South Carolina Aquarium, otter
South Carolina Aquarium, shark

Charleston, South Carolina Vacation and Travel Information

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As a city with over 300 years of history, Charleston has survived centuries of fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and epidemics. Referred to as the "Holy City" because of its large number of churches, the town has maintained its 18th-century "look and feel" by preserving its structures. Charleston is truly a "Southern jewel" on the Eastern seaboard.

Charleston City Info

  • Land Area: 88 square miles
  • Number of radio stations: 3 AM, 18 FM
  • Number of television stations: 4
  • Number of newspapers: 2 (The Post & Courier and Charleston Regional Business Journal)
  • Elevation: 42
  • Transportation: Charleston Int'l Airport, Charleston Executive Airport, East Cooper Airport, Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA)

Charleston Weather and Climate:

  • Average daily temperature: 63 degrees
  • Average annual rainfall: 51.6 inches

Distances to other Metropolitan Areas from Charleston (in miles):

  • Atlanta, GA — 224
  • Boston, MA — 808
  • Chicago, IL — 751
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX — 973
  • Houston, TX — 911
  • Las Vegas, NV — 1,974
  • Los Angeles, CA — 2,172
  • Memphis, TN — 581
  • Miami, FL — 485
  • Nashville, TN — 433
  • New Orleans, LA — 626
  • New York, NY — 628
  • Orlando, FL - 314
  • Philadelphia, PA - 543
  • Phoenix, AZ — 1,818
  • Rapid City, SD — 1,437
  • Salt Lake City, UT — 1,811
  • San Antonio, TX — 1,098
  • San Diego, CA — 2,117
  • San Jose, CA — 2,336
  • Washington, DC —  436

Charleston Safety Phone # and Major Hospitals:

  • Police/Fire/Ambulance: 911
  • Charleston Memorial Hospital (843-577-0600)
  • East Cooper Regional Medical Center in Mt. Pleasant (843-881-0100)
  • Medical University of S. Carolina University Hospital (843-792-1414)
  • Medical University of S. Carolina Children's Hospital (843-792-1414)
  • Roper Hospital (843-720-8468)
  • Trident Medical Center (843-797-7000)

Charleston Top Tourism Draws:

Charleston Major Shopping Areas:

  • Historic Downtown (featuring The Shops at Charleston Place)
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • West Ashley

Charleston Major Dining Areas:

  • Historic Downtown
  • French Quarter
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Sullivan's Island
  • West Ashely

Charleston Famous Landmarks & Historic Places:

Charleston/South Carolina Famous Natives and Residents:

  • Vanna White, television personality
  • James F. Byrnes, Senator/Secretary of State
  • Mark Clark, general
  • Joe Frazier, prize fighter
  • Althea Gibson, tennis player
  • Dizzy Gillespie, jazz trumpeter
  • DuBose Heyward, poet/playwright/novelist
  • Andrew Jackson, president
  • Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader
  • Eartha Kitt, singer/actress
  • Ronald McNair, astronaut
  • Strom Thurmond, politician
  • Charles Townes, physicist
  • William Westmoreland, general
  • Beth Daniel, LPGA player
  • Darius Rucker, singer

Notable Moments in Charleston/South Carolina History:

  • 1623:  England's King Charles I grants the first charter for a Carolina Colony to Sir Robert Heath.
  • 1649:  Oliver
  • 1670:  Settlers established Charles Town Landing.
  • 1700:  Despite fires, hurricanes, and diseases, Charles Town is a major trading center.
  • 1701:  To raise funds for the colony, The Commons House of Assembly passes a liquor tax.
  • 1704:  The Crisp Map is drawn, the first known map of the "Walled City."
  • 1710:  The colony is divided into North/South Carolina.
  • 1712:  Rhett Mansion is built at 54 Hasell St.
  • 1713:  Major hurricane strikes.
  • 1713:  Power Magazine becomes operational. 
  • 1715:  Yemassee Indians slay the colonist's peace delegation.  Two years of war follow.
  • 1718:  Blackbeard the Pirate sails into Charles Town Harbor with 4 ships; takes hostages for ransom of drugs.
  • 1721:  South Carolina becomes a royal colony.
  • 1728:  Regular passenger and shipping service begins between Charles Town and New York.
  • 1728:  Hurricane hits.
  • 1729:  The St. Andrew's Society is organized by local gentlemen.
  • 1732:  The South Carolina Gazette publishes its first edition.
  • 1733:  James Oglethorpe and the first settlers for Georgia arrive in Charles Town Harbor.
  • 1735:  The opera, "Flora," is the first public presentation of an opera in colonial America.
  • 1736:  America's first fire insurance company is organized in Charles Town.
  • 1740:  Construction of the East Bay warehouse district.  Today this area is known as Rainbow Row.
  • 1741:  The oldest gardens in America are started by Henry Middleton on his plantation, Middleton Place.
  • 1752:  Major hurricane devastates the cities with 17 foot storm surge.
  • 1770:  Harleston Village neighbor is developed.
  • 1775:  The Charleston Chamber of Commerce was founded, and is the oldest operating COC in the US.
  • 1775:  A government is established for the colony. 
  • 1776:  The Declaration of Independence reaches Charles Town and is read under the Liberty Tree.
  • 1780:  British siege of Charles Town begins.
  • 1782:  The occupation of Charles Town ends and the defeated British Army marches out of the city.
  • 1783:  The city incorporates and officially adopts the name, "Charleston."
  • 1790:  The South Carolina capital is moved from Charleston to Columbia.
  • 1818:  Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, arrives in Charleston to begin a printing business.
  • 1822:  The first fireproof building is designed by Robert Mills.
  • 1827:  Edgar Allen Poe arrives to serve at Fort Moutrie.
  • 1830:  The first locomotive called, 'The Best Friend' is used for regular passenger service.
  • 1831:  John James Audubon arrives to work on his "Birds in America."
  • 1838:  Osceola, Chief of the Seminoles, dies while in prison at Fort Moultrie.
  • 1843:  The Citadel opens for its first class of cadets.
  • 1861:  Confederate forces open fire upon Fort Sumter — the first shots of the Civil War.
  • 1885:  Hurricane with 120 MPH winds strikes.
  • 1886:  The most severe earthquake east of the Mississippi rocks Charleston, with a magnitude between 7 and 8 on the Richter scale.
  • 1918:  Norman Rockwell arrives at Charleston's Navy Yard for a tour of duty that lasts 3 months.
  • 1925:  Author Dubose Heyward writes the tragic novel, "Porgy."
  • 1925:  The "Charleston" dance craze begins.
  • 1935:  Founding of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
  • 1947:  The Historic Charleston Foundation is established.
  • 1972:  First Scottish Games Highland Gathering are held at Middleton Gardens.
  • 1982:  The construction of Charleston Place, a hotel/shopping/convention center, sets off a building and rehabilitation boom in the downtown business district.
  • 1989:  Hurricane Hugo, a category 4 hurricane, slams the city.
  • 1991:  The Visitor's Reception and Transportation Center opens.
  • 1995:  Author Clive Cussler and his team of divers discover the wreck of the Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley.

Interesting Facts about Charleston:

  • Charleston has a large number of historic churches.
  • Charleston features many historic forts, including Fort Sumter.
  • Some describe Charleston as a "living museum" considering all of the historic houses and buildings.
  • There's a large number of African American sites of interest in Charleston.
  • Charleston South Carolina is home to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum which includes the World War II Aircraft Carrier USS Yorktown.

Charleston Population and Demographics:

  • Population — 575,488
  • 65 and over — 13.5%
  • Median age — 33 years
  • Average household size — 2.2
  • Median family income — 37,069

Charleston Colleges and Universities:

  • College of Charleston
  • Trident Technical College
  • Citadel Military College of S. Carolina
  • Charleston Southern University
  • Medical University of S. Carolina
  • Johnson & Wales University

Charleston Economy & Business — Notable Employers and Industries:

  • US Navy
  • Medical University of S. Carolina
  • Charleston Air Force Base
  • Charleston County School District
  • CareAlliance Health Services
  • Berkeley County School District
  • Charleston County
  • Westvaco Corporation
  • Columbia/HCA Carolinas Div HQ & Medical Centers
  • Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., Inc.
  • Robert Bosch Corporation
  • Dorchester County School District
  • Santee Cooper
  • City of Charleston
  • R.H. Johnson Dept. of Veterans Affairs Hospital
  • SC Electric and Gas Company
Reviews
South Carolina Aquarium
Very good experience for my 2 children to see. We loved it.
5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating
-- Adrian Bowie - Charlotte, NC
South Carolina Aquarium
I loved the sc aquarium!!!!!! We saw the penguins, and even the alobino alligator. It was huge! Our day was fun and exciting! We saw lots of coloful fish and coral. It will be a trip you will never forget!
5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating
-- Rachel Coffey - Monks Corner, SC
South Carolina Aquarium
Unique venue. Presentation by divers in the large tank was great. Displays were informative. I'm sorry we did not have the grand kids with us. They would have loved this place!
5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating5 Star Rating
-- David Shimberg - Charlotte, NC
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