Whether you’re seeking an intimate evening for two or a bit of exhibitionism, Charleston offers a little of everything this Valentine’s Day.
From lamp-lit cobblestone streets to cloistered gardens, romance shrouds Charleston like Spanish moss on a live oak. Travel + Leisure readers last year named this quaint Southern gem the top city for a romantic escape—and with a dance card full of these Valentine’s Day activities, you’ll soon understand why.
Sail Charleston Harbor
Though best known as the spot where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, sparks of a different kind will be flying in Charleston Harbor when you book a private sailboat charter. The three-hour trip ($499) aboard Charleston Sailing Charters’ 50-foot Beneteau yacht—appropriately named ‘Fate’—will take you and your mate past local landmarks including The Battery, Fort Sumter, and beneath the soaring Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. To offset the cost, consider making it a double (or triple) date: the boat can accommodate up to six passengers.
Related: Hotels in Charleston
Snoop for Spooks
Need an excuse to snuggle? Grab your date and hold on for dear life during a haunted stroll through an 18th-century cemetery. The 80-minute Ghosts of Charleston Tour ($18 to $20) winds through the lushly wooded Unitarian Church Graveyard, home to souls like the Lady in White, the sad, restless spirit of Mary Whitridge rumored to roam in search of her long-lost husband. Tours begin nightly at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at Waterfront Park.
Set the Mood with Food
Charleston’s lauded Lowcountry cuisine leans heavily on local seafood—including tidewater-to-table oysters, renowned for their desire-inducing attributes. Studies have suggested that zinc and certain amino acids present in oysters can be beneficial in the bedroom; though the science is tenuous at best, there’s no harm in testing the hypothesis yourself at seafood hotspots like comfy-chic Leon’s Oyster Shop and sleek 167 Raw.
Related: Restaurants in Charleston
Sprint in Your Skivvies
Take your clothes off for a cause other than your own at Cupid’s Undie Run, a mile-long jaunt benefitting the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The scantily clad fundraiser takes place in dozens of cities throughout the country during the month of February; Charleston’s edition kicks off at noon Feb. 13 on Folly Beach, 10 miles from downtown (registration $55). Nervous about your knickers seeing the light of day? Undies are encouraged, but not enforced.
Listen to the Music
Transport your sweetheart to the City of Love with a Parisian-themed evening at Chamber Music Charleston. The “From Paris, with Love” concert at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 (tickets $15 to $35) will feature romantic French selections including Guglielmi’s “La Vie en Rose” and Debussy’s “Beau Soir.” Guest violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti and pianist Andrew Armstrong—each of whom has graced the stage of Carnegie Hall—will join the chamber’s own conservatory-trained musicians. Oui, s’il vous plaît.