Charleston’s Top 9 Must-Do Tours

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Charleston is a charming coastal city with an abundance of attractions, from its beautiful beaches to its rich culture and history. The best way to explore everything the city has to offer is through one of the many tours available in the area. Whether you’re looking for a guided tour of Charleston’s historic downtown, a boat tour of the harbor, or a food tour of the city’s local restaurants, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are 9 of the best tours in Charleston SC! 

1. Charleston TourPass

Includes all the top things to do in Charleston on one pass. Over 40 tours included along with everything on this list. With TourPass there’s no need to stress-out over what to do since all of the top tours are included. The included mobile apps lets you instantly make reservations, check-in, use the interactive maps and includes detailed info on landmark sites and more.

2. Fort Sumter Tours

Take a ride on a ferry boat to Fort Sumter, a National Park. Fort Sumter, located in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor, is an important piece of U.S. history and a sight to behold. It was the site of the first battle of the Civil War in April 1861, when Confederate forces opened fire on the Union garrison in the fort. Today, it stands as a symbol of a turbulent period in U.S. history and visitors can tour the fort to get a view into what life was like during wartime. With stunning views across Charleston Harbor and interactive tours run by knowledgeable park rangers, Fort Sumter is an interesting destination for those wanting to learn more about this momentous part of American history.

3. A Charleston Harbor Tour

Experience Charleston’s historic beauty aboard a charming harbor tour. Relax and soak in the sun on these spectacular narrated tours, and learn the fascinating facts about Charleston Harbor from knowledgeable local guides. Enjoy one of the most beautiful cities in America while engaging with its unique history on this memorable excursion. Take snaps of the iconic sights near Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney and other waterfront fortifications. Feed your curiosity and enhance your knowledge by learning about the battles leading up to The American Revolution and Civil War as you take in breathtaking views of South Carolina’s Sea Islands. Embark on any of these delightful boat cruises, guaranteed to provide lasting memories!

4. Charleston Carriage Tour

Taking a carriage tour of Charleston, SC is the perfect way to get a glimpse of this historic city. You can relax and take in the beauty and culture while learning about Charleston’s landmarks, neighborhoods, secrets and stories with knowledgeable guides along the way. The tours depart right from the City Market, so you don’t have to worry about transportation – all you need to do is enjoy the sights! Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re a local looking for a new perspective, these horse-drawn adventures are an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories for years to come.

5. Charleston Walking Tours

Exploring Charleston SC by foot is a great way to immerse yourself into the history, culture, and architecture of this unique city. From history and architectural walking tours that highlight some of the most iconic buildings and monuments in the city to ghost and haunted tours for those thrill seekers looking for something a little different, Charleston offers up plenty of walking tour options that are great for all ages! These tours provide locals and visitors alike with an opportunity to explore history and learn about what makes this city one of the oldest cities in the United States. Whether you’re looking for a fun activity for your next family vacation or just want to see what Charleston has to offer, a walking tour is an excellent way to do it!

6. House Museum Tours

If you’ve ever been curious about the history and architecture of Charleston, then taking a tour of the House museum is a must! You’ll be guided through amazing homes by experienced guides who truly understand these homes and who lived in them and the stories that are both triumphant and also tragic. Every step from the grand entrance to the intricate woodwork brings you one step closer to learning more about how this city developed into the vibrant place it is today. Whether you’re an amateur historian or simply yearning for some fascinating insight on one of America’s oldest cities, Charleston’s historic home tours won’t disappoint!

7. Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation is an iconic site in Charleston, and is one of the most visited sites in the city. This historic landmark and it’s famous Avenue of Oaks entrance has been drawing visitors from around the world for decades. Admission includes a plantation house tour, Gullah Experience, the Slave Street Cabins; all of which captivate its visitors to experience a true glimpse into 18th century life in the South. Boone Hall also serves as home to many festivals and events.

8. Drayton Hall

A exquisite historic site that combines elements of classic Georgian architecture with Lowcountry charm. As America’s oldest preserved plantation estate, it has been declared a National Historic landmark and provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of the region. Visitors can explore the many rooms of the original house and experience a guided immersive audio tour. Whether you are interested in touring the grand home or learning about African American life during colonial times, Drayton Hall is sure to intrigue and delight any tourist. Not only does it possess tremendous beauty, but it also offers valuable knowledge about life in the South during the founding of this nation.

9. Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art offers breathtaking works of art ranging from sculptures to paintings. Established in 1905 and named after the influential local family, James Gibbes, it is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums, making it one of the most respected places for viewing art. It is known for its diverse array of exhibitions which focus on themes from American Impressionism to contemporary twists.

Charleston SC is full of attractions waiting be explored! From horse drawn carriages touring historic sites around town, boat rides exploring dolphins in the harbor, and iconic landmarks—there are so many unique ways to take in everything this beautiful coastal city has offer through these 9 incredible tours.

For the most part yes, with the exception of the house museums and walking tours. The best option would be to contact each museum that you’d like to visit and ask them directly prior to visiting.

Yes they are kid friendly.

There are many transportation options and we recommend using the free trolley provided by CARTA for downtown touring. For more options visit this page:

Yes there are some great free tour and attraction options. Checkout this page:

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