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A Budget Girls Trip to Charleston
Earlier this week, I was catching up with my good friend Katie and was pleasantly reminded of our girls trip to Charleston last May. Lined with cobblestone streets, delicious brunch spots, trendy boutiques and cozy cafes, Charleston is the perfect destination for a quick girls getaway.

A Budget Girls Trip to Charleston

Written by Megan Marie

In
Earlier this week, I was catching up with my good friend Katie and was pleasantly reminded of our girls trip to Charleston last May. Lined with cobblestone streets, delicious brunch spots, trendy boutiques and cozy cafes, Charleston is the perfect destination for a quick girls getaway.

Katie and I met while working in 2015 and quickly became friends. After leaving Austin, Katie and I opted to plan annual girls trips together! We chose Charleston for its charming allure and warm coastal weather. Neither of us had been to the area and thought it would be the perfect place to have some quality girls time and a fun weekend.

Our Itinerary

Katie and I decided to fly into Charleston on Saturday morning and leave Tuesday evening, giving us about four days to explore the area.

Unfortunately, I was caught in weather and endured countless airline delays and ultimately, a flight cancellation.

This ill-fated interruption delayed our itinerary a full day and I was not able to arrive until Sunday morning.

Despite a days delay, our itinerary remained the same:

  • Saturday: Lost this day due to flight delays/cancellations
  • Sunday: Airport pickup, brunch, Kings Street shopping & a harbor sunset cruise
  • Monday: Magnolia Plantation visit, beach time & rooftop dinner
  • Tuesday: Spa time, boutiques, brunch & departure

Accommodation

There are so many adorable places to stay in downtown Charleston that are within walking distance to many restaurants, shops and boutiques.

However, Katie and I developed an itinerary that involved exploring Charleston and it’s surrounding areas, including Folly Beach and Magnolia Plantation. So instead of splurging on a charming bed & breakfast in downtown Charleston, we rented a car and stayed at the Springhill Suites in North Charleston.

This accommodation suited our needs perfectly. We had free breakfast and a suite with a microwave and refrigerator. When we were planning this trip, Katie and I agreed we’d prefer to stay at an affordable accommodation and save money to splurge on fun activities and brunch and dinner spots instead.

Treating Ourselves At Cute Cafes In Charleston

Flights

Katie flew from Ohio while I flew from Texas and both routes involved a stop-over prior to arrival in Charleston. Unfortunately, there are very few direct flights to Charleston from our respective cities making them quite costly.

My experience flying the notorious American Airlines to Charleston was quite eventful, and not for the better.

As mentioned above, Katie and I planned on arriving in Charleston on Saturday morning. However, due to severe weather delays in Raleigh, a large American Airlines hub where I had a flight connection, I encountered delay after delay. My flight was originally scheduled to leave Austin around 6:00 AM on Saturday but instead, I did not leave until after 6:00 pm. When I finally arrived in Raleigh, I was greeted with more delays.

American Airlines delayed the last flight from Raleigh to Charleston so many times that the pilots timed-out, which means they can no longer legally fly. Therefore, the flight was cancelled at 2:00 am and rescheduled for 8:00 am the next morning.

I was a wreck of emotions! I was exhausted and stranded in a city I didn’t know anyone nor had ever been to. It was 2:00 am and the American Airlines help desk at Raleigh Airport had a wait time of a few hours.

I had Sri help me call about ten hotels in Raleigh, both near and far from the airport, and every hotel was completely booked. Because Raleigh is an American Airlines hub, there were too many delays to handle which unfortunately meant that hotels were booked with other stranded passengers.

Throughout the airport, there were passengers setting up their sleeping arrangements all around: on benches, on the floor, and anywhere you could find a “comfortable” spot.

As a female traveling alone, I did not feel comfortable nor safe falling asleep in the airport itself. I felt too vulnerable and thought someone might steal my carry-on luggage or worse. So, I found a cushioned bench in the women’s bathroom and attempted to sleep there.

Finally I made it to Charleston after no sleep the previous night and was completely exhausted. Not only did I miss all of Saturday in Charleston but I also felt like Sunday was a blur due to my lack of sleep from the night before.

Brunch at Basic Kitchen in Charleston, South Carolina

Activities

Sunday

After a sleepless night, Katie and I decided to designate relaxing activities for Sunday. I freshened up at our hotel and we went straight to brunch at Basic Kitchen, a delicious little restaurant right off of the famous King Street. After much needed healthy food and coffee to refuel, we walked around King Street, strolling in and out of boutiques.

We wanted our first night in Charleston to be a unique activity that was custom to Charleston and it’s historic harbor. So we booked a Sunset Cruise from Harborview Charters. The cruise was “bring-your-own-anything”: food, drinks, you name it! It was an absolute blast and our guide was so informative. The cruise lasted for 90 minutes and was approximately $34 per person.

As we cruised along the harbor, our guide explained the historical significance of some of Charleston’s most renowned waterfront homes, White Point Gardens, Charleston Water Front Park, Castle Pinckney, and the Cooper River Bridge. We even saw bottle-nosed dolphins!

Monday

Continuing on our historical expedition of this part of the United States, Katie and I wanted to visit a plantation. So on Monday, we visited Magnolia Plantation & Gardens and spent the morning and early afternoon strolling the grounds and learning about the family and their cultivation of rice during the 16th century.

I was personally surprised to see that there was not much history about slavery around the plantation. They had an optional tour to learn more about what went on at this particular plantation, but we did not chose to do it as it was an extra cost.

 

Instead, we strolled around the grounds and learned about the different historical events that happened along the Ashley River. The plantation was established in 1676 and is America’s oldest public gardens.

In May, Charleston gets quite hot and humid. So after our afternoon at the plantation, Katie and I went to Folly Beach to cool off and relax at the beach.

Charleston is a beautiful city and even with three relaxing days, there wasn’t enough time to fully explore all of its historical sights and colorful row homes.

After our excursion at Magnolia Plantation and Folly Beach, we went back to our hotel to freshen up before having dinner on a rooftop of the lovely Grand Bohemian Hotel. We ordered a few drinks and a quick bite at Eleve, a rooftop restaurant where we could take in Charleston’s beauty from above.

Tuesday

Our flight home departed at 4:00 pm, so we spent half of the day treating yourself and getting our nails done at a nontoxic Nail salon, The Water Room. Afterwards, we popped in-and-out of surrounding boutiques before grabbing a our last lunch at Cru Cafe, a restaurant situated in an old historic house that serves up the most delicious southern comfort food.

Other Tips & Tricks

Charleston is a beautiful city and even with three relaxing days, there wasn’t enough time to fully explore all of its historical sights and colorful row homes.

My all time favorite Charleston guide is from Julia Berolzheimer. She moved to Charleston a few years ago but has since made it home and her guide is very thorough and helpful!

There are also so many places we didn’t get to visit like Rainbow Row, Hampton Park, White Point Garden, strolling around South of Broadstreet and visiting Colonial Lake. With the help of this guide, hopefully you will make it there too!

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