How to spend 12 hours in Charleston, SC

... and enjoy every second.


Explore the city in 12 hours.

Photo by @airviewsmedia

We rounded up good eats + things to do around town to create this ~12-hour guide to Charleston. Get the inside scoop on planning your next visit or staycation in the Holy City.

☕️ Good morning, Sunshine

9 a.m.

  • Wake up with Daps Breakfast + Imbibe — a black coffee and the breakfast plate with eggs, hash browns, and bacon should do the trick.
  • Early Bird Diner serves up some of the best chicken + waffles in Charleston, and the buttermilk pancakes are pretty amazing too.

👟 Hit the trails

11 a.m.

🥪 Tuck into lunch

1 p.m.

  • It’s hard to beat sandwiches at The Pass. Order the Such a Nice Italian Boy with burrata, hot + sweet salami, tomatoes, and provolone.
  • If you plan to visit Folly Beach, don’t miss Bowens Island. Order the seafood platter + you’ll feel like you’ve fried and gone to heaven at this casual waterfront spot.
  • Lewis BBQ is a must for barbecue fans. Grab a plate of cue with all the fixings — collards, mac and cheese, slaw, and green chile corn pudding.

🚶 Step out on the town

3 p.m.

  • Grab tickets and swing by the South Carolina Aquarium to see the two-story, 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank and sea turtle exhibit.
  • Visit The Charleston Museumaka “America’s first museum” — to explore artifact collections and exhibits like the natural history gallery.

🍸 Its five oclock somewhere

5 p.m.

🦐 Dig into dinner

7 p.m.

  • Catch the sunset on Folly Beach + order the bun cha lettuce wraps at Chico Feo. Pro tip: Cross the street to Bert’s Market and get a slice of cake for dessert.
  • Dog owners: Walk Pitt Street Bridge with your pup and then sit down at Community Table. You and your furry friend can sit at a table outside.
  • For fine dining, make a reservation and head to The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island. Get one of the pizzastrust us.

🎶 Find your beat

9 p.m.

  • Head to The Windjammer on Isle of Palms for performances at this event venue. Take a look at the calendar and grab tickets before you go.
  • Check out The Royal American for beers, eats + live music from local, regional, and national bands. Browse upcoming artists.

Luckily for us, there are countless ways to spend time in our city. Have a suggestion? Share it here.