We hope you’ve packed your appetite. This month, we’re finishing our Hit the Road series with a foodie foray into Charleston, SC. Whether you’re interested in taking a tour of the Lowcountry’s food scene, putting your cooking skills to the test during a chef-led cooking class, or trying the award-winning oysters at The Ordinary, this driving-distance destination is every foodie’s dream.
Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.
Drive time: ~4 hours from downtown Raleigh
Est. population: 156,255
Avg. high in August: 87°
🎟️ Things to do
Plan the perfect date inspired by “The Notebook” with a self-guided boat tour followed by an excellent meal.
Dinner and a movie
Watch a freshly-released film at the retro Terrace Theatre.
Gibbes Museum of Art
Before or after grabbing a bite to eat, explore American art incorporating the story of Charleston.
In the Kitchen with Chef Bob Waggoner
Relaxed and casual Lowcountry cooking classes.
A week of Charleston meal deals at local favorites is coming up Sept. 8-18.
Charleston Wine + Food Festival
Save the date for March 1-5 to celebrate local culinary visionaries.
Cooper River Bridge Run
Challenge yourself to a 10K on Sat., April 1.
🦪 Memorable eats
Start with local raw oysters, savor the smoked tilefish curry, and end with ice cream disguised as fried chicken. Pro tip: Get in line before opening; this foodie destination doesn’t take reservations.
Delaney Oyster House
This seafood-focused restaurant is located in a cozy, historic home. Garden & Gun named its Carolina blue crab claws one of ten must-eat dishes in Charleston.
Share Spanish and Portuguese-inspired small plates and tapas paired with a glass of wine from its expertly curated selection.
This clubby, classic Italian restaurant serves fresh pasta and thin crust pizza. The tuna crudo and paccheri are divine.
These dishes are so good that you won’t be able to tell they’re all vegan. Pair your butternut squash mac and cheese (it’s so good) with a unique cocktail.
The Obstinate Daughter
Located on Sullivan’s Island, this Southern restaurant is influenced by French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine. Come hungry for wood-fired pizza.
This seafood hall and oyster bar is housed in an old bank on King Street. The fancy seafood tower is worth the splurge.
Grab gourmet sandwiches made with local + seasonal ingredients during the day or experience a private Chef’s Table multi-course dinner at night.
Xiao Bao Biscuit
This restaurant serves dishes inspired by Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. The menu, offering family-style options, changes seasonally.
167 Raw Oyster Bar
This New England-style restaurant has been featured in national publications like Time, Travel + Leisure, and Condé Nast Traveler. Try the oven-roasted oysters and scallop po’ boy.
Bay Street Inn, French Quarter
This three-story, single-family home is in walking distance to an abundance of great restaurants. The luxury house, located near City Market and King Street, can comfortably accommodate 14 people.
The Dewberry, 334 Meeting St.
This mid-century landmark-turned-luxury-hotel made Condé Nast Traveler’s 2022 Gold List. Before heading to dinner, sip cocktails in the upscale Living Room or take in Charleston views from the hotel’s rooftop bar, The Citrus Club.
Emeline, 181 Church St.
This sophisticated hotel feels modern while maintaining a Southern charm. There is a resident chocolate-truffle chef, a speakeasy located behind the bar, and wood-fired eatery (Frannie & the Fox).
Sea Foam at the Blue Horizon, Sullivan’s Island
Relax in this two bedroom, one bath oceanfront apartment perfect for four people. This spot is near a variety of eateries like The Longboard and The Co-Op.