Charleston has never been on my list of places to visit but after seeing pictures of it on Instagram from various accounts, including the ones I don’t follow, I knew I wanted to see all the beauty and southern charm in person. And I have to admit, I binge watched all four seasons of Bravo’s reality show – Southern Charm while on maternity, which slightly persuaded me to visit this Holy City.
First of all, now I can see why Charleston is called the Holy City. Churches are everywhere and of many denominations. From the 5th floor rooftop of a restaurant, all you can see were church steeples instead of high rises. We happened to be on spring break in Charleston during Holy Week so it just seemed fitting that we were in the Holy City during a very religious week for many religions.
Why We Chose Charleston For A Family Spring Break
We knew we wanted to get out of town for Luke’s school spring break but we also knew we didn’t want to travel far since it was our first trip as a family of five with Cruz and Levi, who were 8 months. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how they would, actually how Charlie and I would do, on a plane ride with twins. It just seemed intimating since we went from traveling with one kid to three, and two of them are infants. But when I found out that Charleston was just a two hour flight from Chicago, somehow I felt that we could do it and that this may be a good first flight for the twins.
The twins traveled as lap babies on this flight. And one thing we found out when we were at the gate was that airlines do not allow two lap babies in the same row because there are not enough oxygen masks. So Charlie had to sit with one of the twins several rows down.
What We Loved About Our Family Spring Break in Charleston
Small and Walkable City
Before going to Charleston, a lot of people were telling what a small city Charleston is and that it’s definitely a “walkable” city. And that’s just what we were looking for, especially the ease of putting the babies in the stroller and getting out the hotel door without renting a car. Charleston felt like a southern town but also had that European feel since we were able to walk everywhere!
There were times that I wished we had a car though. Our hotel was about a 30 minute walk to some of the historical areas of town. It doesn’t seem that bad of a walk but when you have a few infants in tow, sometimes you just want to get in a car and get back to the hotel in five minutes. But we did take lots of breaks in the parks, which I think everyone needed and enjoyed.
I should add that Charleston has a few shuttle buses that are FREE! We ended up taking the bus a few times back to our hotel, which was very convenient.
The History and Architecture
One thing I wished I did for this trip was buy a guide book but the Charleston does a great job of putting signs up on some of the homes and mansions to give you a little bit of information of the homes and former owners. All I could do is imagine how it was like 200 years ago in Charleston.
The Colorful Houses and Doors
Of course, one of our stops in Charleston was Rainbow Row! Of course it’s Instagrammable but more than that, it was just so darn pretty and perfect. We took a walk around that area on to Tradd Street and it really did feel like you were stepping back in time.
The Perfect Spring Weather
The weather in Charleston during mid-April was perfect (compared to Chicago’s unpredictable weather). It was in the mid-70s while we were there and very low humidity. The locals told us it gets very humid in the summer. So if you don’t like humidity, I suggest you avoid it during the summer months.
We were in Charleston during the jasmine season and it smelled so fresh and so good! I had to stop a few times by the jasmine walls just to enjoy the scent. If I could lay in a bed of jasmine, I would! Some of the jasmine was perfectly manicured around homes and their doors. It was just perfect!
Charleston is Great for Francophiles
I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a huge Francophile. I mean there are so many reasons why I go back to Paris and why I am also on the look out for French restaurants and cafe everywhere I go. It was pleasantly surprised to see that Charleston has so many French influences. The city has a a French Quarter (not to be mistaken by the one in New Orleans) with the many churches and French architecture…like the beautiful French Huguenot Church!
We had dinner at Felix Cocktails and Cuisine, a French restaurant, and it was the perfect welcome to Charleston for this Francophile!
The Food Scene in Charleston is Phenomenal
I am dedicating a whole blog post to where we at in Charleston, including which restaurants were kid-friendly, etc. More to come soon!
Where We Stayed in Charleston
We decided to book a hotel stay in Charleston vs. an Airbnb because I find it easier to stay at a hotel with infants. Sure you may get more room at an Airbnb but I like that we can call the front desk if we needed anything or have a minor emergency.
We stayed at the Homewood Suites in Charleston Historic District. It was located on the Upper King neighborhood. The hotel rooms have a small kitchen and a living room, which was perfect for a family of five. Another great thing about the Homewood Suites is that there’s free breakfast in the morning. Great for our budget.
The hotel also has a swimming pool, which made Luke very happy. He and Charlie went to the pool every day and he told me that was the best part of his spring break. Who knew?
We not only picked the Homewood Suites for the large rooms and free breakfast but it is also located near all the restaurants we wanted to eat at. More on the restaurant stuff in another post (I promise). It was a short walk to and from the restaurants. Plus the Upper King neighborhood is very cute and doesn’t seem as congested or crowded as the touristy areas down town.
Why We Plan to Visit Charleston Again (and Again)
I absolutely fell in love with the city. Is it crazy that I was planning our return to Charleston while we were there?
I thought we would get a lot done with four full days in Charleston. But I was wrong. With kids, especially with infant twins, we took a lot of breaks, slowed down, made sure the twins got the naps in, especially keeping them on schedule. There are so many parts of the city I want to explore and see, including more restaurants to eat at. We plan to stay in the Isle of Palms the next time so Luke can get his beach/pool time in. But there were so many other sites we didn’t get to see like the pineapple fountain and the city’s oldest house (which is pink btw).