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Charleston, South Carolina, is a great destination for those seeking to explore the rich history of the Southern United States while enjoying all the comforts and hospitality of South Carolina's Low Country. Founded in 1670 , this city symbolizes the motto of "Don't tread on me" quite literally, in that it has been disputed and occupied by the British, the French, and the Spanish, and was also controlled by both the Confederacy and the Union during the American Civil War .
Charleston, or Charles Towne (named for King Charles II ), offers a wide variety of venues for tourists and visitors to explore. Museums, historical tours and sites; arts and entertainment, casual and fine dining, shops and more are all easily accessible to the traveller via automobile or on foot. One of the many delightful experiences offered to visitors of Charleston is a horse drawn carriage tour, which can be either public or private (for a slightly higher price). These tours take various routes around the city and often include a detailed and insightful history of Charleston, recited by the carriage host. There are many sights and sounds to take in, one of which being the architecture and buildings in The Old City, whether it be the plethora of churches and cathedrals such as St. Michael's, the merchant houses on "Rainbow Row", or many of the Colonial and Victorian residences scattered throughout the city.
Another great thing about Charleston is its location, the heart of The Low Country. There are many places of interest surrounding the Charleston area, some of which being the many plantations and private gardens such as Drayton Hall, Boone Hall, and Middleton Place. The Low Country is also home to several wildlife preserves and has both within its city limits and nearby a number of public beaches to enjoy, including Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island, and more. In addition, there are several small islands within just an hour or two of Charleston, including Edisto Island and Hilton Head, both within 2 hours driving time.
For more information, or to see a complete list of festivals in Charleston, visit the Charleston Visitor's Bureau website.
Charleston has a subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and mild winters. Temperatures in summer are mostly around 30 °C or more with balmy nights. Winter days are mostly in the 15-20 °C range though sometimes can drop below 10 °C. Frost and snow are possible but not a regular thing.
Charleston International Airport (CHS) offers flights to/from New York, Newark, Dallas, Miami, Houston, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Boston, Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., Charlotte and Philadelphia.
Several Amtrak trains stop in Charleston:
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
|AAE Charleston Economy Inn||5020 Rivers Street||Hostel||-|
|Charlestons NotSo Hostel||156 Spring St.||Hostel||79|
|Fulton Lane Inn||202 King Street||Guesthouse||-|
There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.
See also International Telephone Calls
The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.
The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.
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