Charleston has the Old World charm of Paris, the modern conveniences of any large U.S. city and happens to be the most hospitable town around. It is the perfect place for a getaway with that someone special. Whether you have been together for years or are making your first trip together, you will find many places welcoming you with open arms and helping to make your time together as romantic as possible.
It is impossible to list every place that offers a couple's retreat or romantic getaway package, but here are some favorites to start with.
Very little can compete with a walk on the beach while a full moon reflects off the Atlantic Ocean. For a romantic beach getaway, try a one of a kind luxurious stay at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island; where romance packages include champagne and chocolates in your room, a spa day for couples, dinner and a rose-petal turndown. Holder of AAA's exclusive Five-Diamond rating since 2006, The Sanctuary also offers one last romantic getaway for expectant parents; called Bliss Before the Baby, that includes a special maternity massage for the mom-to-be. For couples who enjoy golfing together, check out the Tees and Tranquility package that includes two rounds of golf and two 60-minute spa treatments. And you cannot beat the beach at Kiawah, which is frequently listed among the top beaches in the world.
For the more budget-conscious romantics, check out the Water's Edge Inn, 79 West 2nd St., Folly Beach or its sister property at Folly, the Regatta Inn, 64 W 9th St. Ext. Both are located on the Folly River offering a great location for sailing or kayaking if your romantic adventure leads to the water.
Downtown, you can try the romance package at one of the city's most historic bed and breakfasts. Plush robes, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries await your arrival at the John Rutledge House Inn. The package also includes in-room massages and dinner at Circa 1886 Restaurant.
Also downtown is the Ansonborough Inn, which mixes its romance with history. Located just off the Market area, the neighborhood was named for Lord Anson, who won the property in a poker game after being sent to Charleston in 1724 to protect the coast from pirates.
Two Meeting Street Inn lays claim to being the most romantic bed and breakfast in Charleston. The romance packages here includes a bottle of French champagne, red roses, a carriage ride around the city and chocolate strawberries to seal the deal.
The Kings Courtyard Inn offers a three-night, four-day package with a private carriage ride through the historic district before a three-course dinner with paired wines at Circa 1886, including a rickshaw ride to get you there and back. The package includes a $30 gift card for lunch or brunch at Kitchen 208.
You also could escape up the Ashley River to the Inn at Middleton Place, where the romance package includes sparkling wine and a gift in your room upon arrival, admission to Middleton Place, packed picnic basket for two, dinner with wine at Middleton Place Restaurant and breakfast each morning.
Charleston is filled with fabulous restaurants for couples, but here are a few of our favorites for romance.
FIG (Food Is Good) feels like a neighborhood bistro, because that is exactly what it is. The chef specializes in Lowcountry foods, especially seafood, such as a wonderful fish stew with shrimp, squid, mussels, Carolina Gold Rice and rouille. The lighting and ambiance are perfect for a night with that special someone.
The Grocery has one great big open dining room, but somehow it feels very cozy. The lighting and atmosphere along with some of the best servers in town will make you feel like you are the only ones here. You can sample and share small plates or full entrée-sized items. The fried oysters with deviled egg sauce and the charcuterie plate are must haves.
If you need a little inspiration, check out Muse known as the "little secret on Society" street. Several small dining rooms give this place an intimate feel, like you've come to a friend's for dinner. Seafood is the star here, but house-made sausage or duck breast are some landlubber options.
Just across the Cooper River is the Old Village Post House Inn. At this small inn in the historic fishing community of Mount Pleasant, guests can eat in the main dining room or in one of several smaller, more intimate rooms. The chef here specializes in local fare like Marsh Hen Mill grits, oysters, hoppin' John, collards and sweet potato. You might be too full to move, so maybe plan to stay the night as well.
Combine your dinner with a boat ride around the harbor with SpiritLine Cruises. You can get your own private table and enjoy a freshly prepared dinner with local ingredients and specialties such as shrimp and grits, fresh fish and Charleston red rice.
If you just want the water tour without dinner, book a sunset cruise with Carolina Marine Group or a moonlight sail on the Schooner Pride - a three-masted tall ship that recalls Charleston's sailing days gone by.
What could more romantic than a carriage ride for two around the historic city during the day or night. Check out the Old South Carriage Co. for one-hour or 30-minute rides for two.