Little Black Book

A Genteel Bachelorette Party in Charleston

by Anna Petrow
A cute row of houses in Charleston. All photos by Anna Petrow.

In a lead up to her own wedding, lifestyle photographer and Fathom contributing editor Anna Petrow celebrates with friends in photogenic Charleston.

CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Charleston's charm, walkability, and warm weather are just a few reasons the city is on the bachelorette party map. But if that's not compelling enough for groups looking for a laid-back celebration (of any kind, really), the fun drinks, nice shops, and pretty restaurants showcasing a local and seasonal bounty will win over friends all weekend long.

Bachelorette HQ for the weekend.

Where to Stay

For the low-key bachelorette, home base is the most essential part of the trip. You’ll want plenty of space to spread out and an inviting common area for the whole group to comfortably hang. A local friend introduced me to Charleston-based hospitality group Stay Duvet, which combines kitted-out houses (beautifully decorated and professionally cleaned) with the convenience of a concierge. Our home at The Palazzo on Line Street had floor to ceiling windows, a big kitchen bar, comfy sofa, and beautiful balcony. Being able to text the on-call staff made everything from booking rides to checking-out a total breeze.

Gardens and cottages of Charleston.
Good finds at House of Nomad.

What to Do

Stroll around the battery and walk from the end of King Street, with all of its beautiful historic homes, to the shopping district filled with boutiques and bars. There’s more than enough to occupy a morning, and it gives visitors a great sense of the city's charming architecture. Some standout shops: House of Nomad for unique interior finds, Madison Mathews for flowy printed dresses, and Hampden for an outstanding selection of designer digs, shoes, and fine jewelry.

Take a day trip to Sullivan’s Island and post up at the beach. Just don’t forget to pack plenty of water and sunscreen — it can be a bit of a hike down the boardwalk to get there, but the views and the sea breeze are more than worth it. Afterward, hang out for a bite to eat at The Obstinate Daughter.

Splurge on a fabulous boat and get out on the water: Get My Boat makes it easy to find ships and sailboats in the area. We went out on an 80-foot Burger Boat Company pleasure yacht and had the most wonderful time: We blasted our own playlist, relaxed on bean bag chairs on the deck, and sipped rosé while watching the sunset.

167 Raw Oyster bar (left) and old-school stylings of Leon's.

Where to Eat

For a casual lunch that still packs a punch — (it’s not a bachelorette without frozé), don’t miss Leon’s. Platters of oysters and salads packed with fresh seafood make this an ideal spot to pass the plates — not to mention the afternoon — in good company.

Ditch the fancy dinner reservation and opt for a unique meal experience: R. Kitchen prides itself on being a kitchen — not a restaurant — and sure enough, you’ll feel like you’re dining at a friend’s house and have a blast all evening long. Wine will flow, course after course of the daily changing menu will blow your mind, and none of it will break the bank.

167 Raw Oyster Bar on King Street lives up to the hype — just know that it’s walk-in only and you need to put your name in early. Good thing there’s tons of shopping nearby, and blueberry frozé at the bar to quench your thirst after strolling in the heat.

Scenes from Citrus Club.
The Ordinary (left) and Graft Wine Shop.

Where to Drink

Snag a rooftop couch adorned with pink striped pillows at the Citrus Club on the roof of The Dewberry hotel: It has the best views of the city. Shareable Southern plates and inventive craft cocktails, including a whole menu of daiquiris in fresh flavors like blueberry, coconut, and pineapple, make for a fun few hours. (Or a whole night.)

The bar at The Ordinary is a nice place to grab an Aperol spritz. For a glass of wine or a bottle to go, Graft Wine Shop has a diverse selection of unique natural options as well as a cozy bar to sit and enjoy a tall pour.

Keep it festive with easy-to-pack balloons and streamers.

Good to Know When Planning for a Group

Pick your dates and plan ahead. The best homes for groups tend to book up early in a city like Charleston, which is a magnet for large parties. To snag the best options and best flight deals, take a poll with your pals as far in advance as possible to pick your dates.

The city is quite walkable, which makes getting around easy, but the restaurants tend to be on the smaller side due to the historic nature of many buildings in the area. Make your dinner reservations ahead of time. If you want to walk-in at lunch, send a group member to put your name on the list while you shop around or enjoy a bar nearby.

Plan for plenty of downtime and don't try to pack it all in. Utilize your home base, enjoy each other's company, and leave room to be spontaneous and try out spots you come across while out and about.

Spend More Time in Charleston

The Vendue Lives, Breathes, and Celebrates Art
For Lovebirds, a Sweet Lowcountry Stay