Charleston is best explored on a walking tour or in a horse-drawn carriage with your driver telling stories about city landmarks. Learn about military history and the Southern way of life. Sample local foods of shrimp and grits, Lowcountry barbecue, collard greens and sweet pralines.
The American Civil War began here, when the seceding Confederacy fired upon and overtook federal Fort Sumter in the Charleston River. A later Union attack reduced the fort to rubble. Take a ferry to see the historic site, which also contains a complete timeline of U.S. naval activities along the Atlantic Ocean coastline.
Across the harbor, walk along The Battery and White Point Garden to gaze at the fort, now a national monument. Reflect on this pivotal moment in U.S. history. Turn around to view pretty antebellum houses surrounded by flowers in this neighborhood known as South of Broad. The writer Pat Conroy lived here. Many of his popular novels reveal not only Charleston’s geography, but also its cultural nuances.
To the west, the brilliant white Romanesque architecture of The Citadel gleams against a bright blue Charleston sky. Watch military cadets in dress uniforms during weekly parades or competing in weekend football games against other Southern colleges in the fall.
Nearby visit Middleton Place, a 1755 plantation with one of the nation’s earliest landscaped gardens. Something blooms here at any time of year. You might see an alligator sunning itself next to the Ashley River.
To the east, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is an impressive modern structure, especially with its triangular arches illuminated at night. Walk, bike or drive across for excellent views of the river and harbor or run across during the Cooper River Bridge 10K Run in early April.
Spring’s Spoleto Festival offers opera, theater, dance, music and artist talks. Throughout the year, visit the Charleston Historic Market to purchase locally made handicrafts. Famous hand-woven sweetgrass baskets, once used during rice harvesting, are still made by locals and treasured as artworks.
Historical Buildings, Tours and Architecture
Tour an aircraft carrier that earned its battle stars in World War II and the Vietnam War.
Purchase food, jewelry and handicrafts in the market and learn about local tradition, the Civil War and slavery at its museum.
Learn about American military heroes, climb aboard the vessels in the harbor and sleep the night in the quarters of a ship.
Stroll the city’s waterfront esplanades at sunset, when the afternoon sun begins to dip and the harbor is lit with soft colors.
See an array of aquatic creatures, including an albino alligator, in underwater habitats ranging from salt marshes to coastal plains.
Turtles, alligators and birds abound in this former plantation, now swampland, gardens, lakes and forest.
Sit in the lap of luxury as you cruise the streets of Charleston in style and comfort, on an amazing carriage ride. Expert guidance, professionalism and knowledge await your arrival to explore this iconic destination.
Immerse yourself in the colonial past, American heritage, and pre-war beauty of Charleston on this tour of the city's historic heart. After scoping out landmarks from Rainbow Row to the City Market, visit a restored mansion for a true glimpse of what life was like here in the country's early days.
Encounter the best that Charleston has to offer on this informative and memorable walking tour devoted to the city's history.
Feel the magic of Charleston on a pair of tours that show you the best of this venerable city. A relaxing ride takes you to the historic homes and landmarks that fill the town, and then a boat cruise on Charleston Harbor shows you the gentle waters that helped shape American history.
On this 35 minute tour you will have an opportunity to see the “Holy City” during the best part of the day. The Evening Tour of Historic Charleston is an abbreviated version of the Daytime Tour allowing guests to see the highlights of this beautiful city in just over a half an hour.
Itinerary What You'll See: Waterfront Park, City Market, Rainbow Row Pass By: Rainbow Row, 83 - 107 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29415
Making a menu of one of the premiere foodie destinations
Hitting the road (or water) for day trips from Charleston
Experiencing the charm of Charleston, his way and her way