Moving to Charleston, SC Guide

Charleston, SC, is easily one of the loveliest cities on the east coast of the United States and one of the most visited cities in the world. The schools here are excellent and so is the weather, although the cost of living is higher than in similar cities. Charleston has some of the best beaches and has many outdoor activities that are fun and exciting. Our Charleston moving guide, below, will give you all the details you need to know to make your move to Charleston successful!

The 10 Best Neighborhoods in Charleston

Aerial view of Charleston during a sunrise

Charleston has a wide variety of communities, many of which are beautiful, safe, and peaceful. Below are the top 10 best neighborhoods in Charleston, but there are many others, so be sure to visit them before choosing where to live.

  1. West Ashley- Affordable, convenient, and beautiful, with good schools
  2. James Island- A great combination of young families and retirees with a relaxed vibe.
  3. Hampton Park Terrace- Tiny but hip community with excellent shops and a beautiful park.
  4. Wagener Terrace- The place to live if you like being close to events, action, and nightlife!
  5. Park Circle- Cozy community that’s perfect for young families and one of the trendiest in the area.
  6. Mount Pleasant- This thriving community is getting bigger by the day. Many waterfront homes and a serene atmosphere make it very attractive.
  7. Grimball Gates- With a 90-acre nature preserve next door, this is the community for nature lovers.
  8. Upper King- If you like the thrill of living in the city but want a quaint community too, Upper King is a great choice.
  9. Daniel Island- Full disclosure; this is one swanky neighborhood with golf, boating, and top restaurants, but it’s also one of the most expensive.
  10. South of Broad- History, culture, and landmarks are at the heart of this upscale community. You should note that it’s also one of the most expensive in Charleston.

How are the Public Schools in Charleston?

There are over 60 public schools in Charleston, and several are outstanding. For example, Berkeley County Middle College High School is the #20 best public high school in the state, and the Charleston School of the Arts is #5! The overall score for Charleston’s public schools is a B+. If you have school-age children, ask your realtor before choosing your new Charleston home so they can steer you toward a community with top schools.

Is the Cost of Living in Charleston, SC, Affordable?

While Charleston won’t win any awards for being the most affordable city in South Carolina, it’s certainly not the most expensive. Several major cost indices in Charleston are below the national average, helping keep costs down. However, the housing market is slightly higher than in similar cities. The details below will give you a clearer look at the city and what it will cost to live in Charleston.

Charleston’s Housing Market

The housing market in Charleston is strong, and many beautiful houses are for sale. Unfortunately, with a cost index of 132.5/100, you’ll pay over 30% more for your new Charleston home than the national average.


Groceries in Charleston are higher than the average at 105.6/100. Still, that’s not exorbitant, and the cost of seafood is more affordable as the city sits right on the Atlantic coast.


With a cost index of 94.1, transportation in the Charleston area costs less than many similar cities. It should be noted that the city has a major traffic problem that is getting worse yearly.


Keeping the lights on and the gas stove burning in Charleston will cost you about 2% more than the U.S. average, which isn’t great but isn’t a disaster, either.


Many seniors move to Charleston for the weather and the golfing, but with a healthcare index of 96.5/100, they have another reason to celebrate; lower healthcare costs.

Job Market and Opportunities in Charleston, SC

With an unemployment rate of 4% and year-over-year positive job growth, Charleston has plenty of jobs.

Top Things to Do in Charleston, SC

Various type of seafood on a platter

With over 200 days of sunshine a year, you’ll have plenty of days to enjoy the outdoors in Charleston. That’s great news because the city offers fantastic things to do, see and enjoy throughout the year.

Outdoor Activities in Charleston

Charleston is known for boating above all else, although strolling down King Street and window shopping is popular. Biking the beach is very popular here, as is kiteboarding, kayaking, and surfing.

Charleston’s Restaurants and Nightlife

The food scene in Charleston is one of the best on the east coast, and the nightlife is just as delicious! The College of Charleston is downtown, giving the city a very young vibe. Plus, the seafood in this city is some of the best on the planet.

The Best Beaches in Charleston

Trying to pick the “best beach” in Charleston is like trying to pick the best sunny day; they’re all great! All share calm waters, wide beaches, and free parking (but few convenient facilities). The top beaches in the city, however, are below:

  • Isle of Palms (IOP)
  • Folly Beach
  • Kiawah Beachwalker Park
  • Sullivan’s Island Beach
  • Capers Island
  • Boneyard Beach

Store Your Belongings Safely in Charleston with SecurCare Self Storage

If you’ve just arrived and need self storage units in Charleston, SecurCare is your best choice. Our storage units are clean, safe, and affordable, with all the amenities you need to store your valuables safely. Need help deciding which storage unit is best for you and your family? Our storage unit size guide is just the ticket! We also have a moving and packing guide if you’re still in your old home and planning to come here soon. When you’re ready, click, call, or reserve your storage units online from SecurCare Self Storage! Until then, good luck on your move to Charleston, SC!

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