Exploring Charleston, South Carolina

This port city in America’s Lowcountry region dates back to 1670 and has lots of modern fun to offer cruising yachtsmen.

Safe Harbor Charleston City
Safe Harbor Charleston City is able to accommodate yachts as large as 455 feet length overall. Courtesy Safe Harbor Marinas

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The city of Charleston, South Carolina—which was known as Charles Town back in the day, an homage to King Charles II—is the state’s largest city today. Its history as a major trading port means the culture combines what’s typically considered to be southern American with influences from Britain, France and West Africa. All of it makes for truly memorable options when it comes to museums, music and dining, in particular.

Boaters can start to sample the local fare after tying up at Safe Harbor Charleston City, which has the waterfront Marina Variety Store Restaurant on site and within walking distance of the boat slips. The restaurant offers takeout to eat back on board, or indoor and outdoor seating for dining with a view. The menu ranges from fresh local shrimp to po’boy sandwiches and sides of collard greens—some of the best-known recipes of this region. Other Lowcountry favorites that visitors can sample in restaurants around town include fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and Charleston red rice (which is made by cooking white rice with bacon, onion, garlic and tomato paste).

Charleston’s museums and historical sites are equally tempting in their variety. The Powder Magazine, which is located inside one of the state’s oldest buildings, celebrates gunpowder, while Fort Sumter, where the Civil War’s first shots were fired, has boat tours available. 

Also worth some touring time is Charleston’s music scene. At the end of this month, Charleston Music Hall will welcome back Gregory Porter, a bone-deep baritone whose style mixes jazz, soul, blues and gospel. Yes, he’s the same Gregory Porter who had an acclaimed role in the original 1999 Broadway musical It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues. Like the city itself, he’s still winning new fans.

Outdoor Fun

The temperature in Charleston can get as warm as the low 60s during February. Cypress Gardens has miles of garden trails to explore, along with a “swamparium” reptile center with venomous snakes. The ocean course at Kiawah Island is a top destination for golfers, with winds coming off the water to create a challenging day on the links. Sullivan’s Island is home to one of several beaches in the city. It’s a popular choice for kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing.

Safe Harbor Charleston City

Home of the Mega Dock—and able to accommodate yachts as large as 455 feet length overall—this marina welcomes transient boaters with complimentary Wi-Fi, shore power, pump-out and more.

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