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Roadtrip: Charleston, SC and Asheville, NC

Hi There!
I'm looking for ideas for things to see and do in Charleston and Asheville. The Biltmore Estate is already on my radar. So, no need to mention that one. Restaurants that are family friendly and unique? Moderately priced hotels (like Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express or family run type, B&B type)? I was in Charleston many years ago. Never been to Asheville.

Posted by
1053 posts

In Charleston, the number one thing to do is to take the buggy tour. Additional things can be the Spoleto Festival USA that begins May 28 that runs through June 13, walk the Battery promenade and visit Middleton Place and the Calhoun Mansion.

Posted by
8947 posts

Just got back from a week in the Asheville area to visit my sister. Be sure to visit the neighboring city of Hendersonville. It's got a vibrant downtown, with lots of great shopping and restaurants. Just outside Hendersonville is the Dupont State Forest with easy trails to a series of amazing waterfalls. Try not to visit on the weekends as parking fills up quickly. If the visibility is good, a couple of hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway is always rewarding.

Posted by
1947 posts

My favorite restaurant memory when I went to Charleston was Coconut Joe's Beach Grill in Isle of Palms, about 30 minutes from Charleston. It is on a sandy beach with tables facing right out to the water and a roof top bar.

Coming from Florida, this might be too touristy for you. My Colorado-based parents and I loved the view and walking down to the water after dinner.

Posted by
2795 posts

Asheville-a bit pricey and they only take kids over a certain age, but the nearby Bent Creek Inn is near lots of easy hikes, including Botanical Gardens. We liked it so much when we stayed there last Oct that we're going back this Oct

Charleston-where do I start?-our favorite place we've ever been, we're going back for two weeks in May and will be spending lots more time there in the future
Of course the carriage tour and boat trip in harbor, or dinner cruise
Magnolia or Middleton-Drayton not as interesting because it's unfurnished. There's another plantation but I forget its name
If you have boys, Patriots Point and/or the Museum that has the Henley
If you're desperate when it's raining, the Aquarium(but Riverbanks Zoo 2 hours away in Columbia is better, cheaper and has a small aquarium
Water's Edge Restaurant-across the Ravenal Bridge in Shem Creek in Mt Pleasant-sometimes you can see fishermen unloading their catch, which attracts dolphins
Henry's near the Market has rooftop dining
Savannah Candy kitchen near Market for pralines
A Gullah tour is on my bucket list
If you watch the series Outer Banks which is actually filmed in Charleston and Mt Pleasant, pm me and I will get my daughter to tell you the sites
Charleston Museum

Posted by
49 posts

We just got back from a week in Asheville. Here was our agenda

  1. Hang out in downtown Asheville to see the shops and old buildings, etc.
  2. In downtown, be sure to see: The old Woolworth store (still makes milkshakes, etc.), Visit the pinball arcade center.
  3. Of course - go to all the brewery's you can, they are all fun
  4. Go to the Botanical Gardens
  5. Must see is the National Arboretum
  6. We love bird watching and discovered just a few miles out of Asheville: Beaver Lake - a great spot
  7. Main Hikes to do from there: Chimney Rock, Craggy Gardens, Mount Mitchell State Park
  8. Take a long drive on the Blue Ride parkway. It was gorgeous. Pick any exit and drive...its a fun experience
  9. We went to two hot spring SPA's. We never have been and really enjoyed them. One was in Asheville called Shoji Spa & Retreat and the other was out in Hot Springs Resort & Spa - a fun drive from Asheville and a very historic area
  10. Went out to dinner twice - Rhubarb and Bouchon.

There you go - hope this help.

Posted by
1463 posts

You guys are so much better than any online search! Thank you! Please keep adding responses. (When I did an online search, I wasn't getting much info.. Then, I started receiving real estate advertisement brochures in the mail over the next 7 days. The unsolicited junk mail made me mad about how my online search resulted in my data getting sold and shared for commercial purposes.)

Is there still a restaurant in Charleston near the water called something like Fiddler's ...? Casual seafood place. View of a marsh like area that connects with the ocean.

I have one female teenage daughter. She likes Art. We will be traveling end of July. (Hot season, I know. But, we Floridians can take the heat, even if we don't like it. Anything under 85 degrees is a reprieve for us.)

Posted by
2795 posts

Gibbes Art Gallery but also Middleton and one of the house museums have an exhibit of Alice Huger Smith. Look at Gibbes Art Gallery website for information about gallery tours offered Wed, Thur, Fri. Their website says that you need advance tickets if you go Sat or Sun. Middleton Place Restaurant is expensive, but you get to walk in the gardens without paying the admission price and without the crowds.

Posted by
75 posts

Charleston: I like the restaurants on E Bay St. such as Magnolias, High Cotten and SNOB. These are not far from the waterfront park, pier, and water fountain. I like to park at the Charleston Place hotel garage. The entrance is off of Hassell St which is off of Meeting St., and I walk down to the restaurants through the historic market row area. The hotel is pretty spectacular itself with a grand lobby, shops, eats, etc. and the backside of it is King St which is the main north/south avenue in town. King St north of Calhoun St is also full of restaurants such as Halls Chop House. Ask for Billy or Tommy Hall if you go, great peeps. I have stayed at the Hyatt Place at the north end of King, as well as the Hampton Inn and Marriott Courtyard near Meeting St. and Calhoun, a very good location. I would suggest a visit to booking .com put in your visit dates and go to the map function, see the prices and locations. The closer to downtown the more costly. We also have stayed outside of Charleston in Mt Pleasant and saved a bunch, all the chains are out there. The Shem Creek area has seafood restaurants, and the USS Yorktown is over at Patriots Point. Not to mention Isle of Pines and its Wild Dunes resort on the ocean.

Posted by
1462 posts

Asheville has some great crafts galleries - my favorites are Blue Spiral 1 (38 Biltmore Ave.), American Folk Art and Framing (just down the street from Blue Spiral), and the Crafts Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just a bit north of I40.

Posted by
1650 posts

For your daughter who loves art, add Savannah if you have time. The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has much to offer.

Posted by
927 posts

How about Fort Sumter in Charleston?

Posted by
1463 posts

I appreciate the Savannah suggestions. We have been to Savannah several times and I truly enjoy Savannah. This trip is about seeing a new place for us. We will not be doing Savannah this time.

Posted by
2795 posts

Collinsdtc, it's Isle of "Palms". Not many pines there-mostly palmetto trees and live oaks.:) We got great deals at Wild Dunes in Dec and March, but that's probably not the case now.

Posted by
131 posts

Recommend the walk to the old Folly Beach lighthouse. It's one of my favorite walks down there. Folly is the surfing side of the area and my preferred beach. Traffic can be terrible. Go in am or pm.

For something different yet amazing get chicken & waffles from Early Bird Diner.

The Romantic Asheville website is a great resource for that area. I use it and I only live an hour away.

Posted by
1463 posts

We will be traveling last week of July. Thanks for the heads up on hotel costs. Hotels are probably trying to compensate for lost revenue last year. Because we will have a car, I am not opposed to staying on the outskirts to save some money on a hotel.
My husband has performed at Spoleto Festival with a choir in the past. We also attended some top-notch professional performances while at Spoleto. That was many years ago.
I wish to focus more on Asheville this trip with a couple of days for Charleston. I am paying attention to all of your replies and will be organizing my trip in the coming 2 weeks. I appreciate all of your contributions!

Posted by
1463 posts

I am still gleaning info. from your posts. I tried the website for Bent Creek Inn. It’s fully booked for rooms for 3 persons. Looks nice. B & B place. Probably rather pricey; next to blue ridge parkway.

I learned that I have a number of “business class” hotel choices that are moderately priced. Because we have a car and will be cruising around anyway, we can stay at a lower cost hotel.

I like the idea for Chimney Rock, cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway, and trail ideas. Hendersonville sounds like a good way to spend a day also. This trip is pulling together quickly.

Has anyone stayed at a Clarion Inn? How are they compared to Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express?

Posted by
131 posts

There are lots of great mountain towns to spend a day or afternoon in. Besides Hendersonville and Asheville are Blowing Rock, Boone, Brevard and my personal favorite Black Mountain. There are many more. If you do end up at Chimney Rock check out Lake Lure nearby. The flowering bridge is very pretty. Parts of Dirty Dancing were filmed at Lake Lure.

I'd also recommend the Linville Gorge area. Depending on your time also the Highlands area. No shortage of beauty and things to do.

Posted by
6721 posts

I stayed at the Homewood Suites - Mount Pleasant last time in a suite and thought it was great. I had to search high and low to find a (reasonably affordable) suite that could accommodate me in one room (pull out couch worked just fine in the living room) and parents in their own bedroom. Love Mount Pleasant, and the location which is walkable to many little shops and restaurants (there was a fantastic Thai place called Basil just steps away on foot). The downside with staying in Charleston proper is that parking costs a bundle and the hotels cost an even bigger bundle (most being historical). It is very easy to get from Mount Pleasant to Charleston - I always park right at the Battery (southernmost part of the peninsula) - if you get there early enough, it's not that hard to get parking.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston - Mount Pleasant
http://www.booking.com/Share-t5jnQr

Posted by
1463 posts

Agnes,
Thanks for the info.. I checked it out.
I just finished booking my hotels. Asheville was a lot easier. Many good family options. I chose a Country Inn & Suites. My second hotel is located within walking distance of Charleston Historic District - the Hyatt.

Charleston had fewer family friendly options. The Hyatt is a business type hotel. Solves any parking issues for us and rooms have two beds.

Thanks to all for your help! I am keeping a list of your recommended restaurants and places to visit.

Posted by
2795 posts

Brevard used to have a music festival in the summer-I don't know how Covid will affect it.

Posted by
1463 posts

Cala,
My family is vaccinated. Anything outdoors or uncrowded inside is good for us. I like the idea of hearing live music somewhere. Brevard seems like a nice area from what I have been told.

Posted by
32 posts

I second the Bent Creek Lodge and the Botanical Gardens in Asheville. Both are wonderful!

Posted by
918 posts

One big tip for Charleston - the restaurant scene is amazing and will be PACKED. I recommend the Resy and Open Table Apps unless you want long waits. Get both apps because they list different restaurants. Book some reservations now because places fill up fast. You can usually cancel without penalty. Also, a lot of places have full food and beverage service at the bar on a first come, first served basis.
Edit: The bar service include high top tables in the bar area, not just seats at the bar. :-)

For hotels, downtown is going to be expensive. Mt. Pleasant or West Ashley will provide cheaper options. Several Hampton Inn and Marriott chain properties (Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites) on Ripley Point Rd in West Ashley. I believe they still have a shuttle downtown.

Posted by
7 posts

Hi! I am from Charleston, born and raised. I don't know of a restaurant called Fiddler's but there are a number of restaurants along Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant (over the bridge) which sounds like what you're describing. They are all decent - Water's Edge or Vickery's would be my choice. There's also a nice park at Shem Creek with a pier that goes out to the water. You can watch the shrimp boats come in/out and will likely see some dolphins. My favorite place to eat at home is Page's Okra Grill on Coleman Blvd. Feel free to message me with any questions!

Posted by
2795 posts

I agree with thigpen.katie about Water's Edge and Page's Okra Grill. Thanks for rec for Vickery's-we'll check it out once tourist season is over. As a matter of policy, we don't go downtown or eat out during June, July, and August. Downtown, I like 82 Queen.

Posted by
1463 posts

Thank you everyone! We completed a very nice family vacation. Your responses were a big help!
Traveling just opens my mind to even more places to visit. I learned a lot about North and South Carolina on this trip. Experience is the best teacher. Plus, places are always changing. There’s always more to explore.

Posted by
1268 posts

My friend who lived in the area took me to walk thru the lobby of s historic hotel.... at the risk of getting all the spam you did I looked... I think it was the now (omni) grove park... might be an option for a drink on the veranda?