Charleston Spring Break Crawl: Beaches and BBQ in South Carolina

Cypress Gardens Charleston
Look for wildlife, including alligators and birds, at Charleston's Cypress Gardens. Photo: Cypress Gardens
With five (that's right, five) nearby beach towns -- Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, Kiawah, Seabrook and Sullivan's islands -- internationally-acclaimed cuisine, world-class golf courses and enough historic sites to create its own textbook, Charleston is an obvious choice for spring break.

Get the All-Inclusive Treatment: JB's Smokeshack
Pay one price for a bundled food or drink experience

If you're going to come all the way to South Carolina, you'd be remiss not to have some authentic barbecue. Head out to John's Island for JB's Smokeshack. This hole-in-the-wall offers a dinner buffet for just $12.50 (and that includes tax and tea!). Best news -- you can get sides to go. Go ahead, take those butter beans home with you, we won't judge.

Worship Water:Palmetto Breeze Catamaran
A fun water-centric activity

Looking for dolphin sightings? Pirate adventures? Barrier island sunsets? Then hop aboard the Palmetto Breeze catamaran for a late afternoon sail. This is the best way to see Charleston's Battery and its historic homes. Plus there's a cash bar -- and free soft drinks -- as the sounds of Jimmy Buffett waft overhead.

Don't Miss the Big Event: Charleston Fashion Week
A must-see springtime festival or event

Forget what Punxsutawney Phil said, it's time to kick off those winter duds and embrace a spring ensemble. Get some sartorial inspiration at Charleston Fashion Week (March 18-22). For five nights Marion Square is home to a giant runway, hosting the Emerging Designers Competition and the Spring Bridal Show.

Closer than Disney World: Cypress Gardens
A great activity for kids and families

Cypress Gardens, a breathtaking swamp up the road from Charleston, has rowboats for kids to spot alligators; a swamparium featuring fish, amphibians and reptiles; walking trails and a butterfly house filled with live butterflies, birds and a glass-enclosed observational beehive.

Catch Some Rays:Poe's Tavern
A place to eat or drink outdoors

Named for Edgar Allen Poe, who lived on Sullivan's Island while enlisted in the Army, Poe's Tavern pays homage to the author with delicious burgers (with your choice of chicken or beef). Try the Tell-Tale Heart, which is decadently topped with cheddar cheese, applewood bacon and a fried egg. Sip IPAs for hours while enjoying the sunshine on the porch or patio.

Planning a Caribbean spring break instead? Check out our island finder >>


Kinsey Gidick is a writer and assistant editor for Charleston magazine in Charleston, where she greets spring by biking around South of Broad before heading to Fuel restaurant for painkiller cocktails.
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