November through February, and steamy, often humid 90-degree days common June through September. For this reason, I recommend packing at least one swimsuit and a pair of denim shorts.

There are fancier restaurants downtown (more on that ahead), so consider a nice outfit or two. But know that when you’re island hopping — whether it’s to Folly, Isle of Palms, James Island, Sullivan’s Island, Johns Island, or Kiawah — you’ll want beach cover-ups, games, portable speakers, and a good book to read. You can truly spend all day on the sand. And there are even some great boutique hotels downtown (The Ryder is a personal favorite) that have pools, so expect to get in some R&R when you’re not taking in the sights. There are many golf courses in Charleston, too, so don’t forget your clubs if that’s your thing.

Best Travel Tips For Charleston

Charleston International Airport is no more than a 30-minute drive from downtown. And if there’s no traffic, you can make it even sooner. The airport has just one terminal; it’s small, easy to navigate, and typically pretty quiet. Ubers and Lyfts can be easily secured wherever you go, although you can walk downtown by foot if you’re up for a long, leisurely stroll and want to take in the sights. There are some very popular restaurants that you should reserve at least two weeks beforehand (The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island and Poogan’s Porch, 82 Queen, Circa 1886, Frannie & The Fox, and Church and Union downtown are personal favorites, with Basic Kitchen and Jackrabbit Filly being more casual alternatives). If you do make it out to Folly, I recommend spending a full day on the island to immerse yourself in the more laid-back beach town, and make sure you eat and drink at Taco Boy for the vibes and Lowlife Bar for the live music and margaritas.

Ahead, scroll through my packing check list and make sure you have what you need for your getaway in Charleston, SC.


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