48 Hours in Charleston

watercolor map of Charleston from Lauren Antoniaa

My husband and I took a bit of a spontaneous road trip to Charleston the weekend post valentine’s day. We just wanted a bit of a change of scenery, and to do some exploring, so naturally we picked the prettiest and closest place to where we live to take a mini weekend trip: Charleston.


If you’ve never been, it’s the most charming historic town, right on the water, with colorful architecture (it’s literally colorful—lots of pastel pinks, blues, and yellows), beautiful blooms, and great places to eat. If you’ve got 24 hours or are just passing through, here are a couple places we went to and definitely recommend.


Leon’s Oyster Bar—we drove early in the morning on Sunday and arrived right at lunch time, so our first stop was Leon’s. This restaurant has a great relaxed southern almost creole vibe. It’s charming, the food was spot on good, and the atmosphere was fun.


From there we needed a bit of an afternoon pick-me-up because we knew we were gonna need our energy to explore for the rest of the day, so we went over to The Daily Coffee for quick coffees and afternoon teas. It was a cute little shop with yummy coffee and some of the best Earl Grey I’ve tasted.


Then it was time to check into our hotel. We stayed at The Mills Hotel right in the heart of the French Quarter. It’s this beautiful pink building with a gorgeous little courtyard seating area. The first time I ever came to Charleston, we walked by this hotel and I just thought it was the prettiest thing. Upon check in we realized that they have complimentary Champagne hour everyday from 3-4, so we quickly freshened up in our room and went straight back downstairs to sit and enjoy some champagne out in the courtyard. It was such a fun afternoon treat.



Then we went back up to the room for a little bit before heading out again to simply just walk around and explore some of the downtown area. It was so much fun discovering hidden treasures. It seemed like every block had something new to be discovered, whether it was cobblestone streets, beautiful window boxes overflowing with blooms, or gorgeous trees. We just enjoyed our sunset walk down to the water. 


From there we headed to our dinner spot across the bridge to the Obstinate Daughter over on Sullivan's Island. I’m not sure how the restaurant describes itself, but I would say it's kind of high-end Italian and tapas. Something that stood out as extra fun were our appetizers. They were called “Geechie Frites” essentially fries made from a polenta. They were so different, but so delicious. Scott loved his Lemon Pappardelle pasta that had lobster, shrimp, fennel, and roasted tomato, while I enjoyed a personal pizza with fresh mozz, white sauce, a farm egg, and scallion. And for dessert we shared an amazing crème brulee.


The next morning we were up and at ‘em early because we wanted to pack as much as we could in before we had to unfortunately leave.

We got breakfast at The Park Café and it was the absolute perfect choice for us. We ate outside and it was the most beautiful day; the sun was shining and there was a cool breeze. Their coffee was great, and I tried a bit of a fancier drink called the “Eastwood” that had coconut and whipped Nutella. They had me at Nutella. So. Good. Scott ate the Veggie Mess, which is a farm egg scramble, vegetables in curry, with white cheddar and avocado. I enjoyed a Fried Egg Sandwhich with cheddar, avocado, and a slice of grapefruit.


After our morning fueling, we hopped over to Affordabike, and rented some bicycles to explore more. We knew we wanted to get around Charleston and we knew that we wouldn’t get to see as much by foot. That was honestly the best decision we made.

Exploring in Charleston
exploring Charleston

We got to explore all over the down town area. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive at first, but after a few minutes, and after we started going down the quieter side streets, it was really wonderful. We pulled our little bikes over any time we saw something that was photo worthy (which was quite often) snapped a few pics, then kept on. We rode by the battery, hit up rainbow row, and even stopped in a few shops.


Before we knew it, it was time for our early dinner reservations at The Darling Oyster Bar. I knew this was going to be a good experience just walking up to the building. The décor inside and out is very well throughout and it just felt like a dream to be in there. We happily ended up during their happy hour, so Scott tried one of their local beers on tap and I tried one of their Paloma cocktail. It was this beautiful blush color and tasted amazing, so needless to say that was the right choice. We both split lots of their James River Oysters, along with their Smoked Salmon Sip, and their Tuna Tartare. Their oysters were so delicious—they came with a house made hot sauce and pickled horseradish—it really brought it to another level.


Unfortunately from there we had to grab some coffee and head on home. But we were so pleased with our visit and highly recommend each of these places if you’re planning on making a trip to the most charming city of Charleston in the near future! Please comment below if you love these places too, or if you have recommendations for our next visit, I'd love to hear them!