Charleston is a great city with drawbacks
I lived in Charleston for 7 years before moving on to Denver CO. I have also decided that Denver is not for me, but that's another story.
Charleston is a great place. The history and museums are wonderful. The beaches and greenery are beautiful - something I didn't think I would miss living out west. What I wouldn't give for a good ol' summer thunderstorm out here. There are a few things that I didn't find desirable about Charleston:
1. The cost of living. Cost of living really shot up over the 7 years that I lived there. COL in Charleston is actually right on par with Denver with Denver slightly more expensive. That's crazy to think about given the population and size differences between the two cities. Another thing to keep in mind is that Denver has a higher minimum wage and wages overall with a job market better than the national average
2. The population growth. The city wasn't meant to support the population levels being pushed on it. Geographically, Charleston is experiencing something similar to what San Francisco experienced. There's simply no where for the city to expand to. Infrastructure is not supported by high enough taxes (or they're mismanaged) and so the infrastructure is over capacity and is crumbling. Two bridges collapsed in the time that I lived there. Two lanes on an interstate aren't going to cut it. I have friends living there that commute from Summerville to West Ashley and it takes them 1.5 hours one way. 20 miles. At that point you're talking about Los Angeles driving conditions.
3. Humidity. Yuck. I had really bad eczema breakouts from the humidity and tree pollen. I still have minor ones in Denver from the dry winters but my skin was constantly wet and raw in the humidity. It was sweltering and hard to spend time outside in. I can say it was pleasant in spring and fall but the summers were rough. Dry heat out west is pretty brutal in its own way. Although I like dry over the humid, I think the best would be similar to SoCal weather in April. 77 with sunny weather, low humidity, and a refreshing breeze. If there's a place like that year round y'all let me know.
4. The bugs. Omg the bugs. I hate so many things about living at high altitudes in Denver but my favorite thing is that cockroaches and mosquitos can't tolerate it so we're free of them for the most part in summer. I've seen 1 cockroach since living in CO.
5. The politics and the culture. You will go back in time for sure on this one. There is a lot of ignorance in the south overall. I find conservatives in the south to be extremely intolerable in comparison to conservative midwesterners. The conservative midwesterners tend to be much more tolerant and less racist than what you will find down in the old south. It was a breath of fresh air to come out to Denver and the midwest. It tends to be more left out here but Colorado is a swing state and you find that the people overall tend to be more centrist and less tribal
6. Lack of opportunity overall. This is the main reason that I left. I got laid off and couldn't afford to live in Charleston anymore. Unless you work in a few niche industries, then there aren't many job opportunities in Charleston, SC, or the southeast overall. If you're tolerating the other conditions in Charleston okay (traffic, weather, population) and you're thinking of leaving then I say definitely look at bigger cities in other places where there are better job opportunities.
If you don't have to care so much about work/are retired/etc and don't have to commute in, then living there is great. If money is no object, Sullivan's Island is a great place to call home. Unfortunately, that's not the case for the majority of the population there.
Summer | Aurora, CO