Things to do in
Charleston

The epitome of good ole Southern charm and charisma, it's no surprise that the Charleston dance originated here.

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Our most recommended things to do in Charleston

Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket with Roundtrip Ferry

Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket with Roundtrip Ferry

Enjoy a ferry ride to the grounds of Fort Sumter and explore the grounds at your own pace. Pass by the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and take in the sights of Charleston’s stately Rainbow Row and Battery homes. As you approach Fort Sumter, graceful sailboats and playful dolphins add to the photogenic scene. If you depart from Mt. Pleasant you will enjoy views of the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier from up-close, while tours embarking from downtown will see Aquarium Wharf as they depart and return. Arrive at The Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, which sits prominently at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, a strategic location that was crucial to its defense.  While here, explore the grounds of Fort Sumter. Stand on the grounds where America’s deadliest war began at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. The first shots were fired here, igniting a conflict that saw more than 700,000 casualties. Experience the opening battle of the American Civil War and explore its origins with a National Park Ranger. Your approximate 1-hour visit to Fort Sumter allows ample time to explore well-preserved fort ruins and browse Museum Store souvenirs. A visit to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park provides a window into the life and trials of America’s heroes, from the Civil War to today’s modern conflicts. Learn about the events leading to the war from knowledgeable National Park Rangers who will relay stories of courageous heroes in action from the Civil War’s first battle. Walk in the steps of those who shaped this nation alongside a National Park Ranger. Then enjoy the beautiful views of the city as you ride the ferry back to Charleston.

Charleston: Historical Downtown Tour by Horse-drawn Carriage

Charleston: Historical Downtown Tour by Horse-drawn Carriage

Ride in a traditional horse-drawn carriage through historic downtown Charleston on a guided tour. Listen to live commentary about the city as you pass by the Charleston Harbor, Rainbow Row, King Street, White Point Gardens, and Charleston Battery. Begin the tour at the activity provider's stables. Board a beautiful custom-built carriage and depart from the barn. Ride toward the city gate, located in the Old City Market. Learn about the city's rich history from a professional guide while traveling aboard a unique vehicle. Gaze at vibrant neighborhoods and elegant buildings from your seat. Experience the highlights of the historic downtown area, such as Charleston Harbor, Rainbow Row, 4 Corners of Law, King Street, White Point Gardens, and the Charleston Battery. Take in informative and entertaining commentary from your guide, before arriving back at the stables.

Charleston: Luxury Harbor Dinner Cruise

Charleston: Luxury Harbor Dinner Cruise

Embark on a true Charleston Harbor dining experience aboard the Spirit of Carolina. Enjoy a three-course dinner, made to order from local seasonal ingredients. As you dine on a delicious multi-course plated dinner, cruise through the beautiful Charleston Harbor, past Fort Sumter, along the Battery and beneath the Ravenel Bridge. Take in the views from the large enclosed air-conditioned dining decks or the open-air observation deck. Enjoy music throughout the cruise, as well as a full-service bar. Dinner menu: Soup: Charleston she-crab soup Salad: Edisto green salad with a blend of baby lettuce, dried cranberries, crumbled feta cheese, and toasted almonds with herb vinaigrette (gluten-free) Entrées: (All entrees include freshly baked bread and butter) • Braised short rib of beef (gluten-free, dairy-free) with cabernet reduction, roasted garlic whipped potatoes (gluten-free), and seasonal vegetables (gluten-free)• Seared wing tip chicken breast (gluten-free) with white wine lemon sauce, sautéed spinach and feta cheese fillings, roasted garlic whipped potatoes (gluten-free), and seasonal vegetables (gluten-free)• Low country shrimp and grits (gluten-free) with sautéed shrimp, tasso ham, and andouille sausage. Served on creamy stone-ground grits and topped with aged cheddar cheese and bacon jam garnish• Roasted sliced cauliflower (dairy-free, vegetarian) with roasted red pepper drizzle, wilted spinach, lemon and olive oil mixed ancient grains of quinoa, farro, toasted barley (dairy-free, vegetarian), and grilled asparagus (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian) Desserts: • New York-style cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream • Chocolate pot de crème (gluten-free) with whipped cream and chocolate shavings ($6.00 each) Food is not prepared in a nut-free, shellfish-free, or gluten-free facility.

Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

Cruise through the Charleston Harbor on an old-fashioned 1920s-Bay-Steamer-replica yacht. Enjoy live narration from the captain and purchase treats from a fully-stocked drink and snack bar. See the Civil and Revolutionary war sights and keep an eye out for dolphins. Relax in the enclosed observatory or on the partially-covered upper deck. Listen carefully as your captain guides you on a journey through more than 300 years of American history. You’ll pass by 75 landmarks and points-of-interest on this 20-mile trip. Get close-up views of the “Holy City,” including Fort Sumter - where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Glide past Confederate and Union army forts and see the famous “Fighting Lady” of World War II. Pass by remnants of the Civil and Revolutionary wars and look for local wildlife like dolphins and pelicans splashing nearby. Choose between indoor or outdoor seating.

Charleston: Sightseeing Harbor Tour & Dolphin Watch

Charleston: Sightseeing Harbor Tour & Dolphin Watch

Take in the amazing sights of Charleston Harbor on a boat tour with live narration from a guide. Gain insight into the history of Charleston while you glide through the gentle waves of the harbor, passing by the Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney, and more. Depart from Patriots Point or Aquarium Wharf as you cruise along the coastline of the beautiful Holy City. Hear enthralling tales of the city’s colorful past as well as scintillating facts about its most interesting former citizens. Make sure to bring your camera to capture famous American landmarks such as Fort Sumter, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney, and other sites from Charleston's past and present.

Charleston: Haunted Carriage Evening Tour

Charleston: Haunted Carriage Evening Tour

Listen to spine-tingling tales of prisoners, rogues, and pirates that make up the history of Charleston. Cover over 300 years of history from the comfort of your carriage. Mysterious alleys and cobblestones await as your expert guide leads you through Historic Charleston on a 40-minute Haunted Carriage Tour. Start the tour at Old South Carriage Company's stables where the tour explores the 15 block core that comprises Historic Charleston. Along the way you will see Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, Circular Congregational Church and Graveyard, Charleston City Market, and St. Michael's Episcopal Church. All tour guides of this activity are members of the Palmetto Guild, which indicates that they have successfully passed a comprehensive examination of the history of Charleston.

Charleston: Historic City Highlights Guided Bus Tour

Charleston: Historic City Highlights Guided Bus Tour

Accompanied by a knowledgeable, local guide, pass by 100 of Charleston’s most iconic sights of the past and present whilst listening to amazing tales and anecdotes about the city. On your tour, travel through some of the city’s most historic parts. Visit Charleston’s Historic Homes, The Battery Sea Wall, the Four Corners of Law, and Rainbow Row to name but a few. Other highlights of the tour include several historic churches, old markets, and picturesque neighborhoods.

Charleston: Sunset Harbor Cruise

Charleston: Sunset Harbor Cruise

Discover Charleston harbor in the evening on a sunset cruise by power catamaran. Watch as the city skyline comes alive with glimmering lights as you admire landmarks like the historic Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, and Fort Sumter. Set off from the Maritime Center and cruise through the surrounding waterways of Charleston Harbor. Keep an eye out for dolphins and shore birds and take in the sights and sounds as the sun sets. Admire the sights of the historic forts, the Battery, the islands, and the lighthouses. See the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from a different perspective as you cruise beneath it. Enjoy the views of the Charleston skyline as it becomes illuminated for the evening. Relax and choose to purchase some drinks or snacks from the onboard bar as you take in the sights.

Charleston: Magnolia Plantation Entry & Tour with Transport

Charleston: Magnolia Plantation Entry & Tour with Transport

Witness a slice of living history at Magnolia Plantation and its world-famous gardens, owned by the Drayton family for 12 generations. Visit the Historic Gardens, Petting Zoo, and The Conservatory. Begin your half-day tour by boarding a climate-controlled coach in Charleston. Meet your professional guide and ride to Magnolia Plantation, dating from 1676 and the time of the British colony. Step into one of America's first tourist attractions and first public gardens, which have been open to the public since 1870. Take a guided walk through America's last large-scale romantic garden. Experience history on a 45-minute narrated tram ride through the Audobon Swamp Gardens and visit important locations like Drayton Home (not Drayton Hall), Orientation Theater, and the Old African American Cabin.

Charleston: History and Architecture Guided Walking Tour

Charleston: History and Architecture Guided Walking Tour

Experience the best of Charleston with this popular History and Architecture Tour of Charleston’s Historic Downtown. Take an immersive journey through secret alleys and colorful corridors, uncovering the city’s rich history and colorful architecture. Expert guides will provide fascinating insights into Charleston’s past and present, making this tour an unforgettable experience. The tour starts in the Historic Downtown. From there your guide will lead you through the South of Broad the French Quarter Districts with their charming architecture, cobblestone streets and historic homes, and finishes at the famous Pineapple Fountain. Highlights include visits to three hidden alleys, the beautiful wrought iron work on centuries old gates, visiting the interior of St Michaels Church, the Dock St Theatre and the Old Exchange (all subject to availability), famous Rainbow Row, bustling City Market and historic St Philip’s Church.

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What people are saying about Charleston

Overall rating

4.6
(6,518 reviews)

Our guide, Philip, was fantastic!!! We ended up having a private tour and he was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Philip accommodated our walking pace and directed us to the cleanest restrooms. The only issue was your website needs to updated the length and distance of the tour.

This ghost tour met and exceeded our expectations. It was a small group size, our guide was a local which meant she had a great knowledge of Charleston’s haunted past. Would definitely recommend and look forward to going on one of her other tours in the future!

Teddy was absolutely great! Went on a practice loop before heading out onto the roads and saw some really cool sites with lots of laughs along the way!

Captain Robert and Victor were so much fun. Was an amazing way to complete our last night in Charleston.

The tour guide, John, was excellent - very knowledgeable! Jason, his horse, was great too!