Charleston: Top 10 Locals List

While there are many things to do in Charleston, these are the top 10 musts. From walking along Folly Beach to sipping a beer at a microbrewery, here are the city’s best-kept local secrets.
Folly Beach

Folly beach has a long and sorted history. Known originally as "Coffin Island," Folly Beach was where incoming ships would leave the ill and disease-stricken before entering the city of Charleston. Upon leaving again, they would bury those that did not make it on the west end of the island where the county park now sits. According to internet materials, the first shot of the Civil War was fired on Morris Island in the 1860s and for much of its history Folly Island has been viewed as relatively lawless; a place where bootleggers and those hiding from the law sought refuge. However, in the 1960s Folly was apparently cleaned up and amenitized with 1700+ feet of pier, boardwalk, amusement rides and the such. This was known as Folly's "golden age." However, the pier was burned in 1977 (suspected arson) and Hurricane Hugo cleaned up in 1989. The current pier shown in the picture was built in 1995.

Located just 20 minutes from downtown Charleston, Folly Beach is often referred to by locals as the “edge of America.” The expansive beaches on this South Carolina island — Folly Island — are famous for their amazing sunrises and sunsets.

The Folly Boat
Folly Boat, graffiti, Charleston, South Carolina

Folly Boat, graffiti, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: Follyboat.com

Follyboat.com

Participate in a local tradition by painting the famous Folly Boat, which washed ashore sometime during Hurricane Hugo. Now, townies paint secret messages and artwork onto the grungy hull of this local icon.
Trudy's School of Dance
Trudy's School of Dance, Charleston, South Carolina

Trudy's School of Dance, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: Trudy's School of Dance

Trudy's School of Dance

Learn how to dance the Charleston at Trudy’s School of Dance on Folly Road. Since 1939, this family-owned studio has been popular with the city’s residents.
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston, South Carolina

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: Copyright Lindsay E. Hickman/Moment Open/Getty Images

Copyright Lindsay E. Hickman/Moment Open/Getty Images

If you’re the active type, then you’ll definitely want to run, walk or bike on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. This impressive structure spans a total of more than 13,000 feet over the Cooper River, connecting downtown to Mount Pleasant.
Charleston SUP Safaris
Sup Safari, paddle boarding, Charleston, South Carolina

Sup Safari, paddle boarding, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: Charleston Sup Safaris

Charleston Sup Safaris

The South may have a lazy reputation, but active locals who have visited Charleston SUP Safaris would argue otherwise. At this creative establishment, you can learn how to do yoga atop a paddleboard. Don’t worry — no experience is necessary.
Gullah Tours
Gullah Tours, Aiken Rhett House, Charleston, South Carolina

Gullah Tours, Aiken Rhett House, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: David McSpadden

Charleston has its own language — Gullah — that you might not even know about. At Gullah Tours, you can memorize a few essential Gullah phrases to assimilate into the Charleston culture.
Palmetto Brewing Co.
Palmetto Brewing Company, beer, glass, Charleston, South Carolina

Palmetto Brewing Company, beer, glass, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: Palmetto Brewing Company

Palmetto Brewing Company

Microbreweries are popular all over Charleston. One favorite, Palmetto Brewing Co., offers tours of its brewery every hour, on the hour.
Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park
Joseph Riley Jr. Stadium, Charleston, South Carolina

Joseph Riley Jr. Stadium, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The minor league baseball stadium of the Charleston RiverDogs is a great place to meet locals. With an occupancy of just 6,000 people, this little-known spot is the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.
The Macintosh
The Macintosh, restaurant, Charleston, South Carolina

The Macintosh, restaurant, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: The Macintosh

The Macintosh

The New American cuisine at the Macintosh in Charleston is truly remarkable. Patrons love how the restaurant sticks to its farm-to-table mantra. Other popular restaurants in the area for quintessential Southern fare include Home Team BBQ and the Peninsula Grill.
Market Pavilion Hotel
Market Pavilion Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina

Market Pavilion Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina

Photo by: The Leading Hotels Of The World

The Leading Hotels Of The World

Charleston is known for having the best of the best. Of the many luxurious hotel options, 1 go-to is the Market Pavilion Hotel. While the price tag might seem a little bit high, the 2-block walk to the waterfront makes it completely worth it.
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