These hidden gems in Charleston, South Carolina range from secret alleyways and colorful gardens to dreamy islands and beautiful churches. If you are looking for off-the-beaten-path things to do in Charleston, these secret spots are perfect for you.
Some of my favorite secret spots to visit in Charleston include:
- French Huguenot Church
- Pitt Street Bridge
- Shamrock Garden
Whether you are looking for something nature-focused, Instagram-worthy, or history-rich, there is a perfect spot for you. Let’s dive in!
10 Secret Spots And Hidden Gems In Charleston SC
Philadelphia Alley is easily one of the most beautiful Charleston hidden gems. Having many names in the past including Cow Alley and Duelers Alley, this alleyway holds a lot of history and is beautiful with its cobblestones, historic buildings, and greenery.
This pedestrian path can be found between Cumberland Street and Queen Street. Too often overlooked, Philadelphia Alley is one of the top hidden gems in Charleston thanks to its varied history.
The alley is famous for being the location where gentlemen would settle their disputes with pistols twenty-one paces away. A prominent doctor met his demise here as a result of a duel with Ralph Isaacs in the 1780s. Used as a refuge from the heat, to store livestock, and now, for ghost hunting and as a photography location, don’t miss this charming piece of Charleston history.
Shamrock Garden is a little, manicured garden surrounded by historic buildings. This boxwood garden is found on Legare Street and is one of the best-kept secrets in Charleston. This is a private garden, but it is easy to snap a photo through the black, iron fence.
Along with being one of the best hidden gems in Charleston, Shamrock Garden should be included as one of the best places to visit in Charleston. It will not be crowded with tourists and you can get a unique photo.
The entirety of Legare Street is as pretty as a storybook. There are plenty of overhanging trees, vine-covered walls, and brick buildings. Don’t miss out on beauty and ambiance here in Shamrock Garden during your trip to Charleston
Post House Inn
The Post House Inn is truly a treasure and one of the best secret places in Charleston to add to your itinerary. A place to book a table and book a room, Post House Inn has an impeccable vibe, great menus, and charming rooms.
You can grab brunch here where you can dive into dishes like Shakshuka, East Coast oysters, and coffee cakes. In fact, it’s one of the best places for brunch in Charleston! Visiting later in the day will allow you to order delectable dishes like butternut squash soup, poke bowls, red curry clams, and blue crab toast.
What places this among the top hidden gems in Charleston is the aesthetic. A great place to enjoy a meal, spend the night, or take photos, consider swinging by the Post House Inn for a meal or staying here during your stay in Charleston.
Cypress Gardens in Berkeley County is among the top hidden treasures in Charleston. This 170-acre preserve has beautiful gardens, 80 acres of swamp, and loads of natural beauty. As such, many movies were filmed here, including The Notebook, Swamp Thing, and The Patriot.
Off-the-beaten-path, Cypress Garden is a forty-minute drive from downtown Charleston but still is considered one of the hidden gems in Charleston thanks to beautiful nature trails, bamboo forest, lotus pond, gardens, and picnic areas.
Also on site is the Swamparium which is home to native swamp species like venomous snakes, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. There are also alligators at Cypress Gardens as well if you are interested in seeing them!
Like with other Charleston secret spots, Sullivans Island is packed with beauty! Easily one of the prettiest islands in South Carolina due to its pristine beaches and exciting sightseeing spots, the island has less than 2,000 residents.
I love the beach on Sullivans Island as it is such a peaceful and relaxing place to hang out. With 2.5 miles of beach to relax on, you will love the undeveloped views of nature. As one of the best beaches in Charleston SC, you won’t want to miss out!
And while this is among the top hidden gems in Charleston due to the quiet and beautiful beach, if you step away from the seclusion, you can enjoy other attractions like Fort Moultrie and Sullivans Island Lighthouse.
French Huguenot Church
One of my favorite hidden gems in Charleston is the French Huguenot Church. There are a ton of beautiful churches in Charleston and the French Huguenot Church is certainly one of the most photogenic. Even if you are not religious, you can appreciate this church for its breathtaking architecture.
The original church was built in 1687 but was destroyed by a fire in 1796. The replacement was built in 1800 before it was then dismantled and renovated into the Gothic Revival style between 1844 and 1845.
This beautiful, white building is another of the best places to visit in Charleston for photography. While it may be one of the more unusual things to do in Charleston, making the journey to this church for an Instagram selfie, is a cool thing to do while you are in town.
Pitt Street Bridge
One of the best places to visit in Charleston, Pitt Street Bridge is a nice way to see Charleston off the beaten path. The bridge today is used as a place for walking, photography, and bird watching. You can see a variety of birds here, including Great Blue Herons, Brown Pelicans, Mergansers, and Kingfisher!
This is a lovely place to have a picnic or go fishing as well. You can find this bridge in Mount Pleasant, less than a twenty-minute drive from downtown Charleston.
Like most hidden gems in Charleston SC, the Pitt Street Bridge has an interesting history behind it. It was used as a land-based route from the Revolutionary War to the Roaring 20s, then was used as a trolley bridge.
If seeing historical sites is important to you on your travels, but you don’t want to deal with the crowds at the most popular places in town, head to Pitt Street Bridge.
Camellias is a pretty, premier champagne lounge found inside the Hotel Bennett. If you feel like treating yourself or want to have a romantic outing, hidden places in Charleston like Camellias are for you!
Enjoy a fancy, afternoon tea or a snack of caviar, charcuterie, or seafood. The signature Camellias Cake is to die for. As one of the best restaurants in Charleston, you won’t want to miss a meal here. And of course, the champagne and cocktails are amazing from their extensive collection of bottle and by-the-glass drinks are amazing!
This pink-themed eatery was even named the Most Instagrammable Restaurant in South Carolina by Food Network. So, if you are looking for hidden spots to up your Instagram game, you are sure to want to snap some photos here!
You may think a tree is one of the most weird things to see in Charleston, but the Angel Oak is absolutely stunning and is well worth a visit as it is one of the top hidden gems in Charleston.
The tree is estimated to be between 400 and 500 years old. Located just outside of Charleston in John’s Island, this live oak tree stands over sixty-five feet tall. The history and owner of the tree can be traced back to the early 1700s.
The tree is thought to be one of the oldest trees east of the Mississippi River. The tree is an idyllic destination in the area for photographers and travelers just looking for a cool place to take photos. One look at this tree and it is easy to see its appeal!
Hampton Park is one of those secret places to take photos in Charleston. As most of the popular historical sites and attractions are located in the southern part of the town, so Hampton Park is often overlooked as it is away from the busiest areas of Charleston.
As one of the city’s largest parks, it boasts an extensive collection of floral displays and walking trails. There are also open spaces where you can picnic, toss a frisbee, or sunbathe. The park has everything you could want while you are there: picnic tables, restrooms, a playground, a drinking fountain, etc.
I love the feeling of walking alongside beautiful colorful flowers and under hanging Spanish moss through this warm and sunny town. If that sounds like something you would love as well, don’t skip Hampton Park as it is one of the top hidden gems in Charleston for those who like spending time amongst nature.
I believe that these hidden gems in Charleston, South Carolina are what you need to take your trip to this historic South Carolina town to the next level. Which of these treasured locations will you be adding to your Charleston itinerary?