May 13, 2024

Greenville, SC, Travel

Charleston Instagram spots are fun to find—especially when you live in Greenville, SC, only 3 hours from this beautiful historic city! 

I’ve visited this quaint city at least 5x (for day trips, CEO trips, spring break, summer holiday, and even when I won Hope Taylor Photography’s senior session giveaway!!). Its charm never gets old. It’s the perfect place to visit if your brand is all about pastels and happy vibes! 

Learn about personal branding sessions and what goes into having one OR find your editing style here. 

Everywhere you go, Charleston, South Carolina is picturesque, but what should you not miss in Charleston, SC? Where are the prime Charleston Instagram spots—and where do you park? 

Metered parking spots require payment Monday to Saturday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (excludes Sundays and nationals holidays). For most visits, my friends and I have avoided the hassle and just settled on paid parking lots or parking meters. However, there are a couple of free parking spots in the city. For quick access to Charleston free parking spots, I just found the SpotAngels app! I’ll be trying out on my next visit! 

If you find a prime parking spot and want to stay put for an extended time, consider getting around on foot, bike, free shuttle, or even a carriage ride.

You can find more Charleston parking information on


The Best Places to Take Photos in Charleston, SC

Alrighhtt, enough with the parking biz, here are some Charleston Instagram spots I recommend! As always, make sure to research any photography regulations before visiting. 

And remember, travel isn’t only for Instagram photo spots; it’s about the experience. Photographing your trip should *not* be overwhelming. Travel photography should be fun, inspiring, relaxing—and a great way to remember your experience [outside of a social media post]. 

Note: Tips for parking were gathered from personal experiences in 2020. 

charleston instagram spots in the city

Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row: Most Instagrammable Spot in Charleston

Address: 83 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401
Where to Park: S Adgers Wharf 

What is the most photographed street in Charleston? Rainbow Row

You might have seen this iconic row of pastel homes on Instagram or Pinterest. It is one the most popular and prettiest streets in Charleston. Every turn is a new Charleston Instagram spot; you really can’t help but be a tourist with your camera. 

If you find parking along the road, be aware that it is only for 1-2 hours unless you’re a resident. However, there is a large metered parking lot right across the street at the corner of S Adgers Wharf and E Bay St! It accepts quarters and credit cards. 

Charleston Instagram Spot

Tradd St

Address: 83 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401
Where to Park: S Adgers Wharf 

Just turn one street over from Rainbow Row on E Bay St to Tradd St. There you’ll find beautiful historic homes that are a little bit more subdued in color than Rainbow Row (but still has that charm). 

Tip: Capture the scene both horizontally and vertically. Use a wider lens to get the full height of the tall houses. 

Pineapple Fountain: Charleston’s Most Famous Landmark

Address: 1 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401 (Joe Riley Waterfront Park)

Just down the street, you’ll find the famous pineapple fountain. Pineapple signifies hospitality in Charleston. Historically, sailors would place pineapples at their door once they’ve arrived safely home. 

I think it is funny how social media (or the digital era, really) can create hype around anything. When I first saw the pineapple fountain years ago, I thought it was cool, took a photo, and kept going. I didn’t realize it was one of Charleston’s most famous landmarks

I think that’s why it’s so important to just take in your travels from your own perspective vs. diluting it with what social media says is “cool” and impressive. But, who am I to talk? I’m literally sharing the most Instagrammable places in Charleston, LOL.

Hampton Park

Spanish Moss Line of Trees

Hampton Park

Address: 30 Mary Murray Dr, Charleston, SC 29403
Where to Park: Cleveland St if starting at the gazebo—be aware that on the weekends, they close part of the road for athletic activities!

This beautiful park full of spanish moss, blooms, a gazebo, and lake is only around 12-13 minutes from Rainbow Row! I had never seen Spanish moss until I visited Charleston and Florida. Spanish moss is a type of tree similar to a willow tree but more wispy, almost cobweb-like—wow, I’m really selling this, aren’t I? Contrary to popular opinion (of most wedding photographers), I do think Spanish looks kind of spooky the more you look at it (but I mean, I guess anything can look creepy the more you stare at it, lol). 

BUT, I will agree that when the light hits just right during sunrise or sunset, Spanish moss is stunning… it softens the sun with its fine but full (an oxymoron?) tendrils. Because its wisps are on the lighter side, this tree brings brightness to your photos and edits well if you like a lighter editing style. 

Keeping in mind the artistic principles I listed out in Step 2 of my “How to Take Good Pictures with Your Fujifilm Polaroid” article, you’ll recognize that visiting Hampton Park’s line of trees provides a beautiful symmetrical backdrop

Historic Charleston City Market

Address: 188 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

Personally, when I think of  “Charleston Instagram spots”, I think of 3 line items and at least 1 needs to be met for me to go visit:

  1. The Appeal: What does it look like?
  2. The Importance: What is it known for?
  3. The Experience: What can I do or taste there?

The Charleston City Market definitely hits #3 as an artisan open-air shed market with over 100 craftsmen stretching over four city-blocks. Both day and night markets feature folk art, antiques, crafts, soaps, jewelry, photography, treats, and more. This festive atmosphere surrounded by delicious scents, live entertainment, and light string instrument music is free and open to the public. 

King Street

Address: 235 King St, Charleston, SC 29401-3148

I remember first coming to this cobblestone street in high school for Christmas.  . King Street is surrounded by Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate to Victorian architecture.

I was on the hunt for TOMS (remember high school trends you had to jump on??). I went into almost every shop asking for a pair and got giddy when I saw the TOMS flag on the window. Now I know the TOMS trend did a disservice to my already petite legs, ha. 

This street is lined with small boutiques, restaurants, and shops like the biggest Forever21 I ever did see (mind you, this was circa 2012 when high school Abby was figuring out her style and her Facebook caption was “im so weird”). That iconic Forever21 is now permanently closed, along with my 2012 pink tights that I thought were so cute. 

Charleston Instagrams spots by the water

The Charleston Bridge: Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

Address: Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, Charleston, SC 29403
Where to Park: I found parking suggestions and pedestrian path access at Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant near the Visitor Center. 

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is also called the Ravenel Bridge and the Cooper River Bridge. This is a cable-stayed bridge with a 1,546 feet span over the Cooper River in South Carolina and is the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western hemisphere. If you’re looking to visit Charleston and would like to be near the water but also the historic downtown, this bridge connects downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. 

Believe it or not, tens of thousands (40,000+) come to run or walk this bridge in the Cooper River Bridge 10K (ha, even thinking about that incline has me sweating)! 

My favorite part is driving through on this bridge… getting a video from the front window (careful, drivers) and from the back rear window. It’s not as ornate as the Manhattan Bridge but its strong precise cables cause repetition pleasing to the eye. The architectural style reminds me of the Oculus at the World Trade Center in NYC. 

Folly Beach Boardwalk: Most Instagrammable Beach in Charleston

Address: Folly Beach, SC
Where to Park: Paid parking lots sit right at the pier. 

For every visit I’ve made to Charleston and Folly Beach, I don’t think I’ve actually spent a full afternoon just swimming at Folly Beach. I remember visiting on Spring Break at the end of March 2018, and it was way too cold. When I visited for a CEO retreat September 2019, it was raining as we bobbed in the ocean, lol. Definitely make sure to check the season and forecast before booking that AirBnb!

Even though I’ve spent most of my Carolina swimming at Myrtle Beach, SC, this smaller six-mile family friendly beach is definitely less crowded than Myrtle Beach. The newly renovated Folly Beach Pier (renovated starting October 2020 and reopened December 2022) offers a nice fishing and lounging spot at the water. 

Lunch at the Obstinate Daughter

I changed outfits at the O.D. right before the beach.

The Obstinate Daughter

Address: 2063 Middle St, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482
Where to Park: Restaurant parking

I had to include some kind of foodie spot as part of the Charleston Instagram spots. Because of Charleston’s coastal flair and history, most restaurants are well designed with their own spunk.

I definitely visited the Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island after hearing so much hype about it, but frugal me loves to save money, so I often choose the budget option over the yummy option (lol, comment if you relate). My salmon pizza was good but not as memorable as the Charleston Instagram spots we found outside. 

The Obstinate Daughter offered a cute patio seating area,  but we ended up eating indoors on the second story. 

Tip: We ended up not sitting out on the patio because of capacity, but if you ever want to sit somewhere else, don’t be afraid to ask! 

P.S. If you’re looking for a yummier foodie spot at Sullivan’s Island, I’d recommend the Poe’s Tavern, a gastropub, just across the street. Their fries were crisp-eyy. 

To create a dynamic shot like this, feel free to dance and jump around!

Sullivan’s Island

Where to Park: There will be two sides on either side of the road—”No Parking Anytime” and “No Parking on Pavement.” You can park on the side with the latter— just make sure you’re off of the pavement with your wheels turned away.

Right near the Obstinate Daughter, is Sullivan’s Island Beach. Sullivan’s Island is only around an 18-minute drive from Downtown Charleston and on a short weekend trip, my friend, and I ended making two stops at this beach: upon arrival in Charleston and the morning before we left. 

If you think Folly Beach is quiet, Sullivan’s Island is more quiet, more private, and less commercialized. They have strict beach regulations you should read before visiting (trust me). 

Capture memories in Charleston SC

Charleston Instagram spots are plentiful whether you’re looking for colonial homes, historic churches, stylish cafes or restaurants, artisan markets, or a view of the Atlantic Ocean. 

If you love the small city charm that’s booming with growth, then you’d love my hometown Greenville, SC, only 3 hours over. Greenville’s older streets pull in the historic flair of Charleston South Carolina and add a touch of modernity of New York (at least my NY lovin’ heart likes to dream that way).

Make sure to bookmark my blog if you’d like to see more instagrammable spots and travel tips for your next adventure.

What’s your Favorite Charleston Photo Spot?

Comment below!

—Just Abby Joy

just abby joy

just abby joy



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