Charleston is one of the most haunted cities in America, according to CNBC. One first-year student at the College of Charleston loves to go on ghost tours through the downtown area.
“I’ve done every single one. There’s one of this old county prison where they actually hung the first woman in America," Audrey Kelly, first-year College of Charleston student, said. "It’s insane, and it’s so creepy. You can go at night, and there’s bats in there, and it’s really scary.”
There are also ghost tours in many of Charleston’s graveyards, and carriage tours that snake through downtown. Tickets cost anywhere from about $20 to $30.
“It's kind of like a mix of historical, and ghost, and folklore and stuff. That would probably be better for people that haven’t been to Charleston, so you get history as well as the ghost stuff,” Kelly said.
Charleston is one of the most famous cities in South Carolina, acclaimed for its historic churches, pastel antebellum mansions and Southern gourmet restaurants. Each year, Charleston welcomes about 7.3 million visitors.
In addition to the ghost tours, Graham McAlister, a first-year student at Clemson University who has lived in the Charleston area his whole life, recommends students explore downtown for free and low-cost activities to do in Charleston.
“There’s the Charleston Place Hotel. It’s a really beautiful old building that they changed into a hotel. It’s super luxurious, but even if you’re not staying there, it’s really nice to walk around and explore the halls in there. There’s a bunch of restaurants and shops in there, as well. They’re always changing,” McAlister said.
Just outside the Charleston Place Hotel is Charleston City Market, a centuries-old market where local vendors sell crafts and merchandise, such as sweetgrass baskets and handmade jewelry. The market is Charleston's No. 1 most visited attraction, according to its website.
Near the Charleston Harbor, visitors can walk along The Battery and Charleston Waterfront Park for gorgeous views of boats sailing through the Cooper and Ashley Rivers.
In North Charleston, Kelly said she recommends local thrifting stores, such as Community Thrift and a Goodwill outlet store, for students wanting to save money.
“Those are definitely the best hidden gems for shopping, in my opinion, because most stuff you’re going to get in Charleston is boutique stuff, especially downtown, but the first area in North Charleston is definitely the best,” Kelly said.
Outside of Charleston’s city limits is Mount Pleasant, a suburban town on the outskirts of Charleston. Kelly said the town hosts an outdoor shopping center called Towne Centre.
Towne Centre has some chain stores such as Victoria's Secret in addition to local businesses from the Charleston area.
“There’s a movie theater, so it’s a really nice area, and [has] good food as well,” Kelly said.
Shem Creek, an area outside of Mount Pleasant bordering the Charleston Harbor, has several restaurants such as Shem Creek Crab House, Tavern & Table and Saltwater Cowboys on the waterfront.
“They have some of the best food, like food on the water, and you can just watch the boats go through and everything,” Kelly said.
McAlister said he loves to surf locally at Folly Beach. Folly is known throughout Charleston as one of the best spots to surf in the area. In addition to surfing, Folly has several restaurants lining the beach.
"I would definitely recommend trying out surfing around here. Surf camp is good — it's Sol Surfers Surf Camp," McAlister said. "That's out in Folly Beach, but we also do lessons at [Isle of Palms]; that’s really nice because you get private lessons. It also just gets you to know all the beaches around here."
From ghost tours and historic antebellum homes in downtown Charleston to surfing and water-front dining in the towns surrounding the peninsula, the Charleston area has a variety of attractions for every interest a student might have.
"You can always find something to do," Kelly said.