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Historic, downtown Charleston is located on a peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, but the greater metropolitan area includes a number of islands and adjoining mainland areas. With a population just upwards of 100,000, the city is the second largest in South Carolina after Columbia, the capital.

Charleston Neighborhoods

Historic Downtown

On the southern end of the peninsula, beneath Beaufain and Hasell Streets, the historic heart of the city teems with bars, restaurants, boutiques and, in high season, tourists.

Aquarium Wharf

Overlooking the harbor just northeast of downtown, these wharfs contain some of the biggest attractions in town, including the South Carolina Aquarium. Boat tours leave for Fort Sumter from here.

Ashley River Region

Running along the Ashley River west of the peninsula, this area is famed for its fabulous antebellum plantations and landscaped gardens. It’s a popular daytrip for Charleston visitors.

Mount Pleasant

Across the bay from downtown Charleston, this beach community has multiple opportunities for shopping and swimming, and a quaint downtown where fishermen once unloaded their catch.  

Folly Beach

This small coastal city eight miles southwest of the city has good surfing and a casual, beachy vibe - it's so popular that the road from Charleston is occasionally gridlocked in high season.

Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island

On the northeast side of Charleston Harbor, these resort islands have palm-lined streets, tons of rental condos, and miles of dunes overlooking the ocean.

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