Getting Around Charleston, SC

No Car…No Problem! Your Guide for Getting Around Charleston SC

Charleston South Carolina is a beautiful city with so much to see and do. How does one actually get around using simple and even public transportation? Driving your own car and always moving to parking garages that are near popular sites is an option as well. We’ll go over both modes of getting around Charleston. There’s always Uber and Lyft as well. One of the best ways to see Charleston is on foot of course. 

getting around charleston sc

CARTA Dash Downton Trolley

It’s FREE and is one of the most popular ways to get around the historic district of Charleston and see the sites. Here’s a map that you can view or print if you’d like of the routes and where it stops.
  • There are three routes that loop around the historic district. You’ll want to stay on either the Orange or Purple lines.
  • They all intersect at the Visitors Center, 375 Meeting Street. That’s where we recommend you park and then you can change trolleys or routes at any time…and your car is there as well.
  • Trolleys pickup at each bus stop location every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Orange Line (Route 210 or the Aquarium/College of Charleston)
    • If going to the Aquarium, Fort Sumter, Harbor Tours, Water Taxi or College of Charleston.
  • Purple Line (Route 213 or the Lockwood Drive/Calhoun Street) 
    • If going to the City Market, Carriage Tours, King Street shopping, Waterfront Park, Charleston Museum.
  • Green Line (Route 211 or the Meeting/King Street Lines) 
    • College of Charleston, Medical Complexes, Ashley River Hotels, Citadel and Riverdogs Baseball Stadium.

Limitations of Using the Trolley

  • You have to wait up to 15/20 minutes to be picked up at each bus stop.
  • The Trolley only transports you around the historic district. Other popular attractions cannot be visited using the Trolley.
  • You have to change trolley’s from time to time to visit different areas.

CARTA – Dash from Rawle Murdy / Buffalo Groupe on Vimeo.

tour passWhy TourPass Makes Getting Around Easy

TourPass includes full admission to the top tours and attractions in Charleston. In addition, our mobile pass shows your exact location via interactive maps, so you’ll never get lost. We have a parking garage map and you can also view the free trolley route map from within the Mobile Pass. Checkout our Charleston TourPass page to see what’s included.

Driving Your Own Vehicle

There are quite a few large parking garages around the historic district. We’re going to highlight the top garages which are easy to find. Of course you can find metered street parking around the area, but they can be hard to find during the busy seasons.
  • Recommended for people who don’t want to wait on the trolley and jump on and off buses to get around.
  • Visitor’s Center Garage
    • 375 Meeting Street, 29403
    • Park here if visiting: Charleston Museum, Joseph Manigault House, Aiken Rhett House, Upper King Street shopping.
  • Aquarium Garage
    • 24 Calhoun Street, 29403
    • Park here if visiting Fort Sumter, Harbor Tours, Schooner Pride or the Aquarium.
  • Majestic Square Garage
    • 153 Market Street, 29401
    • Central to most attractions such as King Street shopping, a short walk to the City Market.
  • Cumberland Street Garage
    • 90 Cumberland Street.
    • This is a centrally located garage for visiting Charleston.
    • Park here if visiting: City Market, Carriage tours, Powder Mag Museum, Slave Mart Museum and mid to lower King Street shopping.
  • Prioleau Street Garage
    • 25 Prioleau Street, 29401
    • Park here if you want to visit East Bay Street, Waterfront Park, The Battery, Rainbow Row and the City Market isn’t too far from here either.

Charleston Water Taxi

Charleston Water Taxi

Included with TourPass which provides transportation between four locations around the harbor. Visit their website to view pickup/drop-off schedule.

  • DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON LOCATIONS:
    • Waterfront Park: For visiting the City Market and most of downtown Charleston such as the Battery.
    • Aquarium Wharf: Fort Sumter, Harbor Tours and the Aquarium.
  • MOUNT PLEASANT LOCATIONS:
    • Harbor Resort Marina: Use if staying at this hotel.
    • Patriots Point Maritime Center: Use if visiting the USS Yorktown or any of the sites there.

Uber & Lyft

Charleston does have Uber and Lyft service. Simply download the respective app to use their services. 

Pedi-Cab or Bike Taxi

You’ll see these bike taxis throughout the downtown district. It’s best to tell them where you’re going and settle on a rate before jumping on-board. Remember to tip generously. 

Yes, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) provides public transportation throughout the region. They also have a free trolley for visiting the historic district of downtown Charleston. 

Trolley Map (click to enlarge)

charleston trolley map

Yes, there are quite a few large parking garages scattered throughout the downtown Charleston area. In addition, there are many metered street parking locations. For more info visit this page.

Absolutely it is a safe and walkable city. The historic district is very safe which encompasses the City Market, King Street, French Quarter, the Battery and many of the famous sites is very walkable.

Yes, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) provides bus transportation throughout the region. There is also a free trolley that provides transportation throughout the historic district when visiting. See above for more info.

Trolley Map (click to enlarge)

charleston trolley map

Yes, however it’s technically not considered a “hop on hop off bus”. It is as close as you can come to one. The DASH Trolley is free to ride and loops around Charleston’s historic district daily. Here’s a map below. If you’re using the trolley it’s best to park at the Charleston Visitor Center garage (375 Meeting Street) since all 3 trolley routes intersect there and you can easily go from one route to another.

Trolley Map (click to enlarge)

charleston trolley map

 

Tour Pass Attraction Grid
tour pass charleston tour grid

Charleston Saving Examples

Save $111.40 per person which is 44% off of retail rates with a 3-day pass!

(Examples below are suggestions. You can choose whatever you’d like to do from the available tours/attractions.)


1-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

1-Day Pass Includes: 2 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 1-day
Boone Hall Plantation (featured tour #1)$27
Carriage Tour (featured tour #2)$35
Nathaniel Russell House (walk-in)$12
Aiken Rhett House Museum (walk-in)$12
Charleston Fun Park (walk-in)$20
1-Day Without Pass$106
Cost of 1-Day Tour Pass($72)
Save 5%: Enter Email$3.60
Save per Person: 35% Off Retail=$37.60

1-Day Tour Pass Cost: $72

SAVE $37.60 PER PERSON, 35% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!


2-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

2-Day Pass Includes: 3 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 2-days
Harbor Tour (featured tour #3)$30
Charleston Museum (walk-in)$12
McLeod Plantation (walk-in)$15
Charleston Tea Plantation (walk-in)$12
Deep Water Vineyards 9 wine tasting (walk-in)$7
2-Days Without Pass$182
Cost of 2-Day Tour Pass($117)
Save 5%. Enter Email$5.85
Save per Person: 39% Off Retail=$70.85

2-Day Tour Pass Cost: $117

SAVE $70.85 PER PERSON, 39% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!


3-Day Pass Savings Example

Retail Price

3-Day Pass Includes: 4 featured tours + visit unlimited walk-in attractions for 3-days
Ghost or History Walking Tour (featured tour #4)$30
Slave Mart Museum (walk-in)$8
Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon (walk-in)$10
Gibbes Museum of Art (walk-in)$12
Palmetto Brewing free flight (walk-in)$10
3-Days Without Pass$252
Cost of 3-Day Tour Pass ($148)
Save 5%. Enter Email$7.40
Save per Person: 44% Off Retail=$106.40

3-Day Tour Pass Cost: $148

SAVE $111.40 PER PERSON, 44% OFF OF TICKET PRICES!

There’s no denying the saving and convenience that Tour Pass offers! Plus you can book your tours in advance with our amazing Mobile Pass that includes maps and detailed attraction information. The more you do the more you save. Imagine how much more you could save with a 4 or 5-day pass!

risk free guarantee

Pass purchases can be refunded (minus 3% credit card processing fees) if requested within thirty-days of purchase date (for unused passes). Optional Trip Insurance can be purchased for a nominal fee at checkout which extends the refund period up to one-year from purchase date. Conditions apply. View full refund policy by clicking button below.