Area Guide

Charleston (Again) Voted Best Small City in the U.S.

The readers of Condé Nast Traveler must be on to something… Charleston once again holds steadfast at the top of the magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Claiming the title “Best Small City in the U.S.,” Charleston has been recognized for its living history and foodie culture. This is the third consecutive year readers have voted Charleston number one and the seventh consecutive year Charleston has sat high in its rankings. With Kiawah River only a scenic half-hour drive from the historic peninsula, residents and visitors can easily enjoy all that Charleston has to offer.

The international travel magazine touted Charleston’s charm “with its beautiful gardens, vibrantly painted Georgian houses along Rainbow Row, and carriages clacking across cobblestone streets.” In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the Holy City boasts an impressive arts and culture scene. The Gibbes Museum hosts six to eight special exhibitions each year on top of its permanent collection, and the Gaillard Center regularly hosts world-class performances. The Charleston Library Society offers lifelong learning through its weekly lectures from various career professionals in the area – like authors, doctors, and even musicians. The annual Spoleto Festival USA runs for 17 days each spring as a showcase for opera, dance, and theater performances, as well as chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music.

When visiting Charleston, make sure you come hungry – CN Traveler readers recognize the infinite food possibilities of this city, and you will, too. Stemming from Native American, French, and West African roots, the Charleston Lowcountry thrives on rice, corn, crab, pork, and the perennial-favorite shrimp and grits. The city brings together the culinary enterprises of its founding cultures to create its own dynamic and rich restaurant scene. Charleston Wine + Food hosts a festival every year during the first full week in March. There are over 100 events planned for the 2018 festival, and it only gets better each year. This year’s event includes lunches and brunches, excursions, beverage workshops, and signature dinners. The locations vary throughout the week, so it’s the perfect way to explore Charleston.

Charleston’s history can be seen throughout the city, as even the parks have vibrant stories to tell. “Come evening,” says CN Traveler, “stroll along the Battery and take it all in.” The Battery, part of White Point Garden, is Charleston’s defensive sea wall. It was used to protect the Holy City during the Civil War and today serves as the first line of defense against hurricanes and other large storms – and that’s just one example of the ample history of the area. Lined with grand antebellum homes, a walk along the Battery proves to be a picturesque way to end a day in Charleston. Another great way to see Charleston’s most storied heritage sites is by purchasing the Charleston Heritage Passport here.

Part of the beauty of staying and living at Kiawah River is its proximity to a bustling city like Charleston. Leaving the Kiawah River community for the city provides a change of pace, while still allowing an end-of-the-day retreat to the natural marsh rhythms of the sea islands. There are many reasons Charleston is named number one each year by its visitors, and the residents and visitors of Kiawah River have the perfect opportunity to explore what those might be.