While my husband and I were just dating and as newlyweds, we were always big travelers. We even vowed that we wouldn’t give up traveling after the kids came along (but that was definitely easier said than done).
Since we weren’t going to be traveling nearly as much with babies and toddlers, we wanted to make our last trip as just the 2 of us, really special.
Picking a spot
My husband had always been partial to relaxing, Caribbean vacations and I loved to explore new cities and see beautiful landscapes, history, and delicious cuisine. We always figured out how to compromise though: I usually got what I wanted!
Since the Caribbean was already ruled out because of Zika concerns and we didn’t want to be international which is too far from our doctors and hospitals, we decided on Charleston, South Carolina. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect babymoon in a more beautiful location.
Charleston had it all. There was a little city/downtown to walk around with cute shops, 5-star cuisine, and historical tours. There were places to ride bicycles, a luxurious waterfront, old mansions, and of course, southern charm.
My due date was August 1st so we decided on a mid-spring babymoon which was the perfect season to visit Charleston. South Carolina can get pretty hot in the summer sun, so I knew I didn’t want to wait until the heat of the summer.
The second trimester is known to be the easiest period of pregnancy for most so that’s probably your best time frame. I didn’t want to be too far away or too uncomfortable so close to my due date if I waited until the third trimester.
We booked our vacation for mid-April when I was 24 weeks pregnant. The timing was great. I didn’t quite have the pregnancy waddle or sweat in all crevices of my body yet. The gardens were lucious, the weather was mild, and the sun was shining.
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Where to Stay
Depending on your objective for the trip, staying in Downtown Charleston is probably your best bet.
Circled above is where most of the excitement is. Since Charleston is mostly a walking city, you shouldn’t need to rent a car if you are staying in this location.
Everything should be walkable if you stay within the limits of that circle. Venturing out of it will be harder to get to most of the attractions and restaurants.
There are beautiful boutique hotels in Charleston that offer historical, southern charm.
We stayed at the Elliott House Inn which was a perfect location in a chic bed and breakfast. I loved the feel of this building and highly recommend it.
Things to do
There is a ton to see and do in Charleston whether you want to just relax and take in the sights and cuisine or get on foot and explore the city.
Rainbow Row is a beautiful street where the row houses are all painted pastel colors of the rainbow. It is located along the west side of East Bay Street, between Tradd Street and Elliot Street, not far from the Waterfront Park.
There is some history as to why the houses are painted like that. Although it’s mainly there to take a quick photo, you’ll be impressed at how beautiful they come out.
Make sure this is along your walking or bike route because you don’t want to miss this lovely site.
A large picturesque fountain along the front of Waterfront Park. Don’t miss a photo opportunity in front of this large, beautiful fountain.
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Although you won’t be able to completely indulge in the nightlife that Charleston has to offer, there are some sweet spots to take in the views and ambiance after-hours.
The Rooftop Bar at the Vendue and the Pavillion Bar are nice spots downtown to take in the scene. Order your favorite virgin mocktail to really soak up the experience. My favorite: Virgin Strawberry Mojito.
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There are several plantations in Charleston on the outskirts of the downtown city limits. If you don’t rent a car, you’ll need to Uber to these destinations.
Magnolia Plantation is the oldest of all of the plantations and has a historic house with acres of lush gardens and natural wildlife and greenery. It offers picturesque details and beautiful landscapes that you don’t want to miss.
Head to the Beach
If you’re looking to break away from the city hustle-and-bustle and want to relax on a beach, take a quick 20-30 minute drive to the beach from downtown Charleston. That’s one thing I loved about Charleston was that it offers city life and beach life in one trip!
We chose to stay 2 nights at the Tides Oceanfront Hotel in Folly Beach so that we could experience a night out while there and relax at their private pool and beach. There aren’t many hotels in the area so this one may be your only option.
I love the small beach town, surfer vibe that Folly Beach has. Walk up and down Center Street for a bunch of seafood shacks and tiki bars.
There is a lot going on in Folly Beach if you gravitate more toward a lively scene with bars and restaurants.
However, if you want a more laid back, relaxing visit there are several other beach towns near Charleston. Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and Kiawah Island all provide a quiet beach destination.
If you or your partner are into history, Fort Sumpter would be a great spot for you to visit. You have to take a ferry from the waterfront to a small island that was once a fort where several battles of the Civil War were fought.
This is where you will see canons, forts, and barricades that were actually used when the north fought the south. The walls and masonry that were built back then is an incredible sight to witness.
If you’re not too far into your pregnancy and can still manage to pedal on a bike, renting these to cruise around the downtown and riverfront is a nice activity.
I hadn’t been on a bike in ages so doing that while pregnant was pretty hysterical! However, I figured it out quickly and luckily didn’t run over any pedestrians in my way!
We rented bikes and did our own little self tour through the city. We biked along the riverfront and west into the part of the city that we wouldn’t be able to trek on foot.
The tour guides are greatly experienced and can give you all the background and history of everything you see. I highly recommend doing a tour so you can hear a story behind the beautiful architecture you will pass.
Seeing the architecture and history from the outside of these lavish mansions isn’t the same as getting a peak inside. There are several mansions and homes that offer inside tours of the entire property.
Festivals and Events
You will want to check what events are happening during your stay because there is always something going on in Charleston.
For example, every first Friday evening of the month, they shut down Broad Street and you can enjoy fine art, fine crafts, fashion, sculpture, jewelry, and refreshments in the boutiques, fine art galleries, and bodegas on Gallery Row.
Every spring, Charleston hosts the Festival of Houses and Gardens to experience the city’s pure charm while being able to step inside some of the city’s most distinguished homes and gardens.
Check out the Charleston City Paper for new events and activities popping up all the time.
Places to eat
Finally you get to really indulge and satisfy those pregnancy cravings! Charleston is well-known for their food and cuisine because the restaurants are some of the best.
Here are some of my favorites:
If you have the cliche pregnancy cravings for ice cream, don’t miss this spot! Peace Pie makes homemade ice cream cookie sandwiches with frozen pie filling that are to die for.
Blossom was actually one of my favorite restaurants. We went twice for brunch and lunch and the food was phenomenal! It’s also got a great downtown location on Bay Street.
Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B)
S.N.O.B is an eclectic Lowcountry style bistro with eclectic energy. There’s a lively atmosphere and true delicious, southern food.
If you love southern cuisine, Husk is one of the best. Make reservations far in advance because they are tough to get!
Centrally located in historic downtown Charleston, Husk transforms the essence of Southern food.
Check out several more restaurants with the 38 Essential Charleston Restaurants here.
Wear good walking shoes
Charleston is a walking city. Make sure you have supportive shoes while venturing out and about.
It’s especially important to wear good walking shoes or sneakers while pregnant because you can injure yourself easily.
You are carrying much more weight than your body is used to and the increased fluid and blood flow can make it really hard on your legs and feet.
Also, the heat will make your feet swell up which may be very uncomfortable while walking. Keep that in mind when packing certain shoes that may be tighter or looser than others.
Don’t overdo it
I’m the type of person who needs an itinerary on every trip. I like to maximize my stay by seeing and doing as much as physically possible.
However, this probably isn’t the best approach to traveling while pregnant. You will get more fatigued easily and you don’t want to risk running yourself down.
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Enjoy your trip and probably the last one without a baby for awhile! Comment below if you can’t wait to head to Charleston for your upcoming babymoon!