Spontaneous winter break trip to Charleston, South Carolina

If you haven’t noticed by now, Matt and I are all about warm vacation spots. Coming from Buffalo we get enough cold and snow, so if we are getting away, we want it HOT! We were periodically checking temperatures down south all through the month of December scheming up “drivable” spots where we could hang out over Christmas break. (I say drivable but some of you may disagree that 13-14 hours with kids is drivable; I’ll share more about this at the end.) Fortunately, it seemed like the whole east coast was getting milder temperatures the last week of December so we didn’t have to drive “too far” to get to beach weather! We decided on Charleston, South Carolina and found an Airbnb right on Isle of Palms!!   

Staying at an Airbnb vs Hotel 

I’ll be honest, I think the majority of us assume that we are saving money booking an Airbnb over a hotel- plus you get the perks of a full kitchen, bedrooms & possibly laundry. I wouldn’t say Airbnb is cheaper though.  When you add on all the fees it was pretty comparable… maybe even slightly MORE expensive than booking a family suite at a hotel.  In fact, the original cost per night that was advertised became an extra $100 more per night with all the fees when we got to the checkout part.

Pros of Airbnb:

Kitchen to cook

Separate bedrooms

Extra space

Laundry (not always though!)

More potential for private yard, patio, or pool

Cons of Airbnb:

No housekeeping to clean your rooms

Less of a break from home/chore life

No front desk staff to help if you have a question or concern  

Additional fees that makes your overall booking price much more expensive than the advertised price

Pictures can deceive what the actual condition of your Airbnb home will be like

Overall, I have to say we loved our Airbnb despite the fact that I was wiping up crumps and sand off the floor and washing dishes each day… sigh. We had an amazing patio that faced the sun all day and we definitely took a slower pace and hung around our Airbnb a lot because we loved just sitting outside with a cup of tea watching the waves while the kids played at our feet.  And it was so nice to be right on the beach! We would literally walk out of our Airbnb barefoot to head to the beach- so fun!

Tip: After staying at a beach front property, I’m personally going to make a point to avoid beach days when we have to get into our car to get there. I can’t stand sand and it literally gets all over the car if there aren’t showers with soap at the beach.  Staying an Airbnb right there was nice because we could literally pick up each kid and plop them in the bath as soon as we got home to avoid getting sand everywhere! 

Exploring Charleston:

We looove walking around the city of Charleston, which was only a 20 min drive from our Airbnb. We ended up going into the city almost every afternoon and evening. It was fun to walk around the old French quarters and see all the colonial

houses with their brightly colored doors. Fun fact: we learned that homeowners have to get approval for any change to the outside or inside of their house because they are all historic. Even something as simple as painting your front door a new shade of paint would need approval. 

Watching the sunset at battery park was my favorite thing to do. There were so many fun cannons that the kids climbed on and the whole area is so peaceful with the big oak trees, watching the sun set along the ocean’s horizon. 

Eating in Charleston: 

We didn’t eat out much (being at an Airbnb) but there are two restaurants we’d highly recommend:

The Obstinate Daughter:

This was recommended by our good friends and it’s located on Sullivan’s Island. My mouth watered looking at every plate around me. We ordered light so I ordered beets over ricotta cheese and Matt had their signature dish- gnocchi. The kids ate a plain pizza because they are picky but I would have loooved to try any of the pizza options from their menu. The atmosphere was really cool and we truly loved everything about this restaurant. 

Blind Tiger: 

We totally happened upon it, but it was amazing! Their patio is advertised as the best in all of Charleston and I’d have to agree, it was so cool! I had a yummy salmon & egg hot salad and Matt had shrimp and grits with a side of collards. Highly recommend!

Savannah, GA

One of the days we took a day trip to Savannah. It’s only two hours from Charleston and we would HIGHLY recommend visiting if you are near. We just love seeing all the big old oak trees with Spanish moss dangling from the branches. It is DARLING.


Driving long distances with kids:

When we told my mother in law we were driving upward of 14 hours with the kids she asked us why we wouldn’t just split it up into two 7 hour driving days. I mean, I suppose we could, but why sit in the car for two whole days when you can just bang it out in one? 😆 

Listen, when we go, we go. We leave early.  No long stops or “stretch our legs” breaks to lengthen the travel time. Each rest stop feels like a race to do everything as fast as we can. Matt gets gas, I run in with all the kids to use the bathroom, we quick pick out a special treat that Matt buys while I buckle the kids back into the car. We are 

 disappointed if any stop takes more than 15 minutes. While driving, if the kids have to pee and it’s inconvenient to stop, we give them a coffee cup to use at their seat 🙈 or stop on the side of the highway. I pack most of our food for the drive to eliminate long drive thru lines. 

The kids get electronic devices that they aren’t allowed to play when we are home. Every time we leave for a road trip they get super excited to play all their favorite games. It’s something “new” and it occupies them for a looong time. It definitely helps all of us to have the kids busy with their games to help pass the time. 


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