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- Charleston is a grand, historic city that has good looks, Southern charm, and a compact city center.
- Charleston is within easy driving distance of some of South Carolina’s and Georgia’s best beaches.
- We found highly-rated Airbnbs downtown and in scenic suburbs, all between $86 and $479 per night.
Charleston, South Carolina is a longtime popular vacation destination, boasting history and a handsome, compact city center that lends itself to easy sightseeing. It has a slightly more buttoned-up reputation than peers like Savannah or New Orleans, but its attractions and proximity to great beach towns means tourists keep coming back.
It can be slightly more expensive than the previously mentioned cities in terms of private vacation rentals on Airbnb, but the houses are of exceptional quality and its neighborhoods are safe and picturesque. Most residential areas are within easy reach of downtown and the suburbs offer tranquil and scenic bases to stay.
As a travel writer with a specialty in the deep south, I’ve visited and written about Charleston many times. It’s one of my favorite cities in the US and I’ve put that experience to use by selecting impeccable Charleston rentals on Airbnb across various neighborhoods and budgets. Here’s my pick of the market.
Browse the best Charleston Airbnbs below, or jump directly to a specific area here:
These are the best Airbnbs in Charleston sorted by price from low to high.
There may be a bridge between this property and downtown Charleston, but it’s less than a 10-minute drive and for the notable value and comforts, it’s well worth considering. The Avondale neighborhood is a also good-looking area with its own restaurants and shops worth exploring. Otherwise, a quick hop across the bridge has you in the thick of things really quickly.
The house itself is as cute as any in the region, with a subtle powder blue and mint color palette, plus an inviting design that includes window seats, a small deck, and a patio. The property does not have a kitchen, but it does have a Keurig coffee maker, fridge, and microwave, and local dining options are plentiful.
Funky little Airstream
If you’re willing to take a chance on a non-traditional property, then this remodeled Airstream camper (cutely named Emma) is a comfortable, whimsical option in Riverland Terrace, which is a 10-minute drive from downtown that is also close to Stono River and Folly Beach.
The camper reflects a preppy aesthetic with crisp bright colors, wooden floors and paneling, and rafia blinds. The sleek ceiling lighting and a clawfoot tub add to the list of attractive amenities, while Wi-Fi, a kitchen, and a plush-looking bed make staying here akin to a high quality glamping experience.
Pretty guest suite with an outdoor shower and kitchen
As well as boasting a historic downtown, Charleston is also close to great beaches and staying just outside downtown makes it easy to enjoy the best of both worlds. This spacious, self-contained suite is 10-minutes by car from both the city center and gorgeous Folly Beach.
Enter this guest suite and be enveloped in a sense of relaxing vacation vibes thanks to decor that is tastefully seaside chic with driftwood accents, pops of bright yellow, and a great outdoor kitchen for a constant flow of fresh air. Couples or small families will love grilling on the covered deck after either a day’s sightseeing or sunbathing, and the master bedroom adds a punch of luxury with the addition of a jetted tub, as does the outdoor shower.
Light and airy tiny house with a patio
Surrounded by river views and close to central Charleston, what the property lacks in size, it makes up for in tasteful design and easy good looks. Cedarwood features prominently, both in the decor as well as the surroundings, covering high-end floors and furniture. The neutral white and cream color palette is calming and airy, and accommodations include both a West Elm futon and a lofted sleeping nook with a white noise machine and fan for light sleepers.
The bathroom is compact but boasts a rain shower, and a secluded outdoor patio is private, lush, and outfitted with a hammock. Cruiser bikes are also provided.
Large townhome with multiple outdoor spaces
Although it’s located in a quiet residential neighborhood, this home is just steps from downtown and historic King Street.
The three-story townhouse itself has a cool, colorful, and contemporary vibe, with polished wooden floors, a breakfast bar, and a clawfoot bathtub. Though, the highlight of staying here is the impressive private rooftop, seemingly perched amid the trees. Sink into the outdoor sofa or enjoy a meal at the wood table, prepared in the sleek kitchen inside. If a shadier spot is more to your taste, you can decamp to the private courtyard for cocktails, a quiet respite with plenty of tree cover.
Colorful apartment with impeccable design
For a design-forward home with personality that shines through in spades, consider this cheery apartment which wows from the first glance of the colorful mural painted on the home’s exterior walls.
Inside is equally charming, with loads of wicker furniture ranging from end and coffee tables to chairs and even a bed frame, plus sleek midcentury modern couches and console tables. Leafy plants add a pop of color, as do fun accents like pom pom tassels and framed art.
The property is in the cute Cannonborough neighborhood, just two blocks from King Street.
Modern home with a large backyard
While Charleston is filled with plenty of historic homes, sometimes it’s just more comfortable to opt for a house that feels a bit more like checking into a boutique hotel.
Though, that’s not to say there’s no history to be found in this Airbnb which features grand exposed beams and brick plus original woodwork that retain the charm of the building’s roots. Decor, meanwhile, is quite contemporary with abstract coffee tables, modern art, and sleek finishes such as the subway-tiled shower and reclaimed wooden headboards in the bedrooms.
Loft-style carriage house
Billed as a loft-style home, this carriage house has an airy open-plan layout that makes great use of natural light, complemented by furnishings and decor done up in muted grays and powder blue hues.
The living space includes a small but modern sofa, a wicker chair, and leafy potted plants alongside a full kitchen with a granite-topped island for bar seating. A spiral staircase leads up to a lofted bed area, but note that there is no wall or door separating the bedroom from the living room below. A small bathroom with a walk-in tiled shower round out the home’s offerings. The home is a couple of blocks from King Street and the nightlife and dining of downtown are just a few minutes’ walk away.
A little pink palace
If an adorably romantic getaway is what you’re in the market for, then we suggest you strongly consider this picture-postcard property.
This bijoux pink palace in the Cannonborough neighborhood exudes charm, from the ornamental porches with period gas lamps to the posh interiors that effortlessly mix classic farmhouse pieces like armchairs and bureaus with a contemporary marble-topped kitchen with slate blue cabinets punctuated by fire orange walls in the bathroom.
The lofted master suite is well-appointed for couples and opens out to a relaxing second floor porch.
Serene cottage with a beautiful garden and pool
There’s an embarrassment of attractive features in this cottage, part of the Airbnb Plus collective. First is its plum location close to King Street and the tranquility of leafy Cannonborough as the surrounding neighborhood.
But you’re most likely going to book this lovely home for its access to a heated saltwater lap pool, a real rarity in this part of town, and a boon in summer during the sticky, humid months. The small lap pool is shaded by leafy trees and flanked by sun loungers, a stone patio with an outdoor dining table, and a peaceful koi pond.
Inside is equally impressive, a mix of classic, traditional Charleston architecture and midcentury furniture as well as funkier finishes including modernist standing lamps and coffee tables and a gorgeous white-tiled bathroom. Light pours in through a wall of windows in the living room, however, the kitchen is small and less modern. Though, the whole home more than makes up for it.
Enchanting apartment in the historic district
The hosts of this home have gone to great lengths to create a memorably exquisite look, mixing neutral fabrics with bold prints and textures with expert ease.
The midcentury furnishings are bolstered by striking features such as regal interior columns, multiple period fireplaces, hardwood floors, and exposed brickwork. Breakfast bars, porches, and three bedrooms mean that groups will have plenty of space to spread out. The master stuns with a standalone turquoise claw tub in the bedroom while additional bedrooms and spaces boast stunning designs that feels lifted out of a lifestyle magazine.
Swanky home with a pool
Checking into this immaculate home is kind of like renting out your own small boutique hotel.
Enjoy private porches for an evening cocktail or grab a sun lounger on the common pool deck followed by a dip in the cool, refreshing waters. You may also bring your pet and let them roam free in the dog run.
The charms extend inside as well, with neutral and contemporary decor including exposed brick, high-quality wooden floors, and spa-like luxe bathrooms. There is also a gleaming kitchen and multiple bedrooms, including a master with a memory foam King-size bed.
FAQ: Cool Airbnbs in Charleston, SC
Where is Charleston?
Charleston is on the Atlantic Coast of South Carolina, around two hours north of Savannah, and five hours east of Atlanta, by car. It is a peninsula, surrounded by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, with suburbs on each side. The islands just to the south of Charleston are home to great beaches, such as Folly Beach on Folly Island.
Where should I stay in Charleston SC Airbnb?
Where you stay in Charleston will depend a lot on your budget and personal tastes. The historic downtown and neighboring French Quarter are by far the most popular spots, and staying there means you can likely walk to most of the sights you’ll want to see. Many of these downtown streets are lined with beautiful historic homes, which opens up options on Airbnb, too.
Cannonborough and Elliotborough are well-appointed residential neighborhoods, while across the river, Avondale, Riverland Terrace, and James Island both provide quiet, riverside accommodations that are easily accessible by car from downtown.
How much does it cost to rent a vacation house in Charleston?
If you want to rent a private vacation house in Charleston, the cost will depend on factors such as house size, proximity to downtown, the home’s historic status, plus the time of year and the day of the week you plan to visit. The average rental cost is $232 per night according to market analysts AirDNA, but there are variations.
For example, a simple studio apartment downtown might start at around $120 per night off-season, but surge to over $400 per night for a busy weekend. A large, lavish townhouse could be closer to a thousand dollars or more per night at any time.
For better deals, as well as increased availability, visit in shoulder seasons like spring or fall when the weather is still pleasant and there are fewer crowds and less competition for properties. If you’re set on a summer trip to Charleston, plan to increase your budget or consider only staying midweek for lower rates.
Expect to pay, at minimum, a few hundred dollars for a short midweek stay off-season, or a couple of thousand for a weekend or summer visit in a higher-end property. Also budget in extra fees for cleaning, service fees, and other additional costs imposed by Airbnb.
What is there to do in Charleston?
Charleston is one of the best-preserved cities in the South, dating back to 1670 and soaking up the atmosphere with its decorative balconies, colorful stucco, and elaborate mansions is a pastime in itself.
The city is easy to walk around but a good way to get an overview of Charleston’s fascinating history is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown. It still has over 70 colonial buildings, mostly from the 18th century and many more from the first half of the 19th century. Touring some of these historic homes, such as the Calhoun Mansion, is a popular activity, and most of the shops and cafes hold some historic interest.
The local culinary delicacy is she-crab soup, so be sure to try it if it’s in season.
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