You don't have to look far to find love in Charleston. We're not talking the serendipity of meeting your soul mate over mint juleps at a rooftop bar (although that has been known to happen). We mean the love that's innate to this southern city, from the lovely Lowcountry backdrop to the beloved culture and cuisine. Honestly, it's almost too much for any one person... which is why we recommend sharing it. Whether it’s a first date, a rerun rendezvous, or even a mom-and-dad-scored-a-sitter evening, there are almost unlimited ways to spark romance and celebrate love in the Holy City. Here are just a few over which we most swoon:
1) Trace Waterfront Park past the Pineapple Fountain to the impressive pier, and work your magic to score a bench swing. Snuggle and sway as you look out over the harbor, watching for dolphins and welcoming a head on your shoulder.
2) Savor a meal on Sullivan’s Island, then head down to the beach. As you walk the water’s edge, collect butterfly or “kissing” shells (bonus points for also collecting a kiss for each find). Marvel at the massive ships entering and exiting the harbor at the island’s south end, and imagine together the adventures of each vessel.
3) Simple, but tireless: grab a hand, and follow on foot the length of the High Battery sea wall. Admire the grand antebellum homes lining White Point Gardens to one side, and the iconic harbor and Fort Sumter to the other. Compare historical acumen as you weave your own special history.
4) From undeniably bewitching to downright spooky, walking tours on the peninsula combine fascinating tales of centuries-old Charleston with plenty of opportunity to snuggle close. Find a tour guided by candlelight, and be sure you experience a famed cemetery with rich haunted lore.
5) Hold one another tightly 1,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean – just be sure it’s as you stand at the end of the Folly Beach Pier. Climb to the pavilion’s second level, and stare at the horizon as the salty sea breeze blows. Too soon, the distant lights of the island town illuminate your way back to land.
6) Make the scenic, live oak-canopied drive out to Middleton Place on the Ashley River. Meander unhurriedly through the fragrant gardens, then linger over a world-class southern supper overlooking the Mill Pond and Azalea Hillside.
7) Sneak like forbidden lovers down a (somewhat) secret alley. From the Battery, follow the brickwork of Church Street and turn right at Stoll’s Alley. Hand-in-hand, under the cover of night or in the shadows of day, step quietly toward East Bay Street… then back again.
Though only a sample of romantic interludes in the Holy City, it is one you will want to keep handy – not just for Valentine’s Day or the month of February, but for all your days in Charleston. Think of it as your love-bucket list.