Ultimate Planning Guide for a Romantic Staycation in Charleston
With its world-class dining, resort spas, tranquil gardens and gorgeous beaches and sunsets, it’s easy to see why Charleston is a popular couple’s vacation spot. But who says that you need to be a tourist to plan a romantic getaway in Charleston?
Whether you live in North Charleston, Mount Pleasant or in Charleston’s historic downtown district, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a romantic staycation without ever leaving the city. Strolls through enchanting gardens, live theatre performance, intimate beach getaways—it can all be found in the Holy City!
What are you waiting for? It’s time to start planning your romantic staycation in Charleston!
Things to Do
Of course, the first step to planning any vacation is deciding which activities you want to do. Thinking about something low-key and intimate, such as a romantic stroll through Charleston’s stunning gardens? Or maybe a relaxing massage followed by a game of golf?
No matter what you’re in the mood for, Charleston’s endless opportunities for romantic experiences make planning a couple’s staycation easy. Here are a few ideas of romantic activities for the two of you to enjoy.
Take in a Performance
If you haven’t taken advantage of Charleston’s thriving performing arts scene, now is the time to start! The Holy City has a wealth of theater troupes, music concerts, comedy shows and dance performances to enjoy in one of its many historic venues.
Get a Couple’s Massage
Looking to unwind with your significant other? Visit one of Charleston’s relaxing spas for a treat that both you and your partner will enjoy.
From basic massages and facials to full-service retreats for couples, there is no shortage of luxury spas in the Holy City. Book a couple’s room at The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place for a relaxing couple’s spa treatment. For a unique, cozy spa treatment, check out The Woodhouse Spa, located in Mount Pleasant.
If those two suggestions aren’t doing it for you, consider Urban Nirvana at The Wentworth Mansion or the Dewberry Spa, which is housed in a charming carriage house.
Meander Through Enchanting Gardens and Nature Trails
With over 300 years of horticultural experience, Charleston’s magical gardens attract nature lovers and artists from across the country. Spectacular views, rich history and a serene atmosphere also make Charleston’s gardens a great place for an after-dinner stroll with your date.
Those who live in Charleston probably know the most frequented nature spots, including Middleton Place, Cypress Gardens, Magnolia Plantations and other touristy spots. However, there are less popular places that offer their own unique beauty.
If gardens are what you’re after, Mepkin Abbey features peaceful gardens set along the Cooper River. For those who want to take a quiet walk, Caw Caw Interpretive Center features over 700 acres of pristine nature and offers plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities to enjoy as well.
Catch a Beautiful Sunset
Watching the sun go down over Charleston’s picturesque skyline is a must-do activity for couples. There are plenty of great spots to catch a sunset here, but one of the best is Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village.
Although you won’t be alone in this popular spot, Pitt Street Bridge is a serene place located just three miles away from Sullivan’s Island. When the sun goes down, you’ll get a spectacular view of Charleston with a stunning array of colors streaking across the skyline.
Hone Your Culinary Skills
Learning a new skill is a fun way to connect with your partner and create lasting memories. Why not sharpen your culinary skills together?
Charleston’s famous food scene has attracted top chefs to the Holy City, delighting the taste buds of tourists and locals alike. Some of them are even willing to teach you their ways, such as culinary star Chef Bob Waggoner.
Another great option for couples is Zero George Cooking School. These stylish events can help you expand your culinary skills in an intimate setting.
Places to Eat
Those of us who live in Charleston know that the city’s reputation for being a foodie’s paradise is well deserved. But it’s more than food that draws couples to dine out in the Holy City.
With its cozy taverns and candlelit settings, the city has much to offer in terms of romance. In fact, Charleston made OpenTable’s list of the 25 most romantic cities in the United States this year!
Without further ado, here are some of Charleston’s most romantic restaurants that are sure to set the mood.
If you’re searching for a romantic dinner spot, you’ll find it at Fulton Five—a cozy Italian restaurant tucked away on Fulton Street, just a half block from King Street.
Fulton Five serves up traditional Northern Italian fare in an intimate setting, complete with candlelit tables draped in white cloth. Make reservations beforehand and save room for their fresh in-house dessert.
Tucked away on Payne Street in the Cannonborough Elliotborough neighborhood, Chez Nous is slightly off the beaten path. However, this classy French restaurant is well worth the journey.
Set inside a small antebellum home, the intimate setting is worth a visit to Chez Nous alone. One taste of their ever-changing menu and this may be your new favorite restaurant in Charleston.
Want to know what’s on their menu for the day? Check out Chez Nous’s Instagram to see pictures of their delectable cuisine.
Craving tapas and paella? Get a taste of Spain when you stop by Barsa for lunch or dinner. Tasty tapas and paella, a great wine selection and stylish cocktails make this snazzy lounge an ideal place to bring a date.
Barsa also boasts a lovely patio that is perfect on pleasant nights. Plus, happy hour lasts until 7:00 p.m.!
Historic, intimate and creative cuisine from one of Charleston’s most famous chefs—what more could you ask for in a Charleston restaurant?
Set in an over 200-year-old building, McCrady’s Tavern offers a more relaxed setting compared to the high-end restaurant upstairs. Despite the more casual air, the tavern brings the familiar flavors that locals have come to expect from chef Sean Brock.
When a restaurant is created and run by two James Beard award-winning chefs, you know it’s going to be good. Opened in 2003 by Chefs Mike Lata and Adam Nemirow, FIG has attracted foodies from across the country with its creative Lowcountry cuisine, cocktails and wine list. The menu changes with the season, with dishes featuring local ingredients and freshly caught fish.
With its Tuscan-inspired cuisine, cozy ambiance and friendly staff, Wild Olive on Johns Island is a favorite restaurant for many locals. If you want to taste the true flavors of Tuscany in the Lowcountry, Wild Olive is the place to go.
House-made pasta, warm olives and a wine list that would please any wine connoisseur are just a taste of what this restaurant has to offer its guests. Make a reservation, especially on weekends when this local favorite is guaranteed to be busy!
Beardcat’s Sweet Shop
Searching for a place to satisfy your sweet tooth? Beardcat’s Sweet Shop alone is worth a trip to Sullivan’s Island, especially after eating at The Obstinate Daughter.
This charming coffee and sweet shop offers 20 unique flavors of gelato/sorbet, scrumptious pastries and cookies, milkshakes, sundaes and hot or iced coffee drinks. Gluten-free options are available, and the desserts are color coded to indicate allergens, which is always a huge plus for those with special dietary needs.
Where to Stay
While a staycation doesn’t typically require one to leave their house, there is something undeniably appealing about spending the night somewhere else. It’s a change of scenery that can help you feel as though you are truly getting away from it all.
Not to mention that it’s more romantic than staying at home. Check out the following accommodations for something intimate and relaxing:
Old Village Post House Inn
Set in Mount Pleasant’s most charming neighborhood, the Old Village Post House is known mostly for its upscale restaurant. However, this historic inn also has six distinct rooms located above the restaurant that guests can reserve.
Although this B&B is small and quaint, its amenities are all modern. With its charming courtyard and picturesque setting, it’s not surprising that Old Village Post House Inn is a popular wedding venue for couples.
Zero George Hotel
Sink into luxury at the Zero George Hotel and you may never want to return home. Set in restored circa 1804 buildings, this boutique hotel takes all of Charleston’s historic charms and adds modern elegance for a relaxing and luxurious, yet charming vibe.
Zero George offers special packages, including their Romance Package, complete with chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne. Each suite is unique in terms of furnishings, but you can always count on wine and cheese to be waiting for you at the end of each day.
Charleston Beach Vacation Rental
A cozy seaside vacation rental is the ultimate romantic staycation. With a beach vacation rental, you can step right outside and take a romantic walk on the beach with your partner.
Whether you want to stay on Folly Beach or Isle of Palms, there are plenty of Charleston vacation rentals available. From private beach homes and condominiums to pet-friendly properties, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The French Quarter Inn
Italian marble bathrooms, luxurious European linens and premium spa amenities are just the beginning of what the French Quarter Inn offers its guests. This award-winning hotel in Historic Charleston leaves no small detail unturned when it comes to its guests.
The French Quarter Inn takes Southern hospitality to another level. From nightly cookies and treats to welcome champagne and breakfast in bed, it’s the small things that make this boutique hotel one of the best in Charleston.
Spas, golf, unspoiled nature—it can all be found on Kiawah Island. If you and significant other need some R&R, this island resort is sure to rejuvenate you both.
Outdoor recreation opportunities, luxury spa packages, world championship golf and island dining keep guests coming back to Kiawah year after year. Just be careful—you may want to live on Kiawah Island permanently after you’ve experienced what this stunning island has to offer.
Planning a romantic staycation isn’t difficult in a city like Charleston. Beautiful architecture, cobblestone streets and magical gardens create an intimate setting for couples in love, and with its thriving food and art scene, the date night activities are endless. Whether you have lived in Charleston for months or years, there is always an unforgettable experience waiting to be discovered.