Getting ready to go on a cruise or take a vacation from South Carolina can be extremely exciting. You look forward to staying in a beautiful room, surrounding yourself with beautiful scenery, and being able to focus on fun and relaxation. However, we all know there are finer, more practical details that need to be figured out before you can get settled in. One of those details is finding somewhere to park that will be safe, affordable, and convenient.
Finding parking at the Port of Charleston can be tough. Some of the parking is metered, in which case you can only park there for day trips and not cruises. There are several lots for extended parking for when you plan to go on your cruise, however. Think about how much you want to spend and how far you want to be from the port when trying to decide where to park.
Some of the lots are very conveniently located right at the port, but they can be very costly. Other parking lots are further away and require you to take a cab or shuttle, but they are very affordable. There are also some in-between that may not be as convenient as the port parking, or as affordable as they distant parking, but they find a balance between the two.
Another option you may not have considered is that if you plan to visit in Charleston there are hotels that specifically offer parking packages in their room costs. You can book your hotel room, stay there for a night, and then leave your car in their lot while you go on your cruise. When you get back, your car will be safe and you will already have a room ready to stay in.
No matter which option you go with you can know that your vehicle is safe and sound. The main port lots have the convenience of being right near the cruise ships and they have the additional benefit of being monitored by port police. You can be sure nobody can steal your vehicle or break in and take any belongings you may have left in it.
The hotel option is a great choice for those who like to take their time. If driving for hours early in the morning to make it on time to board the ship seems daunting or stressful, then getting a hotel the night before would be the perfect option for you.
You can get to the hotel in advance and get in some rest and relaxation. You can also get familiar with the route you will need to take in the morning so getting to your cruise on time does not become an issue.
Parking Lots for a Cruise
Here we have extended stay parking lots and garages that offer extended stay parking for while you are on your cruise. These lots are your primary option if you plan to drive in and park the morning that your cruise leaves. They each offer their own pros and cons, but they can all be relied upon to keep your vehicle safe and secure.
When getting ready to go on a cruise parking should always be considered. Trying to find parking at the last minute can add significant time and frustration onto a long trip.
The point of a cruise is to relax, and finding parking last minute only to realize it will cost an extra $200 you had not budgeted for would not be the epitome of a good time. Follow this guide to find the best parking at the best rates, so you can plan ahead and enjoy your time.
Official Port of Charleston Parking
Although finding alternative parking may be cheaper, there is no parking more convenient than the official Port of Charleston parking lot. A shuttle is provided from this lot directly to where you board the cruise.
Most cruise passengers choose this option for its convenient location and security. This lot is monitored 24/7 by Port Police, and secured behind fences and barriers. Only cruise employees and passengers are allowed.
You can feel secure and safe knowing that your vehicle will be protected while you are gone, and easily accessible upon your return. You will be given a large permit to display in the window of your car, along with a smaller ticket to take with you. This ensures that only permitted vehicles are on-site, and nobody else can claim it.
This lot accepts both regular-sized vehicles and RVs over 20 feet. The average vehicle costs $20 per day to park, while the RV parking is $50 per day.
This is a great option if you are cruising with most cruise lines, except of course for the Carnival lines which own their own parking lot. You may be paying a bit more than you would for other options, but you can rest assured your vehicle is safe and secure while you are away, and you will not have to do any excessive traveling when you disembark.
|Location||201-293 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401|
|Cost||$20 per day|
|Distance||At the port|
Park and Go Lot
The Park and Go airport parking lot is located further away from the port but is much more affordable at about $10 a day. This parking option is secured and monitored 24/7 and offers a convenient shuttle to and from the airport. There is no shuttle service to the port, however, and it is too far to walk. You will need to get a taxi to get to your cruise.
Park and Go offers more than just affordable parking for their customers. You can pay a little extra and come back to a vehicle that has been cleaned both inside and out. They have a rewards program for people who park with them often, and they offer complimentary jumpstarts and tire inflation in case your vehicle has any issues from just sitting by the time you get back.
This company recommends making your reservation with them in advance. They only have 250 parking spaces. With their affordable rates and a convenient location near the airport, those spaces will fill up quickly.
When booking with Park and Go, remember that they do not have a shuttle service. Plan ahead and be ready to order an Uber or Lyft.
|Location||3621 W Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29418|
|Cost||$10 per day|
|Phone Number||(843) 302-2288|
Carnival Cruise Port
Carnival Cruise parking is situated near the main Charleston Port Parking area. There is a warehouse-style building which, according to previous passengers, has very large and accommodating parking spaces and an easy shuttle service to transport you and your luggage directly to the cruise ship that you will be boarding.
The process for parking in the warehouse-style lot of the Carnival Cruise Lines is a little different than the rest of the options on this list. They provide more service and a lot of conveniences. First, you can drop off your luggage between 9 am and 11 am. You line up in the queue as early as 11:30, and the lot opens up at 12 pm. You pay based on how long you will be there at a rate of $17 per day.
Once you have your vehicle parked in the warehouse lot, you will proceed to board the bus that Carnival provides. The bus will shuttle you and the rest of the passengers to the cruise ship which is about 150 yards away. Then you are all set and ready to embark on your cruise!
When your cruise gets back to port, you can disembark with your luggage and get on the shuttle back to the warehouse where you will find your vehicle safe and sound. This option is probably the most convenient option you will have when cruising with Carnival.
This lot is secure and monitored 24/7. Carnival cruise lines want all of their customers to be happy and feel taken care of.
|Location||32 Washington St, Charleston, SC 29401|
|Cost||$17 per day|
|Distance||150 yards from the ship|
Hotels That Offer Park and Cruise
Charleston does not have many options for someone to be able to drive in and park the same day they get on their cruise. The choices that are available can be expensive or add extra travel time to your already busy itinerary. This is where the Park and Cruise options that hotels offer can become a great choice.
Hotel Park and Cruise is a special that hotels in port cities offer. You book a room with them, and for just a little bit more money, you can keep your car parked there for the duration of your cruise.
Generally, this is the best option if you want to drive in the night before, stay at a hotel, eat breakfast and then head off to your cruise. The room rate may jump by anywhere from $20-60, but if you will be on a 10-day cruise then it just saved you from $140-180. Those are huge savings!
Usually, these hotels also offer breakfast and a free shuttle to and from the cruise line. There are many options for park and cruise accommodations, but we will give you a look at the most affordable and highest rated we could find.
The local Best Western has very affordable rates and great service. You only have to book one night with them to take advantage of their cruise parking and shuttle services. They offer pet rooms, in case you want to bring your dog along, and they have rooms with double, queen, or king beds.
To take advantage of the park and cruise option from Best Western, they do require you to schedule at least 3 days in advance. The rooms have a fridge, microwave, and coffee pot. You will have free wifi and cable, and a continental breakfast is available at no extra cost.
Break that down and you get a comfortable room with amenities, pool access, breakfast, shuttle service, and free parking for the duration of your cruise, all for one low price. Best Western is a nationwide company that prides itself on keeping its customers feeling happy and well cared for, so you can be sure this is a good choice if you decide to go the hotel park and stay route rather than the Port of Charleston parking lot.
|Location||1540 Savannah Highway Charleston, South Carolina 29407|
|Cost||Call or visit the website for pricing|
|Website||Best Western Charleston SC|
La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham
La Quinta Inn and Suites is very conveniently located within 3 miles of the port. They offer a pool, free WiFi, free breakfast, laundry services, and of course, free parking. They also include a free shuttle service to and from your cruise, although with how close it is to the port and how beautiful the scenery is, you may choose to walk.
La Quinta is situated right on the banks of the Ashley River. They have a beautiful patio on the roof allowing you to get amazing views of the river, the skyline, and the surrounding city. The sites surrounding this hotel include the Citadel, the river, the aquarium, and a golf course. This would be the perfect place to stay both before and after your cruise.
If you want a beautiful place to stay that offers lots of amenities with your parking and convenience, this is the hotel for you. It offers southern charm, fine hospitality, and convenience. They take pride in their guest services and the beauty around their building, so you can be sure your stay will be relaxing and full of high-quality service.
|Location||11 Ashley Point Dr, Charleston, SC|
|Cost||Varies. Call or book online|
|Website||La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham|
Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant
Hotel Indigo is a beautiful resort-like hotel that offers free parking for the duration of your cruise when you book at least one night with them. They offer real Carolina southern charm and an atmosphere to match.
Named after the beautiful indigo plants that were a large part of the economy of the area in the past, this hotel wants you to feel like you are truly getting to know what it should feel like to visit the deep south.
The amenities at Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant include a pool, free internet, a fitness center, a bar and lounge area on-premises, breakfast, and free transportation to and from the port for 2 people. More than 2 people will cost you more.
Hotel Indigo is the place to stay if you want to start your vacation in luxury. Their free parking and transportation service will allow you to maintain the level of relaxation you started with from their hotel to your cruise. The beautiful rooms and luxurious amenities will make you feel well cared for and ready for your cruise vacation.
|Location||250 Johnnie Dodds Blvd Hwy 17, Mount Pleasant, SC|
|Cost||Varies. Call or book online|
|Website||Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant|
Hampton Inn & Suites Charleston/West Ashley
The Hampton Inn and Suites in Charleston is a comfortable and clean hotel that offers great rates and many amenities. Complimentary beverage and breakfast services are available. There is a pool and fitness center for your convenience. They have safety deposit boxes available for the safety of your valuables and a coin-operated laundry facility.
If you are traveling with children this hotel may be one of the best on this list. They have cribs, high chairs, playpens, and other accommodations. They will transport you to and from the cruise line and allow you to leave your vehicle parked in their lot.
Call the hotel directly to get information on pricing and to book a room. They do not advertise their park and cruise packages on their website. They are a well-rated hotel with many basic luxuries that will allow you comfort and relaxation.
|Location||678 Citadel Haven Dr, Charleston, SC|
|Cost||Varies. Call the hotel for pricing|
|Website||Hampton Inn and Suites at Charleston|
Cambria Mount Pleasant Hotel
Cambria Mount Pleasant in Charleston is a newer, yet very highly rated hotel near downtown Charleston. It offers comfortable rooms that boast luxurious beds, flat-screen televisions, and Bath and Body Works products in the bathrooms.
Cambria also has a pool, fitness center, free WiFi, and an onsite bar and lounge area, restaurant, and relaxing patio seating. This hotel is the perfect start for a luxury vacation. Enjoy relaxation at the hotel while still staying close to the Charleston Port area. This hotel is 8 miles away, but they also provide guests with a $25 uber gift card to get you to and from your cruise port, along with offering free parking for the duration of your cruise.
Overall, Cambria Mount Pleasant Hotel in Charleston is a great option if what you are looking for is the height of luxury and an all-inclusive stay. They have amazing rooms, a highly rated bar, a great restaurant, room service, a sundry shop, fitness center, and many other amenities that cannot always be found in other hotels.
In case you decide to stay a few days before or after your cruise, there are also nearby sights to see, such as the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, Boone Hall Plantation, and Isle of Palms Beach. This hotel is the perfect place to round out your vacation.
|Location||1472 Highway 17 North, Mount Pleasant, SC|
|Cost||Varies. Call for pricing|
|Shuttle||No, but they do provide a gift card to cover your uber ride|
|Website||Cambria Mount Pleasant|
Port of Charleston Parking FAQ
The main parking at the port offers security and convenience. The Carnival parking lot is also convenient and secure, with the added benefit of being in a covered building with luggage transport and a shuttle. The Park and Go may be further away, but it will save you a ton of money while still keeping your vehicle secure. They also have added services, like car washing and detailing.
Choosing to come into beautiful Charleston in advance and stay at one of the wonderful hotels is also a great option, and many of them offer convenient cruise parking. When you choose a park and cruise package, you get all of the amenities of the great hotels in the area, as well as the added benefit of having a place you can leave your vehicle safe while you are gone.
You can choose a hotel based entirely on the lowest cost, or the highest luxury. Some of the hotels that offer park and cruise on this list are cheaper than it would cost to pay for parking alone, while others may be pricier but they offer extravagance and convenience.
Whether you choose the convenient, yet the pricier option of staying at one of the main port parking facilities, or decide to stay the night at one of Charlestons beautiful hotels, you will be sure to get your money’s worth.
Getting ready to go on a cruise can be both exhilarating and anxiety-inducing. There are so many plans to make and details to attend to that you may forget that it is meant to be a vacation. You may still need to decide which cruise to take. Maybe you have yet to decide how long you want to stay gone. Rest assured that finding parking does not need to be a hassle with this guide on where to park in Charleston for your cruise vacation.
Also Read: 26 Most Ideal Hotels Near Charleston SC Cruise Port
Where you park is important, but the most important part of any cruise vacation is to have fun. Follow our guide Port of Charleston parking, and you will have one more box checked off the list on your way to luxury and relaxation on your next cruise trip!