Charleston's Best Budget Hotels: Spend Less, See More of the City

Whether you're a regular visitor to Charleston or planning your first trip to the Holy City, you'll find that there is a wide variety of accommodations available in the area, across all price levels and styles. From uber-luxurious to budget and family-friendly hotels, Charleston offers all couples, families, business travelers or group vacationers the opportunity to conveniently and comfortably explore the lowcountry. For those visitors looking to save money on their hotel accommodations in favor of spending more on attractions, sightseeing, and dining, booking a hotel off the peninsula is often recommended. Though properties like the Comfort Suites West of the Ashley or the Shem Creek Inn are not located downtown, they are only a short drive or water taxi ride away. Those staying at hotels slightly further away from downtown Charleston such as the Best Western Sweetgrass Inn may need to use a personal or rental car in order to see the popular sights and attractions of the area. However, once visitors reach the downtown peninsula, having a car is largely unnecessary; Charleston is one of the more walkable cities in the country!

It is also recommended that visitors traveling on a budget book their Charleston hotel stays well in advance, while avoiding Charleston's peak tourist season (from March through October). Even though the winter and early spring months are less popular, many visitors find that Charleston's warmer climate makes for a nice getaway from colder Northern temperatures.


For travelers in search of budget-friendly acommodations in Charleston, the Hampton Inn Mount Pleasant-Patriots Point hotel is a convenient and affordable choice. This consistently low-cost hotel is located just over the Ravenel Bridge from downtown Charleston, and just steps away from the Patriots Point Naval Museum, the home of the breathtaking USS Yorktown warship. This Hampton Inn is also located close to the Charleston Water Taxi, allowing visitors an opportunity to travel over to the peninsula by boat. There is a fitness room and pool on-site, as well as free WiFi and free hot breakfast. Pets are also welcome at this Hampton Inn.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Hampton Inn at Patriots Point is the ideal budget hotel choice for those planning on exploring off-peninsula sites, such as the USS Yorktown.

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Mount Pleasant's Holiday Inn is quiet, comfortable, recently updated, and most of all, very affordable compared to downtown Charleston hotels. This Holiday Inn is located just a few miles from downtown Charleston's historic district shops and restaurants, making it easy for guests to stay within close range while saving money on their accommodations. Parking is free on-site, though pets are not allowed here at this property. WiFi, however, is complimentary for all guests, as is the outdoor pool, courtyard, and state of the art fitness center. Families, couples, and groups who are searching for budget accommodations in Mount Pleasant will enjoy this property's proximity to the Waterfront Park and Ravenel Bridge.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: This modern, updated Holiday Inn is convenient to all of Mount Pleasant's restaurants and shops, and is only a few minutes drive from downtown Charleston.

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Mount Pleasant

Boat watching and dolphin watching is a breeze at this family friendly hotel on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant. Located just across the Ravenel Bridge 4 miles from downtown Charleston, Shem Creek Inn is also just minutes from the beaches of Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island. The 50 room property offers creek/water side rooms and interior rooms with king or queen size beds. All rooms enjoy amenities like the complimentary continental breakfast, in-room microwaves and refrigerators, WIFI, coffee and tea, and free parking. Guests enjoy a pristine outdoor pool and sundeck perfect for catching some Charleston rays or watching the sun set over Shem Creek. Expert Tip: Be sure to inquire about special and seasonal packages!

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Despite its stunning views and Mount Pleasant creek-side location, Shem Creek Inn is one of the best value hotels in the Charleston area.

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Days Inn Historic District
Photo courtesy of Days Inn Charleston Historic District

This small but charming Days Inn property is conveniently located on Meeting Street in the heart of Charleston's downtown historic district, within walking distance of many restaurants, shopping areas, carriage tour companies, and sightseeing locations. An older Days Inn hotel, this property is generally known as one of the more affordable chain hotel locations for visitors who wish to stay downtown in a walkable area of the city. Pets are welcome at this hotel, while an outdoor pool, bar and restaurant are all located on-site. Parking is also free on-site. With just a half a block separating this hotel from the Charleston City Market, the Days Inn Historic District is ideal for budget-conscious shoppers.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Stay at this Days Inn for its proximity to shopping areas, carriage tours, and historic streets.

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This West Ashley Best Western Sweetgrass Inn is well known as one of Charleston's better budget accommodations. While the property is located a short 3 mile drive from Charleston's downtown historic district, this Best Western boasts an outdoor pool, free breakfast, complimentary WiFi, free on-site parking, and an indoor fitness center. This property is also noted as one of Charleston's top pet-friendly hotels, charging only a $20 fee. Charleston Tour Group also drops off and picks up from this West Ashley Best Western hotel. This hotel also offers some smoking rooms - call ahead if this is your lodging preference.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: This West Ashley hotel is located just three miles from downtown Charleston, and offers free parking, breakfast, and WiFi to guests.

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The Comfort Suites West of the Ashley is aptly named; this budget-friendly, family-friendly hotel is one of Charleston's most affordable lodging options, and is located just a short 15 minute drive from the downtown Charleston peninsula. As this hotel does require a personal or rental car to travel to and from the hotel and downtown shopping and attractions, parking is free on-site. This Comfort Suites also boasts newly renovated guest rooms, free breakfast, free WiFi, a fitness center and an indoor pool. Comfort Suites West of the Ashley is an excellent hotel choice for families traveling to Charleston on a budget, as rates usually fall between $100 - $150 nightly.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: This budget hotel is newly renovated, and includes free breakfast, free WiFi, free parking, and an indoor pool, just a short drive from downtown.

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The downtown Hampton Inn Charleston Historic District hotel is among the "pricier" of our budget hotel recommendations, but is included on our list for its great value. This centrally located property is situated between King and Meeting streets, in the heart of downtown Charleston's busy Upper King neighborhood, and convenient to numerous bars, restaurants, and shops, and well as the Charleston Farmers Market and College of Charleston campus. This hotel offers an outdoor courtyard pool, a fitness center, free WiFi, and complimentary breakfast each morning. Due to its location within walking or biking distance to many downtown attractions, guests of this hotel may find savings in not having to use a rental or personal car to get around the city.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: This conveniently appointed downtown Hampton Inn allows guests to ditch the rental car, and enjoy a free hot breakfast each morning.

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This four-story, 123-room, sunny yellow-colored SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel is conveniently located just off of the Charleston peninsula in West Ashley, only a few minutes drive from the downtown historic district. The SpringHill Suites Charleston Riverview faces a small but beautiful marina, affording guests a quiet, budget-friendly room with a view. Parking, daily breakfast, and WIFI are all free services at this hotel. There is also a complimentary guest shuttle to and from downtown Charleston, running each evening from 5pm to 11pm. Note that pets are not allowed at this hotel property. This SpringHill Suites is and ideal budget hotel option for visitors to Charleston.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Springhill Suites Charleston Riverview is ideally located for visitors traveling with car, and who would like to stay in a quieter area off-peninsula.

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Looking for a more budget-friendly option for Charleston family accommodations? Though the Residence Inn Downtown/Riverview has a Charleston address, it is not actually located downtown, but rather just a few minutes' drive across the Ashley River from the peninsula's historic district. Daily breakfast is included in the hotel rate, and there is a daily happy hour with wine and food for guests to enjoy after a day of sightseeing. Parking is also free at this Residence Inn. This hotel also boasts a pool for the kids, and is pet-friendly! This Residence Inn runs a complimentary shuttle for guests that travels to and from downtown Charleston every half hour in the late afternoon and evening.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Residence Inn Charleston Downtown/Riverview allows for families and pets to enjoy a comfortable property and pool just a short drive from downtown Charleston.

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Acting as somewhat of a local landmark due to its uniquely round shape, the Holiday Inn Charleston-Riverview lives up to its name. This Holiday Inn is located just across the Ashley River, 5 minutes from downtown Charleston, and boast rates significantly less than comparable downtown hotels, despite its short distance to the city. The Holiday Inn Charleston-Riverview is also known for its picturesque, nearly 360 degree views of downtown Charleston and the Charleston harbor, from both its rooms and its top floor restaurant and bar. Additionally, this hotel offers a daily shuttle for guests to travel to and from Charleston's historic district downtown.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Holiday Inn Charleston-Riverview is the idea budget hotel for those in search of beautiful views and close proximity to downtown Charleston.

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Meet Clare Sweeney

A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare is always venturing between traveling abroad and her beloved Lowcountry. 

Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days...  More About Clare