Charleston also was crowned No. 18 among the magazine’s 25 Best Cities in the World, joining the likes of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Florence, Italy; and Kyoto, Japan.
Helen Hill, CEO of Explore Charleston, said the achievements are “tremendous.”
“This recognition from the readers of one of the industry’s most highly-respected publications strengthens the region’s legacy as a premier destination and is evidence of our ability to remain relevant and to constantly provide a high-quality visitor experience,” she said.
From January through May, Travel + Leisure polled readers, asking them to reflect on their favorite travel experiences over the last three years.
Readers touted Charleston as a friendly city with its colorful homes, cobblestone streets and “charming architecture and powerhouse culinary scene.”
“Charleston is such a historic treasure with beauty at every corner,” another reader said. “Also heaven for foodies. King Street has excellent shops, bars, and restaurants and is great for nightlife.”
While Charleston topped the list of 15 U.S. cities, Savannah, a reader-dubbed “the jewel of the South,” was close behind at No. 3. Asheville closed out the list at No. 15, acknowledged for its proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the city’s food and beer scene.
“As we continue our recovery efforts and strive to safely welcome visitors back to the area, these awards for the destination provide incredible exposure and an opportunity to reinforce to potential visitors the attributes that make the region so unique,” Hill said. “The competition in our industry will be more intense than ever as more destinations fully reopen post-pandemic.”