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Charleston /North Charleston, South Carolina  City Info
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Elegant and refined, Charleston mixes European charm with new world energy and excitement. The cityscape is one of beautiful buildings, winding streets and a touch of old world luxury, Charleston is the smaller, more comfortable New Orleans of the Upper South. The city was founded in 1670 and boomed as a center for rice and indigo trading. Since then, Charleston has occupied a prominent place in American history, and its beauty is recognized throughout the world.

The streets of Charleston are lined with historic houses and narrow apartment buildings with stucco walls and wrought iron balconies (make sure to visit Calhoun Mansion). There is something of a Caribbean flavor to Charleston, with its palm trees and welcoming feel. After strolling through the historic district, most visitors head to Waterfront Park. There they explore the landscaped square and boardwalks projecting into the river. White Point Gardens afford a view of the water with its gentle breezes that are cool in the heat of the day. The Charleston Museum is the oldest in the nation, dating from 1773. The market area has old-fashioned, open stalls from which vendors sell all sorts of fascinating items.

Charleston is located on the end of a small peninsula that points into the famous Charleston Harbor, from which traders and immigrants have disembarked for centuries. In the middle of the harbor sits Fort Sumter, the site of the battle that ignited the Civil War. A museum within the Fort tells the full story.

The city was home to members of many Protestant denominations whose heritage survives in the wide variety of church buildings they constructed. Many of these stately and beautifully appointed edifices were the first of their kind in America. Charleston Harbor was the point of entry over the years for persons of many cultures. Their influence has enriched the city.

There are numerous points of interest just outside Charleston. The fabulous beaches draw visitors for water sports and relaxation. Just beyond Charleston is Magnolia Plantation and Audubon Swamp Garden. The ornamental gardens are stunning in the summer when the flowers are in bloom. Visitors tour the grounds, the magnificent main house, and the out buildings, and then enjoy an ecological tour of the fascinating marshes and waterways from the comfort of a scenic tram ride.

Charleston is known for its beauty and its easygoing pace, as well as for its priceless historic treasures. Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and Family Fun have rated the city a Top Destination in the United States for value, #1 in friendliness, and #2 in the South for families.

Looking to experience old world charm and elegance in a friendly enjoyable atmosphere? From the Harbor to the plantation, Charleston has so much to offer travelers looking for a thoroughly enjoyable destination.

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