Charleston, South Carolina is not “everyone’s” #1 Travel Destination

By Mark A. Leon

There has been social chatter, word on the street and much much self proclamation that Charleston, SC is the #1 travel destination in the United States and the World.? I think we need to take a moment to clarify this.

This distinction has come from a single publication, which the city of Charleston pays to be a part of.? When major publications compile data and provide lists, there is often a fee to participate in the ranking analysis.? Cities are not just randomly picked, analyzed and rated.? There is a process of participation.? That is a key piece of information that is relevant to the Travel & Leisure annual list of Top Vacation Destination Cities.

Next, we look at some other lists to see where Charleston falls.

  1. ?Travel Channel Top 10 Vacation Spots – #1 Paris, Italy, #2 New York City, New York, #3 Rome, Italy, #4 Cancun, Mexico, #5 London, England, #6 Miami, Florida, #7 Orlando, Florida, #8 San Francisco, California, #9 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, #10 Branson, Missouri
  2. 25 Best Places to Visit / Worlds Best Vacations – US News and Worlds Report – US Cities to make the list:? #9 New York City, New York, #10 Maui, Hawaii, #15 Yellowstone, Wyoming, #19 Washington, D.C., #20 Grand Canyon, #23 San Francisco, CA
  3. Top 25 World Destinations – Raters Choice – Trip Advisor – US Cities to make the list:? #5 New York City, New York
  4. Best in Travel 2017 – US Destinations – Lonely Planet – #1 Asheville, North Carolina.? Charleston did not make the top 10
  5. 21 Best Budget Destinations for 2017 – Forbes – US Cities to make the list: #16 Moab, Utah
  6. 15 Best Places to Take a Big Trip in 2017 – Thrilllist – US Destinations:? #8 Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  7. 50 Best Vacation Destinations – VacationIdea – US Destinations on the list:? Las Vegas, New York, Florida, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Texas and National Parks
  8. Top 10 Places to Travel in 2017 – Vogue – US Destinations on the list:? #7 Idaho
  9. Summer in the US:? 20 Best Vacation Destinations – Frommer’s –? Charleston, South Carolina was not on the list
  10. Ten Most Affordable Vacation Destinations – Mercury News – Charleston, South Carolina was not on the list
  11. 29 of the Best Vacation Destinations for Couples – Buzzfeed – #17 Charleston, South Carolina
  12. 10 Best Places to Visit in the United States for Young Couples – InsiderMonkey – #1 New York City, New York.? Charleston, South Carolina was not on the list
  13. Best Vacation Spots for Couples Trying to Conceive – The Bump – Charleston, South Carolina not on the list
  14. 13 Best Family Vacations in the US – US News – #1 Grand Canyon, #9 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.? Charleston, South Carolina did not make the list.
  15. Top 10 Fall Travel Destinations for 2017 – – #1 Orlando, FL, #2 Rome, Italy, #3 Anaheim, CA, #4 Honolulu, HI, #5 New York City, #6 Las Vegas, NV, #7 London, England, #8 Dublin, Ireland, #9 Boston, MA, #10 Cancun, Mexico
  16. Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2018 – Lonely Planet – #1 Seville, Spain, #2 Detroit, MI, #3 Canberra, Australia, #4 Hamburg, Germany, #5 Kaohsiung, Taiwan, #6 Antwerp, Belguim, #7 Matera, Italy, #8 San Juan, Puerto Rico, #9 Guanajuato, Mexico, #10 Oslo, Norway
  17. World’s Happiest Places – National Geographic – #1 US Destination – Boulder, Colorado.? Charleston did not make final list.

It is nice to praise one self.? There is a sense of accomplishment, value and prestige to be honored.? There is also a certain nobility to humbleness.? It is an acquired taste and one that is not often enough used.

Enjoy the annual Travel & Leisure honor, but let us not assume, we are on everyone’s top list.

Charleston, SC Named #1 for 5 Beautiful Cities for a Valentine’s Day Getaway – Southern Illinoisan

Southern Illinoisan and Cassie Sheets has recently published an article on the five beautiful places to spend a Valentine’s Getaway.? On this list is Sedona, AZ, Napa Valley, CA, Nashville, TN, Naples, FL and number 1 on the list is Charleston, SCIf you want to do something special for your significant other this Valentine’s Day, an extended weekend trip in a romantic city is the perfect gift. Whether you’re celebrating decades together, you’re ready to pop the question, or this is your first Valentine’s Day as a couple, these beautiful cities are full of romantic spots.

1) Charleston, SC

?Charleston’s historic antebellum houses, cobblestone streets, and Southern charm make this beautiful city the perfect Valentine’s Day getaway. Take a Palmetto Carriage ride through downtown Charleston, see a show at Dock Street Theater, stroll under centuries old oak trees draped with Spanish moss in Battery Park, or drive to Sullivan’s Island to watch the sunset. Downton Charleston has a bustling restaurant scene, with fresh from the dock seafood, high-end steakhouses, and casual outdoor cafes to suit any taste and budget. Charleston’s numerous boutique hotels and inns are the most romantic places to spend a long weekend.

2) Sedona, AZ


The scenic city of Sedona is known for its surreal red rock formations, gorgeous hiking spots, boutique shopping, art scene, and restaurants. Nature loving couples can spend their Valentine’s Day hiking through the breathtaking Oak Creek Canyon. Book an evening with professional astronomers at Sedona Star Gazing, or see the city from above in a hot air balloon. Sedona is also packed with day spas, winery tours, and art galleries. Visit the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village for outdoor shopping clustered between a collection of Spanish-style buildings, or stroll through The Gallery District for more restaurants and world-class galleries. Affordable and mid-range hotels as well as luxury resorts are available for travelers.

3) Napa Valley, CA

Napa Valley

What could be more romantic than vineyard tours and wine tastings on Valentine’s Day? The town of Napa is the most cosmopolitan in the 35-mile-long Napa Valley, and boasts a walkable downtown with shops, restaurants, and over 200 wineries. For foodies, the tiny town of Yountville is a must, with restaurants by Thomas Keller, Bob Hurley, and more. Soak in the hot springs in Calistoga, or shop chic boutiques in St. Helena. Travelers have their pick of budget friendly hotels, five-star resorts, and unique bed and breakfasts. With a handful of quaint towns surrounded by gorgeous scenery, a romantic getaway to Napa Valley is the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day.

4) Naples, FL


Escape the cold this Valentine’s Day with a beautiful beach vacation in Naples. Watch the sun set along the warm gulf waters, enjoy a sailing trip, or stroll through an ancient cypress forest in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. For shopping, dining, and nightlife, hit Fifth Avenue South. Naples also boasts dozens of spas where you can relax together with a couples massage. Book a room at a luxury resort just steps away from the beach, or plan a budget friendly getaway at an affordable hotel.

5) Nashville, TN


Nashville is the idea city for music lovers on Valentine’s Day. With over 150 live music venues, couples are sure to find something they love. Start with a stroll down Broadway, called Honky Tonk Highway for the dozens of clubs and lounges that line each side of the street. On Lower Broadway, you’ll find more live music and drinks, and a turn onto 2nd Avenue will place you in the middle of the city’s best blues and jazz clubs. Buy tickets for a concert at the Ryman Auditorium, or see a show at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Nashville is also packed with art galleries, boutique shopping, and restaurants. Couples will find a range of great dining options, from hip brunch spots to barbecue joints. Travelers can book a room at affordable, mid-range, and luxury hotels in the middle of all the action.

Complete – Original Publication


Hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville – What a getaway!!!

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

We are the Lowcountry.? Not exactly the challenging streets of San Francisco or the mountains of Nepal, but what we do have just four short hours away is one of our favorite getaways, Asheville, North Carolina.? For those that are beloved fans of the outdoors and hiking, Asheville may already be a second home.? For others, who have always said “We should plan a trip to Asheville” but never do, we think this article may get you off your couch and start packing a bag.? We took a weekend excursion to Asheville to do a little hiking (over one mile above sea level) and enjoyed the majestic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.? Where else can you get a bird’s eye view of the Biltmore Estate from high above in the clouds?

Enjoy these breathtaking pictures and then start planning for your little escape from the ocean view to the mountain view.

We started our journey 4980 feet above sea level.

That cool mountain air is so refreshing.

The path has seen many footsteps in the past.

Beautiful flowers and berries along the way.

The journey starts to get steep.

Beautiful steps made for children and adults alike.

Between the tip of the mountain peak and the clouds.

Does it get more beautiful?

So high, your prayers can be heard right away.

So close to the top.

We reached the top and enjoyed the scenic overlook and left our mark with these stones.

Can’t get more closer to heaven.

The sun is setting.? Time to make our way down the mountain.

We did stop on the way down to smell the flowers.

Enjoying the setting sun.

While you are in Asheville, make sure you stop at the “Before I Die” wall and put your wish in writing.

There you have it.? The Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville will take away to a place of spiritual cleansing, mental escape and a remarkably memorable experience.? Go soon and enjoy a cool walk before the winter sets in.