Vacation Rental vs. Hotel: What You Need to Know on the Charleston Coast

hat and sunglasses on a Vacation Rentals Vs. Hotels

It’s finally time to go on vacation. It’s exciting, but you have lots of planning and decisions ahead of you! Where to stay is arguably one of the most important parts of the planning process. Do you choose a hotel, or do you choose a vacation rental? What type of rental is best? Here’s what you need to know about staying in a vacation rental vs. hotel on the Charleston Coast. 

Start planning your Charleston vacation today when you access our complimentary Destination Guide! Inside, you’ll find all of our favorite things to see and do in the area. 

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What You Need to Know About Vacation Rentals Vs. Hotels

Vacation Rentals Have More Space

Your vacation accommodations are where you are going to rest and spend most of the downtime on your trip. If you are planning on traveling with a group or family, you’ll most likely want your own space. There’s nothing worse than getting on each other’s nerves in a cramped room that you’re sharing! Vacation rentals give you plenty of common living space, and everyone in your party can have their own room if you’d like. Plus, there are often beautiful porches and outdoor living areas!

Vacation Rentals Are More Private

If privacy is important to you, a vacation rental is the way to go. Many of our vacation rentals have a private pool, so you won’t have to worry about sharing it with others. Other vacation rentals in our inventory have a neighborhood pool, so you still have the chance to meet people from the community. You’ll never run into rowdy hotel guests!

The Amenities Differ

Those looking to be waited on hand and foot will definitely do best at a hotel! Vacation rentals give you more of an independent vacation, but you do still have access to amenities. While Charleston Coast Vacations doesn’t offer extravagant amenities such as room service, we are always available to make sure our guests have the best experience possible. 

The Rental Times Vary

If you’re only planning on visiting your destination for the weekend, you probably won’t be able to rent a vacation home. Many vacation rentals have minimum night stays that usually range from four days to a week, and they are higher during the peak booking season. 

Vacation Rentals Have a Kitchen

If you’re traveling with your family, all those restaurant meal bills start to add up! Having a kitchen is one of the best parts about getting a vacation rental. Not only is it more cost-effective to make a few meals at home, but you’ll also save a ton of time. Wake up, make some pancakes and coffee, then immediately hit the beach! Plus, you can visit the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market or Charleston Farmers Market to get the freshest produce around to use in the kitchen. 

Book Your Stay at Charleston Coast Vacations

vacation home

Now that you know all about vacation rentals vs. hotels, it’s time to book! If you decided on a vacation rental, book your getaway with Charleston Coast Vacations. We have gorgeous homes and villas located all over the coast. Enjoy beach access, gorgeous views, and so much more. Browse our properties to start planning today!

When Is the Best Time to Visit Charleston?

The Battery Charleston during one of the best times to visit charleston sc

Those that have fallen in love with Charleston, South Carolina, will say that there is no bad time to visit. Of course, we agree! The Lowcountry is charming during any time of the year. However, if there are specific things you want to do or see, you’ll want to base the best time to visit Charleston off of that. We are always happy to help you choose the best time for your vacation, so don’t hesitate to reach out! 

After you choose your best time to visit Charleston, it’s time to start planning your getaway! We created this complimentary Destination Guide to make the planning process a breeze. Inside, you’ll find a list of our favorite things to do and see in the area. 

Get the Destination Guide

Charleston in the Summer

If you’re looking for blazing sun and plenty of activities, the summer is certainly for you! Charleston summers are full of fun in the sun. You’ll spend most of your time at the beach, in the pool, and exploring the countless outdoor activities that are available here. This is one of the most popular times for families to visit the coast, because children have the summer off of school.

Summer Weather 

Charleston summer weather is consistently in the 80s and 90s, especially when you take into account the humidity. The sunny days make it perfect for a beach vacation! Thunderstorms are common in the afternoon, but these offer a welcomed respite from the blaring sun. Go back to your vacation rental, take a nap, or sip on a refreshment for an hour or two while it storms. Then, get back to your summer activities! 

3 of Our Favorite Things to Do in Charleston in the Summer

The list of things to do in Charleston in the summer is endless! We could go on and on with our recommendations, but we will give you a summarized version this time. As always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like more recommendations from the team! 

1. Hit the Beach

Of course, hitting the beach is a given during the summer. Many of our rental homes at Charleston Coast Vacations come with a credit for beach gear, so you won’t even have to worry about lugging your umbrellas and chairs along with you on vacation. 

2. Charter a Boat 

There’s nothing better than getting out on the water during a Charleston summer. There are many boat charter options available. You can even take a sunset cruise around the harbor with the stunning sailboat, the Schooner Pride!

3. Visit a Farmers Market

Whether you’re looking for some fresh ingredients for dinner or a unique souvenir to remember your trip by, you can find it at one of our area’s many farmers markets that are open during the summer season. 

Charleston in the Fall

As summer comes to a close, we welcome fall’s cooler weather. Charleston in the fall is perfect for those that are looking to explore the city and don’t mind missing a beach day or two. The beginning of the fall season is still very warm, and many Charlestonians still hit the beach well into October. One plus about coming in the fall is that it is much less crowded than the summer because school is back in session! 

Fall Weather 

While you can get days that are still in the 80s, Charleston’s fall weather is usually in the 70s. As winter gets closer, you can expect a mix of days in the 60s and 70s. Mornings and evenings are crisp, and you’ll welcome the occasional fire pit or outdoor heater at the restaurants around town. 

3 of Our Favorite Things to Do in Charleston in the Fall

Because of the cooler weather, fall is an excellent time to sightsee and explore. From walks around the city to brisk morning jogs on the beach, fall is considered the best time to visit Charleston by many. 

1. Explore Downtown 

Pleasant weather means that it is the perfect time to explore the cobblestone streets of Charleston! You can spend hours taking in the gorgeous architecture and seeing all the historic buildings that line the streets. We highly recommend heading somewhere iconic like Rainbow Row to explore! 

2. Visit a Fort

It feels good knowing you learned something new while on vacation. There’s so much history here, and the fall is an excellent time to learn all about it. Head somewhere like Fort Sumter during your vacation!

3. Take Advantage of Rooftops and Patios

The rooftops and patios of restaurants and bars are always packed in the summer, but it calms down a bit during the fall. Great weather means that you’ll want to be outside, and many of the outdoor dining areas have stunning views! Head to the Rooftop Bar at The Vendue for views of the city or to Shem Creek for waterside dining. 

Charleston in the Winter

Winter is the quietest time to visit Charleston. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, winter is a great time! Plus, there are often great travel rates during the offseason. 

Winter Weather

Winter weather in Charleston is chilly, but you’ll rarely see a day under 50 degrees. Temperatures hover in the 50s and 60s, but it is not uncommon to be in the 70s from time to time! You might get lucky and visit during a warm week. 

3 of Our Favorite Things to Do in Charleston in the Winter

Just because it’s a little chilly doesn’t mean you can’t put on a jacket and go outside! Here are some of our favorite things to do in Charleston in the winter. 

1. See the James Island County Park Festival of Lights

There are tons of ways to get into the holiday spirit in the Lowcountry, but one of the most popular is the James Island County Park Festival of Lights. Start with the three-mile ride through the light displays, then head to the walking portion for even more lights and festivities. In all, you’ll see more than two million twinkling lights on these displays!

2. Attend an Oyster Roast

Winter means oysters in the Lowcountry! There are multiple oyster roasts going on every weekend during the winter. Keep an eye out at local restaurants for special events, or you can go to an event like the Lowcountry Oyster Festival in January. 

3. Take a Tour

Winter is a wonderful time to take a tour! From carriage tours to walking tours, you can put on a jacket to stay warm and learn all about the rich history of our area. 

Charleston in the Spring 

Spring is stunning in the Lowcountry! The entire area ignites with a rainbow of colors as flowers begin to bloom. As the weather gets warmer, it becomes even more pleasant to be outside. 

Spring Weather 

We love Charleston’s spring weather! Similarly to fall, temperatures range from the 60s to 80s. Local tip: Make sure you pack a wide variety of clothing since the temperature can vary so much. 

3 of the Best Things to Do in Charleston in the Spring

1. Go to a Plantation 

You’ll love seeing everything in bloom at one of the many plantations in Charleston! We recommend going somewhere like the Magnolia Plantation, because they are known for their gardens. 

2. Attend Charleston Wine + Food

Charleston Wine + Food is one of the most prestigious food festivals in the country. This four-day event brings some of the best chefs and mixologists in the world together to create the highlight of the spring!

3. Visit a Museum

If you’re here on a chilly spring day, take that time to visit one of the many museums in the city. Whether you’re looking to learn about our history or see some beautiful art, we have one for you! 

Book Your Charleston Getaway Today

vacation home

Now that you have chosen the best time to visit Charleston, it’s time to book your stay. Don’t settle for a boring hotel– stay in a vacation rental this year. Not only do vacation rentals have room for the entire family, but they will also make the Charleston Coast feel like home. Browse our properties at Charleston Coast Vacations, then book your getaway. We can’t wait to host you!

What You Need to Know for Your First Time Visiting Charleston, SC

downtown during first time visiting Charleston, SC

Is it your first time visiting Charleston, SC? Welcome to the Holy City! You picked a great place to vacation. From beautiful beaches to an incredible history, the Charleston Coast is a very special place. We have activities that are fun for all ages, and many families and groups come back year after year. Here’s what you need to know if it’s your first time visiting!

Get help planning your vacation when you use our complimentary Vacation Guide! Inside, you’ll find a list of our favorite things to do and see in the area. It’s perfect for your first time visiting Charleston, SC, and is mobile-friendly so you can pull it up on your phone. 

Get the Destination Guide

Must-Dos During Your First Time Visiting Charleston, SC

Hit the Beach

Our South Carolina beaches bring thousands of visitors to the coast every year. Whether you’re a surfer or want to teach your kids how to build their first sandcastle, the Charleston Coast is the perfect place to vacation. 

When you rent a property with Charleston Coast Vacations, you’ll be close to the beach! Of course, we recommend an oceanfront home if you’re planning on spending most of your time at the shore. Our beaches are expansive, clean, and fun for the whole family. Many of our vacation rentals come with credit for beach gear, too!

Try Our Local Cuisine

Charleston has become known as a culinary mecca. From fresh seafood to luxurious steakhouses, we have it all! You’ll have to try some Charleston staples while you’re here such as she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, oysters, and collard greens. Here are some of our favorite restaurants downtown. If you’re craving something specific, just ask us and we will give you a recommendation! 

Visit Shem Creek

Waterfront dining is a must during your first time visiting Charleston, SC, and there’s no better place to do so than at Shem Creek. The restaurants and bars line the water, and you can even see dolphins while you dine from time to time. After you eat, head to the walkway that stretches out over the water to see more views! You’ll even learn a little about our local wildlife as you read the plaques along the way. 

Walk Through the Historic Charleston City Market

The Historic Charleston City Market is a must-see if it’s your first time visiting Charleston, SC. Local vendors set up in an open-air market every day to sell their wares. You’ll find everything from Southern cookbooks and spices to handmade trinkets. It’s a great place to pick up a souvenir or a gift for someone back home! 

Go on a Plantation Tour

The plantations in the Charleston area are steeped in history. Many of them survived the Civil War, and you can tour them today! Learn all about the families and slaves that lived there when you take a guided tour. Many of them, like Magnolia Plantation, have stunning gardens you can stroll through. You’ll definitely want to bring your camera along! If you’re a fan of The Notebook, Boone Hall Plantation is a must-see. Many of the iconic scenes were filmed here. 

Take a Tour Downtown 

With its cobblestone streets and colorful homes, Downtown Charleston is stunning. However, you’ll never know how much history it holds until you take a tour! You’ll be amazed by some of the things that have happened here, and your tour guide will tell you all about it. There are many walking tours you can choose from, and we are happy to recommend our favorites! If you’re looking for a spook, you can even take a ghost tour

Go Shopping on King Street

Shop ‘til you drop! King Street is one of the best places to go shopping in the Lowcountry. Here, you’ll find everything from designer labels to local boutiques. It’s the perfect place to pick out a new outfit or find a unique gift for someone back home! Plus, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the street to keep you occupied for hours. 

Visit the Spot Where the Civil War Began

We told you Charleston has history! Fort Sumter played a huge part in the Civil War– it is actually where the Civil War began. The Confederate army opened fire on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. They were able to hold the fort for just 34 hours. Learn all about the battle and its historical significance when you take a tour! Fort Sumter Tours are an excellent option, but we are happy to recommend others to you. 

See a 500-Year-Old Oak Tree

Visiting the Angel Oak is an awe-inspiring experience. This massive oak tree is estimated to be about 500 years old, although no one knows for sure. Some even think it’s more than 1,500 years old! The tree stands 66.5 feet tall, measures 28 feet in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet.

Dine on Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island is known for its beach vibes, and you’ll love visiting the main strip for a bite to eat and a drink (or two). Middle Street is the main drag on the island, and it’s always bustling with people. If you’re looking for good food and good vibes, you can’t go wrong! Here are some of our favorite Sullivan’s Island restaurants

Book Your First Charleston Vacation Today! 

Whether it’s your first time visiting Charleston, SC, of your tenth time, your accommodations matter. Don’t settle for a drab hotel– get a vacation rental with Charleston Coast Vacations. Fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves when you get a beachfront home! Your family and friends will love having their own rooms, and having a kitchen to visit in makes a huge difference. You’ll love the memories you make as you sit around the dinner table together. Browse our vacation rentals to start planning your stay today. Don’t be afraid to reach out– we’re here to help you have the vacation of a lifetime! 

6 of the Best Things to Do in Charleston, SC, for Free

waterfront park is one of the best things to do in charleston SC for free

A vacation doesn’t have to break the bank! Just because you’re looking for entertainment doesn’t mean you have to pay. There are tons of things to do in Charleston, SC, for free. Spend the day exploring the city without taking out your wallet.

6 of the Best Things to Do in Charleston, SC, for Free

1. See the Famous Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park

If you’ve seen photos of Charleston, you have probably seen the famous Pineapple Fountain. Waterfront Park is an eight-acre park along the Cooper River, so it’s a great place to take a stroll. After you’ve tired yourself out exploring, take a seat on one of the benches by the fountain and enjoy the view. 

2. Explore Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row is one of the most quintessential spots in downtown Charleston. This series of brightly-colored homes is one of the most photographed places in the city, and when you visit, you’ll see why. Each of the 13 homes is a beautiful, pastel shade, and each has a story to tell. 

3. Walk the Ravenel 

When the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was erected in 2005, a bicycle and pedestrian path was included on the side. The bridge itself connects Charleston and Mount Pleasant– park on the Mount Pleasant side to walk all the way downtown or park on the Charleston side to walk to Mount Pleasant. You’ll be treated to gorgeous views of the harbor below; we recommend walking at sunrise or sunset for even better scenery. 

4. Go on an Artwalk

On the first Friday of every month from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the art galleries of Charleston open their doors for the monthly Artwalk. Spend the night browsing gorgeous paintings, sculptures, and ceramics created by the local artists of the city. 

5. Visit a Farmers Market

The Charleston area has multiple farmers markets throughout the week from late spring to early fall. The Charleston Farmers Market is one of the biggest and is conveniently in the heart of downtown. Walk around and browse all of the vendors, and don’t forget to try some free samples along the way!

6. Hit the Beach 

While there is no beach in downtown Charleston, there are multiple beaches you can choose from in the Charleston area. Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, and Folly Beach all offer free parking as long as you know where to park. Stay within the parking signs on the side of the road and make sure your car is at least four feet off the pavement. 

Book Your Getaway Today


Now that you know some things to do in Charleston, SC, for free, it’s time to book your stay! Charleston Coast Vacations offers gorgeous properties that will be your home base for your getaway. Browse our vacation rentals based on size and location, then book your stay! Booking directly through us always ensures you’ll get the best rate. We can’t wait to host you!

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