If you are looking for a historical town with southern charm, Charleston, South Carolina is probably your best bet. The city sits on a peninsula formed by two rivers flowing to the Atlantic Ocean, with surrounding islands protecting it from the open ocean. The southern city was captured early on in the Civil War and incurred little property damage, which means the older part of town has historic buildings that date back to the late 17th century. The short skyline boasts views of the stunning Arthur Ravenal cable bridge and Charleston is the perfect place to experience the laid-back yet sophisticated old-South charm.

WHAT TO DO

From Civil War attractions to shopping to carriage tours, Charleston has a lot to offer visitors. For history buffs, Charleston is the perfect travel destination. Fort Sumter, the location of the start of the Civil War, is located just off shore of Charleston. For a few dollars, tourists can take a ferry ride to the ruins of the old fort and visit the Civil War museum. Located close to the Ravenel Bridge, which is the longest cable stay bridge in the county, is the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum for those interested in learning more about military history.

If you are looking to do some shopping during your Charleston visit, The Market is an old shopping district where you'll find a variety of vendors and cute boutique style shops. Close to The Market on Market Street, visitors can hop on a carriage tour that will take them through the historic streets of Charleston. An equally good way to see the city is to take a walking tour--which include everything from guided historical tours to scary ghost tours.

Outside of downtown Charleston there are also numerous beach towns that are great day-trip destinations. The warm Atlantic waters and gentle surf make these beaches ideal places to swim, go for a bike ride, or relax on the sand. On John's Island, you can visit Angel Oak, which is a live oak tree purported to be over 1,000 years old. This area is a perfect picnic spot and great for nature lovers.

GETTING THERE

There is an international airport located just northwest of the city (airport code CHS), so it is easy to book a flight into Charleston. As South Carolina's busiest airport, it should be easy to find an affordable flight to Charleston.

And if you decide to go to the airport by car you can pay for the Charleston airport parking before you get to the airport. Or you can reserve a Charleston airport shuttle to get you to the airport.

WHERE TO STAY

There is a huge selection of hotels in Charleston. In the city's historic district you will find both charming boutique style hotels and many of the major chain hotels. There are also hotels in many of the nearby beach communities if you are looking to be closer to the ocean. There are also a few hostels in Charleston, which offer both dorm-style accommodations and private rooms if you are looking to save a few bucks.