Charleston, South Carolina 2020

Charleston is a large city located in Charleston County in the US state of South Carolina. The port town, founded in 1670, is known for its horse-drawn carriages, pre-war pastel houses and cobbled lanes. Although Charleston is renowned for its romantic appeal, the world-class restaurants, shopping, and natural beauty draw people to this charming city.

Geography and Climate of Charleston

Aerial view of Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston is the principal city of the Charleston-North Charleston metropolitan area. It is also a major port on the Atlantic coast, an important historic site for Southern culture, and the center of a major urbanized region that also includes Goose Creek, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, and Hanahan. Charleston covers a total area of ​​349.92 km², of which 297.24 km² is land and 52.68 km² is water. There are six distinct neighborhoods within the city of Charleston proper: Downtown, West Ashley, Johns Island, James Island, Cainhoy Peninsula, and Daniel Island. The city sits on a peninsula that faces the picturesque deep-water harbor of Charleston and is wedged between the estuaries of the Ashley and Cooper rivers. Except for its entrance, Charleston Harbor is bordered on all sides and stretches about seven miles southeast to the Atlantic. The average width of the port is about 3.2 km.

According to the Köppen climate classification, Charleston experiences a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters, with fog and rainy days most of the year. July and January respectively record the highest average temperatures (28°C) and the lowest (10°C). A significant portion of the annual precipitation is received as thunderstorms by the city from June to September. Freezing rain is quite common in Charleston during the winter months.

Brief History of Charleston

The historic Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, South Carolina
The historic Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, South Carolina.

In the early 17th century, it is claimed that Charleston was given as a gift to the devoted supporters of King Charles II of England. More than 150 English settlers, their servants and slaves arrived in what is now the port of Charleston in the spring of 1670. Pious supporters of King Charles II had a vision of “Charles Town”, a royal port town bearing the name of the king, and within a few days settlers and slaves from all over Europe began to swarm into this town. Charles Town, however, experienced several riots and was frequently attacked. Following the siege of the city by pirates, many additional uprisings occurred. Charles Town quickly became the fourth largest settlement, as things began to look up in 1750 when it began serving as a trading hub for southern colonies. Later the name was changed to Charlestown, and in 1782 the city was officially reincorporated as Charleston.

Population and Economy of Charleston

Colorful and well-preserved historic colonial-style buildings in Charleston's downtown district
Colorful and well-preserved historic colonial-style buildings in the downtown district of Charleston. Editorial credit: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

According to the last US census, Charleston has a population of 150,227, of which 53.1% are female and 46.9% are male. The racial makeup of the city is 71.4% White (non-Hispanic/Latino), 20.8% African American or Black, and 3.6% Hispanic or Latino. The remaining population is split between Asians, Native Americans, and other races. English is spoken by 93.8% of the population. The rest speak Spanish (2.6%), Indo-European languages ​​(2%), Asian and Pacific Islander languages ​​(1.3%) and other foreign languages ​​(0.3%). Only 53.5% of Charleston’s population are naturalized US citizens. And veterans make up 8% of Charleston’s population, of which 90.2% are male and 9.8% are female. According to the same census, 63.7% of the population are employed, with a poverty rate of 12.6%. The homeownership rate in Charleston is 55.4%, where the median gross rent cost is $1,318 per month, with a median household income of $72,071.

Attractions in and around Charleston

Variety of parks

Charleston, South Carolina at Waterfront Park
Charleston, South Carolina at Waterfront Park.

Charleston’s parks are some of the most scenic and beautiful parks in the country. Catch a festival in Brittlebank Park, watch the sunset at Charleston Waterfront Park, or visit James Island County Park for a ton of fun family activities. There are several scenic picnic spots in Charleston’s parks that are equally charming and intriguing.

Museums

Facade of the Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, South Carolina
Facade of the Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. Image Credit: Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons

If you are a big art lover, you will be delighted to visit the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. You can also visit the City Gallery at Waterfront Park for even more art, which offers a wide variety of selections. If science is more your thing, visit the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History to see thousands of amazing fossils.

Gorgeous beaches

Residents and tourists flock to the Atlantic Ocean at Folly Beach near Charleston, South Carolina
Residents and tourists flock to the Atlantic Ocean at Folly Beach near Charleston, South Carolina. Editorial credit: Cvandyke / Shutterstock.com

Charleston offers many options if you like to sunbathe and surf. Folly Beach is one of the most popular selections, but there are plenty of other options for you. Here are some other Charleston area beaches you might want to visit: Sullivan Island, Edwards Beach, Bull Island, Isle of Palms, and Kiawah Island.

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