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COVID-19 Service Alert: Cruising returns May 28! Read about our safety information.

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A Local’s Guide to Charleston

Charleston Tours And Events

Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and hospitable people, Charleston is a popular tourist destination. Charleston is split into six distinct districts, anchored by downtown, which is often referred to as the “Peninsula.” With the Ashley River to the west and the Cooper River to the east, water is an integral part of life in Charleston, as one of the iconic coastal cities on the Atlantic Ocean.

There’s no better way to experience the city of Charleston, from both the water and on land, than with Charleston Tours & Events. From their iconic Harbor Tour aboard the Carolina Belle, to one of their numerous combo tours, where you’re able to pair a harbor tour with one of many walking or bus tours that explore the most picturesque and memorable Charleston locations, Charleston Harbor Tours is your one-stop-shop for seeing and experiencing the best of the Holy City.

For a general overview of the city, it’s hard to top the Charleston Harbor Tour. This 90-minute relaxing and scenic excursion is narrated by the boat captain, who gives you facts and history as you view over 75 landmarks and points of interest that helped shape United States history, including:

  • Fort Sumter, one of Charleston’s most popular landmarks, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired
  • Confederate and Union army forts Moultrie and Johnson
  • Michael’s Church, a survivor of both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the steeple of this church was painted black during both wars to not stand out and be an easy target
  • Stately homes on the Battery, symbols of Southern elegance and perseverance, these gorgeous homes reflect both the past and present of Charleston
  • Cooper River Bridges, including the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge, a state-of-the-art span that accommodates some of the largest ships in the world

 

If being out on the water isn’t your thing, there are plenty of on-land tours that give you an up-close-and-personal look at Charleston.

Get a true Lowcountry experience with Adventure Sightseeing and Charleston Tours & Events, with a guided tour of one of America’s first tourist attractions, the resplendent Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, followed by a 90-minute City Tour. Dating from 1676, this plantation and its world-famous gardens have been owned by the Drayton family for 15 generations. The Magnolia Plantation Tour brings you back in time during its 30-minute tour of the old southern mansion and then offers such wildlife as alligators, egrets, herons, and turtles on the nearly 600-acre plantation. The City Tour gives you an up-close look at all the landmarks in and around downtown Charleston including in-depth looks at the Citadel and the Old City Market, as well as many of the cities 210 churches.

Boone Hall Plantation is another landmark that is a must-see for any visitor to Charleston. Highlights of the Boone Hall Plantation Tour include:

  • Historic brick slave cabins, a smokehouse, and a cotton gin
  • A butterfly garden featuring antique roses, camellias, and other native South Carolina plants
  • The stunning “Avenue of the Oaks” that lead up to the plantation, which is featured in the movie, “The Notebook,” and was the sight of the 2012 wedding of actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively

Other fun tours that give visitors a great look at Charleston are the Ghost and Graveyard Tour, and the Haunted Jail Tour. The Graveyard Tour gives you an exclusive opportunity to walk inside the gates of one of Charleston’s oldest graveyards after dark. While other walking tours are looking through the fence, you’ll be on the inside, exploring the graveyard’s dark corners and closely inspecting the headstones. Your guide will give you the history of Charleston’s graveyards and tell stories of famous people who found their final resting place in Charleston.

The Haunted Jail is a behind-the-scenes look at the Old City Jail, which housed some of Charleston’s most infamous criminals, 19th-century pirates and Civil War prisoners. The Old City Jail was in operation from 1802 until 1939, and most of the building’s original structures remain intact including the cells and warden’s quarters. The tour takes you through the cells, hallways and into the places where Charleston’s worst criminals lived and died.

For the ultimate Charleston experience and a great way to get the most bang for your buck, we suggest the ever-popular Tri-Combo Tour, that provides great savings on three of the most popular tours in Charleston: the Harbor Tour, the Palmetto Carriage Works Carriage Ride, and a trip to Boone Hall Plantation. This tour is the perfect way to see so many of the iconic sights of Charleston at a reduced rate.

With numerous beaches, plantations, and gorgeous homes everywhere you look, Charleston is a city to be savored. Downtown Charleston is chock full of great places to stay, to explore, and to eat and drink. Charleston is an iconic city of the South, and a visit is a must on any traveler’s bucket list!