Tours & Attractions in Charleston
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or beachgoer, Charleston has something to offer everyone. In this guide, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of the must-visit sites and experiences that make Charleston a unique destination. From historic landmarks and fascinating museums to picturesque gardens and beautiful beaches, we’ll explore the best that Charleston has to offer. So, sit back and get ready to immerse yourself in the charm and beauty of this incredible city.
Take A Tour
Charleston Harbor Tours
- Daily Harbor Tours
Conveniently departing from Downtown Charleston, a Daily Harbor Tour is a wonderful way to see an array of Charleston landmarks from a whole new perspective! Book here.
- Charleston Lady
Grab a group of friends and hop aboard the Charleston Lady – this smaller boat is perfect for celebrations with family and friends! Book here.
- Sailboat Cruises
Climb aboard Charleston’s only 3-mast sailboat and choose from a Daytime Dolphin Sail, Sunset Sail, or Full Moon Sail. Book here.
Palmetto Carriage Works
- Daytime Group Carriage Ride – Residential District
Take a step back in time and experience Charleston as one would have in the past! A Daytime Carriage tour is one of the best ways to explore all that the Holy City has to offer, all from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage! Click here to book.
- Evening Tour of the Commercial District
Take your Charleston history knowledge to a whole new level with an evening tour of the Holy Cities commercial district! This perfect pre-dinner activity is sure to be an experience you will remember! Click here to book.
- Daytime/Evening Private Carriage Rides
Looking for something a little more one on one? If so, look no further than a private carriage tour! With availability in both the daytime and the evening, this is an excellent activity for a small group or party of two! Click here to book.
- Ghost Tours
Get to know one of America’s most beloved cities and all the ghosts that come along with it! From The Spirit of Magnolia Cemetery Tour to the USS Yorktown Ghost Tour, there is something spooky for everyone! For a full list of Ghost Tours offered through Bulldog Tours, click here.
- Food Tours
With so much delicious food in Charleston, things might get overwhelming. Make sure you try a little bit of everything with a food tour through Bulldog Tours! From South of Broad to Upper King Street, all the way to Shem Creek, there is a food tour of all the major stops in Charleston! Check out the full list of offered food tours here.
- History Tours
Explore Charleston’s extensive history while accompanied by a knowledgeable, licensed tour guide! You will be shocked by what you discover! For a full list of History Tours offered through Bulldog Tours, click here.
Visit A Local Attraction
Spend the day exploring Sullivan Island’s “must-see” historical attraction, Fort Moultrie. Take a step back in time and explore this notable fort, which suffered an attack before it was even completed in 1776. Today, guests can move through different periods in American history, from the Revolutionary War to World War II.
International African American Museum
After 20 years of planning, the International African American Museum has finally opened its doors! The newly finished museum sits upon the African Ancestors Memorial Garden, the exact location where so many captive Africans first set foot in America. This highly anticipated museum plans to use untold stories of African Americans to educate, empower, and inspire its visitors properly. Link to museum guide here.
The Fort Sumter tour company offers the only tour with boats that dock at Fort Sumter, the site of the first shots fired in the American Civil War. The 30-minute ferry ride from Charleston is relaxing and educational. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by National Park Service rangers who will provide further details about the fort and its pivotal role in the war. Be sure to keep your eye out for dolphins during the ferry ride!
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Charleston boasts an incredible naval museum, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, located at the mouth of the Cooper River. This landmark, housed in an aircraft carrier, includes a Vietnam Experience Exhibit and a Medal of Honor museum. While you are there, make sure to ask plenty of questions. The guides at Patriot’s Point are passionate and eager to educate guests! Link to museum guide here.
South Carolina Aquarium
With an award-winning education team, this local marine exhibit features 5,000 animals along with conservation programs to protect local species. Take a journey through all their exhibits, ranging from the mountains to the ocean, and prepare to be left speechless by all the aquarium has to offer. Click here for more information.
The Charleston Museum is hailed as “America’s First Museum,” as it was established by the Charleston Library Society on the eve of the American Revolution. The museum closed temporarily due to the Civil War but opened again shortly after. Today, the Museum contains the most comprehensive collection of South Carolina materials in the US. Link to museum guide here.
If it’s plantations you’re interested in, we recommend visiting Middleton Place. Middleton Place is only a 15-minute drive from downtown, yet it feels about a thousand miles away from reality. Built by the wealthy Middleton family, this was once a rice plantation and one of the grandest estates on the east coast.
Nathanial Russel House
Originally from Bristol, Rhode Island, Nathaniel Russell arrived in Charleston in 1765. Through his lucrative endeavors, Nathaniel constructed a townhome at 51 Meeting Street for himself and his family, which they moved into in 1808. For its time, the home was truly outstanding- complete with breathtaking gardens, geometrically shaped rooms, complex plasterwork ornamentation, and its most defining feature, a three-story, cantilevered, flying staircase. Today, the Nathaniel Ruddell House has been restored to its 1808 appearance. Link to historic homes guide here.
St. Michael's Church
With construction first starting in 1752 and completion of the church in 1761, St. Michael’s Church is the oldest church in the Holy City. One of the church’s most notable visitors was the first President of the United States, George Washington; during his visit to Charleston in 1791, Washington stopped in for a prayer. St. Michael’s Church stands on the crossroads of the “Four Corners of the Law,” where you will find City Hall, the County Courthouse, the United States Post Office, and the Federal Courthouse. Link to historic church guide here.
Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon was built in 1771 as a commercial exchange and custom house. Over the last 250 years, it has also been a post office, city hall, and military headquarters before becoming a museum.
Shop at the Historic City Market
Founded in 1804, the Charleston City Market is a living testament to the city’s rich history. A revered hub for merchants, it ranks among the most frequented markets in the United States.
From sweetgrass baskets and pottery to jewelry and clothing, the Charleston City Market has something for everyone. So come and experience the magic of the holidays at one of the most charming and festive markets in the country. Click here for our Shopping Guide.
Hit the Beach
White Point Garden
White Point Garden is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Located in the historic district of Charleston, it features stunning views of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. There are plenty of park benches available to relax and enjoy the views, but we recommend grabbing a blanket and stretching out on the lush green grass under the large shady oak trees.
We hope this guide has inspired you to plan your visit to Charleston and explore its rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty. Whether you decide to take a carriage ride through the historic district or wander through the exhibits of the Charleston Museum, the Holy City promises unforgettable experiences at every turn. Don't forget to check out our other blog posts for more travel tips and recommendations. Remember, Charleston is waiting to welcome you with open arms, so start planning your adventure today. Safe travels!