There is a small Southern city that packs a big punch when it comes to food, culture, and activities, making it the ultimate destination for a weekend getaway right now.
Recently named by Condé Nast readers as the best U.S. city for another consecutive year, this city is one of the most-loved destinations in the country.
Welcome to Charleston
This small city with a population of 150,000 is known for its laidback charm. Part of the South Carolina Lowcountry, Charleston is a coastal city surrounded by waterways and salt marshes. The city itself is very historic, with charming, palm-lined cobblestoned streets and buildings dating back to the 17th century.
Here’s what makes Charleston great for a weekend getaway right now:
Best Visited Outside Of Summer
Charleston is a year-round destination, but it’s best visited outside of the hot and humid summer season. During the summer, daily temperatures regularly exceed 90° F.
However, during the fall and spring, you can enjoy more pleasant, warm weather that is ideal for relaxing on a nearby beach or strolling the quaint streets of Charleston.
In the winter, it can get a little too chilly for beaches (with average daytime temperatures in the sixties), but it’s still the perfect weather for walking around and exploring Charleston or checking out nearby sites.
For such a small city, Charleston is packed with tons of incredible restaurants. Charleston’s culinary scene has been exploding in recent years, making it a hotspot for foodie travelers.
Although you’ll find a diverse array of cuisine, Charleston is best known for its Southern comfort food. Some of the best restaurants to try in Charleston are Magnolias (elevated Southern food), Slightly North of Broad (Southern and Lowcountry cuisine), and Carmella’s (desserts.)
Being on the coast, Charleston is also a great place to try fresh seafood.
Small And Walkable
Charleston is a compact city that is easily walkable, which makes it perfect for a weekend getaway.
With just two or three days in Charleston, you can easily explore so much of this charming city. Downtown Charleston is filled with small, distinct neighborhoods you can explore on foot.
Many of the city’s top attractions, like picturesque Rainbow Row, the sprawling Charleston City Market, and great restaurants and nightlife are within easy walking distance of downtown.
Close To Nature
Another reason to visit Charleston? You can find lots of natural beauty nearby, including in the city itself, due to the fact that it’s located on the coast.
Stroll along Waterfront Park right in the heart of the city for some amazing views, especially at sunset.
Get out on the water for a boat tour, or head to nearby Sullivan’s Island, a small beach town that offers one of the best beaches close to Charleston. Folly Beach is another popular beach nearby.
Cypress Gardens is a small nature preserve close to Charleston where you can take a boat ride or use the walking trails around the cypress swamps.
Lots Of History
Charleston is a city with many fascinating historical sites to check out. You can take a carriage tour of the city to learn about its history or take a nighttime ghost tour to discover the city’s spookier side.
Just outside Charleston, there are several beautiful historic plantations to visit — but all of them have a dark history of slavery. Boone Hall Plantation is an iconic destination known for its picturesque canopy of live oaks. McLeod Plantation Historic Site and Magnolia Plantation & Gardens are two more plantations that preserve history, including showcasing the devastating legacy of slavery.
Fort Sumter National Monument is another interesting place to visit because it’s where the first shot of the Civil War was fired.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com