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Social Distancing Guide for Charleston Travel


Charleston travel is still happening in the summer of 2020! COVID-19 be darned, there is still plenty to see, do, and eat in the Holy City (with a few restrictions, of course). If you’re planning on heading to Charleston for a quick getaway or road trip, we’ll be waiting for you with open arms (and wearing masks).

While there’s no shortage of safe activities here, there are a few changes to our regularly scheduled program, including:

  • Restaurants and bars won’t be serving alcohol after 11 p.m. 
  • Movie theaters and most indoor public venues for large gatherings are closed
  • Restaurants and bars are running at 50% capacity
  • The City of Charleston requires that everyone wear a mask in public places

Despite all the changes, there’s still plenty of fun to be had here — all while staying safe. 

Charleston’s Social Distancing Rules

Like most major in the U.S., Charleston has some pretty strict rules to keep residents and visitors safe from COVID-19. While travel through the state of South Carolina isn’t currently restricted, the mayor of Charleston has imposed the below rules to ensure both travelers and locals stay healthy:

  • Masks must be worn in indoor and outdoor public spaces
  • A six foot distance is required between you and those not in your party
  • There will be no gatherings of more than 10 people on city property
  • Police may ask anyone gathering in a party of three people or more to dispense
  • Fines may be issued to anyone who does not comply with these rules

These are just some of the basic guidelines. If you want to find out about updates and/or read further information on how the city of Charleston is handling COVID-19, please head over to the City of Charleston’s Coronavirus update website

Charleston Staycation

The Holy City hosts plenty of social distancing activities — and they’re not just for travelers, either! If you can’t get out of the city this summer, we recommend playing tourist in your hometown. Take a tour, eat out at a new restaurant, or take a day trip to Savannah

Staying home doesn’t mean you need to miss out on exploring new places!

How to Stay Safe While Visiting Charleston

If you’re planning on road tripping to Charleston this summer, we recommend taking some extra measures to ensure your safety. You don’t want to get sick on vacation — or take up a hospital bed for that matter! 

We recommend following CDC guidelines and WHO guidelines at all times. This means staying six feet away from others not in your COVID ‘circle’, wearing a mask, and practicing basic hygiene, like washing your hands and using hand sanitizer.

We also recommend the following ways to ensure you stay safe while you’re in town including:

  • Consider staying at a house rental instead of a hotel to ensure you don’t come into close contact with others outside your party
  • Opt for outdoor activities whenever possible
  • Quarantine for 14 days (or take a coronavirus test) after arriving in the Holy City
  • Enjoy our world-famous foods and cocktails on an outdoor patio — instead of inside
  • Feel free to call ahead to venues, attractions, and activities to find out about COVID policies beforehand


Social Distancing Charleston Activities

When it comes to fun in the sun (or outdoor activities), Charleston knows what’s up! We love getting out in the water — or even outdoors in the city. That’s why we’re one of the best cities to enjoy while staying safe. Some of our favorite outdoor activities include:

  • Walking tours
  • Water sports
  • Adventure activities
  • Beaches
  • Golfing
  • History

Charleston Walking Tours

a group of people walking down the street in front of a building

Yes, Walks of Charleston and Lowcountry Walking Tours are still open for business! We are running our public tours at a reduced capacity and private tours for groups of 10 or fewer. Since all of our tours are outdoor experiences, they’re a great way to see the city while staying safe. 

Our tour guides help guests stay six-feet apart from other guests while relaying stories of the Holy City. Come visit us by signing up for our History Tour, Alleyways and Passages Tour, or Charleston’s Most Beautiful Walking Tour

Our guides can also recommend a few spots for a socially-distanced cocktail or meal at the end of the tour. 

Water Sports

Charleston is practically surrounded by water! We use any excuse we can get to enjoy a Charleston boat ride in the summer. If you’re worried about crowds on the ferries or larger boats, we recommend renting kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes. 

a small boat in a body of water

Photo Credit: Nature Adventure Facebook Post

Or, Saltwater Cycle is offering public boating tours and guaranteeing a capped capacity of 10 people per tour. Its private tours are currently on sale at 20% off!

Adventure Activities

Zipline Adventures is still open (you can’t get within six feet of another person flying through the treetops!), and Charleston’s hiking trails are still open for socially-distanced hikes.

Charleston Beaches

Charleston’s beaches are still open — at a reduced capacity. Head to one of our world-famous white-sand beaches early in the morning to claim your spot (six-feet away from everyone else!).


Many of Charleston’s world-famous golf clubs are still open for guests, too. Face masks may be required in some areas of the clubs. 


In addition to our city tours, most of Charleston’s plantation grounds are open as well. We recommend checking out Magnolia Plantation as it’s home to world-famous gardens.

City Gallery is also open to visitors at a reduced capacity. You can score a free ticket to its current exhibition, Together at a Distance

Social Distancing Charleston Restaurant Guide

One of the safest ways to enjoy Low Country cuisine is on a patio or rooftop. The coronavirus has thrown us all for a loop, but one thing we know for sure is that it’s safer to eat al fresco these days. (Eating outdoors is also more romantic, in our book!)

Charleston is known for its outdoor patios, courtyard cafes, and rooftop bars. Just some of our favorite social distancing restaurants and bars include:

And in the Old Village/Shem Creek are and Sullivans Island:

Of course, eating out isn’t the only way to enjoy Charleston’s iconic eats while staying safe. We also recommend grabbing food-to-go at one of our fave local spots, grabbing a cooler and a blanket, and heading to the beach. 


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