Tell me about Charleston, SC, because I may be moving there

My girlfriend of 5 years and I are getting a little tired of the Midwest and are about ready to make a go of it in a different locale. We’ve considered several places, including Seattle, Portland, Denver and L.A., but ultimately I think we are most interested in Charleston.

The climate and culture both appeal to us. I like the idea of living on the coast, and also like the idea of doing that and not being in California or New York. I enjoy boating and fishing, two things that I would definitely be able to do more of there.

Living arrangements seem fairly affordable. What I want to know is, what are some of the areas on the outskirts of the city that might be good to live in, since I do not want to be right in the center of the city or particularly close to it.

My mom’s family and my brother are from Charleston and I spent all of my summers (and some holidays) there growing up. Its a pretty city with a lot to offer. I have little to no experience dealing with traffic over there but I know that West of the Ashley, James Island, Mt. Pleasant, and parts of North Charleston are solid places to live. You’re close enough to enjoy the peninsula without being in the center of everything. Nice thing about Mt. Pleasant is that you now have a real bridge to use instead of the Cooper River bridges which were fairly terrifying as far as bridges go. I hate to super wiki you but basically everything I know about living in the city is largely anecdotal. I have a childhood friend that is stationed in the Coast Guard over there and lives in N. Charleston and he loves it there. Of course, he is from New Jersey so a lot of his love and appreciation comes from the pace of life and the nature of the people. If you send any questions my way I will be sure to run them by my cousins (who currently live all across the city/county) first. Good luck!

My cousin lives there, and I can recommend Mount Pleasant and Summerville. Of course, I’ve also spent summer vacations there since I was about 10 years old, on the Isle of Palms, but that’s not the same as living there. Be prepared for sweltering summers.

QTF! For whatever reason, there are a ton of NoVA transplants to Charleston. I thought everyone loved traffic! Anyway, I have been down there numerous times to visit, and it is a fabulous town. But… VERY HOT during the summer. Like breathing in piping hot gravy kind of hot.

I was last there 35 years ago on a family trip, and this is what I remember most. If you’re like me, this is a deal-killer. But I guess if you like to get out on boats, this may be a huge advantage. How does your girlfriend feel about heat?

Personally, I can’t stand the place - full of tourists, cramped, traffic, unless you go to the new suburbs which are boring and cookie cutter. There’s so much more to South Carolina!

But if you like it, I’d suggest Mount Pleasant now that there’s a non-pants-wetting bridge. Would you be working in town or elsewhere? That makes a difference.

I lived there for a couple of years as a young teenager and enjoyed it - the proximity to the coast and all the outdoor activities were a great way to spend the day. My mother still lives there and I visit from time to time. I love the charm and vibrancy of the downtown area, some good restaurants to dine in and still enjoy the fishing and golfing. Having said that I don`t know if I could live there. My mother is a very outspoken liberal minded atheist which goes against the prevailing attitude , and she has found it frustrating and demoralizing at times. I think I would probably feel that way too if I lived there. YMMV.

I grew up on James Island, but it’s pretty commercial now. I think it got incorporated into Charleston proper, so you’d have to pay city taxes, and I think the houses are more expensive. Still a very nice place to live, and growing fairly decently. Folly Beach is still pretty good, but watch out for the undertow - you don’t want to drown or end up halfway down the coast in a little kayak.

I would actually recommend LIVING on John’s Island, which is a little further out, but so very beautiful. Cheaper, because it isn’t part of Charleston city, and lots of open properties and marshland access for boating or fishing.

If you don’t have to work in the city proper, or don’t mind commuting, Edisto Island is also beautiful, and there are lovely places all up and down the 17 corridor which are going to be a lot cheaper than living in the city or any of the nearby sections like Mt. Pleasant. (Don’t get me wrong, MP is BEAUTIFUL, but a little pricy.)

Orangeburg is also close enough to get to the beach pretty regularly, and it’s a lot cheaper as well.

I would HIGHLY suggest coming down to stay for at least a week or so in the high summer - sometime in late August is a good time. Go outside in the daytime and imagine yourself cutting your grass, or trying to weed a garden or wash your car. If you don’t pass out or feel the need to find a respirator, you should be ok.

I would not suggest living anywhere in the midlands - Columbia has absolutely nothing to recommend it - it’s hotter and more humid than the beach, there is no breeze, and no culture.

If Charleston feels a little too hot or muggy, consider Ashville in NC, or Greenville SC, both have pretty decent culture and city-life. They are also much less conservative than a lot of the nearby areas. Greenville is about 5 hours from Charleston, and Ashville is closer to 7, so beach trips would probably be overnighters or weekends, but there are lovely lakes and rivers in the upstate also.

Be prepared for Blue Laws (no booze on Sunday, shops don’t open at all on Sunday or at least not until after 1 or 2 pm), and for overly inquisitive southern manners.

In other words, be prepared for a proper introduction to the neighbors to include an interrogation as to where you go to church and whether you’re related to anyone here. It behooves you to find some ancestor somewhere that lived in Charleston or nearby, and indicate that you are inspired by said ancestor and wish to emulate him. Your neighbors will appreciate your effort to belong.

[quote=“Zsofia, post:6, topic:576354”]

Personally, I can’t stand the place - full of tourists, cramped, traffic, unless you go to the new suburbs which are boring and cookie cutter. There’s so much more to South Carolina!

Strongly agree… I live in the middle of pretty much nowhere, just about exactly mid-way between Charleston and Columbia, and I love it. I do go down to Charleston once in a while for dinner, or a show, but I’d never want to actually live there sadly. It was very nice even 25 or 30 years ago, but has gotten too
built up and full of cars to be much fun wandering around anymore.

If you were actually working in Charleston, it might make sense to live there, but even so, like all cities now, real estate is not cheap. You can get three or four times the house just outside of Charleston, and 6 or 7 times the house and land 30 minutes away.

Oh my… I Sooooooooo hated driving over that old bridge, even as a passenger. Somehow, being what seemed to be more then a thousand feet in the air, and what should have been a two lane (one each direction) road, but was actually 4 lanes, all steep and twisty, and moving back and forth noticeably when you were stopped in traffic at the top… SHUDDER.

The New Cooper River (or Arthur Ravenel Jr) Bridge is several orders of magnitude better!

On another note, I personally love the heat, so that never really bothers me, and it is nice to be able to be out at Battery Park on New Years Eve for the Pineapple raising (we are a bit different here) in short sleeves or a light jacket.

When did you last make that drive, 1958? :wink:

Greenville is an easy 3.5 hour drive from Charleston, straight down I-26.

Somehow every time I go to Charleston, and I swear to God I have no idea how it happens, there is ALWAYS some terrible accident just outside of Columbia where 77 says hello and goodbye. I have never made it to Charleston without spending significant time outside of Columbia, because of traffic (which is my own fault for timing it wrong on those occasions) or because of the accidents in that one spot.

I didn’t even think about my personal beach curse when I was adding up the drive times.


This probably doesn’t help you any, but I found the girls there to be hotter than the average bear.

I don’t know if that’s supposed to be a good or bad thing, from the way you put it.

I think he meant that as a good thing although it may be bad based on your relationship status. Many Southern Belles like to look good and talk as sweet as the tea.

Out of curiosity, Argent Towers, how much time have you spent in Charleston and what time of year did you travel there?

That’s what you get for saying we got no culture! We do so. And until you admit it we will continue to trap you in your car near, what, Dixiana? Sandy Run? And then you’ll find out what no culture looks like. :slight_smile:

Yeah, and to think somebody recommended Orangeburg! They’re a constant source for fun in the local news. Who could forget the recent classic I ride the ride!

Yeah, it’s kind of a toss up whether the nightly news will have more stabbings in Orangeburg or in Sumter. Ought to take bets.

Got it in one - actually both. Those particular wide spots in the road are very familar. I’ve started packing lunches for myself so I don’t have to make pit-stops while the traffic creeps on by. At least now I know for what I’m being punished by the gods. I won’t take it back tho! You can’t make me!! :wink:

And I was the one who suggested Orangeburg, but in my defense I was specifically thinking about the housing costs. There’s a reason it’s cheaper to live there!

I lived in Walterboro for a few years, and we were still technically close enough to Charleston proper that we could get out to some cultural activities. I don’t think we EVER went to Orangeburg itself. I’m not sure there is anything in Orangeburg, actually…

Is it a safe city? What is the crime rate like? I don’t particularly feel like having my property stolen or being shot to death for my car.