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Tell me how accessible is Charleston, SC!

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    Tell me how accessible is Charleston, SC!

    Leaving next week for vacation (much needed by us both) but I'm getting anxious. Husband is T7 para- uses a manual chair and this is only our second getaway since his accident.

    Specifically, how does parking work? I see garages all over the city map. So does that mean our only option is pay $8.00 to park and then walk/roll all day wherever we want to go?

    Anyone have anything they LOVE about Charleston that we should not miss? Anyone used the beach wheelchairs that you can ask for? Any recommendations for specific beaches?

    THANKS! (Just asking the questions is stressing me out

    You can park in city garages and lots without charges. You can also park at a parking meter without paying. (With the handicap placard, of course.)

    LOVE about Charleston? Andolini's pizza downtown.

    What are your interests? There's the aquarium, all kinds of historical stuff, various theaters, etc. Look into the events, see if anything catches your eye.

    Word of warning for your husband: avoid the cobblestone roads. Those things are insane!'s worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.


      I live in SC now and quickly learned to stay away from downtown Charleston. Parking and accessibility suck. There are some great restaurants, some of which still have staired entrances, and interesting sights such as the old marketplace. I am sure their chamber of commerce must have a tourist web site. I have attended conferences in downtown hotels where I stayed and wheeled around some. I know there are a couple CC members from that area. Maybe they will be a better ambassador. It is not my idea of a fun place. Personally, I prefer to relax in the luxury of one of Hilton Heads beach front hotels.
      You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @

      See my personal webpage @


        I've moved this post to Travel and Recreation, where you should get more reponses.
        The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


          I can't answer your question, never been. I have been wanting to visit Paula Dean's restaurant & gift shop. Yum!


            I went to charleston but it has been about 8 years so not sure how much it changed. I loved the area but do avoid the cobblestone streets. The people were really helpful and friendly we wanted to take the horse and buggy ride but the first place we stopped at the carriage was so high that it would have been hard to lift me in. The man that ran the business told us of another horse and buggy place around the corner and that they had a platform with a ramp that made the buggy at a better height. We headed over to the other place and while we were waiting for our turn to get in the buggy my husband got worried over the gap between the platform and buggy as it turned out the people that work there got me on the buggy they acted like it was procedure my husband just stood there.

            We also took the boat over to Fort Sumter (my husband likes that kind of stuff) and again the staff helped they pulled me up the steps on the boat.

            I didn't rent a beach chair can't be any help there. Hopefully the people are still as nice as they were when we visited. Good luck and have fun
            A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. ~Winston Churchill



              On our way Monday! Will try to post helpful info for others.
              I called about one of the harbor tours and they said wheelchair accessibility depended on the tide that day. Hmmm... hope the tide doesn't change it's mind before getting my husband off the boat.
              Thanks for the help! the parking info freed up $40 of our spending money!
              We both SO need this vacation. Doesn't have to be perfect, or even without a mishap or two, but please please please on the relaxing!


                Hope you have a great time!
                A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. ~Winston Churchill


                  ging, downtown accessbility is a pain for the most part. Cobblestone streets, sidewalks that are old and cracked, and most of the buildings are historic. You could park in a garage and wheel through the market without too much difficulty, it can get crowded though. The battery could be an option, nice views of the harbour and historic homes, Rainbow Row. I would suggest going to Charles Towne Landing if it's a nice day, good bit of pushing but if the weather is nice it's good to be outside and get some exercise, they have a good amount of land. Like Steven said the aquarium is worth the trip and it's on the water with a view to the bridge, they also have an IMAX there. Patriot's Point has the USS Yorktown but I haven't been in it since I was AB. Where are you staying? James Island County Park is nice and you could always drive through The Citadel campus and check out the barracks and parade grounds.

                  California Dreamin is nice dining once you get in. There's a side ramp that goes wayyy up on the right of the building but it's good food and a view of the marina after the push up to get in. PM me if you want, I can give you my cell # in case you need any directions or anything while you're down. There's also the Tanger outlets if you want to do some shopping, and Mount Pleasant Towne Center has lots of shopping too.



                    I live in North Charleston and I work in the area with all the cobblstone, slate, and cracked sidewalks. These rough areas can slow you down, but I've yet to find a place that I couldn't access if i really wanted. Sometimes I have to take a little detour to avoid cobblestone, but I get there!

                    One big problem is that many of the historic homes are not accesible. But we've spent hours just meandering through the area near the Battery just to enjoy seeing the old style architecture.

                    Waterfront Park is downtown (right next door to my office) and it's entirely accessible and free. It has a pier that extends out over the water, then branches out to both sides. If you're lucky sometimes you can spot dolphins close by. It has great photo ops too with a couple nice water fountains.

                    Restaurants in the downtown area can be expensive, but the food is wonderful. A.W. Schucks has a ramp entrance on one side. It's hard to find, so just ask the hostess where it is. S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad) is on East Bay St. - mostly seafood. One of the best restaurants downtown is Magnolia's also on East Bay, but it has a full flight of steps to climb... BUT the reason I'm sharing that with you is because right next door is a place owned and operated by the same people called Blossom's which is very good. On Concord St, where Cumberland St. ends is a nice place called Fleet Landing which has the best "Shrimp and Grits" I've ever tried. You could also try the Noisy Oyster. I know I'm leaving some out..... It's not seafood so much, but if you tire of all that and just want a burger, try Moe's downtown Tavern on Cumberland St, but NOTE - they don't have an accessible bathroom. Try the BLT Burger. Which reminds me of the South End Brewery - a micro-brewer which is great and has accesible bathrooms. On both sides of Market Street - the arts and crafts vendors booths are in the middle, splitting Market Street in two - there are a number of good restaurants. Wild Wings has the absolute greatest wings in the world. T-Bonz grill has wonderful steaks and seafood. If you long for a chain restaurant there's always Bubba Gump's. I agree with Steven on Andolini's Pizza, but I think Giovanni's on Market Street is equal or better. A calzone is enough for two and only $6.

                    Also, if you get tired of expensive seafood, there's a pretty decent supermarket in the downtown area called Harris Teeter so you pick something up to take on a picnic to Waterfront Park or back to your hotel room. They have a terrific deli which makes sub sandwiches to order and if you get that day's six inch special it's only $2.99.

                    There's a nice Hotel on Cumberland - The Harbourview - which has some great views... of... the.... harbor. It's only about 10 years old, but was made to look and fit in the historic district, so it HAS to accessible, but I've never stayed there.

                    One restaurant I forgot - The Buccaneer. Pirate themed, they serve fantastic food, but a little pricey. They have a portable ramp they whip out for wheelchair access.

                    The beaches can be tough without a beach chair, so call Charleston County Parks in advance to make sure they have one available. You'll have to push the chair for him to ride, but it'll get you on the beach. All three beaches in the area - Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Beachwalker at Kiawah have at least one beach chair.

                    I've been on a couple harbor tour boats and sometimes I had to be carried in my chair down some steps. The Ferry over to Fort Sumter was nice and I think the museum there is accessible. I never toured the Yorktown which is an older decommisioned aircraft carrier, because the only part accessible was the deck.

                    Oh Yeah! I forgot the new Cooper River Bridge! It has a walk/bike path all the over it if you're adventurous, but it's a 2 mile hike! Mt. Pleasant also has a "Waterfront Park on their end of the bridge, which is very nice.

                    I know I'll keep thinking of things, but there's a few things for now....


                      Okay, in the downtown area there are some walking tours - one of which is a "Ghost Tour".

                      Tanger Mall was mentioned and is good if you want to shop.

                      I also offer my cell phone number if you PM me, in case you have more questions.

                      Oh yeah - also in the downtown area are shuttle buses which I believe are w/c accessible. You could call CARTA and find out for sure. This is in case you get tired of walking/rolling everywhere. I think you can download a map of the downtown area and the bus/shuttle schedules at
                      I mention the shuttle because it's very convenient. It will, for example, drop you off right in front of the entrance to Charleston's water front park and within a block or two of all the restaurants I mentioned in my previous post.

                      Check out for more info and for high and low tide times (for that harbor tour ride).

                      Tide info:
                      Last edited by DougM; 24 Apr 2010, 5:46 PM. Reason: Too add comments...



                        I LOVE YOU GUYS! Thanks so so so so much....


                          Reading DougM's post makes me want to go back to Charleston I loved that place cobble stone and all. We stayed at Folly Beach with an ocean view from our balcony but like I mentioned we didn't actually go to the beach we were too busy sight seeing. I really would love to go back.
                          A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. ~Winston Churchill


                            Well... it was ok.

                            I won't bore you with the hormonal reasons the trip started off rocky. The first place we stayed was bad. Stinky and small. Guess you get what you pay for. Everyone was super friendly. We ended up at the extended stay in Mt. Pleasant-met our needs perfectly and was very wheelchair friendly, just no pool. LOVED Mt. Pleasant more than Charleston! Stayed close to the big, beautiful pier at waterfront park. Ate at Mosaics near the Towne Center- YUMMY! In Charleston, Ate at Hyman's- delicious. Walked around all the monuments. Tried to go on a ghost tour but the few we called were hesitant about the stupid wheelchair. We should have gone anyway. I Hate when obviously the person you're talking to knows noone in a dang chair. So hard to relate. Went to the farmers market in Mt Pleasant. Fun. Walked around downtown charleston. Fine. The shopping was so good but our funds were just not adequate. We found folley beach on Thursday and finally found the special beach chair. Had a blast that day! There were people flying like 20 kites- almost felt like a festival. Husband made me bring his manual chair to the packed sand so he could go wherever he wanted. That worked out great. but then it was time to go home. Vacation over, almost ruined by my hormonal rage... Oh well. We may or may not visit the area again- probably would look better to someone more interested in history and not experiencing the worst monthly cycle of her life...
                            YOUR TIPS WERE AWESOME. If not for the phone numbers listed for the beach chair, we wouldn't have found it. The "disability resource center for charleston" had no idea the beaches even had these. What a joke!
                            Thanks again for the tips...


                              I forgot to mention that, if you've never had them, you should stop by a vendor on 61 and try some boiled peanuts.

                              I'm glad you had some fun!
                    's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.