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The Time-Traveler’s Valentine’s Day – Charleston, SC

By. Edward Mack

Walking through downtown Charleston, it seems as though time has stood still. America’s best-preserved city is an architectural wonder; classic Georgian townhouses stand side by side with Italian Renaissance Revival and Art Deco mansions. There are enough gardens to stroll through that visitors may never see a cobblestone again. And that’s not to mention Fort Sumter, Mount Pleasant, or Folly Beach.

Charleston has earned a reputation as America’s Friendliest City, winning Condé Nast Traveller’s award two years running—in addition to a host of other hospitality-based awards. You and your partner can soak up the southern hospitality and charm while you amble down Broad Street and along its famed Rainbow Row.

Or if wartime history is more your thing, head over to Battery Park and Fort Sumter. Battery Park offers a romantic seaside promenade with spectacular view, while Fort Sumter will win over any history buff’s heart.

Just outside of town is the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, America’s last large-scale romantic-style garden. That means it was designed specifically for lovers to smooch on its footbridges and relax on a boat or tram tour. Alternatively, if you’re feeling a little more rugged, the Cypress Gardens offer a similar experience—but with a swamp; that means alligators and snakes and a swamparium.

Mount Pleasant is Charleston’s old village (though pretty much the whole city is old). It is also home to the Boone Hall Plantation, one of America’s oldest working plantations, which gives tours and special events. And because this is Charleston, there is also a romantic waterfront walk.

Don’t let winter stop you from heading over to Folly Beach, where you might have the beach all to yourself for a picnic or a hot chocolate. Bring a blanket and you can cuddle up on the sand.

Finally, Charleston’s art, theatre and music scenes are a must. Especially the Gullah-influenced music.

For the couple that enjoys old-world and classical architecture, long, romantic promenades, and southern hospitality, Charleston is the place for you.