The Art of Porch Lounging in Charleston

Charleston's porches are a big part of life in the city.
Charleston's porches are a big part of life in the city. David McSpadden
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One of the first things you'll notice in Charleston is that every single house downtown has a porch. Some houses even have more square footage on their porch than inside the actual home. Long story short, the porch, with its slightly angled grade stopped by ornate railing, is iconic of the city. It's where breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served, where friends and family are found hanging around on the joggle board, and where you sit at the end of a long day and watch the sun go down over the palmettos.

It can be tough for visitors to the city to find a porch of their own to call home base, especially if you don't know anyone in Charleston.

Here, a few options for porch lounging in Charleston. These spots are open to the public, and provide incredible perspectives of the city. You'd be surprised at how much more you can observe from Charleston's porches than you can by walking past them. It probably sounds irrelevant to anyone other than a local, but the art of porch sitting is held in high regards in the Lowcountry. If you want to truly understand what we're talking about, head to the spots below.

1. Zero George

The Zero George Hotel features several Charleston-style porches.
The Zero George Hotel features several Charleston-style porches. Brooke McCallion

The Zero George is one of the nicest hotels in Charleston. The old house on the corner of George and East Bay is a reminder that the now high-traffic area of Ansonborough used to be low-key, and the massive four story residences that lie in between the retail stores and law offices used to be the only structures between the marsh and the interior of the peninsula. The Zero George has been true to its nature ever since it opened, with its gaslights, incredible decor, and last but not least, its massive Charleston style porches. It seems like you're walking into someone’s mansion as you enter the courtyard to the hotel bar, but mosey on inside, order a drink and an appetizer, and head upstairs to the porch to relax.

2. The Lost Dog Cafe

Logan Waddell

Lost Dog is the best breakfast/brunch spot on Folly Beach, and the fact that it has a front porch makes it all the better. We love hanging out here because it offers something a little different than that of downtown. Instead of watching horse carriages pass by sitting between centuries old houses like you'd be doing downtown, Lost Dog's porch is surrounded by live oaks, surf shacks, and quiet roads. Not to mention the sea breeze that sweeps through every once in a while. Try to go on a weekday for brunch when it's not too crowded. Order up some eggs benedict, hit the porch, and enjoy the funky, surfer vibes that surround you.

3. Wentworth Mansion

Brooke McCallion

The Wentworth Mansion is a five star hotel in the heart of Harelston Village downtown. It's pretty intimidating walking up the steps to this old mansion, especially if you're not a guest, but there's a trick that let's you get inside to the best porch in the city. Head to Circa 1886, the restaurant behind the Hotel, order a drink, and take it inside Wentworth Mansion. Consider your drink your ticket inside. As long as you're a patron of the restaurant, you're welcome upstairs. Ride the elevator to the highest floor, turn right, and you'll see a spiral staircase to the rotunda that sits on top of the old estate. We kid you not, this is one of the most breathtaking views of the city, and having a drink in your hand makes it all the better. The porch on the rotunda gives you a 360 degree view of the city, and almost no one knows about it.

4. Your Choice of Bed & Breakfast

The Battery Carriage House is one of the nicest bed and breakfasts in Charleston.
The Battery Carriage House is one of the nicest bed and breakfasts in Charleston. Battery Carriage House

If you're coming to Charleston for the first time, stay in a bed & breakfast south of Calhoun Street. You may think that limits your options, but it doesn't. There are so many B&B’s in that area it will make your head spin, and they've all got amazing porches. For the ultimate porch sitting experience, we recommend the Battery Carriage House , located right on the battery, overlooking Charleston Harbor and White Point Gardens. Once you begin and end your days on the this porch, you'll probably never leave the city.

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