Charleston, SC: A True Southern Gem

I never thought I would say this, but I absolutely love the South. Originally, I’m a midwesterner, but I’ve been living in Charlotte for almost 6 years. Not only do I love living in Charlotte but I have really grown to love this part of the country so much.

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do & I do it as often as I can. While I had visited Myrtle Beach and Disney World as a child – typical family vacations – I never really got to experience the southern charm that so many cities in the region possess. Once I moved to Charlotte, I began exploring the areas around me. We are so fortunate to be only a matter of hours from so many amazing destinations.

Charleston has quickly become a favorite. Not to get all Wikipedia on you, but Charleston has some of the richest history in the country. It was founded in 1670 and throughout the years has served as a major trade and military port. So naturally, walking through Charleston feels a little bit as if you’ve been transported back in time. As the U.S. is such a young country in comparison to the world, it’s just not everyday that you walk through the streets of our country’s history.

Travel Outfit! Click to shop the comfiest, cutest overalls

Overalls: Use this link to shop with my referral code. Type in your email then just add items to your cart and use the code at checkout. Super easy. You’ll get $10 off & I’ll get credit for the sale – thank you so much! These overalls can be searched using term “In Love With Summer.” I’m wearing the small. Size down if in between sizes. View a try-on video of these overalls in the Pink Lily Highlights section on my Instagram.

Hat: My beach hat is from Amazon and I love it. Says “Out of Office” and is a great quality for its $19.99 price tag.

Kimono: This black kimono is several years old, so I’m linking a similar one from Amazon. Color Black#4 is super close to the one I’m wearing but the other options are fun, too!

Luggage: I am obsessed with my new luggage from Away. Got a set as a Christmas present. Pictured here is The Bigger Carry-On in blush. I also have The Large in the same color. It’s the best luggage I’ve ever had. Use this link to get $20 off your purchase.

John’s Island

This past weekend, I was fortunate to be invited by my sister to a family friends’ condo on John’s Island in the Charleston area. They have an absolutely adorable place located not far from a section of the intercoastal waterway. Such a beautiful spot in the lowlands (is that the right term?), but I was definitely on the lookout for alligators (maybe some of you saw my Insta stories LOL).

The condo was in a great location, a nice quiet neighborhood that is centrally located near both downtown Charleston and Folly Beach. Also very close to Kiawah Island. This was perfect for us because we had plans in all areas. One tidbit about Uber/Lyft in the area…you can definitely get them but plan accordingly because they typically take 20 minutes to get to you and then you’re looking at 20 minute ride to your destination. So be sure to factor in the time accordingly.

Previous times I’ve been to Charleston, I’ve stayed downtown and in Mount Pleasant. Downtown was the Holiday Inn at the corner of Meeting St. (more on this later) and Woolfe St. Such a nice Holiday Inn walking distance to so many things. In Mount Pleasant, I was there for a Bachelorette party. Staying in that area gave us great access to Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms.

Folly Beach

Our first stop upon arrival Friday afternoon (after hitting Walgreens because I forgot my makeup bag FACEPALM) was Folly Beach. This was my first time to Folly and let me tell you, it is the cutest little beach town. Colorful bars, restaurants and vacation homes line the streets leading to the beach.

The beach is what I would call your typical Carolina beach. Gray sand, those tall grassy plants (I am SUCH a botanist) & palm trees. I absolutely love the beach, any beach, so it’s hard for me to say anything bad about my favorite environment. So I will say that Folly Beach is great if you want to go to the beach while you’re in Charleston. But on the spectrum of beaches, it’s not amazing. It’s on the smaller side, but again, you’re at the beach so what is there to complain about?

One thing to note is that Folly Beach doesn’t allow alcohol, so be sure to bring your Yeti tumblers!

It was my first time on the beach in 2019 and I was so excited because I got to wear my new striped bikini! I usually place a bathing suit order of about 6-7 suits in the February/March timeframe so that they’re here and ready for the nice weather. Cupshe has been my go-to swimsuit shop for the last several years. You just can’t beat their prices and selection!

Click the photo to shop the bikini. Under $30. I’m in the medium

Hat: This adorable felt hat is so perfect for Spring outfits and the beach! It seriously makes any outfit look so much more stylish. The one I’m wearing is from Pink Lily, but is currently sold out. You can sign up for a restock alert or I’ve linked a similar one in the picture below:

Click the photo to shop. Shown in black but comes in Camel & 3 other colors for under $15

Blanket Towel: Blanket towels are a must-have for the beach! They’re large enough that you can fit yourself and all your stuff on them. I bought this floral blanket towel last year to take on my Honeymoon and now I take it every time I go to the pool or beach.

Rattan Tote Bag: Rattan straw bags are crazy trendy right now and I am loving it. I took this tote (choose “beige pu” color) as my beach bag and then you’ll see I carried it as my purse later on in the trip, too.

Kiawah Island

After leaving the beach, we headed to the condo to get ready for dinner. Going for a dressy casual look, I paired a pretty teal romper with my favorite wedges and a denim jacket.

Click the photo to shop the romper & wedges

Romper: Once getting my referral code, search the Pink Lily site for “Away For The Summer.” This romper comes in Teal, Yellow, Hot Pink & Purple. I’m wearing the size medium but probably could have done the small, too. You can see the romper itself a little better in this Insta post:

Wedges: Grab my Pink Lily referral code, then search for “Kristin.” These are my favorite shoes right now. You’ve probably seen I’ve been sharing them nonstop but that’s because they are so cute, match everything and are comfortable. I’ve worn them out several nights and my feet have not hurt.

Our family friends were excited to take us to Kiawah Island for their favorite sushi place, Fuji. It’s a beautiful drive through the South Carolina landscape to Kiawah, about 20 minutes from where we were staying (about 45 minutes from downtown Charleston).

Fuji is located in an upscale shopping center with a nearby pond/swamp for the alligators, in true SC fashion 🙂 It’s a cute area for vacationers and the ambiance of the restaurant was nice. I will give Fuji this – the sushi menu is incredible. They have so many fun specialty rolls, it was hard to choose! It was delicious and filling.

Gamecock Roll

But I won’t lie, the service could have been better. Funny story for you guys. Naturally, I ordered a glass of rose and asked the server if it was dry (no sweet wine for me). I realize now that she just didn’t know a thing about wine but she very rudely looked at me like I was insane and informed me that “all white wine is dry.” HA what?

After dinner, my sister and I were planning to head out to Folly Beach bars but that’s when we ran into the Uber situation. It was going to be 45 minutes before we’d get there and it was already late. So we stayed at the condo and drank rose champagne. Welcome to your late 20s, y’all 🙂

Saturday morning, we slept in, made some breakfast and sipped our coffee on the beautiful screened-in porch and just relaxxxed. By late morning, we were on our friends’ boat headed for Sandy Point on Kiawah island. Sandy Point is an adorable little beach that is realistically only accessible by boat. Everyone just pulls their boat right up to the beach, anchors, and you walk in knee-high water to the beach. My favorite part is that everyone brings their dogs and they run around free. So not only was I at the beach, my favorite place, but random cute dogs would run up to say hi at any time. My kinda place.

We spent the afternoon frolicking in the water, walking the beach and making friends with the friendly locals.

Click the photo to shop this swimsuit. On sale right now!

This green one-piece is from Cupshe. I love this swimmie because the lace detail and low cut is so cute. It also pairs perfectly with denim shorts, just looks like you’re wearing a bodysuit, so you don’t even need a cover-up.

I did throw this cover-up on in Off White later in the day, but was a bad blogger and did not get a good picture.

Click the photo to shop the cover-up. Comes in 13 different colors and is actually a really great quality for the price

Downtown Charleston

Saturday night, it was time to hit the town! And let me tell you, we had so much fun in downtown Charleston.

I wore one of my favorite Lulus dresses, a flattering little ivory shift dress with blue floral embroidery details. This style has been out for a couple years now but I see they’ve added more color options now. Yay! I love shopping Lulus because their stuff is always great quality and typically fits really well.

Click the photo to shop the dress. Wearing the size small

Crossbody Fringe Bag: I carried my favorite little fringe purse that I’ve had for years now. I’ve linked a couple similar ones below:

$27.99
$17.99

First we headed to The Victor Social Club, a cute Colonial-era themed cocktail bar, for pre-dinner drinks. I got a drink called Islands In the Stream, which had honeysuckle vodka, cucumber, lime and prosecco. And let me tell you, it was fabulous and I felt fabulous drinking it.

Then we headed right next door for dinner at Vincent Chicco’s, an Italian restaurant with an old-world feel. Our group split a bottle of brut rose and we indulged in typical Italian favorites like Marsala, Parmesan and Picatta. I had the Pasta Funghi and it was delicious.

After dinner, the rest of the group headed home and my sister and I headed for the action on King St. We were headed for a fun spot we’d been before, Prohibition, but a place called the Macintosh caught our eye on the way. We decided to stop in for a drink.

The Macintosh is a great Southern-style restaurant & I would love to go back to for dinner sometime. We sat at the bar and saw they had some really fun specialty cocktails. Ordered the Witchdoctor – cucumber, elderflower, lime, mint and your choice of vodka or gin. I chose vodka, of course.

Let me tell you how fun this drink was! The best part of the Macintosh was the bartenders. They were so friendly, funny and helpful. We got our drinks, which come garnished with a mint leaf and elderflower bud. The bartender told us the key to this drink is to taste it, then bite into the mint and elderflower bud, which makes your tongue tingle. Then you take another drink and it transforms the flavor. So good!

Next, we had to try the Irish Coffee because they’re my favorite. So glad we did because it was THE BEST irish coffee I’ve ever had. Can’t wait til I get to drink another one next time I go to Charleston.

Irish Coffee. So good!

We eventually made our way to Prohibition, which is one of my favorite spots in Charleston. It has a great dinner menu and ambiance. After dinner, they open up a dance floor with a DJ and the party begins. In addition to the indoor bar, they also have a back room with a bar and a beautiful tent-covered patio in the back with an outdoor bar. Such a fun place to spend a night out!

Before we knew it, it was closing time and as we may or may not have been slightly intoxicated by this point, we obviously needed pizza. Conveniently located across the street from Prohibition is a pizza place! Life saver. Called Benny Revello’s. You’re welcome in advance 🙂

Sunday was another beautiful day and I had some sights I wanted to see and brunch to eat before we headed home.

First up on the sights list was Rainbow Row. On the way, we stopped at THE CUTEST cafe called One Broad Street. It’s in this old historical Renaissance-style building at the corner of Broad St and East Bay St and is literally right around the corner from Rainbow Row. They had live music, great coffee, fresh baked bread and their food looked great. I could have hung out there a lot longer.

Rainbow Row was one of those places that I’ve always seen the amazing photos and wanted to go there, but I never knew it was in Charleston. I actually didn’t even realize where it was until the day before when a fellow blogger happened to also be in Charleston and posted a photo tagged there. I had to go! It’s an absolutely charming little section of historical houses in downtown Charleston that were painted pastel colors in the early 1900s. They became such a landmark in the city that their colors are protected by city ordinances.

From there, we decided to walk the city and look for somewhere to eat brunch. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip because we had no plans and were just able to explore and take everything in. Charleston truly is so beautiful and there are cute little nooks and crannies everywhere.

I wore my favorite t-shirt dress from Pink Lily. It was the perfect casual dress for walking around. You can see a try-on video of this dress in the Pink Lily Highlights section on my Instagram. I paired it with my denim jacket, that rattan bag from the beach and my Tori Burch dupes (from Famous Footwear).

While we were on the waiting list for brunch, we walked down Meeting St to the Historical Charleston City Market. This is a must-do while in Charleston. Definitely something to see but also the market has some great booths and items for sale. Meeting St is down near the water and you can see the ships docked, like the Carnival Cruise ship that goes out of the Charleston port. Walking in the area, you can really imagine what it would have been like as a merchant or Charleston resident back in time. The history is so well-preserved.

Finally, we had brunch at Millers All Day. You guys, this place is the cutest. I know I keep saying that, but that’s Charleston for ya. Millers is in another historical building and is modeled after an old drug store. They serve breakfast & cocktails all day, everyday. We had mimosas and I tried their breakfast sandwich, which was delicious. Also the best home fries I’ve ever had. Highly recommend!

A few other restaurants we encountered on our walk that looked great were:

  • Henry’s On The Market – Located right near the City Market, Henry’s looked like a great spot to hang out on the rooftop on a pretty day. Their menu looked to be a mix of seafood dishes and bar food. Plus, the place is surrounded by adorable lemon trees and I suspect you can see the ocean from the rooftop.
  • Poogan’s Porch – This Southern cuisine restaurant is located off Queen St in an old home. It’s really cute and the menu looked pretty delicious.
  • Husk – Located right next to Poogan’s Porch, Husk is a little more upscale Southern restaurant with a menu that changes daily. They have the most idyllic outdoor patio that I would love to spend a few hours on.

We had the best time during our weekend in Charleston! I could go on & on. We covered a lot of ground (and water) in 3 days and we barely even scratched the surface. I am definitely looking forward to visiting Charleston again and continuing to enjoy everything it has to offer.

Happy to answer any questions about food, places, outfits or anything else you are wondering about. Thanks for reading!

Jamie Ann

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