Welcome to our guide on the best attractions and things to do in Charleston! This southern city, known for its rich history, charming architecture, and delicious food scene, has become a popular destination for travelers from all over the world. With so much to see and do, planning your itinerary can be overwhelming. Whether you’re interested in exploring historical landmarks, strolling through beautiful parks, or indulging in some southern hospitality, we’ve got you covered. So, grab a sweet tea and get ready to discover the best of Charleston!
The 6 Best Things to Do with Kids in Charleston
- Charleston Speed Boat Adventures
- Charleston Historical Downtown Tour by Horse Drawn Carriage
- Charleston Multi Attraction Pass
- Charleston Tour Pass
- Charleston Ghost and Dungeon Walking Tour
- Charleston Haunted Pub Crawl of the Market
The 6 Best Things to Do with Kids in Charleston
1. Charleston Speed Boat Adventures
Charleston Speed Boat Adventures is a guided tour of Charleston Harbor that allows you to get behind the wheel of an F13 speedboat. This fully guided and narrated tour includes a safety briefing and boating lesson, as well as a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket. With a small-group limit of eight people or fewer, you’ll be able to enjoy an immersive tour experience that will take you to top Charleston Harbor attractions such as the USS Yorktown. You’ll stop for photo ops at points of interest and optionally change drivers throughout the tour. Hotel pickup and drop off are also included, as well as a safety orientation. Meet at Ripley Light Marina located at 56 Ashley Point Dr Charleston SC 29407 USA and get ready for an exciting adventure!
2. Charleston Historical Downtown Tour by Horse Drawn Carriage
Experience the 350-year history of Charleston on a horse-drawn carriage tour of its historic downtown district. With the services of a licensed tour guide, discover the city’s iconic landmarks including the Charleston Harbor, Rainbow Row, King Street, White Point Gardens, and Charleston Battery. Listen to live commentary about the city as you ride through the residential neighborhood and learn about the history that dates back to 1670. Experience the sights of the city and discover places that you could visit later on your own. Restroom facilities are available for use, and it is recommended to tip your guide for their services. Book your tickets for the Charleston Historical Downtown Tour by Horse Drawn Carriage now for an unforgettable experience.
3. Charleston Multi Attraction Pass
Looking for a budget-friendly way to experience Charleston’s top attractions? Look no further than the Charleston Multi Attraction Pass. With a 1, 2, or 3-day pass, you’ll enjoy instant access to over 40 of the city’s top tours, attractions, and historic sites. Plus, with skip-the-line privileges and a 100% digital pass, you can save time and hassle while getting the most out of your visit.
With the Charleston Multi Attraction Pass, you’ll get admission to popular destinations like Fort Sumter, ghost tours, plantations, museums, carriage and bus tours, historic house museums, and cultural sites. And with the ability to use your pass on non-consecutive days, you can plan your itinerary around your schedule.
Best of all, the Charleston Multi Attraction Pass offers significant savings – up to 40% or more – off of regular admission prices. And with a mobile pass, skip-the-line access, and instant reservations, you’ll have everything you need to make the most of your visit to Charleston.
So if you’re looking for an affordable and convenient way to see the best of Charleston, consider the Charleston Multi Attraction Pass. With admission to dozens of top attractions, skip-the-line privileges, and money-saving discounts, it’s the perfect way to enjoy all that Charleston has to offer.
4. Charleston Tour Pass
If you are planning a visit to Charleston, then the Charleston Tour Pass is an option you may want to consider. With this pass, you can get admission to over 30 top tours, attractions, and restaurants in the city. You have the option to choose a 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day pass. The best part is that the days do not have to be consecutive, and you can use them anytime within a 10-day window, making it a flexible option to consider. With the pass, you get to skip long lines, enjoy special discounts at local restaurants, and have transportation to attractions taken care of. Some of the tours included are a carriage ride or trolley tour, along with skip-the-line access to select Charleston museums and plantations. See the Nathaniel Russell House, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, and many more stops with this pass. All taxes, fees, and handling charges, along with gratuities, are included in the cost of the pass. Consider the Charleston Tour Pass to make the most of your time in this historic city.
5. Charleston Ghost and Dungeon Walking Tour
The Charleston Ghost and Dungeon Walking Tour is a spine-tingling adventure that will take you around the oldest parts of Charleston, deeply steeped in South Carolina’s low country superstitions. Accompanied by a licensed guide, explore the Holy City’s streets, back alleys, and churches, and hear chilling stories of ghosts and local legends that still haunt its historic district.
One of the tour’s highlights is a visit to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, where you will learn about its harrowing past confining enslaved individuals, American revolutionaries, and British soldiers. The tour will take you through the eerie back alleys and churches to discover why Charleston is known as “The Holy City.”
The tour includes a licensed guide who will help you uncover the darkest secrets of Charleston’s past. However, please note that food and drinks are not included in the tour price, and tips are optional.
Do you have the courage to take a walk on the spooky side and learn more about Charleston’s haunting history? Book now and find out!
6. Charleston Haunted Pub Crawl of the Market
Learn about Charleston’s haunted past and enjoy local brews or wine during a haunted pub crawl of the market, a designated National Heritage site. Accompanied by an expert guide, hear tales of the ghosts that haunt some of the local establishments and explore the city’s sordid and seedy affairs. Discover low-country superstitions such as Plateyes and Boo Hags and hear the terrifying story of Rumpty Rattles. This tour is not suitable for people under 21 years and includes a licensed tour guide, hotel pickup, food, and gratuities.
Frequently Asked Questions About the City Charleston
Charleston is a city full of history, charm, and culture. As a popular travel destination in the South, many people have questions about what to expect when visiting this beautiful city. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Charleston.
1. What is the best time of year to visit Charleston?
Charleston is a great city to visit year-round, but the best time to go is in the spring or fall. The weather during these times is pleasant, and there are plenty of events and things to do. The summer months can be hot and humid, and hurricanes are a possibility in late summer and early fall. The winter months can be chilly, but the city is still beautiful during this time and there are fewer crowds.
2. What are some must-see attractions in Charleston?
Charleston has a rich history and there are many historical sites to see. Some of the must-see attractions include:
- The Battery: This is a beautiful waterfront park and promenade, where you can take a stroll and enjoy views of Fort Sumter and the Atlantic Ocean
- Fort Sumter National Monument: This is the site of the first battle of the Civil War and is accessible by boat only
- Historic Charleston City Market: This is a popular shopping destination in the city, with vendors selling handmade crafts and souvenirs
- Charleston Waterfront Park: This is a popular park with great views of the Charleston Harbor, fountains, and a large pier
- Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens: This is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved plantations in the area, with guided tours of the grounds and buildings
3. What are some great restaurants in Charleston?
Charleston is a foodie’s paradise, with many great restaurants offering Southern cuisine and fresh seafood. Some of the top restaurants in Charleston include:
- The Ordinary
- The Darling Oyster Bar
- McCrady’s Restaurant
4. What is the best way to get around Charleston?
Charleston is a walkable city, and many of the attractions are located close together. However, if you need to travel further, there are several options for transportation. The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) operates buses throughout the city. There are also taxis, Uber, and Lyft, as well as bike rentals available.
5. What is the dress code in Charleston?
Charleston is a stylish city, and many of the restaurants and nightlife venues have dress codes. It’s best to err on the side of dressy casual when going out to eat or to events. During the day, casual attire is acceptable, but it’s important to dress for the weather.
6. What is the nightlife like in Charleston?
Charleston has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many bars and clubs located in the city center. King Street is a popular destination for nightlife, with numerous bars, restaurants, and clubs. There are also many rooftop bars and lounges in the city with great views of the skyline.
7. Where can I find the best shopping in Charleston?
Charleston has many great shopping destinations, from high-end boutiques to local artisan shops. Some of the best places to shop in Charleston include:
- King Street: This is the main shopping area in Charleston, with a variety of shops and boutiques
- Charleston City Market: This is a great place to find handmade crafts and souvenirs
- Belmond Charleston Place: This is a luxury hotel with an upscale shopping center located inside
- Shops at Charleston Place: This is a collection of high-end shops and boutiques located in the Belmond Charleston Place Hotel
8. What are some outdoor activities in Charleston?
Charleston is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with a mild climate and plenty of parks and beaches. Some of the outdoor activities in Charleston include:
- Beaches: There are several great beaches within a short drive of Charleston, including Folly Beach and Isle of Palms
- Parks: Charleston has many beautiful parks, including Waterfront Park and Marion Square
- Kayaking and Paddleboarding: There are several rental companies that offer kayak and paddleboard rentals, allowing you to explore the waterways around Charleston
- Golfing: Charleston has many great golf courses, including the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
9. Are there any free things to do in Charleston?
Charleston has many free things to do, including:
- Walking Tours: There are many self-guided walking tours of the historic district available for free online
- The Battery: This waterfront park is free and offers beautiful views of the Charleston Harbor
- Charleston City Market: This market is free to visit and is a great place to browse handmade crafts and souvenirs
- Beaches: The beaches in and around Charleston are free to visit, though you may have to pay for parking
- Parks: There are many beautiful parks in Charleston that are free to visit, including Waterfront Park and Marion Square
10. What is the weather like in Charleston?
Charleston has a subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The average high temperature in the summer months is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average high in the winter is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Hurricane season runs from June through November, with the highest likelihood of storms in August and September.
11. What is the best way to experience Charleston’s history?
Charleston is a city rich in history, and there are many ways to experience it. Some of the best ways to immerse yourself in Charleston’s history include:
- Tours: There are many guided tours of the historic district available, including carriage tours, walking tours, and boat tours
- Historical Sites: Charleston has many historical sites, including Fort Sumter National Monument, the Charleston Museum, and the Nathaniel Russell House
- Plantation Tours: There are several plantations near Charleston that offer guided tours, including Middleton Place and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Charleston is a wonderful city to visit with plenty of things to see and do. By following these tips and recommendations, you can make the most of your trip and experience all that Charleston has to offer.
How to Spend Your Time as a Tourist in CharlestonCharleston is a densely historic city that is rich in Southern charm and offers a plethora of activities to tourists. Even if you only have a few days in the city, there are plenty of experiences you can enjoy. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time in Charleston:
1. Start with a Walking Tour of the City’s Historic DistrictCharleston is brimming with history, and the best way to explore its story is by walking around the city. Long before the Civil War, Charleston was one of the most important cities in the United States. The city’s historic district boasts top-notch architecture with many pre-Civil War buildings still standing.There are two options for touring the city with an expert guide, which includes the fee for the Battery Walk, which is the most popular of the walking tours. During the tour, you will explore Charleston’s historic district and also gain full access to the Charleston Customs House Museum, “a hidden gem”. My personal preference would be to book a private walking tour in advance, as it will enable you to customize your experience – Your guide can take you down back alleys few tourists tread and tell tales most visitors never hear. You can also choose to take a group tour, which can be more budget-friendly.
2. Visit the Magnificent Middleton PlaceThe Middleton Place is a 65-acre estate on the banks of the Ashley River and a National Historic Landmark. It is the oldest landscaped garden in America, having been designed in the 1740s by Henry Middleton. The garden welcomes seasonal blooms, which offer a fascinating view to guests. The plantation also provides a vast woodland trail, an exquisite house museum, and lots of historic artifacts.For those who want more American History and a deeper sense of Charleston’s aristocracy and antebellum past, Middleton Place is an ideal location. You can appreciate the rich heritage of the respected planters of South Carolina, their family life, business, and the remarkable hobbies that kept them entertained.
3. Have Fun at The Charleston City MarketThe Charleston City Market is a terrific location to experience the city’s culture, taste traditional Charleston dishes and buy some historical items. It’s one of the most notable shopping destinations in the city. It comprises of four large buildings and a variety of vendors, ranging from arts, snack shops, souvenirs, and historic artifacts dating back to the city’s colonial era.Plan your trip to the Charleston City Market to ensure a pleasant experience. I recommend visiting during normal working hours, approximately 9am to 5pm. You may find the city market a busier place to be if you go to visit during the weekend, but it’s always excellent for chatting with locals and learning bits of Charleston’s history.
4. Visit Fort Sumter National MonumentFort Sumter is a must-visit in Charleston, particularly for history and war enthusiasts. The site of America’s Civil War’s first battle is located on an island in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter is renowned for being where the first battle of America’s history began.The National Park Service oversees this historical landmark, and guided tours are available daily. It typically takes around an hour to travel to Fort Sumter, but you can buy a ticket from the Fort Sumter Visitor Center or go online and reserve in advance. You can even get some of the ranger-led tours available on park site.
5. The Grand Liberty SquareLiberty Square is a quaint park with historical significance, and it’s free to enter. It is home to several key tourist spots, including the South Carolina Aquarium and the Fort Sumter embarkation on the Charleston Harbor. The park is full of greenery for picnics or merely relaxing and has a waterside view that is perfect for photos.Be sure to enjoy the 24/7 public fountain show, which deserves recognition for its creativity as they offer a free show on a schedule. The Liberty Square is an excellent spot to include in your Charleston itinerary, from historical and cultural to marine life to nature, the park has it all.
6. Indulge Your taste buds with Charleston’s Gullah CuisineCharleston’s Gullah Cuisine truly highlights the diverse culinary styles of the African-American community in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina. It is a unique blending of ingredients and cultural practices passed from one generation to the next. If you want to explore the island’s interesting background and sample their foods, I highly recommend taking a Gullah food tour.You can wander around the city and discover your own Gullah-style restaurant, which is undoubtedly an adventure in itself. If you want to indulge your foodie self even more, you can take a cooking class led by a Gullah chef and enjoy the flavors even further.Charleston is a city full of possibilities, but these six things are a great starting point. With all these opportunities, you’ll be sure to make the most of your time in Charleston.
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