Trip time! Discover the history, churches, and architecture in Charleston.

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.

Known for

Historical Buildings, Tours and Architecture

Top Hotels in Charleston

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
4 out of 5
20 Patriots Point Rd, Mount Pleasant, SC
$119
per night
Sep 22 - Sep 23
4/5Very Good! (2,310 reviews)

"Pool and facilities were amazing! Wi-fi was a little temperamental."…"

Reviewed on Sep 13, 2019

Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
Image for Best Western Plus Airport Inn & Suites
Best Western Plus Airport Inn & Suites
2.5 out of 5
2470 Prospect Dr, North Charleston, SC
$93
per night
Sep 25 - Sep 26
3.9/5Very Good! (1,713 reviews)

"Check in was quick and staff was pleasant. Breakfast staff was very friendly and asked if I need any assistance and any else I may need. They greeted us we we were in line to get breakfast. Clean room, clean restroom. Overall it was a good stay."…"

Reviewed on Sep 20, 2019

Best Western Plus Airport Inn & Suites
Image for The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
4 out of 5
115 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
$179
per night
Sep 22 - Sep 23
4.4/5Excellent! (1,938 reviews)

"Location is absolutely perfect Very quiet and comfortable Food in the restaurant is quite good as well. I will stay again on my next trip to Charleston"…"

Reviewed on Sep 17, 2019

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

Popular things to do in Charleston

USS Yorktown
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USS Yorktown

Tour an aircraft carrier that earned its battle stars in World War II and the Vietnam War.

Charleston City Market
Image for Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market

Purchase food, jewelry and handicrafts in the market and learn about local tradition, the Civil War and slavery at its museum.

Patriots Point
Image for Patriots Point

Patriots Point

Learn about American military heroes, climb aboard the vessels in the harbor and sleep the night in the quarters of a ship.

Waterfront Park
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Waterfront Park

Stroll the city’s waterfront esplanades at sunset, when the afternoon sun begins to dip and the harbor is lit with soft colors.

South Carolina Aquarium
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South Carolina Aquarium

See an array of aquatic creatures, including an albino alligator, in underwater habitats ranging from salt marshes to coastal plains.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Image for Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Turtles, alligators and birds abound in this former plantation, now swampland, gardens, lakes and forest.

Top activities in Charleston

Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston
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Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

$28

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.

Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour
Image for Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour

Historic City Tour & Southern Mansion Tour

$32

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.

Historic City Walking Tour
Image for Historic City Walking Tour

Historic City Walking Tour

$18

Encounter the best that Charleston has to offer on this informative and memorable walking tour devoted to the city's history.

Historic City Landmarks Tour & Harbor Cruise
Image for Historic City Landmarks Tour & Harbor Cruise

Historic City Landmarks Tour & Harbor Cruise

$45

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.

Evening Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston
Image for Evening Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

Evening Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

$18

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.

Let's Roam Charleston Scavenger Hunt
Image for Let's Roam Charleston Scavenger Hunt

Let's Roam Charleston Scavenger Hunt

$12

Itinerary What You'll See: Waterfront Park, City Market, Rainbow Row Pass By: Rainbow Row, 83 - 107 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29415

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Charleston

10 can’t-miss restaurants in Charleston
Image for 10 can’t-miss restaurants in Charleston

10 can’t-miss restaurants in Charleston

Making a menu of one of the premiere foodie destinations

Four fun day trips from Charleston
Image for Four fun day trips from Charleston

Four fun day trips from Charleston

Hitting the road (or water) for day trips from Charleston

Charleston two ways
Image for Charleston two ways

Charleston two ways

Experiencing the charm of Charleston, his way and her way

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