Some people are looking for a place to retire. Others have professions which enable them to choose the city in which they live. Some are simply dreamers that are asking, "If I could live anyplace in the country, where would it be?"
There are 3 major attractions to Charleston SC. First is the weather. While the summers can be tough, many months of the year are very temperate. Charleston is subject to tropical storms and hurricanes, but it doesn't get blasted as often as Florida or even Wilmington and the Outer Banks. Next would have to be the historic district, although this would certainly be based on personal preferance. Until I started trying to learn how to surf, I wasn't much of a beach person. Now, it's very important to me. I live 45-50 minutes from the Washout at Folly Beach and 30-35 minutes from the historic district. Charleston's historic district not only has amazing history and living artifacts, but a great selection of restaurants for a town of its size. Finally, we have our selection from several different beaches, each with their own identity, from remote and quaint Edisto beach, to the more upscale and exclusive Kiawah and Seabrook Island Beaches.
All of the beaches in the Charleston area are on barrier islands. Charleston itself is a penninsula that juts out into the Charleston Harbor. Folly and Sullivan Islands, as well as Mt. Pleasant and James Island surround the Harbor. As a visitor, you probably won't have time to check out all of the beaches, but once you move, eventually you will. Isle of Palms has a recently updated village area. Folly Island is still "beach-bummy" but is being updated as some of the older structures give way to time and nature. Sullivan's Island was featured in the movie, "Prince of Tides." (although the bridge pictured at the end of the movie is actually the bridge from Beaufort to Lady's Island 45 minutes South of Charleston) Most of the beaches have County Park areas with parking and life guards. What I find most interesting is the decided lack of beach hotels in the area. Most beach vacationers opt for Vacation Rentals. When you compare the cost of renting a home for a week versus renting 2 hotel rooms, it's a real bargain. Anyone who's ever crammed into one hotel room with their kids knows that, a couple of days are OK, but this isn't something you want to do for a week. We rented a condo on Edisto a few years ago for $1,000 for the whole week. Try finding a hotel room anywhere near any beach for less than $120/night.
I won't spoil the adventure for you by offering all the comparisons. Come visit and check them out yourself. If it's your first time, I would probably suggest Folly Beach, but that's just my opinion. If nightlife is something that's important to you, try to find something within walking distance to Folly Road.
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