5 Safest areas to stay in Charleston for tourists

Wondering What are the safest areas to stay in Charleston for tourists? Where to avoid staying in Charleston? In this post, I will help you to find the safest areas and neighborhoods to stay in Charleston for tourists and the best hotels in Charleston for all budget travelers.

Charleston is a historic city located in the southeastern United States, specifically in the state of South Carolina. It is known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, and beautiful coastal setting. 

Charleston was founded in 1670, making it one of the oldest cities in the United States. It played a significant role in American history, including the American Revolution and Civil War. Fort Sumter, located in Charleston Harbor, was the site of the first shots of the Civil War in 1861.

Charleston is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. But, like any other city, it’s important to exercise caution and take common-sense safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. 

Stick to well-lit, popular tourist areas, especially at night. The historic district of Charleston, for example, is a popular and safe area for tourists.

Avoid walking alone in poorly lit or secluded areas, especially at night. It’s often safer to explore the city with friends or in a group, as there’s strength in numbers.

Pay attention to your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings. Don’t carry your passport or large amounts of cash with you. Use a hotel safe or a secure, concealed money pouch.

If you’re driving, always lock your car and avoid leaving valuables in plain sight. When using taxis or rideshare services, make sure you’re using a reputable company or app. Verify the driver’s identity and match the vehicle details before getting in.

If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and take appropriate action, such as leaving the area or seeking help from law enforcement.

If you’re concerned about specific areas or neighborhoods, it’s a good idea to ask locals or your hotel staff for advice on safe places to visit and any areas to avoid.

While Charleston is generally safe, there may be neighborhoods or areas with higher crime rates. Research the areas you plan to visit and avoid any known trouble spots. The downtown historic district and tourist areas are generally safe, with a strong police presence. 

Where is the safest area to stay in Charleston?

The safest areas to stay in Charleston for tourists are Downtown Charleston, Historic District, French Quarter, Mount Pleasant, and West Ashley. While these areas are generally considered safe for visitors, it’s essential to stay alert and take common-sense precautions.

The safest places for visitors in Charleston are generally Downtown Charleston, the Historic District, and the French Quarter. These areas are well-maintained, popular with tourists, and have a strong police presence. 

Mount Pleasant and West Ashley are also safe but offer a different atmosphere, which may be preferable for those seeking a quieter or more suburban experience. Regardless of where you stay, practicing common-sense safety precautions is always a good idea when traveling.

Overviews of safest neighborhoods to stay in Charleston for visitors

Here is an overview of recommended areas in Charleston with no car: 

Downtown Charlestonis a popular choice for tourists, encompasses the Historic District and French Quarter. It’s safe and offers easy access to many of the city’s attractions, including museums, restaurants, shops, and historic sites.
Charleston Historic Districtis part of downtown Charleston and is one of the most iconic areas in the city. It’s safe and packed with historic charm, including antebellum mansions and beautiful gardens. You’ll find plenty of boutique hotels, inns, and vacation rentals in this area.
French Quarteris a safe and delightful neighborhood for tourists in downtown Charleston. It’s known for its art galleries, waterfront views along the Charleston Harbor, and historic churches. 
Mount PleasantJust across the Cooper River from downtown Charleston, Mount Pleasant is a safe and family-friendly suburb with a relaxed atmosphere, easy access to attractions and beaches.
Mount PleasantA great option for tourists seeking a quieter, residential vibe while still being within a short drive or Uber ride to downtown Charleston. It’s safe and offers a mix of shopping centers, parks, and dining options.

Map of Safest areas and neighborhoods in Charleston for tourists:

Map of Safest areas to stay in Charleston for tourists
Map of Safest areas to stay in Charleston for tourists

The best and safest areas to stay in Charleston for tourists are:

1. Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston is a great place to stay in Charleston for tourists and first-timers who want to be in the heart of the action. It offers easy access to historic sites, shopping, dining, and nightlife.

Downtown Charleston is generally safe for tourists, but like any urban area, it’s essential to exercise typical urban precautions. Be mindful of your belongings and surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

Downtown Charleston is known for its well-preserved historic architecture, cobblestone streets, and charming gardens, making it a picturesque and atmospheric place to stay.

Many of Charleston’s top attractions, museums and art galleries are located downtown, including the Waterfront Park, the City Market, historic homes like the Aiken-Rhett House and Nathaniel Russell House. Staying downtown allows you to explore these sites on foot.

Charleston is known for its historic churches, including St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, and the Circular Congregational Church. These buildings are architectural gems with fascinating histories.

The area is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide variety of restaurants and eateries serving Lowcountry cuisine and other culinary delights. You’ll find everything from seafood to barbecue to fine dining options within walking distance.

Downtown Charleston offers plenty of boutique shops, antiques stores, and specialty stores, making it a great place for shopping and souvenirs. King Street is a popular shopping destination with a mix of boutique shops, high-end stores, and charming local boutiques. 

There are plenty of bars, pubs, and entertainment options in downtown Charleston, making it a lively place to stay, especially in the evenings.

You can explore Charleston with a guided walking tour, horse-drawn carriage tour, or join a ghost tour to explore the city’s spooky side and hear eerie tales of its past. It has a reputation for being one of the most haunted cities in the United States. 

There are also numerous harbor tours. You can choose from boat tours, sunset cruises, or even a visit to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began.

Some accommodations in downtown Charleston offer beautiful waterfront views of the Charleston Harbor, adding to the overall experience.

Best places to stay in Downtown Charleston:


2. Historic District

Charleston Historic District is safe for tourists. It’s well-patrolled and well-lit, making it a pleasant area for walking and exploring. However, like any urban area, it’s essential to take common-sense precautions to ensure your safety. 

History enthusiasts will love staying in the Historic District, as it’s home to many well-preserved historic buildings and landmarks.

The Historic District is compact and highly walkable. You can explore many of Charleston’s top attractions, including historic homes, museums, restaurants, and shops, on foot. This makes it convenient for sightseeing and allows you to soak in the local atmosphere.

Staying in this area means you’re close to Charleston’s must-see sights. This includes popular destinations like The Battery, Waterfront Park, Rainbow Row, and historic churches. 

The Historic District is situated along the Charleston Harbor and the Ashley River, providing opportunities for picturesque waterfront views and activities like harbor tours and boat rides.

The district offers a range of accommodations, from historic inns and bed-and-breakfasts to boutique hotels. Many of these properties are housed in beautifully restored buildings, allowing you to experience the city’s history firsthand.

The Historic District comes alive in the evenings, with gas lanterns casting a warm glow on the streets and a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for leisurely strolls and enjoying the city’s nightlife.

By staying in the heart of Charleston’s Historic District, you’ll have a deep sense of connection to the city’s past and a unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in its ambiance.

Best places to stay in Charleston Historic District:


3. French Quarter

Similar to the Historic District, the French Quarter is generally safe for tourists. It’s a charming and vibrant neighborhood to explore. Like any urban area, it’s always a good idea to take standard safety precautions when visiting

The French Quarter is perfect for tourists looking for a more artsy and cultural experience. It’s known for its galleries, theaters, and French influence.

Some of Charleston’s most famous historic landmarks are located in or near the French Quarter, including St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Pineapple Fountain, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, and the Charleston City Market.

The French Quarter has a selection of charming boutique hotels that offer a unique and comfortable stay, often within historic buildings.

Best places to stay in Charleston in French Quarter:


4. Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant is ideal for tourists who prefer a quieter and more suburban atmosphere while still being close to downtown Charleston. It offers easy access to beaches and outdoor activities.

Mount Pleasant is a safe area, and it’s a good choice for families or those looking for a more peaceful environment. It offers easy access to Downtown Charleston via the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which connects Mount Pleasant to Charleston.

 This area offers scenic views of the Charleston Harbor, with picturesque marshes and waterways. Shem Creek, in particular, is a popular spot for its waterfront dining and beautiful vistas.

The Old Village is the historic heart of Mount Pleasant and features well-preserved 18th and 19th-century homes, tree-lined streets, and a small-town charm that attracts visitors and residents alike.

Mount Pleasant is home to the Patriot’s Point Naval & Maritime Museum, featuring historic naval vessels, including the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, the USS Laffey destroyer, and the USS Clamagore submarine. You can explore these ships and learn about their role in American military history.

Mount Pleasant has its own share of historical sites, such as Boone Hall Plantation, which is one of America’s oldest working plantations. It’s also close to other historic sites and plantations in the Charleston area.

You’ll find a variety of shopping centers and dining options in Mount Pleasant, so you won’t have to travel far for convenience.

Mount Pleasant is close to several beautiful beaches, including Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. If you’re looking to combine your city trip with some beach time, this can be a great advantage.

Best places to stay in Charleston in Mount Pleasant:


5. West Ashley

West Ashley is a great option for tourists seeking a more suburban setting. It has a mix of residential areas and shopping districts.

West Ashley is generally safe, but it’s essential to be cautious when exploring any new area.

West Ashley is just across the Ashley River from downtown Charleston, so it’s relatively close to the city’s historic district, shopping, dining, and attractions. It’s a short drive or Uber ride away from the heart of the city.

West Ashley generally offers more affordable accommodation options compared to some of the more touristy areas in downtown Charleston. You might find better deals on hotels and vacation rentals here.

West Ashley has its own natural beauty with scenic river views and marshes. You can enjoy outdoor activities and explore places like Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site.

West Ashley’s location is also close to numerous plantations such as Middleton Place on the Ashley River, Drayton Hall, and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Best places to stay in Charleston in West Ashley:


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Summary – What is the safest part of Charleston for tourists?

In conclusion, Downtown Charleston, Historic District, French Quarter, Mount Pleasant, and West Ashley are the safest places to stay in Charleston for tourists. Remember that safety can vary from one location to another, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and take common-sense precautions

Additionally, it’s a good practice to check for the most recent safety updates and advice from local authorities and hotels before your trip. Charleston is a welcoming city, and with the right precautions, you should have a wonderful visit.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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