Travel Nurse Assignments: Live Like a Local – Charleston, SC!
Welcome to Charleston, SC! One of America’s oldest cities, Charleston is teeming with historical sites, and acts as a window to America’s past. Founded in 1670, the city was named after English King Charles II, more than a century before the American Revolution. Today, many historic buildings remain a part of Charleston’s cityscape, and you can still see horse-drawn carriages riding through downtown. Of course, the city has also modernized since the Colonial era, and is still the largest city in South Carolina today. Charleston consistently ranks among the best places in the U.S. to visit, and was even voted the Best City in the World by Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2017! Check out all the wonders Charleston has to offer!
Civil War History
In addition to Charleston’s rich colonial past, the city is brimming with Civil War history. One of the main tourist attractions is Fort Sumter, where the first battle of the Civil War took place. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union in 1860, and the First Battle of Fort Sumter was fought in 1861.
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Interpretive tours led by park rangers give you a detailed history of the fort and the battles that took place there, plus it’s cool to just walk around and look at all the old cannons that line the fort. The fort is only accessible by boat, and you can catch the ferry at the Fort Sumter Education Center in Downtown.
Charleston’s Antebellum Era
The Education Center sits on Gadsden’s Wharf, one of the main entry points for enslaved Africans brought to the American colonies. It is estimated that over 100,000 Africans came through the wharf to be sold as slaves between 1783 and 1808, and it continues to be a grim reminder of South Carolina’s history with slavery. However, the wharf will also be the future site of the International African American Museum, which is set to open in 2022. The museum will feature exhibits on the slave trade, a state-of-the-art genealogy center, and a memorial garden, free to the public for reverence and reflection.
Furthermore, there are several historic mansions and plantations from the Antebellum period that you can tour. Middleton Place is one of the top attractions in Charleston, and is home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens. The Aiken-Rhett House was built in 1820, and houses many Antebellum era artifacts. Drayton Hall is a another plantation and mansion built in 1738, teeming with picturesque gardens and southern flora. It’s also regarded as one of the best places to visit in all of South Carolina!
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If old mansions and museums aren’t your thing, Charleston has more to offer than just historic charm. The South Carolina Aquarium is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, featuring over 5,000 different animals and many species found only in the Carolinas! For outdoor activities, check out some of Charleston’s beautiful parks. Joe Riley Waterfront Park is a great spot for a leisurely stroll, with stunning views of Charleston Harbor. James Island County Park is also a nice place to wander on a sunny day. Plus, they have recreational amenities such as a dog park, a disc golf course, and even a waterpark.
For a fun day trip, head out to Morris Island, just south of Charleston. The island was heavily fortified during the Civil War, but is uninhabited today. Visitors can charter boat tours to explore the island. There is also a short walking trail with gorgeous white-sand beaches, and a lighthouse. The lighthouse is great for Instagram photos, but is otherwise inaccessible to the public.
Where to Eat and Drink
Charleston is the culinary center of South Carolina, and has a ton of great restaurants and bars to choose from. Lewis BBQ is a Charleston staple known for their smoked brisket, and Carolina-style BBQ! Magnolia’s is a more upscale restaurant specializing in traditional southern cuisine like Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp and Grits. For fresh Carolina oysters, you can’t go wrong with Pearlz Oyster Bar, which is also popular with the locals!
For cocktails, Charleston has a few speakeasies you have to try. Prohibition is known for their 1920’s Jazz Age theme, while Doar Bros. is renowned for their hand-crafted cocktails and relaxing ambiance. One thing is for sure, you’ll never go hungry or thirsty in this city!
Ready to explore Charleston, SC?