With it's gorgeous architecture, tree-lined streets, eclectic shopping, and waterfront location, no wonder Charleston was voted best city in the South by the Southern Living audience.
Home is where the heart is. Whether you’re currently living in South Carolina or have lived here in the past, there’s no doubt your heart is in the Palmetto State. That’s because South Carolina is the best place to live in America.
What is it they say? “You can take yourself out of South Carolina, but you can never take South Carolina out of you.” Here are 16 reasons why South Carolina is the best state.
1. We definitely have some gorgeous mountains...
and the views to match!
2. More than 20 of the most amazing beaches you've ever seen...
all within hours, or even minutes, from your front door.
3. With 47 South Carolina State Parks...
you can pick a new one to explore every weekend!
4. Everyone is dedicated to historic preservation.
5. The people in South Carolina are the heart and soul of this great state...
and that truly makes South Carolina the BEST place to live.
6. Great patio dining spots...
make the arrival of Spring even sweeter.
7. South Carolina has some of the BEST Main Streets in the country!
8. And waterfront dining all over the state with great views...
makes South Carolina a great place to live or visit.
9. We have the BEST sunrises...
10. and best sunsets in the world!
11. South Carolina is full of secret spots in nature where you can just relax.
12. There are countless places in the Palmetto State that will bring out the explorer in anyone.
13. South Carolina is home to the BEST restaurants.
14. And amazing camping spots for the whole family.
15. SC has lots of gorgeous lakes for loads of fun this summer.
16. And a beautiful scenic drive is never too far away.
What do you think?
Only In Your State
Buying a home can be a good investment, but in some areas the cost discrepancy between renting a place and buying a place can be massive. RealtyTrac, a real-estate research firm, compiled data from 504 counties in large housing markets across the US. They found that in these markets the cost to rent, as a percentage of median wages, was lower than a monthly home payment about 42% of the time. (Excluding NY and CA markets entirely).
We've taken RealtyTrac's data and found the top 15 places you can save big by renting instead of buying.
Charleston, SC has a big savings for renters over buyers and is #11 on the list with a difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy of 13.52%.
America’s birthday is coming up, and the Charleston area is celebrating with its very own pyrotechnic sky candles. Fireworks are a major part of the Fourth of July experience. If you live in an apartment in Charleston, SC here’s where you can get your fix on the Fourth.
To start, the Patriots Point fireworks offer a lot of versatility. They’re the closest to downtown and since they launch over the harbor you are spoiled with locations to watch.
Option 1: Watch the Patriots Point fireworks at Patriots Point. The party starts at 4 p.m. with activities for kids, live music, and food and drinks for sale before the fireworks launch around 9 p.m. Unfortunately, flight deck tickets are already sold out, so you’ll have to be content with the land-side bash. It’s free with the cost of parking – $10 all day.
Option 2: Gaze across the harbor from the SC Aquarium at Sea Stars and Stripes. Starting at 7 p.m., a ticket will get you access to the aquarium’s exhibits, food, drinks, and a view of the fireworks. It’s $60 for adults and $30 for children. Aquarium members get $5 off, and children under 2 are free.
Option 3: Combine fireworks with the Ravenel Bridge and live music from Recollections at the Mt. Pleasant Pier during the Uncle Sam Jam. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 the day of, if available.
Option 4: Drink before the show at downtown rooftop bars. Both The Watch ($75/adult, $25/ages six-20, Free/under six) at the Restoration Hotel and The Rooftop at Vendue ($250/VIP table, $25/access to bridge bar, $15/access to main level) are offering special Fourth of July packages, with some that include food and drinks.
Option 5: A boat. Just motor out into the harbor, or find your friend with a boat and ask to motor out into the harbor. Failing that, Charleston Harbor Tours is offering a Fourth of July dinner cruise.
Other good, free spots to watch include the top few floors of the SC Aquarium parking garage, Waterfront Park, and Demetre Park on James Island. Don’t bother with the Ravenel Bridge, as the pedestrian path is closed during the fireworks.
If you prefer free festivities further up the river, check out North Charleston’s Riverfront Park. The city’s annual Fourth of July Festival runs from 3-9:45 p.m. and features food trucks, live music, activities for kids, craft vendors, and a massive fireworks display.
Interested in a side of beach with your fireworks? Both Folly and IOP are launching their annual free Fourth of July displays at sundown. Make sure you get there early if you want to secure a good spot, and be prepared for traffic after the show is over.
Owning a home is often considered the American dream — and it's an expensive one. Homeowners in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., pay from 33% to 93% more for housing each month than do renters living in the same state, according to a new NerdWallet analysis.
But many homeowners reap benefits that you can't get from renting, such as financial security and stability, tax deductions and a vehicle for retirement savings.
While renting can't offer those long-term financial benefits, it's cheaper to rent on a month-to-month basis, the analysis found. If you're wondering how to save money for a down payment, renting can help you build that nest egg — and in extremely expensive or competitive markets, renting might be better for the long haul.
To determine the monthly homeownership premium — the additional cost of owning instead of renting, expressed as a percentage — NerdWallet compared 2015 American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau for the median gross rent and median homeownership cost in each state and Washington, D.C. Median gross rent includes the costs of monthly rent and utilities for all kinds of rental properties, and median homeownership cost includes monthly mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance and utilities.
This comparison doesn't include the down payment required to buy a home, which is traditionally 20% of the home price for conventional mortgages, but is lower for FHA or VA loans.
Owning is more expensive everywhere. Across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., it costs more each month to own a home than to rent. The median cost people pay nationwide to own a home is 54% more than the median cost to rent each month.
In some states, the cost of owning far eclipses renting.
Here's how much more it costs to own vs. rent each month in South Carolina - 43%.
So which is the best city in the U.S.? Ask ten people and you’ll get ten different answers. To each their own, of course, but most of us would agree that a city has to be capable of progress, and vitality is – ehm – vital, if it is to be considered attractive in the long run. After all, a city must be better today than it was yesterday, but also have the momentum to reach a bit further tomorrow to keep itself on the radar. This narrows the circle enough to get us somewhere.
We looked at six indicators of prosperity in U.S. cities with populations exceeding 100,000 to see how they’ve changed between 2000 and 2016 according to U.S. Census data and single out the ones that have made the most progress overall. For this purpose, we ranked these 303 cities by the magnitude of proportional changes that affected their population, median income, home values, share of inhabitants holding a higher education degree, poverty rate and unemployment rate. The final prosperity ranking was set up based on the combined value of the individual ranks obtained in these six fields.
Of the top 20 most prosperous cities, see where Charleston, SC ranks!
#3 Charleston, SC
#5 North Charleston, SC
With its cobblestone walkways, incredible historic sites and miles of stunning beaches, hundreds of residents are moving to Charleston, SC—and for very good reason. Charleston was recently named Travel & Leisure’s top city in the entire U.S. for the fifth year running. You’ll soon find out why.
You’ll immediately be drawn to its charm, slow pace of life and welcoming locals. But before you pack your bags and hit the road, we put together everything you need to know about moving to the South’s favorite city.
Living in Charleston is something you have to experience to understand. And with some of the nicest neighbors in the country, why wait any longer to experience it?
It’s welcoming. Southern hospitality reigns supreme in Charleston—so much that it was recently been ranked the friendliest city in the U.S. If you’re moving to Charleston from other parts of the U.S., prepare for a change in pace. Don’t be surprised if strangers go out of their way to help you, smile at you or strike up some friendly conversation. It’s just a way of life.
It’s not just the locals that love it. People around the world have grown an appreciation for Charleston. It was recently voted the No. 2 city in the entire world—and it’s the first domestic destination to earn the No. 1 ranking the year prior!
As the oldest city in South Carolina, Charleston is a fascinating town stemming from the beginning of the Civil War. The nearly 350-year-old city is the cultural capital of the south and continues to honor its deep-rooted history today.
Welcome to the Holy City. Charleston gets its nickname as “The Holy City” because of the religious freedom that was founded on the peninsula several hundred years ago.
Travel back in time. In Charleston, everything from the churches and cobblestones to the iron gates has a story to tell. No matter how long you’ve lived in Charleston, you’ll never get sick of learning the history behind some of the city’s famous landmarks. Take a ferry to Fort Sumter and stand where the Civil War began, visit some of Charleston’s largest and oldest mansions, and check out America’s oldest preserved plantation house still open to the public.
Appreciate a preservation city. Charleston landed the top spot for 10 best cities for historic preservation. The city prides itself on having the oldest community-based historic preservation group, The Preservation Society of Charleston. In 1931, Charleston also became the first city in the U.S. to establish a board of architectural review.
When it comes to weather, Charleston hits the sweet spot by avoiding harsh winters and brutally hot summers. The average low temperature on the coldest day of the year is 38 degrees, and the summer month temperatures rarely climb above the 90s. You can still enjoy outdoor activities even in the middle of winter.
If you’re moving to Charleston, SC and you’d do anything to spend a day outside, you’re in luck. Located on the coast of the Atlantic, the area takes full advantage of its seaside location and offers every kind of land and water activity you can imagine.
Find your beach. Charleston is a peninsula, so you’ll soon get used to being surrounded by water. There are three beaches within a 20-minute drive from downtown, offering plenty of water activities and boat storage in Charleston. Charleston was also recently named to the top 10 best cities for water activities!
Between impressive schools, low cost of living and a great economy, Charleston is a great place to plant some roots and grow a career. Here’s what you need to know:
Charleston County School District (CCSD) is the second largest school system in South Carolina, representing a unique blend of urban, suburban, and rural schools that span 1,000 square miles. There are great colleges and universities in the area, including The College of Charleston, Trident Technical College and The Citadel—one of the most prestigious military colleges in the nation. If you have young children, there are several great elementary schools in the district: Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School, Orange Grove Elementary Charter School, Montessori Community School and more.
The Job Opportunities
Last year, the Charleston region’s economy grew at 3.1 percent, nearly double the national average. The largest industries in the Charleston region involve the medical field, military and the ports (Charleston harbor ranks as the fourth largest port in the entire U.S.). With companies like Boeing, Volvo and Medical University of South Carolina adding thousands of new jobs to the region, it’s no surprise that the area continues to grow.
Because of a strong local economy, excellent job opportunities and city investments creating new businesses, Charleston has become a sought-after place to live–especially for millennials. NerdWallet crunched the numbers for 66 cities and towns in South Carolina to determine the best places for job seekers, and half of those places are within 30 minutes of Charleston. The city’s economy has been on the upswing and attracting the kind of tech startups that hire large numbers of Millennials.
The military employs over 27,000 people in Charleston. Aside from the renowned Citadel, there are a number of active bases in the Charleston area including the Coast Guard Sector Charleston and Joint Base Charleston—host to over 60 Department of Defense and Federal agencies.
From rich history to arts and culture, to activities on the Atlantic coast, Charleston is full of things to do for anyone and everyone.
Try Out the Local Fare
If there’s one thing you don’t want to miss out on, it’s Charleston’s culinary scene. From dockside seafood to high-end restaurants, there’s a classic dish for everyone to enjoy.
Family-friendly city street houses and apartment complexes in Charleston SC
When it comes to raising a family, Charleston is one of the best cities to live in America. There’s a wonderful public school system, low crime rates and endless activities for kids and families.
Like any popular city, Charleston comes with some traffic. But for being such a popular moving destination, commutes are much more tolerable than cities of similar size.
Are you moving to Charleston, SC? If you’re debating relocating to Charleston, debate no further. This charming city is overflowing with historic landmarks, sprawling plantations, beautiful homes and some of the friendliest neighbors in the world.
A lot of people know that they want to relocate to South Carolina, but they don't know which city is the best fit. Charleston is one of the best places to live in South Carolina and a very popular area that folks choose!
Charleston needs little introduction to most people because it consistently ranks among the top places to visit and to live in the country. With more than 4.8 million tourists who visit Charleston annually, there is always something to do. Numerous festivals and annual events take place during the height of tourist season, but the most popular tend to be the Cooper River Bridge Run, Spoleto performing arts festival, the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), Wine + Food Festival, and the Volvo Car Open (formerly called the Family Circle Cup which is the longest running professional women’s tennis tournament in the United States). Charleston is also known as a foodie destination, and you’ll find write ups of its new, trendy restaurants along with the tried and true icons in just about any travel magazine’s current edition.
When people relocate to South Carolina and visit the state’s major cities, they often choose Charleston because it offers a lifestyle that is so unique. The port city’s history and architecture have a strong European influence, and its appreciation for the arts is integral in the many venues, art galleries, museums, and local advertising you’ll find. Folks looking for a city with charm and Southern hospitality tend to gravitate toward Charleston because there are few cities that embody these characteristics so well.
Residents can enjoy 6 of South Carolina’s best beaches, 22 public and private golf courses, some of the state’s best public and private schools, three colleges/universities, numerous parks, farmers’ markets, the South Carolina Aquarium, and many historic sites. If you enjoy the outdoors, you’ll find boat and kayak launches scattered throughout the Charleston marshes and waterways, many miles’ worth of hiking trails through the county park system, and SC’s largest climbing wall. Charleston has a little something for everyone, regardless of age or personal interests.
People also appreciate the fantastic healthcare associated with the Medical University of South Carolina, and residents from all over the state seek out MUSC for its highly ranked specialists. The biggest drawback to living in Charleston is that there are so many people wanting to live within close driving distance to Downtown and the beaches that this high demand makes it one of South Carolina’s most expensive cities to live. People moving from more expensive markets like New York or California think Charleston is comparatively affordable.
Tropical beaches and sea islands, South Carolina lies in the southeast of the United States and has a whole host of darling towns and villages to explore.
Hilton Head Island, infamous Myrtle Beach and of course Charleston, home to Fort Sumter; the list of reasons to love little old SC goes on and on! This state once thrived on agriculture and natural resources but in more modern times there is a big industry for steel and machinery production, meaning jobs are in no short supply.
Talking about jobs, what other factors do we need to take into consideration when seeking a new place to live?
Some would say access to public schools, others would say cost of living, some would have a strong focus on seeking a town with the lowest crime rates. In reality, it is all these factors, and a few more, that we think about when searching for a new abode.
We appreciate that finding all that information in one place can be quite a challenge so we have risen to the occasion and created our list of the 15 best places to live in South Carolina, taking into account all the facts, figures and statistics that are important to you!
Back to South Carolina’s picture perfect coast, we go. This is a port city that was founded way back in 1670, making it one of the oldest in the country. Speaking of old there is a yesteryear charm to Charleston with its cobbled streets and antebellum houses painted pastel hues of yellow and grey.
This is an expensive place to play, but not Sullivan’s Island expensive. With 127,694 people living here earning roughly $55,500 a year there is affordability hidden behind the pricey exterior.
In terms of public schooling, Charleston is the place to be, 68 schools in the district and with several offering a Montessori style of learning, parents get offered a broad range of options for their youngsters.
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Palmetto State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in South Carolina.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 61 places in South Carolina, we came up with this list of the best places:
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in South Carolina.
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Columbia with a population of 132,537 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
This left us with 61 cities, 143 towns, and 157 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,200 people to truly be ‘the best’.
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in South Carolina across a number of criteria from one to 61, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In South Carolina”.
Charleston is one of the greatest places to be in South Carolina.
Being in the top 25% for unemployment, education, and crime index all help to keep Charleston from acquiring any kind of inferiority complex.
That, and the fact that Charleston is largest town in the top ten.
We wouldn’t be surprised if more and more publications start to call Charleston one of America’s gems for 2018.