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CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

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Adventure Sightseeing See It All – Bus Tour

Join Adventure Sightseeing for our ‘See it all’ city tour and see the best of Charleston! Their relaxing and informative 90 minute bus tour is the best way to be introduced (or re-introduced!) to the Holy City. Professional and knowledgeable guides will share 350 years of Charleston history while cruising through the city’s historic district in cool, air conditioned comfort.

Highlights of the 1.5-hour Historic City Tour may include:
  • Select stories from 350 years of Charleston history
  • Beautiful architecture in the historic district
  • Drive through The Citadel, the South’s most famous military academy
  • The Old City Market, lovely gardens, wrought iron art, and many of the city’s 210 churches are just some of the sights you will see!
  • Tour around the Battery and stop for a photo opportunity with Fort Sumter in the background
  • Many other historic sights of Charleston!

ATTRACTION ADDRESS:
375 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401

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Aiken-Rhett House Museum

Self-guided tours. Last tour begins at 4:15 p.m.

History of the House

Built in 1820 by merchant John Robinson, the Aiken-Rhett House is nationally significant as one of the best-preserved townhouse complexes in the nation. Vastly expanded by Governor and Mrs. William Aiken, Jr. in the 1830s and again in the 1850s, the house and its outbuildings include a kitchen, the original slave quarters, carriage block and back lot. The house and its surviving furnishings offer a compelling portrait of urban life in antebellum Charleston, as well as a Southern politician, slaveholder and industrialist. The house spent 142 years in the Aiken family’s hands before being sold to the Charleston Museum and opened as a museum house in 1975.

When the Foundation assumed ownership in 1995, we adopted a preserved-as-found preservation approach, meaning the structure and contents are left in an “as-found” state, including furniture, architecture and finishes that have not been altered since the mid 19th century. The only restored room in the house, the art gallery, showcases paintings and sculpture the Aiken family acquired on their European Grand Tour.

While many dependency buildings in Charleston have been demolished or adapted, the Aiken-Rhett slave quarters – with their original paint, floors and fixtures – survive virtually untouched since the 1850s, allowing visitors the unique chance to better comprehend the every-day realities of the enslaved Africans who lived on-site, maintained the household and catered to the needs of the Aiken family and their guests.

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Bay Street Bastards Pub Crawl

Bay Street Bastards is a hair-raising True Crime experience in Charleston. This tour has the scoop on the evildoers in the Holy City and their nefarious deeds, and their guides are willing to share.

Charleston is a city steeped in history and stained with blood. You will get a taste of both, as well as a few cocktails (not included with tour admission). Seriously, you might need a few adult beverages to handle some of these stories. The mild climate and brisk river breeze make a perfect backdrop for an extraordinary evening.

Join this tour and sample your choice of cocktails from some of the finest bars Charleston has to offer. Drinks are NOT included with admission for this tour. Age 21+ only.

Where does this Pub Crawl visit?

  • Starting location: 200 East Bay Street on the steps of the U.S. Custom House, corner of E. Bay & S. Market Streets.
  • Stop #1) Pavillion Bar
  • Stop #2) Rudy Royale
  • Stop #3) Bumpas
  • Stop #4) Blind Tiger Pub

Additional Info:

  • Tour duration: 120 minutes.
  • Typically starts at 8 pm….view times for more info.
  • Adults only. Age 21+.
  • Pets are not allowed on this tour.
  • Alcohol may not be carried between bars.

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Beyond Good & Evil Walking Tour

Tour Details:

  • Adults only tour, ages 16+ only.
  • Pet friendly tour
  • Duration: 90-minutes.

Why You Should Take Tour:

  • The Beyond Good and Evil Tour’s unique blend of humor, the macabre, voodoo, ghosts, local folklore, and legends have created Savannah’s most popular Ghost Tour.
  • This tour contains mature language and themes.
  • You’ll visit some of Savannah’s most stately homes, such as the Mercer-Williams House and 432 Abercorn. Oh, and a haunted cemetery or two, as well.
  • An exciting journey into Savannah’s macabre haunted history.
  • All of our tours are walking tours.
  • Reschedule your tour for free if your plans change.
  • Additional tour times may be available.

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Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site

The birthplace of the Carolinas, Established in 1670!

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site sits on a marshy point, located off of the Ashley River, where a group of English settlers landed in 1670 and established what would become the birthplace of the Carolina colony. Charles Towne Landing introduces visitors to the earliest colonial history of Charleston. Interact with hands-on exhibits in the Visitor Center, talk to knowledgeable staff members, and take an audio tour on the self-guided history trail.

Highlights:

  • Guests can step aboard and tour the Adventure, Charleston’s only 17th-century replica sailing ship.
  • Natural habitat zoo (the only zoo in Charleston area): See otters, bears, big cats, bison and more at the Animal Forest natural habitat zoo.
  • Fireable cannons that are fired on the 1st Saturday of each month.
  • 80 acres of gardens, with an elegant live oak alley and the Legare-Waring House.
  • Miles of trails for walking, biking and exploring.
  • Bicycles welcome or you can rent them on-site.
  • Pets welcome if leashed.



Park is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Address:
1500 Old Towne Road
Charleston, SC 29407

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Charleston Fun Park

Included with Tour Pass: Receive 2 Premium Attraction Tickets per Person, a $20 per Person Value.

Charleston Fun Park is the go-to place for family and date-night fun! Located just 10 minutes from downtown Charleston in Mount Pleasant.

Premium Attractions Include:

  • Go-Karts
  • Two miniture golf courses – 36 holes
  • Bumper cars
  • Virtual Reality Coaster

They also have over 40 arcade games that give out tickets and prizes along mini-bowling, air hockey, skee-ball

Please visit their website to confirm hours of operation, they have summer and winter hours. We have summer hours listed below

Address:
3255 N Hwy 17
Charleston, SC 29464

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Charleston Harbor Tours

Climb aboard the Carolina Belle to enjoy the beauty of the Charleston Harbor and learn the rich history of the Holy City. During the scenic and relaxing 90 minute tour, you will see over 75 landmarks and points of interest! Tour departs multiple times per day. Your professional USCG licensed captain will narrate history, sights, and facts about the Charleston Harbor as you pass locations critical to United States history.

Highlights of the tour

  • Tour Duration: 90 minutes.
  • Fort Sumter: One of Charleston’s most popular landmarks, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired (does not stop at Fort Sumter)
  • Confederate and Union army Forts Moultrie and Johnson
  • USS Yorktown: the famous World War II Fighting Lady
  • St. Michaels Church: A survivor of both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, whose steeple was painted black so as not to be an easy target
  • Stately homes on the Battery: Symbols of Southern elegance and perseverance
  • Cooper River Bridge, including the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge: A state of the art span that accommodates the largest ships in the world
  • Dolphins skimming the surface of the water and pelicans diving for food

This family-friendly, relaxing, and insightful cruise is best way to discover the Holy City and its famous Harbor! The 80-foot Carolina Belle features graceful, classic lines. During your cruise, choose between the boat’s two decks – a climate controlled Main Salon and an Observation Deck – or spend time enjoying the spectacular harbor views from each.

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Charleston History Walking Tour

Tour Duration: 2-Hours

Join us for a stroll through the French Quarter, down to Rainbow Row, down to the High Battery. You will view mansions facing the Ashley & Cooper Rivers, historical churches, and beautiful gardens. All the while, your tour guide will share with you the history of the innovative and eclectic people that formed Charleston. You will take a trip through time as you learn about the founding of the “Holy City”, slavery, revolts, revolutions, wars, monumental achievements, and everything in between. Your licensed Charleston tour guide will share with you stories of some of the most revolutionary people and historical moments that influenced not only Charleston, but the nation. We invite you to explore an in-depth look at Charleston beyond the single house and stone paved streets.

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Charleston Museum

The South Carolina Lowcountry has always been home to a cast of eclectic, unconventional characters – scholars, scientists, scribes, and socialites, revolutionaries and world travelers, collectors, curators. They have been lovers of the established and experimental, the rare, beautiful, odd and unusual. Our history is a blend of beauty and pain, grace and war, great storms and calm seas.

We are a melting pot of cultures and customs, remade with each changing tide. We are writers of a never-ending story that asks life’s most essential question: Who are we?

The search for the answer is our reason for being. So, we dig into attics and archives. We pore over ancient artifacts, journals, and albums. We study, document, preserve, interpret, and share.

We do it for the electric joy of discovery. The stories and humanity revealed. But perhaps even more, we do it for what it inspires within us. The thoughts that ask us to rethink our past and our place in the world. The thoughts that spark a conversation not just about who we were, but who we are – and who we can be.

We are all a story. And our story starts here.

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Charleston Strolls History Walking Tour

Take a historic Charleston walking tour, where carriages and motor-coaches are not allowed. This fascinating tour is filled with stories and traditions revealing Charleston’s rich history and colorful past. This two-hour walking tour through America’s most charming historic district is sure to be the highlight of your visit to historic Charleston.

Some historic highlights on the Charleston Stroll walking tour will include:

  • Tour Duration: 2 hours.
  • Rainbow Row
  • Historic Waterfront Battery
  • Antebellum Mansions
  • A visual tour of Fort Sumter
  • Hidden Gardens & Courtyards
  • Historic Churches & Graveyards
  • The Revolutionary and Civil War

Charleston Strolls Tour is offered 365 days a year, including Holidays! Tours Depart rain or shine from Mills House Hotel, 115 Meeting Street – Courtesy pickups available at Charleston Place and Days Inn prior to the tour

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Charleston Tea Garden

The only tea production facility in North America where you can see hundreds of thousands of tea bushes stretching out acre after acre for almost as far as the eye can see.

The Bigelow family, William Barclay Hall and the staff of the tea garden stand ready to bring you the tea experience of your life. They are located on picturesque Wadmalaw Island in the heart of the lowcountry just a few miles south of the historic city of Charleston.

In addition to their many acres of tea plants, they offer a very educational tour of our tea factory. You get to walk the entire length of our tea production building where you can see all the equipment it takes to make tea. Large TV screens along the glassed in gallery describe the entire process.

Included with Tour Pass is a 45 minute trolley ride, which makes a stop at their state of the art greenhouse.

Last but not least is the gift shop, stocked with more tea related items than you can possibly imagine. Last year some sixty five thousand people from all over the world came to visit. There are many hundreds of tea production facilities in the world. With the exception of the Charleston Tea Garden, they’re all located in Asia, Africa and South America, many thousands of miles from our shores.

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Deep Water Vineyards | Free Tasting

Tastings offered Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 am – 5 pm.

You’ll go on a “choose your own adventure” tour, weaving your way through their current wine list choosing 6 samples to try. And, since they value their employees being able to be spontaneous, you may receive some surprise tastes as well (especially if you come during the week when they’re not so busy). At the end you will receive a complimentary wine glass to remember your time at the vineyard. Guests are welcome to stroll through the 7 miles of vines on the vineyard as a self-guided tour.

Highlights:

  • Tour Pass: Receive a free wine tasting & souvenir wine glass which includes six wines.
  • They grow four types of muscadine grape – carlos, ison, noble and tara. From the grapes, they make five different wines – Low Tide, Magnolia, Deep Water Blend and High Tide. They also have chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon from California that they vint and bottle onsite and blend with their muscadines, for a total of six wines available.
  • Every Saturday from 12 – 4 pm they host a Weekend Wine Down event where food and music are present. Enjoy the tranquil surroundings, bring family, friends and have a great time. See calendar for upcoming events

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Drayton Hall

NOTICE:
Closed on Tuesdays. Entrance gate closes at 2.30 pm daily. Drayton Hall asks that you arrive by 2 pm to complete the audio tour.

Founded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture and the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public. Because of our preservation philosophy, all imperfections and changes over time have survived to the present.

WHAT IS INCLUDED:

  • House Tour: Offered hourly from 10 am – 2:30 pm and last about 45 minutes. The main house tour is an audio tour, please bring earphones or earbuds or you may purchase them inexpensively on site. Guides are stationed in the house to answer questions.
  • African American Cemetery: Drayton Hall’s African American Cemetery is one of the oldest documented African American cemeteries in the nation still in use. The earliest surviving record describes its use as a “burying ground” and dates from about 1790, indicating this sacred ground may be even older. In keeping with the wishes of Richmond Bowens, a descendant of the enslaved at Drayton Hall, the cemetery has been “left natural,” not manicured or planted with grass or decorative shrubs.
  • Self guided nature walks: See layers of history carefully preserved on the 125 acres that surround the main house: the central axis and clear view to the Ashley River, planned by John Drayton over 265 years ago; the striking, defined allée of azaleas conceived by his 20th-century descendants; Richmond Bowens’ camellia; the reflecting pond; the site of the former garden house or the 18th-century live oaks which continue to provide the structure to the Drayton estate.
  • Museum Shop: From high-end art reproductions to pieces inspired by the Drayton Family’s extensive porcelain collection to local food favorites, The Shop at Drayton Hall has something special for each and every one of our visitors.
  • Lenhardt Garden: The garden’s plantings are historically inspired, with horticultural specimens related to John Drayton’s botanical lists. The courtyard has a selection of benches to best enjoy the seasonal flora and fauna.
  • Caretaker’s House: The exhibit in the caretaker’s house highlights the post-Civil War period and the 20th century at Drayton Hall. Learn about the African American community that formed because of the phosphate mining industry and kept the property alive for 100 years after the Civil War. Constructed in 1870, the caretaker’s house was built for a caretaker to watch over the main house and grounds while phosphate was mined on the property. The house has been rehabilitated to serve as a conditioned exhibit space, creating opportunities to see layers of its construction and decorative materials.

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Firefly Distillery Tour & Tasting

Included with Tour Pass: Half off Tour & Tasting and Souvenir Shot Glass. Reservations are NOT required, go when they are open. Simply present your Mobile Pass to redeem.

During Prohibition, bootleggers made their own booze by burying grapes underground or catching moonbeams in a jar of water. Taste booze made professionally with Firefly Distilleries.

Proud of its southern roots and famous for its sweet tea vodka, Firefly Distillery delivers quality spirits, most of which are distilled four times and sweetened exclusively with Louisiana sugar cane. At the Distillery, Visitors can learn more about the hands-on distilling process and the scores of industrious tea-swilling worker elves behind it. All ages are welcome to the property, but only those 21 and over are eligible for the tasting.

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Ghost & Dungeon Walking Tour

Come explore the Holy City’s oldest streets, cemeteries, churches, and its pre-revolutionary dungeon along the dark edges of Charleston’s Haunted Historic District.

Our experienced guides will chill you with stories of:

  • Lowcountry superstitions of night time spirits like Plateyes and Boo Hags. Find out how to protect yourself from being followed home or ridden in your sleep.
  • Haunted houses and structures like the South End Brewery where a famous Charlestonian tippler committed suicide after watching his family fortune burn and sink to the bottom of the harbor. Learn what the owners of the brewery had to do for him to save their business…
  • Criminals, pirates, and others, including Revolutionary hero Isaac Hayne played by Mel Gibson in The Patriot. After the British hanged him for treason, he haunted the home of his daughters until December 20, 1860. Find out why he stopped on that fateful day.
  • Charleston’s ghosts, poltergeists, and spirits doomed to the realm of mortals.

Tour departs from:18 Anson Street, Charleston SC 29401

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Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tour

Come and walk with us when the sun goes down. The Charleston Ghost and Graveyard Tour gives you an exclusive opportunity to walk inside the gates of one of Charleston’s oldest graveyards after dark. When all the other walking tours are looking in through the wrought iron fence, you’ll be on the inside. Explore the graveyard’s dark corners, closely inspect the headstones to see what you might learn, and take a moment to step across the graves — if you dare.

Learn about the history of Charleston’s graveyards, and hear the stories of the famous individuals who found their final resting place in the Holy City. You’ve heard the spooky Charleston ghost stories, right? Well, now you can experience them on this up-close-and-personal tour that takes you where others won’t. Graveyards are endearing pockets of Charleston — so much so that they are often referred to here as simply “gardens.” We love them — they’re full of history, intrigue, and tales of love and loss.

Hear about Charleston’s spirits and gruesome tales:

  • The ghost of Sue Howard, a grieving mother who prays at the grave of her dead child from the spirit world. We’ve got the picture to prove it!
  • Tales of being buried alive! Doctors in old Charlestowne didn’t take chances with contagious diseases. Fall unconscious in a hospital, wake up in a grave!
  • Learn why the terms saved by the bell and graveyard shift were coined. You’ll be glad you weren’t around when they were!

Don’t forget your flash cameras! You never know what phantom images you can capture.

 

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Ghost Walking Tour – 90 Minutes

Tour Duration: 90-Minutes.

Your Charleston ghost tour guide will showcase all the morbid morsels and revolting tidbits of Charleston’s eclectic history on this ghost tour. Hear tales of pirates, lost loves, ghostly specters, burial practices and oddities. Enjoy the darker tales of  the city’s history on this walking tour.


More Information

Our tour guides are not only licensed with the City of Charleston and versed in Charleston and American History. They also are showmen, have backgrounds in theater, directing, writing and entertaining. No drab lectures will be tolerated on these tours.

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Ghosts of Liberty Walking Tour

The Ghosts of Liberty Tour is the only tour in town dedicated to the men and women who gave their lives in defense of freedom and America. Charleston has played an integral part in many of the events that led up to the founding of our Country. You will hear about those people, the events, and their ghosts on the Ghosts of Liberty Tour.

You’ll see some of the most historic buildings in Charleston and learn about the secrets that these locations hold.

Starting in the heart of the Haunted Historic District, your tour guide will lead you through the streets of Charleston as you uncover the unique ghost stories that make Charleston one of the most haunted city in America. Bloody battles? Check. Restless spirits? Check. Be prepared to see Charleston as you have never seen it before on this all ages Ghosts of Liberty Tour.

Additional Tour Details:

  • Family friendly but geared towards all ages and adults will enjoy the stories as well.
  • Visits 6 to 8 of the most haunted locations.
  • Tour begins at the Waterfront Park fountain (Vendue & Concord Streets).
  • Tour Duration: 90 minutes.

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Gibbes Museum of Art

A bustling seaport in the 1700s, Charleston was a melting pot of cultures, religions, and traditions. Powered by the rice and indigo trade, and slavery, it was the 4th largest city in America in 1790 – and the wealthiest. Like Philadelphia, Boston and New York, what distinguished Charleston then – was art.

While we were home to some of Americas earliest art, collectors, artists, who made the City both muse and subject – and taken our turn as one of the nations richest cities – in money and culture – so were we also home to Americas original sin, slavery – and a war that divided our nation.

In 1888, when Charleston was financially and culturally on its knees, benefactor James Gibbes left a bequest to the City to build an art museum.When the Gibbes Museum opened in 1905, the nation celebrated what Charleston has always understood: the power of art – to inspire our imagination, heal our hurt, revel in our experience, rebuild what’s broken, nourish our souls, and release all that holds us back. Through our complicated history, through light and shadow, we have persevered – humanity intact. Art is the reason

Charleston will endure. In Charleston, we believe art is the difference between merely existing and being truly alive. That’s why we immerse ourselves in every part of it – from fine art to craft – from nurturing its creation and celebrating its multicultural presentation – to inviting its interpretation and ensuring its preservation. Because when we open ourselves to art, we open ourselves to the world – to people and ideas, to beauty, craft, process and detail, to different cultures, to pain and pleasure, to questions, expression and emotion, to truth and transcendence.

In the presence of art, we have the opportunity to see inside someone’s heart, mind, and soul and feel what they felt. That understanding and compassion make us more understanding, compassionate people, who, in turn, create a more compassionate, understanding world. That is art’s gift.

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Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts

INCLUDED WITH TOUR PASS: 1 Free Doughnut per Person up to $5 in value. To redeem, simply present your Tour Pass ID at the register. Featured by the Food Network, Cooking with Paula Dean, BuzzFeed (33 Doughnuts You Have to Try Before You Die), Traveler of Charleston Magazine, Zagat, Delish, USA Today and countless others….Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts is recognized as a leader in this tasty pastry worldwide

Their ingredients are natural, the glaze, filling and pastries are homemade. Their dough is made in house. They don’t use any frozen or premade dough. There are no preservatives or additives whatsoever. Espresso drinks are also offered.

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Harbor Tour by SpiritLine Cruises

This Charleston Harbor Tour by SpiritLine Cruises offers visitors Live Narration by a Licensed City Tour Guide. What does that mean? You will learn fascinating historically accurate Charleston history while you cruise the gentle waves of her harbor. Our knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides are licensed by the City of Charleston and enjoy interacting with guests. You will see notable American landmarks, such as Fort Sumter, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, The Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney and other sites from the past and present.

This relaxing and fun tour departs from two locations daily. You will hear enthralling tales of the city’s colorful past as well as scintillating facts about her most-interesting former citizens. Perfect for all ages, the whole family can enjoy cruising along the coastline of our beautiful “Holy City”. Do you know why we call it the “Holy City”? Find out on this 90-minute Charleston Harbor tour.

Tour departs from two locations:


1.) Downtown Charleston: the dock to the left of the Aquarium.
2.) Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. Look for the SpiritLine signage, go to ticket window and check-in.

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Haunted Yorktown Tour

Come aboard The USS Yorktown and hear the stories of the American Heroes who lived, died, and are still rumored to be here today. Commissioned in 1943, the “Fighting Lady” was once manned by over 3,000 people and designed to fight off enemies all over the globe during WWII. You will hear stories of their ultimate sacrifice and heroism as the people that once inhabited this ship dedicated their lives to the service of our country and to this great ship. This tour gives you exclusive night time access to areas of the ship that are closed to the public, including access to the flight deck after dark.
 
Highlights may include:
  • Maritime Superstitions
  • Unusual Ship Christening
  • Captain Jocko Clark
  • Tragedy in the Forecastle
  • Smokey Stover
  • Mysterious Sailor Disappearance

Please meet your guide at the Yorktown Audio booth 15 minutes prior to your time. 

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Heyward Washington House

Charleston’s Revolutionary War House


Built in 1772, this Georgian-style double house was the town home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., one of four South Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence. A patriot leader and artillery officer with the South Carolina militia during the American Revolution, Heyward was captured when the British took Charleston in 1780. He was exiled to St. Augustine, Florida, but was exchanged in 1781. The City rented this house for George Washington’s use during the President’s week-long Charleston stay, in May 1791, and it has traditionally been called the “Heyward-Washington House.” Heyward sold the house in 1794 to John F. Grimke, also a Revolutionary War officer and father of Sarah and Angeline Grimke, the famous abolitionists and suffragettes. It was acquired by the Museum in 1929, opened the following year as Charleston’s first historic house museum, and was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1978. Here you will see a superb collection of historic Charleston-made furniture including the priceless Holmes Bookcase, considered one of the finest examples of American-made colonial furniture. The property also features the only 1740s kitchen building open to the public in Charleston as well as formal gardens featuring plants commonly used in the South Carolina Lowcountry in the late 18th century.

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Hunley Submarine Tour

On February 17th, 1864, the H. L. Hunley became the first successful combat submarine in world history with the sinking of the USS Housatonic. After completing her mission, she mysteriously vanished and remained lost at sea for over a century. For decades, adventurers searched for the legendary submarine. On February 17th, 1864, the H. L. Hunley became the first successful combat submarine in world history with the sinking of the USS Housatonic. After completing her mission, she mysteriously vanished and remained lost at sea for over a century. For decades, adventurers searched for the legendary submarine.


Over a century later, the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), led by New York Times-bestselling author Clive Cussler, finally found the Hunley in 1995. News of the discovery traveled quickly around the world. A ground breaking effort began to retrieve the fragile submarine from the sea. The Hunley Commission and Friends of the Hunley, a non-profit group charged with raising funds in support of the vessel, led an effort with the United States Navy that culminated on August 8th, 2000 with the Hunley’s safe recovery.


She was then delivered to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, a high-tech lab specifically designed to conserve the vessel and unlock the mystery of her disappearance. The Hunley has since been excavated and proved to be a time capsule, holding a wide array of artifacts that can teach us about life during the American Civil War. The submarine and the hundreds of artifacts found onboard are currently undergoing preservation work while archaeologists use the historical clues they have found to piece together the final moments of the Hunley and her crew.


The Hunley’s journey through time has been marked by innovation, courage and tragedy. Her against-all-odds tale has spanned the centuries and is one of the greatest maritime mysteries in recent history. This website follows the pioneering vessel from her inception during the American Civil War to the modern-day efforts surrounding her preservation and study.


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Joseph Manigault House

Charleston’s Huguenot House

A striking spiral staircase accents the impressive central hall, and many of the rooms are restored to their original color schemes. All feature historic pieces from the Museum’s collections including a selection of American, English and French furniture dating to the early 19th century. Outside, a classical Gate Temple overlooks a period garden, and the locations of adjacent historical outbuildings (e.g., kitchen and slave quarters, stable, and privy) are marked with interpretive signs. Descending from French Huguenots who fled religious persecution in Europe in the late 1600s, the Manigaults prospered as rice planters and merchants during the 18th century and became one of South Carolina’s leading families. Joseph Manigault inherited several rice plantations and over two hundred slaves from his grandfather in 1788, and also married well. Arthur Middleton, father of his first wife, Maria Henrietta Middleton, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Following Henrietta’s death, he married Charlotte Drayton, with whom he had eight children. The Charleston Museum purchased the house in 1933, and has preserved and interpreted it ever since.

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Kayak Rental on Shem Creek | 2 Hours

Includes a 2-hour rental in single person kayak. If you would prefer a tandem kayak, simply ask when you arrive (dependent on availability). Children under the age of 14 are not allowed to participate. Children 14 – 17 years old must be accompanied by someone 18 years or older. Zero exceptions allowed. Lifejackets and basic instruction is included.


One of the most wonderful ways to discover the secrets of Shem Creek’s tidal marsh or any number of other waterways in Charleston is from the seat of a single or tandem kayak. Renting a kayak will give you ample opportunity for exploring almost all of Shem Creek, Bayview Creek, and possibly (with the tide’s cooperation) also Crab Bank Island’s surroundings just outside of Shem Creek. Kayaking offers good times for Mount Pleasant groups large or small. Drift away on the tides and breeze, or make an athletic excursion of your paddle to cover as much area as you can- the experience is what you make it. Either way, we recommend closely following the advice of your experienced ramp guides to determine the best routes based on current conditions.


Historic Shem Creek With its rich history, it’s no wonder that Shem Creek is considered a landmark locale in the Charleston area. A long-time commercial fishing and shrimping lane, Shem Creek has plenty of “big fish” stories to tell. The sights you see along your adventure will be uniquely crafted to accommodate tides, weather conditions, and the paddling preferences of your group. Calmly swaying alongside the upper creek are majestic Live Oak trees. Gliding by, you may see American Oystercatchers, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets, and depending on the timing of the low tides, even remnants of rice mills can be seen. Witness the varied wildlife in the pluff mud along the creek’s edges hunting for a meal among the oyster beds. Making your way down the creek toward the Charleston Harbor will guide you to the iconic Red’s Ice House, which in the height of Shem Creek’s commercial days provided ice for roughly 120 fishing and shrimp boats daily. Another iconic scene you won’t want to miss is Crab Bank Island, a protected band of sand falling under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources. Migratory birds mate on this island from mid-March to mid-October annually, and accordingly, no human foot traffic is allowed during this season. On the shallow side of the island near Mount Pleasant, you can often find jumping mullet, playing dolphins, and even manatees meandering about in the warm water. From this very spot, you can also enjoy the landscape with such sights as the Ravenel bridge, the downtown Charleston peninsula, Mount Pleasant Old Village, and historic Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson, and Castle Pinckney.

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McLeod Plantation

For groups of 10 or more advance notification is required. Please call McLeod to schedule your group visit.

INTERPRETIVE TOURS

Included in your admission are 45 minute guided tours offered at 9:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm.

An amazing place to experience history in Charleston. Established in 1851, McLeod Plantation has witnessed some of the most significant periods of Charlestons and our nations history. Tour this 37 acre Gullah, Geechee heritage site that has been careful preserved and is recognized for its cultural and historic significance. McLeod Plantation was built on the riches of sea island cotton and on the backs of enslaved people whose work and culture and told and preserved through this site.

Established in 1851, McLeod Plantation has borne witness to some of the most significant periods of Charlestons – and our nations – history. Today McLeod Plantation is an important 37-acre Gullah/Geechee heritage site that has been carefully preserved in recognition of its cultural and historical significance. The grounds include a riverside outdoor pavilion, a sweeping oak alley, and the McLeod Oak, which is thought to be more than 600 years old.

It is a place like no other, not frozen in time but vibrant, dynamic, and constantly evolving, where the winds of change whisper through the oak trees and voices from the past speak to all who pause to listen. McLeod Plantation was built on the riches of sea island cotton and on the backs of enslaved people whose work and culture are embedded in the Lowcountrys very foundation. It is a living tribute to the men and women and their descendants that persevered in their efforts to achieve freedom, equality, and justice. McLeod Plantation Historic Site is a South Carolina National Heritage Corridor site

All of their stories, black and white, enslaved and free are given their due. After years of careful research and restoration, McLeod Plantation Historic Site invites visitors to embark upon an in-depth exploration of the lives of those people whose stories are essential to understanding Charlestons complex past and helped shape who we, as a nation, are today.

  • Tour the homes and compare the McLeod family home with those built for enslaved families.
  • Learn about daily life and the relationships among the men, women, and children who lived and worked here before and after slavery.
  • Study the cultivation and importance of sea island cotton.
  • Gain insight into the plantations strategic importance during the Civil War and the role of the free black Massachusetts 55th Volunteer Infantry in emancipating enslaved people.
  • Examine the influence of the Freedmens Bureau at McLeod Plantation and throughout the South.
  • Trace the emergence of Gullah Culture in the Lowcountry.
  • Explore worship and spirituality in the lives of McLeod Plantations residents.
  • Draw parallels between the changing relationships among McLeod Plantations residents and in American society during the 20th century.
  • See how people dramatically changed the natural history of the plantations landscape through time.

The struggle for freedom…personal, cultural, and political enacted over the centuries at McLeod Plantation provides new insights to anyone interested in American history.

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Museum at Market Hall

In the spring of 1861, thousands of young men were pouring into Charleston to become Confederate soldiers and defend the South. They were given supplies, weapons and their orders. It was here in this building where many of these young men had danced not long before they became soldiers.

In 1894 the Charleston Chapter, Daughters of the Confederacy was founded. They immediately began to collect relics and the collection grew quickly. By 1898 this group of ladies became Charleston Chapter #4, United Daughters of the Confederacy. In 1899 the reunion of the United Confederate Veterans was to be held in Charleston. The men decided to help these ladies form a permanent Confederate Museum in Charleston. A call was sent out asking former soldiers to bring their war-time possessions to the reunion for donation to the new museum. The enthusiastic response showed that a large building would be needed to house the collection. Since the Mayor and the city councilmen were all former Confederate soldiers, it was only natural that they selected Market Hall for this purpose. The same building where they had gone to become young soldiers became the place they brought their relics to be preserved for the future. The museum opened here is 1899

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Nathaniel Russell House Museum

A National Historic Landmark, the Nathaniel Russell House Museum was built over a five-year period and completed in 1808 by Charleston merchant Nathaniel Russell. The house cost $80,000 to build, at a time when the average value of a home was $262. The homes graceful, free-flying, three-story staircase is an architectural marvel with each cantilevered step supporting the one above and below it.

The graceful interiors with elaborate plasterwork ornamentation, geometrically shaped rooms, formal gardens and collection of 18th-century decorative and fine art speak to the wealth of Charlestons elite in the early days of the American Republic. The homes graceful, free-flying, three-story staircase is an architectural marvel with each cantilevered step supporting the one above and below it.

Restored to its original splendor using forensic analysis and cutting-edge conservation technology by our curatorial staff, we ensure the highest standards of old-world expertise to replicate the finishes, fixtures and textiles appropriate for this 200-year old townhouse.

Because restoration is an ongoing process, visitors have the opportunity to see and learn about the meticulous care, craft and consideration that goes into every detail. The 18 enslaved Africans that lived on and maintained the property during the Russell occupancy are an integral part of the history of this one-of-kind house. An exhibit in the original kitchen house features archaeological artifacts, educational panels and stories of the people vital to the history of this property.

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North Charleston Fire Museum

North Charleston Fire Museum is a remarkable and unforgettable destination for the firefighter in all of us!

Collection
The North Charleston Fire Museum and Educational Center is proud to house the largest collection of professionally restored American LaFrance fire apparatus in the country. With over 20 vehicles in our collection, dating as far back as 1780’s, the North Chareston Fire Museum has become renouned as destination for fire history and the preservation antique fire apparatus. All the pieces in our collection still run and can fight fire just like the day it was produced.

Exhibits
The Fire Museum offers its guests the opportunity to get as close to a fire as possible without getting burned. In addition to our collection of antique fire apparatus, the museum offers hands on and interactive exhibits and theater presentations that children and adults will love. From our “Home Fire Hazard Theater” complete with live smoke to our newest show “Are you an Esacape Artist”, guests to the museum will gain an enhanced knowledge and understanding of the history and science of fire and firefighting.

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Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

Completed in 1771, the Old Exchange Building is a Charleston landmark and the site of some of the most important events in South Carolina history. Over the last two and a half centuries, the building has been a commercial exchange, custom house, post office, city hall, military headquarters, and museum. Previously the property of the British, United States, Confederate, and Charleston city governments, the Old Exchange Building is today owned by the South Carolina State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and operated by the City of Charleston.

Admission to the Old Exchange includes a self-guided exhibition on the top two floors of the building and a 25 minute guided tour of the bottom floor cellar, otherwise known as the Provost Dungeon. Docents and other staff members are available throughout the building to share more of the site’s history with visitors of all ages and answer guest questions.

Most visitors spend between 45 minutes and 1 hour on site, though guests are welcome to take as much or as little time as they like exploring the self-guided exhibition.

The Old Exchange is handicap accessible, with an elevator providing access to all three floors of the building. If someone in your party needs to use the elevator to enter the building, please feel free to call us at 843-727-2165 or speak to a cashier, and one of our docents will be glad to assist you.

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Old Slave Mart Museum

The Old Slave Mart Museum, located at 6 Chalmers St., recounts the story of Charleston’s role in this inter-state slave trade by focusing on the history of this particular building and site and the slave sales that occurred here.

History of The Old Slave Mart

The 1808 ban on the United States’ participation in the international slave trade led to a renewed demand for slave labor, which was satisfied, in part, by the creation of a domestic slave-trading system in which Charleston functioned as a major slave collecting and reselling center. The Old Slave Mart Museum, located at 6 Chalmers St., recounts the story of Charleston’s role in this inter-state slave trade by focusing on the history of this particular building and site and the slave sales that occurred here. In the seven decades between the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and the Civil War, more than one million American-born slaves were sold away from plantations in the upper South to work the rapidly expanding cotton and sugar plantations in the lower South.

In Charleston, enslaved African Americans were customarily sold on the north side of the Old Exchange Building. An 1856 city ordinance prohibited this practice of public sales, resulting in the opening of the Old Slave Mart and a number of other sales rooms, yards, or marts along Chalmers, State and Queen Streets. Other Uses Possibly the only known building used as a slave auction gallery in South Carolina still in existence, the Old Slave Mart was once part of a complex of buildings known as Ryan’s Mart that occupied the land between Chalmers and Queen Streets. The complex consisted of a yard enclosed by a brick wall and contained three additional buildings: a four-story brick building partially containing a “barracoon,” or slave jail, a kitchen, and a “dead house,” or morgue. More Recently

Slave auctions at the Old Slave Mart ended in November 1863. The property changed hands many times after the Civil War, and between 1878 and 1937 the building was used as a Negro tenement and as an auto repair shop. In 1938 Miriam B. Wilson purchased the building, which by then, had come to be known locally as the Old Slave Mart, and established a museum featuring African and African-American arts and crafts.

Judith Wragg Chase and Louise Wragg Graves took over the Old Slave Mart in 1964, placed it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and operated it until its closure in 1987. Recognizing the significant importance the institution of slavery has had in Charleston’s history, the City of Charleston acquired the property in 1988.

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Palmetto Carriage Tours

Palmetto Carriage Works is the oldest carriage tour company in Charleston and has developed the greatest carriage experience in the city! A Palmetto Carriage tour offers a blend of knowledge, wit, humor and history and is exciting and ever changing, a seamless fusion of 19th century conveyance in a 21st century city.

During this tour you will:

  • Tour duration: 60 minutes/li>
  • Experience 25-30 blocks of Charleston’s historic downtown district
  • See houses, gardens, mansions, churches & parks
  • Learn about buildings, history, architecture, flora & the people that make up the “Holy City”
  • Learn everything that Charleston has to offer on a Palmetto Carriage tour


When are animals pulled from service to do heat?

When the temperature reaches 95 degrees or the heat index reaches 110, carriage tours are halted. Additionally, PCW rectally checks the temperature of each animal before and after every tour, year round to ensure that it stays within the normal range of 98.7 to 101.5 degrees. If the animal’s temperature exceeds 102.9 degrees, it is pulled from service. Charleston is one of the only cities in the world where the animals are monitored individually. There has never been a heat related incident in over 30 years of business.

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Pounce Cat Cafe

Pounce Cat Cafe + Wine Bar is a place where you can come to enjoy freshly brewed coffee or tea, snack on delicious pastries, and cuddle with adorable (and adoptable!) cats. We’ve teamed up with our local shelter, Charleston Animal Society, to provide our cats, so if at the end of your visit you’ve fallen in love with your new feline friend, you can take them home with you!

Visits to the cafe are $15 per person and include 1 hour in the cat lounge as well as 1 beverage of your choice to enjoy while you hang out with the kitties. Beverages included with the reservation fee: bottomless non-alcoholic beverages such as coffee, tea, lemonade, and soda. For an additional $3 we have alcoholic beverage. Fresh, local pastries are also available for purchase at the cafe if you would like a snack. Additional time can be purchased at the cafe if the cat lounge is not fully booked for the next hour.

AGE RESTRICTIONS: The minimum age for visiting Pounce Cat Cafe + Wine Bar is 12 years old. A parent or guardian will need to sign a minor waiver for anyone visiting the cafe between the ages of 12 and 17.

CHANGES/CANCELLATIONS: You can alter your reservation date/time by clicking on “Modify Reservation” link in your confirmation email up to 24 hours prior to your visit. You can cancel your reservation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
 
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE: Parties larger than 8 people are required to reserve the space as a private event. Not only can large groups be loud and distressing for our cats, they can also be disturbing for other guests who are visiting the cafe during the same hour.

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Powder Magazine Historic Site

Completed in 1713, The Powder Magazine is South Carolina’s oldest government building. The building was used as an arsenal from 1713-1748 and during the American Revolution in order to defend the city. After 1780, it was retired, and by the early 19th century, it was privately owned. During this period, The Powder Magazine served as a print shop, livery stable, wine cellar, and carriage house.

In 1902, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of South Carolina purchased the building, saving it from demolition. Within a year, it was opened to the public. Today, it is a museum where you can explore colonial military history in the last standing component of Charleston’s original fortifications.

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SC Historical Society Museum

Immerse yourself in the history of South Carolina!


Although founded in 1855 as an archive and private manuscript repository, the South Carolina Historical Society opened its first museum open to the public in September 2018. The new space pairs personal manuscripts, maps, and artifacts with innovative technology as visitors experience illuminating moments in our past.


The newly remodeled, repurposed Fireproof Building is the home of the Historical Society headquarters. The National Historic Landmark houses a new, state-of-the art museum with interactive exhibits that showcase South Carolina history, culture, and arts. Designed by Robert Mills and constructed between 1822 and 1827, the Fireproof Building is believed to be the first of its kind constructed in the United States.


Highlights:

  • Informational exhibits.
  • Self guided tours.
  • Wheelchair accessible.

The museum is closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

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Schooner Pride Afternoon Sail

Experience the wonder of sailing Charleston Harbor on a classic 84 foot tall ship. As you depart, help the Crew hoist the sails if you wish, and then sit back and watch the wind fill them, moving the Schooner Pride through the waters and past some of the most historic sites in the country such as Ft. Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

Discover the tranquility of cruising the historic Charleston Harbor on a genuine tall ship, powered only by the wind in our sails.

While this is not a narrated cruise, the Crew is happy to answer questions and point out landmarks and you’re welcome to help raise and trim the sails or you may sit back and enjoy the ride!

Sail through waters that Blackbeard once anchored in, relax on deck and imagine a time when the harbor was filled with these majestic ships. There is no set route; the boat just follow the winds wherever they take us.

The Schooner Pride, is an 84-foot, three-mast schooner modeled after the classic coastal trading schooners. She is an authentic tall ship and possesses all the character and class of a ship designed during the great days of sail. She is USCG certified to hold up to 49 passengers.

Key Points About This Tour:

  • Often observe dolphins playing and racing across the bow and frolicking in the harbor.
  • Pass Patriots Point and see the USS Yorktown, an Essex class aircraft carrier which played an important role during WWII.
  • See the beautiful homes that line the Battery.
  • See Ft. Sumter and one of the forts that fired upon it during the first battle of the Civil War, Ft. Johnson.
  • Watch pelicans perform diving acts.
  • See the impressive Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge, one of the longest cable stayed bridges in the Western hemisphere.
  • Soft drinks, beer, wine, champagne and water will all be available for purchase while we explore the harbor. Although we do not serve food on board, we welcome you to bring your own snacks. You will arrive back at the dock two hours later feeling refreshed and relaxed, with a new perspective on this historic harbor.

This tour operates seasonally and reduces the schedule in the late fall and winter seasons.

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Spirits of Magnolia Cemetery Tour

The Spirits of Magnolia Cemetery Tour gives you exclusive access to the most hauntingly beautiful Victorian burial grounds in Charleston.

Originally a 1790 era rice plantation, Magnolia Cemetery was founded in 1849 on the banks of the Cooper River in Downtown Charleston. Home to 35,000 permanent residents, including authors and poets, artists, Confederate generals and soldiers, prominent politicians, bootleggers, prostitutes, and socialites. Magnolia Cemetery served as a Confederate encampment to defend the city from the Union bombardment during the Civil War. Over 2,000 Confederate soldiers lay at rest in Magnolia, including the eight-man Hunley crew, eighty-four soldiers who fought in the battle at Gettysburg, and six confederate generals.

This nighttime tour is the first official walking tour of the historic site, previously off limits to commercial tour companies. The 90-minute walking tours promise the best of Magnolias history, mystery, and spirits. You will hear startling stories such as an unsolved murdered socialite, an outraged politician that ordered his butlers execution and scandalous tragedies that are never told in history books.

Do not forget your flash cameras! You never know what phantom images you can capture.

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Retail Price: $010% Savings = $0 Total