Moving to Charleston

Get ready to pack your bags and embark on a thrilling, sun-soaked adventure! We're talking about none other than Charleston, South Carolina - a city drenched in rich history, Southern charm, and culinary delights. Our comprehensive Charleston relocation guide is designed to make your move as smooth as sweet tea on a summer day. So, whether you find solace in sultry coastal breezes, vibrant arts and culture scene, or simply yearn for the splendor of classic antebellum architecture, we have you covered. Together, we'll unlock all that makes Charleston uniquely captivating and a sweet spot to call home.

Moving to Charleston, SC landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Charleston

1. Charleston Offers a Laid-Back Lifestyle

First and foremost, Charleston truly embodies the term 'Southern Comfort'. Citizens entertain a laid-back lifestyle, characterized by friendly chats, leisurely strolls along the picturesque battery, and impassioned door-holding contests. Swapping your hustled city pace for Charleston's calm and easy stride is synonymous with keeping your sanity!

2. The Gastronomy Is Exceptional

If you are a lover of good food, Charleston will charm your palate like no other. The city boasts a culinary scene to die for, brimming with traditional Southern delicacies, fresh seafood, and fusion foods. Be sure to try the famous Low Country Boil and She Crab Soup. And oh, did we mention that Charleston's BBQ game is strong?

3. The City Is Steeped in History

The cobblestone streets of Charleston whisper tales of the old world. As you step into the city, you're stepping into a living museum infused with Civil War history, grand old mansions, historic plantations, and captivating tales of pirates and patriots. Don't miss the Charleston Museum, dubbed "America's First Museum," or the famed Fort Sumter.

4. Architecture Is A Visual Treat

Charleston's Architectural beauty can give any city a run for its money. Rainbow Row, a series of 13 pastel-colored historic houses, is snapshot-worthy. The city is replete with antebellum mansions, churches, and the iconic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is an engineering marvel that blends seamlessly with the natural grace of the city.

5. Weather Is a Mixed Bag

Charleston experiences mild winters and, although it gets pretty hot in the summer, the cool sea breeze saves the day. However, what many people might not know is the city's propensity for flooding. It only takes a bit of rain for streets to start mimicking canals. Get yourself a trusty pair of rain boots and be prepared to kayak your way to the grocery store!

6. Holy City Is More Than Just a Moniker

Here's something that might surprise you - Charleston is often referred to as the 'Holy City'. Why? It's because of an unusual city ordinance that permits no building to be taller than the tallest church steeple. This law lends the city a skyline unlike any other, dominated by antiquated steeples as opposed to towering skyscrapers. An intriguing blend of the secular and the sacred!

In conclusion, Charleston, with its genteel charm, delectable cuisine, rich history, impressive architecture, unpredictable weather and distinct skyline, is truly a city like no other. Whether you're an unwavering history buff, relentless foodie or an architecture aficionado, Charleston has something special in store for you. Just be prepared for the occasional "y'all" and "bless your heart" thrown your way!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Charleston

Pros of Living in Charleston

Rich History and Culture

Charleston, SC is a city teeming with rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War. Many historical landmarks still stand, such as the Charleston Historic District, offering residents and visitors an insight into American history.

Outdoor Recreational Opportunities

With Charleston's moderate climate, outdoor activities are available throughout the year. From fishing and boating along the coastline, to hiking and biking in the many parks, there is something for every outdoor enthusiast.

Culinary Scene

Charleston is known for its diverse culinary scene that includes traditional southern cuisine and eclectic fusion. An abundance of fresh seafood and local produce is transformed into culinary masterpieces by accomplished chefs in the city's thriving restaurant scene.

Coastal Living

Living in Charleston allows for continual access to beautiful coastal views, beaches, and water sports. The coastal lifestyle offers a unique combination of relaxation, adventure, and scenic beauty.

Friendly Community

Charleston is known for its southern hospitality and friendly residents. The community has a welcoming, small-town feel while still offering the amenities and opportunities of a larger city.

Cons of Living in Charleston

Cost of Living

Charleston's popular location and appeal means a higher cost of living compared to other areas in South Carolina. Housing, in particular, can be more expensive due to the desirability of the area.

Seasonal Tourists

As a coveted travel destination, Charleston typically sees a surge of tourists during peak travel seasons. This can result in crowded streets, restaurants, and local attractions, as well as increased noise.

Climate and Weather

While the mild climate facilitates outdoor activities, Charleston is also prone to humidity. Additionally, the coastal location makes the city susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms.

Lack of Public Transportation

Charleston lacks an extensive public transportation system, making it a less than ideal location for those without a private vehicle. Most people find it necessary to own a car to commute or access various areas of the city.

Job Market

While the job market in Charleston is robust in certain industries such as tourism, there may be fewer opportunities in other sectors. Prospective residents should thoroughly research job prospects in their respective field before moving.

Modern day picture of Charleston, SC highlighting pros and cons of living in Charleston, SC

Is Charleston a Good Place to Live?

Charleston, SC is a great place to live because of its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful beaches. It also boasts a thriving food scene, offering diverse dishes that are sure to satisfy any foodie. Moreover, with its warm climate and unique cultural offerings such as music festivals and art shows, there is never a shortage of fun and exciting things to do!

What Is Charleston Famous For?

Stunning Historic Architecture

Charleston's distinct architectural aesthetic, brimming with a blend of Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian styles, is an absolute feast for the eyes! Stroll down the streets for a vibrant history lesson, with over 2,800 historic buildings dating back to the 1600s.

Delightful Lowcountry Cuisine

You're in for a treat in Charleston when it comes to food! From succulent seafood caught fresh from its waters, to traditional 'lowcountry' dishes like shrimp and grits, your taste buds will be singing praises from the moment you sit down at a table in one of the city's renowned restaurants.

Picturesque Beaches and Waterfront

Charleston's coastal location features beautiful beaches that are perfect for a day of sun-soaked relaxation, beach games, or strolling along the shoreline. A walk along the Waterfront Park offers stunning views of the harbor, while the famous Pineapple Fountain promises picture-perfect photo ops!

Epic Festivals and Events

Something is always happening in Charleston! It hosts a wide range of events throughout the year, including one of the top arts festivals in the world, Spoleto Festival USA. No matter when you visit, you're sure to find fun activities and events that celebrate the city's culture and vitality.

Capital building of Charleston, SC in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, the property tax rate in Charleston, SC is around 0.57%. This rate is significantly lower than the national average, which stands at approximately 1.07%.

Sales Tax

In Charleston, SC, the combined sales tax rate stands at 9% in 2023. This includes the 6% state tax, 1% local tax, and an additional 2% tax for hospitality and accommodations. This is comparably higher than the median combined sales tax rate of 7.12% across the US.

Income Tax

In Charleston, SC, income tax rates are progressive and range from 0% to 7% in 2023. South Carolina's maximum income tax rate is relatively moderate when compared to other states, with California's rate topping out at 13.3% and seven states such as Texas and Florida levying no state income tax at all.

Housing Market

The Charleston, SC housing market is unique in comparison to other US regions. While the national median home value hovers around $248,000, Charleston's median home value is higher, at approximately $320,000. For renters, Charleston averages $1,400 monthly, slightly above the national median of $1,200. Despite a slightly higher cost of living, Charleston offers southern charm, historical significance, and a strong job market, making it an enticing locale for prospective residents. As in any market, prices can vary based on location, property size, and various other factors- make sure to do thorough research or consult a housing professional.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Charleston, SC is slightly higher than the national average but is considerably low compared to major metropolitan areas. Housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference. Despite this, overall expenses in healthcare, utilities, and groceries are competitive. Charleston's unique Southern charm, seaside location and rich history make it an attractive place to live despite the slightly elevated cost of living.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Located on the South Carolina coastline, Charleston enjoys a subtropical climate characterized by hot, humid summers and mild, occasionally chilly winters. The city experiences abundant sunshine throughout the year, with an annual average temperature of 65.6degF. Precipitation is evenly distributed, fostering a lush bio-diverse environment. Charleston's coastal position, however, predisposes it to weather-related hazards. It is frequently subjected to Atlantic hurricanes during the season that runs from June to November, while sporadic thunderstorms and occasional tornadoes represent other severe weather threats. Additionally, sea levels rising at a faster rate than many other places globally heightens concerns about more frequent and severe flooding events. The city's residents handle these challenges with resilience and a keen emphasis on preparedness and response strategies.

Typical weather in Charleston, SC

Economy & Job Market


* Aerospace and Aviation Industry


* Technology and IT Services


* Tourism and Hospitality


* Port and Logistics


* Healthcare


Charleston, South Carolina, is an inviting city where the old meets new, boasting a robust, diversified economy that spans the tech, aerospace, and healthcare sectors, among others. While the city\'s roots are grounded in historical landmarks, culture-rich traditions, and hospitality as the state\'s largest tourism hub, Charleston also soars through the realms of modern industries. The aerodynamics and aviation sectors have significantly taken off, thanks to significant players like Boeing and the IT space, is abuzz with tech giants like Google and Blackbaud gracing the stage. Juxtapose that with Charleston\'s logistically advantaged position as a leading port city and its sturdy healthcare sector anchored by facilities like the Medical University of South Carolina, and you\'ve got an economic potpourri!


If you\'re thinking of packing up and heading to the holy city, hold onto your seersucker hat because Charleston\'s job market is cheery as a Lowcountry boil! With an unemployment rate typically lower than the national average, Charleston is a favorable spot to settle and find work. Healthcare, aviation, and tech spheres are thriving with opportunities, so if you hold expertise in these areas, your job search might just feel like a breezy harbor cruise. If you\'re into logistics or the maritime industry, the Port of Charleston might be your next career harbor. And, for those with a knack for hospitality or culinary arts, numerous luxury hotels, and foodie-approved restaurants offer ample chances to shine. So, come to Charleston where the job market is as warm and welcoming as its sunsets!


Traffic and Transportation

Cruising around the lovely Charleston, SC, can be quite an adventure! On average, hardy citizens can expect their commuting escapade to last a breezy 22 minutes. But, if you'd rather leave driving to someone else, hop on one of CARTA's eco-friendly buses, or take to the rails with the Amtrak service right downtown! You can also get even racier on a DASH trolley; they're free, fun, and oh-so-charming on a sunny Charleston day. And for those jet-setters among us, your gateway to the wild blue yonder is open at Charleston International Airport, welcoming you to experience connections to major US hubs. Whether you're commuting, touring, or flying, navigational whimsy awaits you in this historic city!

What is the traffic like in Charleston, SC?

Best Neighborhoods in Charleston

1. Historic Downtown Charleston

Charleston's charm is most apparent in its Historic Downtown, where centuries-old buildings whisper tales of the city's past. This neighborhood radiates elegance with its cobblestone streets, picturesque mansions and gardens bathed in Southern sun. Widely known for its hospitality, Historic Downtown offers plenty of fine-dining restaurants, boutique shopping, as well as art and history museums. Plus, there's always something happening at Marion Square, from weekly farmers' markets to annual festivals - the community vibe here is simply irresistible!

2. Mount Pleasant

If you're looking for something a bit more suburban yet still buzzing with life, Mount Pleasant is your best pick. Positioned across the Intracoastal Waterway from downtown Charleston, this neighborhood offers a bit of everything. Leafy parks, historic sites, waterfront vistas, and access to some of the region's best beaches. It's a fantastic place for outdoor lovers with boating, fishing, and paddleboarding opportunities galore. And don't forget to check out the local specialty shops and mouthwatering seafood restaurants!

3. West Ashley

Cozy and genuine, West Ashley wins hearts with its residential feel and incredible convenience. Sitting only minutes away from downtown Charleston, this neighborhood offers suburban appeal with city benefits. Here, surrounded by tidal creeks and moss-draped live oaks, you'll find a mix of older homes and newer developments. The restaurants and shops have this fantastic locally-owned vibe, and the area is also known for its large parks, like Charles Towne Landing, peppered with walking and bike trails.

4. James Island

Imagine a place where each street seems to lead to water, where you're continually reminded of nature's beauty, and city hustle feels like a world away - welcome to James Island! It's an utter delight for water and nature enthusiasts, offering phenomenal views of the Charleston Harbor, access to beautiful Folly Beach, and gorgeous marshland landscapes. This area exudes a relaxed, community-centered atmosphere and is brimming with dive bars, funky eateries, and eclectic shops.

5. North Charleston

North Charleston is the area's up-and-comer, marrying urban convenience with a dash of coastal Southern charm. Here, arts and culture lovers will find their home among unique artist studios, colorful murals, and the vibrant walkable center of the Park Circle neighborhood. It houses popular attractions like Riverfront Park and the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Plus, it's the hottest place to sample craft beers and experience Charleston's burgeoning foodie scene.

Charleston, SC, blends coastal vibes with rich history, creating neighborhoods with distinct character and unique offerings. From the leafy tranquility of Mount Pleasant to the vibrant arts scene in North Charleston, each neighborhood contributes to the city's beautiful diversity. Finding your own niche in this Southern gem is part of the journey, and you can't really make a wrong turn here. So take your pick, and let Charleston charm you in its own special way!

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Things to Do

Welcome to Charleston, South Carolina's vibrant coastal city that blends Southern charm, significant historical sites, and a dynamic arts scene. If you're moving to town or merely visiting, there's plenty to keep you busy. Here, we highlight seven must-do activities in this delightful city, some surprising and lesser-known, that illustrate the true essence of Charleston.

1. Stroll Along The Battery

If you want to soak up quintessential Charleston views while indulging in a peaceful walk, The Battery is the place to be. This scenic promenade, lined with grand, traditional Southern homes, offers spectacular vistas of Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter. Don't forget your camera!

2. Explore the City Market

A four-block long stretch overflowing with local vendors, the City Market is one of Charleston's most cherished institutions. From handmade crafts and local produce to the specialty sweetgrass baskets - a Lowcountry tradition - the market offers a glimpse into Charleston's culture and craftsmanship.

3. Visit Middleton Place

Step back into history by visiting Middleton Place, a meticulously preserved 18th-century plantation that boasts America's oldest landscaped gardens. Tour the House Museum to gain insight into the plantation's history and explore the stunning symmetrical gardens for an idic afternoon.

4. Discover Charleston's Ghostly History

Charleston's eerie past uncovers itself through its numerous spine-chilling ghost tours. From hearing tales of the city's haunting past on a nighttime graveyard tour to exploring the Old City Jail, these thrilling experiences offer a spookishly fun way to learn about Charleston's history.

5. Kayak Through Shem Creek

If you're wishing for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, hit the waters of Shem Creek in a kayak. Glide past beautiful marshlands, historic shrimp boats, and come face-to-face with lively marine life. This serene and beautiful excursion truly highlights Charleston's unique geography.

6. Visit the Tiny Tea Plantation

The Charleston Tea Plantation, situated on picturesque Wadmalaw Island, is the only place where tea is grown in North America. Enjoy a factory tour, wander through the lush tea fields, or just relax on the porch with a cup of their delicious tea. This charming place is a hidden gem in the Charleston area.

7. Join a Dockside Seafood School

Immerse yourself in Charleston's seafood culture by participating in a dockside seafood school. You'll spend the day on the water learning how to catch and cook local delicacies like shrimp, crabs, and fish. It's hands-down the best way to savor the fresh tastes of the Lowcountry.

In conclusion, Charleston is a city teeming with exciting activities and experiences. From exploring the historic downtown area to enjoying unique, unexpected adventures, the city offers something for everyone. Whether you're moving here or simply passing through, don't miss out on these top attractions. With a city this lovely, a love affair with Charleston is inevitable!

Things to do in Charleston, SC?

Find Movers for Your Charleston Relocation

As you embark on your exciting journey to Charleston, entrusting your move to a reputed and affordable moving company can make the transition smoother. Great Guys Moving, with its vast network of licensed and insured movers, is here to simplify this process for you. They swiftly connect you with an array of providers who can service your move. Why not take the next step now? Requesting a free moving quote from Great Guys Moving is both fast and easy. Prepare to begin your Charleston adventure with confidence and peace of mind, secure in the knowledge that your move is in safe hands.

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