25 Romantic Things for Couples to Do in Charleston, SC (Date Night Ideas!)

There’s just something special about Charleston, SC that makes it irresistibly romantic.

For starters, there are just so many things for couples to do in Charleston! I know because I live here and have done most of them!

Strolling hand-in-hand with your favorite person in the world as you watch the sun rise over Charleston harbor.

Biking down live oak tree-lined streets, flowers in bloom on a warm spring afternoon.

Sipping a drink at a rooftop bar while you watch the sun set over the Holy City.

It’s the perfect combination of Southern charm, beautiful landscapes, and the inescapable allure of a small city by the sea.

Whether you’re coming for a romantic weekend getaway in Charleston or you live in Charleston like us and need local date night ideas, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s dive into the most romantic things for couples to do in Charleston and get your date night or getaway planned!

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25 Romantic Things for Couples to Do in Charleston

1. Take a Sunset Cruise

What’s more romantic than a sunset sail on the water? Sit back and relax as the captain cruises around Charleston Harbor for heavenly sunset views.

The harbor is a big place with lots to see. It’s been the anchor of Charleston’s economy for the better part of four centuries. (Yes, Charleston was founded in the 1600s.)

Ocean breezes will keep you cool, even during our famously hot summers, but you will definitely want sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen.

The most popular Charleston sunset cruise involves drinks and an hour or two on the water.

Good to Know: Charleston faces east, so the sun will set behind the trees, not over the water in the harbor.

Dinner sunset cruises are also an option and vary widely in price. These often sell out, too, so book ahead if you have your heart set on this one!

2. Sail Charleston Harbor

A white sailboat cruises past the ruins of Castle Pinckney in Charleston Harbor on a cloudless day

Hearken back to Charleston’s maritime past and sail the harbor on an honest-to-goodness three mast sailboat, The Schooner Pride.

Afternoon dolphin spotting sails and sunset sails are both an option.

Neither tour is narrated, so you can actually talk with your partner in between seeing famous landmarks like Fort Sumter and the Ravenel bridge.

Charleston Harbor is home to several pods of dolphins, and they love to play in the surf from the boats. If you hang around the harbor long enough, you’ll see them.

Or if you’ve seen enough dolphins, just enjoy the sunset without the bothersome hum of a boat engine. This boat runs on wind alone!

3. Attend the Symphony at the Gaillard Center

Home of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Gaillard Center is the place to go in Charleston for an evening of classical music.

Enjoy masters like Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, or something more modern like The Great American Songbook pops concert.

Depending on day and time, tickets range from $25 per seat to $150. A good option for date night in Charleston for a range of budgets!

Big classical music fans? Time your Charleston getaway to coincide with the Spoleto Festival at the end of May and beginning of June. Tickets for the festival go on sale in February.

4. Admire Morris Island Lighthouse

Morris Island Lighthouse rise above the sandbar at low tide under a blue sky, with tan beach dune reeds in the foreground

Need something a little more budget friendly for date night in Charleston? No problem.

Head out to Folly Beach, turn left at the pier, park at the very end of the road, and walk out to the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve beach.

Watch the Morris Island Lighthouse glow as the sun sets behind you. A quiet, peaceful experience for you and your date before heading back to town for dinner.

We recommend Rita’s Seaside Grille in Folly Beach!

5. Schedule a Couples Massage

Spend time with your sweetie during a soothing couples’ massage.

Many of the downtown luxury hotels have their own spas. Check with your hotel and consider booking a spa package.

Live in town and just want a day out? Splurge for The Belmond Charleston’s Spa or for the Wentworth Mansion’s Spa Package for a romantic getaway from the house.

6. Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride around the City

Take a tour around the city in a horse-drawn carriage, one of the best things to do in Charleston for couples!

Palmetto Carriage Works and Old South Carriage Co. are the two most popular carriage tour companies in Charleston, and their tours are nearly identical. We’ve tried both.

Don’t worry; these horses aren’t mistreated or overworked. This is their retirement job.

They’re normally pulling ploughs through fields in Amish country, much more difficult than pulling wagons of people.

Each company will gladly tell you about the care taken with their horses, including their regularly scheduled time away from the city and out on green acreage where they can roam.

Splurge for a romantic private carriage ride, or if that’s a bit out of your budget, give you and your sweetheart some space from strangers and pay the upcharge to buy out the row on a public tour.

7. Hop in a Rowboat at Cypress Gardens

Cypress trees and their knees are reflected in the waters of the swamp at Cypress Gardens

Remember that scene from the movie The Notebook where they’re in that rowboat surrounded by white ducks and cypress trees? You can recreate that moment at Cypress Gardens!

Well, probably not quite so many ducks, but the boats, trees, and ambiance are the same.

Not a Nicolas Sparks fan? Me either.

What about The Patriot with Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, and Jason Isaacs?

Mel and Heath hung out with other militiamen at a church in a swamp. That was filmed here, too!

Come stroll through beautiful gardens and take a rowboat out on the pond for your own unique and private romantic getaway for the day.

This attraction is outside of the city in the town of Moncks Corner, about a 45min drive, but the rowboat rental is included in general admission.

We recommend this as a spring activity, preferably March when the azaleas are in bloom, too!

Don’t forget to bring bug spray in the summer, but it’s still one of the best things for couples to do in Charleston, even if it’s hot.

8. Try an Escape Room

For the couples that want to do fun things together, try an escape room! Find out how well you and your SO can problem solve together (without fighting, please!).

And don’t worry, you don’t have to do all the solving by yourselves. Sign up for a time slot, and they’ll pair you up with other groups.

Escape in 60 currently offers six different story lines with varying difficulties. Which story/room you choose also depends what time you book. All games are $33 per person.

A perfect indoor activity for a rainy day in Charleston and a fun way to pass an hour with your best friend!

9. Experience the Zero George Cooking School

Let’s first be clear about one thing: you don’t do the cooking.

You watch a professional chef whip up an extraordinary 3 course meal in front of you, which you then get to enjoy, along with the paired wine.

Much more tempting that way, isn’t it?

Zero George Cooking Class sizes are never more than 8 people, for an intimate lunch of fine wine and dining.

It’s not cheap ($195 per person, not including tax and tip), but it is consistently considered one of the top romantic things for couples to do in Charleston.

Fine by us, so long as we don’t have to cook!

10. Wander around a Plantation Garden

Pink azaleas in full bloom in Charleston, SC

Middleton Place Plantation and Magnolia Plantation & Gardens have some of the oldest gardens in the entire country. I’m partial to Middleton Place, but both gardens are stunning.

They are honestly drop-dead gorgeous when the azaleas and camellias are in bloom in the spring and winter, respectively.

If you prefer enormous, dreamy live oaks, head to Boone Hall instead. But be warned: not as many good flowers there.

This may not be for every couple, as plantations come with their own complicated and painful pasts. Tours at both plantations address this. Spend the day, or a half day, learning some history and wandering the gardens.

Compare the Top 5 Best Plantations in Charleston, SC and find the right one for you!

11. Root for the RiverDogs at a Baseball Game

If sports is more your couple thing, enjoying a fun evening at a minor league baseball game is just the ticket!

Root on the Charleston RiverDogs at Joe Riley Stadium on the Ashley River side of the downtown peninsula. Tickets are very reasonably priced, too, so you can get good seats without going over budget.

The RiverDogs are a seed team for the Tampa Bay Rays, if that changes who you’re going to root for all evening.

Who knows? You may even see Bill Murray there. (Long time Charleston resident and season ticket holder for the RiverDogs 😎)

12. Watch a Play at the Dock Street Theatre

Historic Dock Street Theater with carved wooden posts and green wrought iron balcony

Catch a play or musical at the beautiful Dock Street Theatre, just a block away from the City Market.

This small, intimate theater can be an affordable night out for two! Tickets vary depending on the day you visit and where you sit, but typically range from $32 to $75.

13. Stroll the Pitt Street Bridge Park

How about a sunset stroll away from the crowds? The Pitt Street Bridge is in Old Mount Pleasant, away from all the tourist hotspots but worth the 10 minute drive for the gorgeous sunset views across Charleston Harbor.

What used to be the main bridge to Sullivan’s Island is now a linear park through the salt marsh. The paved path ends at the water front, and you can still see the old bridge piers.

Sit on a bench with your love, and watch the sun sink. The best colors are right after the sun dips below the horizon, and even better if there are a few scattered storm clouds for those deep purples.

This is a great way to pass some time before your dinner reservation at nearby Shem Creek, which has some of the best restaurants in Charleston.

14. Skate at the Carolina Ice Palace

Re-enact your favorite romantic Hallmark movie ice skating scene at the Carolina Ice Palace!

No snow to worry about since this is an indoor rink, by necessity. It’s also not downtown but in a busy enough area that it’s easy to catch an Uber, about a 30min drive.

It never actually gets cold enough for outdoor skating rinks here. Thank you, wonderfully warm climate!

Public skate times vary by season. Check the public skate schedule before heading over.

15. Stroll the Battery and White Point Gardens

White Point Gardens features rows of giant live oak trees covered in moss over green grass and war memorials at The Battery in downtown Charleston, SC

Dreamy rows of live oak trees shade the grassy tip of the downtown peninsula. While you’re here, take a stroll along the Battery by the water.

The perfect place for photos or memories, or both!

White Point Gardens is a small park between Charleston’s most picturesque historic homes and the harbor.

The Battery features a raised stone walkway along the waterfront for great views and easy strolls.

Many a local runner will dodge between all the tourists taking pictures and other locals walking their dogs. It’s a great place for people watching if you can snag a spot on a bench in the shade.

16. Stand in Awe of the Angel Oak

A gorgeous Charleston photo op for you and your special someone! Plus, it’s FREE to visit!

However, the Angel Oak is a county park with operating hours. You can see it through the fence when the park is closed, but it’s far better as seen from inside that fence. Plus, there’s a gift shop.

This gigantic live oak tree is the largest live oak east of the Mississippi River, and it is a magical place to be in the afternoons when the light starts to get sunset orange and diffuses through the tree’s canopy.

It’s a beautiful spot, for sure, but a bit out of the way. Pair this with a visit to the Charleston Tea Garden, the only working tea farm in North America.

Pro Tip: Rideshares not recommended for this outing. They’ll drop you off, but there’s little to no chance of finding one to take you back to the city.

17. Laugh Together at an Improv Comedy Show

Sometimes you just want to laugh! Improv comedy is never the same show twice, making this a great option for multiple date nights in Charleston if you live in town.

Theatre 99 holds shows four nights a week, depending on the time of year. Most shows are $230 per person, but don’t miss A Laugh for a Lincoln which is only $5 per ticket.

Get ready for some irreverent humor!

18. Beach Time with your Sweetie

A lone beach umbrella stands with Isle of Palms pier in the background as the sun sets

Spend a relaxing day at one of Charleston’s best beaches. Charleston has five main barrier islands that all provide spectacular, sandy beaches.

  • Get away from the crowds on the public beaches, and book a rental on exclusive Kiawah Island or Seabrook Island. Both have flagship resorts with luxury spas and romantic weekend packages.
  • Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island have luxury oceanfront hotels and Airbnbs, or just stop by for the day.
  • Folly Beach is generally the cheapest and busiest, but has a great, newly renovated pier.

Our personal favorite beaches are Isle of Palms County Park for all-day adventures or Kiawah Beachwalker County Park for spending a few hours in the late afternoon/early evening.

Both have paid parking lots, but only Isle of Palms has food within walking distance. At Kiawah, you have to drive back out to Freshfields (the roundabout you drove through on the way in) for food.

19. Enjoy a Rooftop Bar

Get a cocktail and enjoy a night under the stars at one of Charleston’s rooftop bars. There are plenty to choose from, laid back to sophisticated luxury, all waiting for you!

Most of the fancy hotels downtown have a rooftop bar or restaurant. Cover charges vary.

20. Tour a Historic Charleston Home

Ooh and aah over history and/or decadence. Charleston was once the economic powerhouse port of the South, and it showed in the city elite’s private mansions.

A perfect day time activity for the couple that loves history, or snooping in other people’s houses!

House tours are typically around $15 per person, but you can often book a combo ticket to see multiple houses or add on a harbor tour or plantation tour.

The most frequently visited historical homes in downtown Charleston, in alphabetical order:

  1. Aiken-Rhett House
  2. Edmondston-Alston House
  3. Heyward-Washington House
  4. Joseph Manigault House
  5. Nathaniel Russel House
  6. The Williams Mansion (previously, The Calhoun Mansion)

21. Walk around Downtown Charleston

Camelia flowers bloom among their green leaves over a brick and wood gate in Charleston

The eastern half and southern tip of the downtown peninsula is one giant historic district. No buildings are allowed to rise higher than the tallest church steeple.

South Carolina’s signature southern charm is on full display with cobblestone streets, wrought iron gates, and beautiful blooms on display pretty much year-round.

  • See famous Rainbow Row.
  • Explore the French Quarter and its amazing architecture.
  • Find one or two of Charleston’s famous cobblestone alleys.

22. Go Shopping on King Street and Eating on Market Street

King Street is for shopping (and eating), and Market Street is for eating (and shopping)!

King Street has been Charleston’s shopping hub for as long as it’s been around. You’ll find both high-end shops and local boutiques to peruse.

While you’re here, stop in at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit for a delicious brunchy snack on the go.

Market Street circles the historic Charleston City Market, worth a walk through but beware the prices. It’s tourist central, and the vendors know it.

But this area is also home to such illustrious Charleston eateries as Hank’s Seafood and Church and Union.

Take a stroll with your love, peeking in shops, and maybe stopping for a tasty meal along the way!

23. Walk around Hampton Park

Located next to The Citadel campus, and free to visit!, Hampton Park, in the right season, has enough flowers to rival even the plantation gardens.

This large park has a paved path around a center pond, with plenty of large live oaks, magnolias, and palmettos.

It’s a great free option for date night in Charleston. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and go enjoy a few hours on the lawn with your sweetheart.

Or make it an active visit and use the paved path to get in a run together!

24. Kayak or Paddleboard on Shem Creek

A pelican made of plastics saved from the ocean stands at the boardwalk entrance to Shem Creek park in Mount Pleasant, SC

Just 10 minutes from downtown, across the Cooper River, is one of the best places for couples in Charleston: Shem Creek.

Shem Creek has restaurants, shops, and a little boardwalk park with peekaboo views of the Ravenel bridge, that is spectacular at sunset, I might add.

But we’re recommending you come during the day to visit Nature Adventures for a paddle date on the creek!

The local shrimp boats work out of Shem Creek, and the dolphins know it. You’ll frequently see dolphins in the creek, and they love to buzz paddlers!

25. Explore Waterfront Park & the Pineapple Fountain

If you don’t have enough time to walk down to the Battery before your downtown dinner reservation, check out Waterfront Park instead. It’s closer to all the action.

Good to Know: The Battery and White Point Gardens are at the southern end of the peninsula. Waterfront Park is on the Cooper River side of town with the dock, near the City Market.

It’s home of the famous Charleston Pineapple Fountain, as well as the downtown pier with swinging benches, a live oak alleé, and another water fountain that kids love to play in in the summer.

It’s a short stroll and there’s lots of seating if you want to just sit and take it in for a minute.

Head’s Up: This is a very popular spot for watching fireworks on 4th of July in Charleston! There’s no music on this side of the river, but you see the same beautiful show!

Enjoy your Romantic Weekend in Charleston!

Happy travels!

Headshot of Rachel Means at Clingmans Dome in Smoky Mountains

About the Author: Rachel Means

With six-figure student loan debt and only 10 PTO days per year, Rachel started traveling the world. A decade later, she’s paid off her loans, changed careers, and been to 38 US states and 17 countries. She’s an expert at planning and budgeting for travel and loves to help others do it, too! Read her full story here.

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25 Romantic Things for Couples to Do in Charleston, SC (Date Night Ideas!)25 Romantic Things for Couples to Do in Charleston, SC (Date Night Ideas!)