This past 4th of July week, Michael and I went to North and South Carolina for both family time and a vacation. Our trip spanned a week, from July 2 to July 9. Each 4th of July, Michael’s side of the family comes together for a reunion at his grandma’s house. She lives right on the lake near McCormick, South Carolina. “Lake” is kind of not the correct term for this body of water. It’s technically the J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir, a man-made body of water created by Thurmond dam, that crosses the Georgia border. The lake is probably 60-100 feet deep, so it’s no small pond.
I was a bit skeptical the first time I went, but only because I had never been to a lake before. In my mind, I was picturing brownish, greenish water and slimy creatures swimming near my feet. Boy was I wrong! This lake is a beautiful blue with breathtaking views! I highly recommend it if you love boating and water sports. It’s not nearly as crowded as a beach would be even during the summer months. Additionally, the lake is part of multiple state parks, if that interests you.
On Jul 5th, we left McCormick to head to Charlotte, North Carolina, primarily to visit Carowinds Amusement Park. Michael has really been on a theme park binge, and Carowinds has been on his list for a while. I’ve got to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Carowinds much more than Kings Island, another theme park made by the same company, located near Cincinnati, Ohio. While in Charlotte, we spent most of our time here, but we did manage to visit an adorable indoor mini golf place called Stroke. It had cocktails, too, perfect for a little date night!
Accommodations in Charlotte
We stayed right near Carowinds at Springhill Suites by Marriott. It was a very nice hotel with a nice fitness room, a pool, and a conference and office space. Our room had a king-sized bed, a large desk, and a convertible sofa. It also had a large shower with a separate room for the toilet, which I appreciated. I would definitely stay here again, even if we weren’t spending time at Carowinds. Continental breakfast was provided, too.
Places to Eat in Charlotte
We enjoyed some really great eateries in Charlotte. The city reminded me of a larger Nashville with nice transit options and clean downtown living.
Here’s a list of where we ate. I thoroughly enjoyed each place:
- Bang Bang Burgers
- Leroy Fox
- Mama Ricotta’s Italian Restaurant: Highly recommend if you enjoy Italian food! The service was excellent!
Accommodations in Charleston
We stayed in North Charleston, about 30 minutes away from downtown Charleston – at a Courtyard by Marriott. Although this room was not as large as the one at Springhill Suites, this hotel was nice. A continental breakfast was not provided, but they did have Starbucks coffee and a very large fitness area.
Things to Do in Charleston
South Carolina Aquarium: This was a unique aquarium. My husband Michael and I love to visit zoos and aquariums, and sometimes, places call themselves aquariums when they really are geared more for children with a few fish tanks. The South Carolina Aquarium was a real aquarium with both indoor and outdoor areas. I was pleasantly surprised with it. We probably spent about an hour and a half there.
USS Yorktown: This is a self-guided museum tour featuring the WWII USS Yorktown aircraft carrier and a destroyer ship. We didn’t do all of the tours, but we did most of them, and we probably spent a good 2 to 3 hours here. The Yorktown is absolutely gigantic and once you get inside, it offers some relief from the summer heat, but obviously it is not air conditioned, so wearing cool clothing will help.
Battery Park: This is a walkway with beautiful views of the Charleston Harbor and is a great place for pictures. Additionally, there is a park across the street with a beautiful gazebo and historic statues. Charleston is known for its historic architecture, and walking around this area, we got some beautiful views of Charleston’s charming downtown homes. I just wanted to point out that you may want to take a smaller vehicle around here as the streets are on the small side. We drove around in Michael’s Dodge Ram, and although we were able to find parking, it was still pretty tight.
Places to Eat in Charleston
Tavern and Table – Mount Pleasant: This restaurant was absolutely amazing, and my favorite place we ate at while on this trip. We ordered the dynamite shrimp, and it was the best thing I have tasted in a very long time! The atmosphere was more of an upscale casual. We ate there for lunch, and it was very reasonable. I highly recommend if you are in the Mount Pleasant area.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Carolinas and will definitely be going back! I did manage to visit a Books-a-Million there at the mall in North Charleston and purchased a Katherine Center book entitled Happiness for Beginners. I have already started reading it and am really enjoying it.
Thanks so much for reading!