Getting round in Charleston, South Carolina – Lonely Planet


Downtown Charleston, South Carolina, is compact and pedestrian-friendly. You will not want a automobile when you’re planning a brief weekend journey and aren’t leaving the core, which is filled with eating places, retailers and historic websites.

Free shuttles loop across the metropolis on three routes. The Inexperienced Line (Route 211) stops at key areas inside the historic district. The Charleston Customer Heart at 375 Assembly St doubles as a transportation hub for the shuttles. With maps and a great deal of info, the customer middle is an effective place to start out your go to.

On foot

With sidewalks linking its retailers, eating places, church buildings, museums and historic houses, downtown Charleston is simple to discover. Simply bear in mind that some older sidewalks could also be just a little uneven. Its borders are considerably free, however the historic core stretches from Calhoun St south to the Battery – it’s simply over a mile between the 2. You’ll discover most of the metropolis’s most well-known historic websites in addition to its high eating places right here. In case you get bored with strolling, hop on the DASH (Downtown Space Shuttle) Inexperienced Line.

Downtown Charleston encompasses not more than 5 sq. miles. The world south of Calhoun St is house to 4 neighborhoods: Harleston Village, Ansonborough, the French Quarter and the South of Broad space, which holds well-preserved church buildings, colourful Rainbow Row, the Battery & White Level Backyard and a slew of architecturally placing houses. Look out for the distinct single homes, that are lengthy and slim houses marked by breeze-catching sideways porches. A handful of bumpy cobblestone streets within the French Quarter and South of Broad could be a little difficult to stroll.

King Road is the first north-south hall within the historic district, and it’s lined with retailers, eating places and galleries.

The DASH can take you to serene scenes just like the pier at Brittlebank Park © Daniela Duncan / Getty Photographs

DASH shuttle and bus

The Charleston Space Regional Transit Authority (CARTA) runs free shuttles, common buses and categorical buses.

DASH shuttle

For guests, the DASH through its Inexperienced Line is probably the most handy solution to discover the historic district. DASH buses loop across the Charleston peninsula on three routes. All of them cease by the customer middle.

The Inexperienced Line travels from the customer middle south alongside King St to Broad St then follows the latter to the 4 Corners of the Regulation intersection at Assembly St. It then continues to the Previous Change & Provost Dungeon, Waterfront Park and the Charleston Market. The Orange Line (Route 210) connects with the South Carolina Aquarium and the Faculty of Charleston. The Purple Line (Route 213) loops to the Faculty of Charleston, Medical College of South Carolina and the medical complicated, Brittlebank Park and The Citadel. DASH buses run from about 7am to 10pm weekdays, with barely decreased hours Saturdays and Sundays.


CARTA additionally operates 16 common bus routes and three categorical bus routes in and across the metropolis. Route 11/Dorchester Rd hyperlinks the customer middle with the airport. One-way fares are $2 for an everyday route and $3.50 for an categorical route. On-board fares are money solely, and the driving force can not make change. A day go is $7 and will be bought on the customer middle. Youngsters underneath 6 years previous driving with a paying passenger are free.

Obtain the Transit app to trace buses in real-time.


In case you’re planning to spend a weekend exploring downtown Charleston and its historic district, you don’t want a automobile. Lodge parking will be costly, and it may be arduous to seek out avenue parking. Strolling, driving the DASH or taking a brief journey with Uber or Lyft ought to be ample. In case you plan to go to the Ashley River Plantations, discover the Lowcountry or hit a close-by seaside, a automobile is required. There are eight rental automobile companies at Charleston Worldwide Airport and a handful of automobile rental places of work downtown.

Parking at city-run garages prices $1 per half-hour. Metropolis-run parking tons price $1 to $2 per half-hour. There could also be discounted flat charges after 5pm. Road parking at meters prices $1 per half-hour, and meters settle for cash and bank cards. Meters are in operation from 9am-6pm Monday by means of Saturday.

Anticipate congestion on I-17 and I-26 throughout the morning and afternoon rush hours. With an abundance of bridges, vacationers coming and going, and an inflow of recent residents throughout the area, site visitors jams and slow-moving bottlenecks usually are not unusual any time of the day.

Taxi and ride-hailing

Taxis can be found in Charleston as are Uber and Lyft. From Charleston Worldwide Airport, there’s a $15 minimal payment for taxi service. Taxis from the airport to the peninsula can run as excessive as $50 to $60 relying on the situation of your resort. Journey-hail pricing will be considerably decrease, relying on demand. Additionally examine to see in case your resort runs a shuttle to the airport. The airport is 12 miles from downtown.

Taxi service will be unreliable downtown, so Uber and Lyft are one of the best choices for brief journeys to eating places and points of interest.

Biking will be enjoyable on the islands and alongside the seashores a brief drive from downtown © KenWiedemann / Getty Photographs


With degree topography and quick metropolis blocks that hold automobiles from going too quick, the peninsula is an effective place to bike journey. There are a handful of motorbike and ebike rental retailers in and round downtown. Town additionally has a point-to-point bike share program, Holy Spokes, which has quite a few bike stations throughout the peninsula.

In January 2022 it was introduced that mobility firm Lime would take over the operation of the bike-share program when Holy Spokes’ contract expires in February. At the moment Holy Spokes has 250 bikes out there. The use payment is $8 per hour or $20 per day. Learn all the locking necessities so that you just received’t be charged an additional payment.

You will not discover bike lanes downtown, however you possibly can bike throughout the two.5-mile Ravenel Bridge to Mount Nice on the designated multi-use path. Biking can be enjoyable on the islands and alongside the seashores a brief drive from downtown. CARTA buses have racks that may accommodate bicycles.

Accessible transportation in Charleston

CARTA’s fixed-route buses are compliant with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA). Buses have lifts that accommodate wheelchairs and different mobility units. Buses may decrease themselves to the curb to make boarding simpler. Precedence seating for wheelchairs is accessible on the entrance of the bus, and drivers will safe wheelchairs and scooters. Service animals are permitted.

Fares are 75 cents for disabled vacationers on mounted routes. Locals can present their legitimate CARTA card for the decreased fare whereas guests could use a Medicaid card or a Disabled ID card from their house transit system. Paratransit choices could also be out there by means of Tel-A-Journey when you’ve got a certification card, and passengers with a Tel-A-Journey ID card can journey mounted routes free of charge. Go to the CARTA web site for extra particulars about ADA providers.

Folly Seaside County Park provides accessible parking, loos and out of doors altering areas. There may be additionally an accessible seaside path. Kiawah Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island additionally has accessible parking, loos and out of doors altering areas. Seaside-accessible wheelchairs can be found first-come, first-served at each parks.

Free parking is accessible for these with disabilities at metered parking areas and at government-run metered tons.

Obtain Lonely Planet’s free on-line information for accessible journey on-line assets.

Carriage excursions are a typical sight in Charleston’s historic district © csfotoimages / Getty Photographs

Historic district excursions and carriage rides

Strolling excursions and carriage rides aren’t designed for point-to-point journey, however they could be a enjoyable and informative introduction to town and its historical past. Charleston Footprints provides strolling excursions by a educated native information. You may take your choose of meals, historical past or ghosts on a themed strolling tour with Bulldog Excursions.

Horse-drawn carriage rides are a typical a part of town tableau, and also you’ll see them departing from their gathering areas close to Metropolis Market. Working since 1972, Palmetto Carriage Works is Charleston’s oldest carriage tour. As with different cities, carriage rides in Charleston have gained the eye of animal welfare advocates, who say town’s summer season temps and dealing circumstances negatively impression the animals.

Water taxi

Charleston Water Taxi runs a ferry service that loops between 4 stops on the Cooper River. On the Charleston Peninsula, the ferry stops at Waterfront Park then travels north to the Charleston Maritime Heart, which is adjoining to the South Carolina Aquarium. From there the ferry crosses the river, stopping at Patriot Level, which is house to Patriot’s Level Naval & Maritime Museum. The water taxi then travels south to the Charleston Harbor Marina. An all-day ferry go is $12. Ferries depart on the hour and half hour, from about 9am to 7:30pm relying on location.

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