1. Have a Classic Southern Breakfast
Nestled next to a gas station, Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe may not look like much, but inside the hole-in-the-wall spot, a warm, lovingly prepared, unpretentious meal awaits. Whatever you do, make sure you have a biscuit to sop up your meal. Dishes here include some of the South's greatest hits: creamy grits, yolky eggs, hot sauce-drenched home fries, and plenty of gravy to go around. Wash it all down with some piping-hot coffee, served in a Styrofoam cup.
Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe, 62 State Street, dixiecafecharleston.com.
2. Ease Into the Day at the Beach
With a full stomach, it's time to move on to some salty air. Head over to Folly Beach (just a 15 minutes drive from downtown) for a morning stroll along the pier. You may spot some recreational fishers reeling in their catch of the day, and in the summertime, the water is warm enough to at least put your feet in. Enjoy the sandy shoreline and be sure to snap a picture of the iconic Morris Island lighthouse.
Folly Beach, follybeach.com.
3. Take a Caffeine Break
After relaxing on the beach, it's time to head back to the city. Shake off late-morning grogginess with a trip to Black Tap Coffee. On a hot, muggy day, there's nothing like their black julep: an icy, nonalcoholic coffee cocktail made with espresso, milk, mint, and honey. Cheers!
Black Tap Coffee, 70.5 Beaufain Street, blacktapcoffee.com.
4. Get Your Fried Chicken Fix
Leon's Fine Poultry and Oysters is the place to go for comforting meals that take Charleston classics to the next level. But don't bother asking for their signature fried-chicken recipe—it's proprietary. (Yes, we tried.) Enjoy the fried chicken alongside a tall stack of buttery, melt-in-your-mouth scalloped potatoes, doused in plenty of sous-chef Geoff Rhyne's very own Red Clay hot sauce.
Leon's Fine Poultry and Oyster Shop, 698 King Street, leonsoystershop.com.
5. Go (Window) Shopping on King Street
Take a long walk down King Street and you're bound to find at least a few (but probably more) shops that will catch your eye. Blue Bicycle Books stocks plenty of used and rare books, as well as newer, Sweet-approved reads like The Girls andSweetbitter. Down this walkable street you'll also pass The American Theater (remember it from The Notebook?), as well as Objective Design Shop, a pop-up that's irresistible if you love good design (a lamp that's also a planter?! Need that).
6. Have a Late-Afternoon Art Viewing
Opened in 1905, the Gibbes Museum is the oldest museum building in the South. Today it's home to the largest collection of art from the Charleston Renaissance (1915-1940), as well as a collection of American miniature portraits and contemporary American artworks. Take a stroll through the museum's historical halls and enjoy its classically landscaped garden after you've seen it all.
Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting Street, gibbesmuseum.org.
7. Stroll Down Rainbow Row and Through Waterfront Park
Charleston is a colorful town in more ways than one. Just a block from the water sits Rainbow Row, a street of pastel-hued Georgian houses, all practically begging to be photographed. Take a gander at the 18th-century buildings that were preserved starting in the 1920s. Once you've soaked it all in, head towards the water for a stroll through Waterfront Park, making sure to stop at its iconic pineapple fountain—you can even put your feet in it.
8. Oysters at The Ordinary
This seaside city in the Lowcountry of South Carolina is known for its seafood, especially its oysters. And the best place to get the freshest bivalves in town is at The Ordinary. The stylish seafood mecca is housed in what was a bank in the 1920s, which explains the high ceilings and large windows. The menu can get overwhelming, so we suggest ordering the shellfish tower to get a sampling of what's on offer.
The Ordinary, 544 King Street, eattheordinary.com.
9. Dessert at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Just a hop, step, and a jump from The Ordinary is Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Here, the hard choices continue. Will it be a single scoop of brambleberry crisp? Or a double of sweet biscuits with peach jam and Savannah buttermint? (Always choose a double, if not a triple.)
10. Wind Down With a Prohibition-Era Nightcap
Head to The Spectator Hotel to escape the humidity and turn back time with a nightcap in Charleston's only bar that's home to a (stuffed) white peacock. The Great Gatsby motif can be found throughout the beautiful boutique hotel and the convenient location in Charleston's historical French Quarter can't be beat.
The Spectator Hotel, 67 State Street, thespectatorhotel.com.
11. Get Some Rest At The French Quarter Inn
Once you've fully decompressed from a busy day, gear up for the best night of rest at The Spectator's sister hotel, the French Quarter Inn. The refined establishment is a tired traveler's dream with its seven different, customizable pillow options, freshly baked cookies and milk, and wonderful southern hospitality. Plus, it's right around the corner from Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe, where you'll want to go for breakfast in the morning, again.
French Quarter Inn, 166 Church Street, fqicharleston.com.