Charleston is the second largest city in South Carolina and has a population of approximately 128,000. The historic Charleston downtown is on a peninsula formed by the Ashley and Cooper rivers which flow into the Atlantic and is protected from the ocean by surrounding islands. The city is an important port, boasting the second largest container seaport on the East Coast and the fourth largest in North America. Charleston is known as the "Holy City" because of the prevalence of church steeples that dot the city’s skyline and the fact that it was one of the few places in the original thirteen colonies to provide religious tolerance to the Huguenots and Jews.
The greater Charleston area is comprised of five regions: Mt Pleasant, West Ashley, North Charleston, The Islands, and Downtown Charleston.
The Charleston Peninsula is made up of 5 distinct neighborhoods: The Boroughs, Harleston Village, The Business District also called the Shopping District, The French Quarter and South of Broad.
For other helpful maps including maps to help you locate public restrooms, public parking garages, beaches, and attractions, visit our historic Charleston Maps page.
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Charleston has a humid sub-tropical climate with warm summers and mild winters. The daily high temperatures average around 75°F and daily low temperatures average around 56°F. The hottest month of the year is July and the coolest month of the year is January, with July and August being the wettest. Hurricane season runs June 1st to November 30th each year. It’s not uncommon for the Charleston area to experience some level of tropical depression or tropical storm activity during the season, although major hurricanes are rare. For further information including monthly average temps, monthly average precipitation, and yearly weather stats, visit our Charleston Weather page.
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Charleston is centrally located on the South Carolina coast and a short drive from many East Coast cities. Visitors can take Interstate 95 and then Interstate 26 into Charleston. Travelers can also fly non-stop from 23 airports and 17 cities in the U.S. to the recently renovated Charleston International Airport.
Other options for traveling to Charleston include Greyhound Buses and Amtrak Trains. Both the Amtrak and Greyhound stations are located in North Charleston, about a 15-minute drive from downtown Charleston.
Visit our Charleston Travel page for more information on traveling to Charleston.
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If you are trying to get around Charleston, one of the easiest ways is to take a taxi-cab. Cabs are an inexpensive way to get around the city and you can choose from several types including the standard taxicab, a Rickshaw Taxi, or the Charleston Water Taxi.
You may also want to consider renting a car, but you should first check with your hotel to see if they charge for parking. If they do, then free street parking or parking in nearby parking garages could save you a considerable amount of money.
If you are looking for a fun way to get around Charleston and take in some of the sights and attractions, then the Low Country Loop Trolley is a great option. This Hop-On/Hop-Off Trolley Tour is great for first time visitors or visitors without a car.
Another cheap and easy way to get around Charleston is to ride CARTA - The Charleston Area Regional Transit Authority. They offer a free downtown shuttle in the historic district, and there are also numerous other bus routes in the area.
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