Getting To & Around

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Getting To & Around in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties

JB Charleston Getting To and Around Charleston Berkeley and Dorchester Counties

South Carolina’s Lowcountry links easily to other parts of the state and nation via numerous highways, and many people traveling here choose to drive, taking in the region’s Deep South ambience and almost palpable historic atmosphere.

Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, a mere 5 miles from JB CHS-Air Base and 15 miles from JB CHS-Weapons Station, is the region’s commercial air hub for travelers. Charleston Executive Airport a few miles southwest of downtown Charleston on Johns Island serves general aviators.

All of the counties have public transportation: For Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, there’s CARTA ( which also provides paratransit service through Tel-A-Ride, as well as TriCounty Link ( for the rural areas.

The area is also served by the regional bus line Southeastern Stages, and a Greyhound Bus Station in North Charleston.


Charleston International Airport

5500 International Blvd., No. 101
North Charleston, SC 29418

Alaska, Delta, American, United, Southwest and JetBlue flights arrive and depart daily from busy Charleston International Airport, which is in the midst of a $189 million Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program. Travelers should be aware that not all food and beverage concessions may be immediately available, due to the construction, and might allow a little extra time as well. Five rental car companies operate from the Rental Car Pavilion near Baggage Claim, and three others off-site offer pickup service. Taxis and a downtown shuttle run from 5 a.m. until 30 minutes after the last arriving flight of the day, which is usually around 12:30 a.m. The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority has nonstop and express bus service between the airport and downtown Charleston on the North Area Shuttle (NASH) Express, and the CARTA stop is at the outside curb at the Baggage Claim end of the terminal.


Amtrak North Charleston Station

4565 Gaynor Ave.
North Charleston, SC 29405

Amtrak’s Silver Meteor and Palmetto passenger trains take travelers from New York through Washington, D.C.; North Charleston; Savannah, Georgia; and Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami, Florida, and back again. Viewliner Sleeping accommodations and traditional dining cars sweeten the adventure. For an overview, go to General information on routes and fares can be found online.


36 John St.
Charleston, SC 29403

The Charleston metro area’s public transportation system, Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), provides fixed-route, flex, express commute and paratransit services as well as free trolleys (DASH) within the city’s Historic Peninsula. CARTA, the state’s largest provider of public transportation, tallies more than 4 million rides every year; it is a partner in a proposed North Charleston Intermodal Center to be built where the Amtrak Station now stands; the new center will employ technology to link Amtrak intercity rail, Southeastern Stages intercity buses and CARTA’s local and commuter buses at one location so travelers can make seamless connections.

Southeastern Stages

260 University Ave. SW
Atlanta, GA 30315

In 1933, three small bus companies merged to create Southeastern Stages, which today has daily scheduled service between Southeastern cities including Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Myrtle Beach, North Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina; and Fayetteville and Asheville, North Carolina. The company operates out of 13 locations in South Carolina, among them Charleston and Summerville; a dozen cities in Georgia; and four in North Carolina. Southeastern Stages motorcoaches also can be chartered to destinations throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company has more than 40 modern buses and was one of the first regional carriers to introduce vehicles with advanced collision avoidance technology.

Greyhound Bus Station

310 Dorchester Road
Charleston, SC 29405

Greyhound has been upgrading its nationwide fleet of some 1,200 buses for the past several years, adding niceties such as free Wi-Fi, extra legroom, leather reclining seats and power outlets. The nation’s largest bus company carries travelers to more than 3,800 destinations, covering more than 5.5 billion miles a year; efficient Greyhound Express travels nonstop between major cities. Not bad for a transit operation that kicked off in 1913 with an eight-seat Hupmobile.

Charleston Water Taxi

10 Wharfside St.
Charleston, SC 29403

Skip over the water aboard the Charleston Water Taxi to Waterfront Park and the Historic District, Aquarium Wharf and the Maritime Center, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum (home of the USS Yorktown) or Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina and its tasty restaurants.

Driving and Commuting

JB Charleston Getting To and Around Driving and Commuting

Lowcountry residents have been busily laying down roads since their arrival in 1670, so by now the region is spiderwebbed with interstates, U.S. and state highways, county roads and municipal streets.

Interstate 26 has the fast track northwest, intersecting with north-south I-95 approximately 30 miles out of North Charleston. I-26 begins in the heart of downtown Charleston at U.S. 17 and heads northwest through North Charleston past Hanahan, Goose Creek and Summerville on its way to a brief whirl through the “Malfunction Junction” cloverleaf in state capital Columbia, then continues northwest across North Carolina and Tennessee to just south of the Tennessee-Virginia state line. Back in Charleston, I-526 is a horseshoe bypass that begins and ends at different ends of U.S. Highway 17; I-526 Business, the bypass’s eastern end, crosses the Wando River and winds up in Berkeley County’s Mount Pleasant.

North-south U.S. 17 enters South Carolina from Georgia, northeast of Savannah, then the main highway runs vaguely parallel to the coast to cross the Edisto River into Charleston County, where it becomes a four-lane through Charleston until it exits the state near Calabash, North Carolina, on the Atlantic. Locally, this U.S. 17 reaches the northern part of the Charleston Peninsula by way of the Ashley River drawbridges, then crosses the Cooper River via the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. It leaves the area via Mount Pleasant and numerous red lights before slipping quietly into the Francis Marion National Forest and continuing northeast.

U.S. 52 is a northwest-southeast highway, passing from the U.S. into Canada at Portal, North Dakota, and ending its drop eastward at Charleston Harbor by way of Moncks Corner, Goose Creek and North Charleston. U.S. 78 goes west to east from Memphis to Charleston; it comes into South Carolina at Augusta, Georgia, then continues east, passing through Dorchester County as far as I-26, which it parallels into downtown Charleston.

Six state highways help carry Charleston-area traffic: South Carolina 7, 30, 61, 171, 461 and 700.

South Carolina Department of Public Safety

10311 Wilson Blvd.
Blythewood, SC 29016

The South Carolina Highway Patrol Division, under the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, has enforced all laws governing the use of motor vehicles in the state since its founding in 1930. Its 900-plus troopers patrol more than 64,750 miles of highway.

South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles

119-G Wappoo Road

Ashley Oaks Plaza
Charleston, SC 29407 843-769-5879

180 Lockwood Blvd.
Charleston, SC 29403 843-727-6477

445 N. Highway 52
Moncks Corner, SC 29461 843-761-5385

1189 Sweetgrass Basket Parkway, Suite 500
Mount Pleasant, SC 29466 843-884-9760

3790 Leeds Ave.
North Charleston, SC 29405 843-740-1658

Driver’s licenses, identification cards, vehicle registration and other driving-related services are provided by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, which has several offices in the Charleston area. Find many of the required forms and general information at

Driver’s Licenses

Military personnel and their spouses who are stationed temporarily in South Carolina from elsewhere may continue to drive with a valid driver’s license from their home state, but in general, all South Carolina residents who want to drive must apply for a driver’s license once residency is established, or after 90 days. Visit for additional information.

The state spells out what is required for licensing and insurance in its South Carolina Driver’s Manual, which can be downloaded at

Distracted Driving

South Carolina does not prohibit drivers from making calls on handheld wireless telephones while operating a motor vehicle, though some communities do. Texting while driving is banned statewide.

Vehicle Registration

Those who purchase a new or used vehicle or move to South Carolina from another state must apply for a new vehicle title and registration. Mail the paperwork to South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 1498, Blythewood, SC 29016. The process can require several steps. For more information, visit

South Carolina Department of Transportation

Motorists can find up-to-date information about road closures and conditions, travel advisories, construction projects and evacuation routes on the department’s website.

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