Charleston retains Title of No. 1 Small City in the U.S. in Condé Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice Awards

October 3, 2023

For the second consecutive year, and twelfth time in the last thirteen years, Charleston has been named the most popular city in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler readers.

The Readers’ Choice Awards are widely regarded as the longest-running and one of the most prestigious recognitions of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best of travel.”

“Retaining this title is a testament to the incredible people in the Charleston area, especially the over 51,000 dedicated employees in the local travel and hospitality industry. We never forget that readers determine these awards. Travelers today desire authentic experiences – genuine connections with communities, locals and their stories. Our region continues to deliver in a way that resonates with visitors,” said Dan Blumenstock, Board Chair of Explore Charleston and Director of Operations for Lowcountry Hotels.

Tourism remains one of the area’s leading economic drivers. The College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis estimates tourism generated a record-high impact of $12.8 billion for the Greater Charleston Area in 2022. Almost 25 cents of every dollar spent in the region is attributable to tourism.

“The significance of being relevant and staying top of mind in this increasingly competitive industry cannot be overstated. Condé Nast Traveler is a renowned publication with an impressive, worldwide reach, so the accolades can really bolster our exposure to a global audience. International travelers are essential to our industry’s future success,” said Blumenstock.

In addition to the No. 1 Small U.S. City award, Kiawah Island remains a top destination for Condé Nast Traveler readers. The island community was voted No. 2 in the Top Islands in the U.S. category.

The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina secured a spot among the 50 Best Resorts in the World.

The Beach Club, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, and Wild Dunes Resort were named three of the Top 20 Resorts in the South.

The following hotels were voted the 10 Best Hotels in Charleston for 2023 (listed alphabetically): The Charleston Place, The Dewberry, French Quarter Inn, Hotel Bennett, The Palmetto Hotel, The Pinch, The Restoration, The Spectator Hotel, The Vendue, and Zero George.

Results of the 36th annual awards were announced today and will be celebrated in the November issue.

The complete results of the 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards can be found here.

About Explore Charleston

As the region’s destination marketing and management organization, Explore Charleston represents ten municipalities across three counties. It seeks to unify and lead the local travel industry in marketing the Charleston area, create overnight visitation, and support responsible development through travel and tourism strategies.