Greatest Destinations 2021: Charleston


Rainbow Row

Nothing defines Southern charm quite like King Street. At over 300 years old, it is a bustling thoroughfare where Charleston’s past and present meet. East Bay Street, which runs parallel to King Street, is home to Rainbow Row—a series of thirteen colorful historic houses that represent the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States.

South present’s our hotly anticipated, annual guide to the Greatest Destinations of 2021. Each year, South produces the definitive list of the best places to stay, play, eat and shop in Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Savannah and Jacksonville. This year, we’ve added some new locations for an exhaustive guide to the Coastal South.


South’s Greatest Destinations serves as an annual guide to the best locations in the coastal South from Charleston through Jacksonville. The list includes the premier places to stay and the hottest spots to play, as well as the best bites and top shops. In the past year, the Southeast saw continuous visitors—despite recent restrictions—proving there is just something inexplicably hospitable about our beautiful region. Without further ado, here is South’s definitive guide to the greatest destinations.


Charleston, South Carolina

The Holy City couldn’t make for a better weekend trip with world-class dining, dignified accommodations, sophisticated shopping and plenty of room for adventure.



Conveniently located on Church Street, Emeline is an elegant boutique hotel with exceptional access to all best best stops downtown. Enjoy the charming courtyard, complimentary excursive bicycles and pet-friendly accommodations.

Restoration Hotel

The Restoration translates its hometown’s vibrant history into a casually chic, luxurious hospitality experience. Dine at the rooftop restaurant and bar, enjoy signature spa services from the comfort of your room and step out on the iconic King Street, right off the hotel’s doorstep.


Belmond Charleston Place 

The Charleston Place exudes seventeenth century luxury as guests are greeted by a striking bronze fountain, Italian marble floors and a glistening chandelier. Indulge in elegant accommodations, a medley of dining options and spectacular amenities.



Firefly Distillery 

Charleston’s oldest working distillery, Firefly Distillery, has figured out how to capture lighting in a jar. Nestled among the live oaks and Spanish moss, guests can tour and taste, enjoy live music and events, or just sit back and relax.

Middleton Place 

Middleton Place, formerly a rice plantation, is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America. Guests can tour the grounds and hear the life-changing stories of the plantation’s history while experiencing the beauty of its legacy.

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Old South Carriage Company 

Take an expertly guided tour and hear about Charleston’s rich history from the comfort of a leisurely carriage with Old South Carriage Co., family owned since 1983. Guests can even tour their horse facility to hang with the horses off-duty.

Old South Carriage Co

Photo courtesy of: Old South Carriage Co


Leon’s Oyster Shop

This comfortable Southern joint, housed in a stylishly remodeled body shop, serves up fried chicken, oysters, lots of salads, cheap beer, soft serve, rosé on tap, tons of grower Champagne, and good cocktails—basically, all the good stuff.


FIG’s seasonal, locally sourced menu is a labor of love, featuring fresh, vibrant offerings. FIG excels at the basics: comfortable, modern atmosphere with exquisite flavors and playful libations.

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Photo: FIG

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Photo: FIG

167 Raw

This cozy, contemporary, New England style oyster bar is located in the heart of historic downtown Charleston. They offer the best oysters on the east coast from New Brunswick, Canada down to the local shores of South Carolina.


Monkee’s of Mount Pleasant

Monkee’s is an independently owned and operated women’s clothing and accessories boutique, offering beautiful pieces that range from classic to trendy. The array of colors exude optimism throughout the modern space, and the styles evoke the quintessential Charleston aesthetic.

Grey Ghost Bakery 

The legendary recipes at Grey Ghost Bakery have been passed down for generations, much like ghost stories that whisper around Charleston. The family-owned baking company prides themselves on using the highest quality ingredients in their made-from-scratch kitchen.

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Photo courtesy of Grey Ghost Bakery

City Market 

Find Charleston’s famous sweetgrass baskets at this open-air market in the heart of downtown. Constructed between 1804 and 1830, it was once a bustling meat, seafood and produce market. Now open again, the market is the best place to find unique Charlestonian keepsakes.

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