Welcome to Charleston


History

This lovely city will embrace you with the warmth and hospitality of an old and dear friend – who lived in the 18th century. We jest, but the cannons, cemeteries and carriage rides absolutely conjure an earlier era. Here, signers of the Declaration of Independence puffed cigars and whispered of revolution in the withdrawing rooms of historic homes, and the first shots of the Civil War rang out over Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The city itself was built on slave labor, and several related sights are among the nation's most important educators on the long-standing oppression of African Americans.

Food

Its chefs are regular contenders for James Beard awards. Its restaurants and dishes frequently get the nod from magazines like Bon Appétit. And with culinary roots in Europe, the Caribbean and West Africa, is it any wonder that every year millions of people pack a toothbrush just to eat in Charleston? But reading or hearing about delicious things never quite satisfies the way, say, slurping a raw oyster can. Or tearing into a fried green tomato. Or swirling the cream and sherry in a bowl of she-crab soup…

Romance

Charleston's most beloved 19th-century porch furnishing was the joggling board – a bouncy, wooden rocking bench that couples sat on back in the day as part of a courtship ritual. Not much has changed. Today lovers stroll cobblestone streets past historic buildings, stop to smell the blooming jasmine and enjoy long, candlelit dinners on verandas. Everywhere you turn another blushing bride is standing on the steps of yet another enchanting church. Above all, this is a place for seduction by Southern hospitality – Charleston will charm the sweat right off your brow.

Charlestonians

The good people of Charleston have seemingly stepped from the pages of a Victorian romance novel and settled in the South for the sole purpose of welcoming visitors. Conversation flows more gracefully than the Coop-ah Ri-vah, as they'd say it, and whether it's their elegant drawl or the refined (but never stuffy) manners, the locals land themselves squarely in your good graces without a shred of effort. Similarly, the kindhearted and easygoing Gullah people are the sort you'd hope to pass a day with roasting oysters or fishing, and the unhurried cadence of their well-preserved language is thoroughly enchanting.


Top experiences in Charleston

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Charleston activities

$26 Cultural & Theme Tours

Charleston’s Old South Carriage Ride and Guided History Tour

On a carriage drawn by magnificent Belgian and Percheron draft horses, travel with Old South Carriage through historic districts of Charleston to learn about the history of the “Holy City.”Meet your carriage on Anson Street near the City Market for your 1-hour tour with your knowledgeable guide. Listen to fascinating historical facts and entertaining local stories as your carriage glides through 300 years of history.Your journey takes you back to the colonial beginnings of Charleston as you pass old churches and antebellum mansions surrounded by lush gardens. Stop outside historic homes such as the Aiken-Rhett House, which was built in 1818 and became the residence of the 61st governor of South Carolina. Be sure to have your camera ready for to snap photos of Charleston’s many picturesque homes and gardens.While the beautiful homes offer captivating stories, the horse that pulls your carriage provides another highlight of your tour. The horse is much like the draft horses that worked on American farms in the early 1800s. These handsome animals are carefully looked after by their handlers, have regular weeks off and get several months per year to run free on a 65-acre (26-hectare) plantation located just 8 miles (13 km) from their Charleston stables.Expect to cover more than 2.5 miles (4 km) and 30 blocks of historical homes. At the end of your 1-hour tour, your guide returns you to your starting point where you can make your way to your next destination.

$65 Cultural & Theme Tours

Charleston Historic Downtown Food Walking Tour with Tastings

After meeting your foodie guide at the first restaurant location in downtown Charleston, you will begin your walking tour and visit 3-4 restaurants, where you'll sample dishes at each, and then a final stop for dessert. Each visit lasts 20 to 30 minutes, and you'll be seated to rest your legs. For most people, the amount of food served is enough for a meal. As you enjoy walking through this historical section of the city, listen to stories about Charleston's culture and cuisine from your guide, who points out landmarks along your route. This wonderful experience will end within walking distance of your starting point. *Please advise about Allergies in the ( Special Requirements section) during check out! *Dietary restrictions need to be communicated at least 24 hours in advance to be accommodated *Unfortunately we can not accommodate Vegan, Dairy Free or Soy Free diets

$22 Cultural & Theme Tours

Charleston 2-Hour Historical Walking Tour with Guide

Your exploration into the heart of Charleston begins as you meet your guide, who tells you how Charleston was founded. Set off along beautiful side streets, passing by historical mansions, gardens, and churches.Learn about the colonial days of the city, hear about its progression of wealth and culture, and dive deep into Revolutionary history, discovering why Charleston is the Boston of the South as you learn facts like how the first decisive victory of the Revolutionary War was fought at Charleston's harbor. Next, move on to the birthplace of the Secession. More than a century later, historians are still trying to understand all the complex pieces of the Civil War. Not only will you visit where it began, but you'll learn about the events that led up to that moment in time. Hear about the aftermath, reconstruction, and present day, gaining insight into how it took more than 100 years for this city to come back to life.

$20 Cultural & Theme Tours

Historic Charleston Walking Tour

Discover the essentials of historic Charleston on this approximately 2-hour walking tour. After meeting your guide outside the City Hall building, one of the pillars of the Four Corners of Law, continue through the heart of the Old Walled City, passing St. Philip's Church in the famed Charleston French Quarter before walking down to the tip of the peninsula at White Point Gardens, also known as the Battery. On your walk, encounter hundreds of historic homes, buildings, beautifully designed and manicured gardens as well as stately churches. From 1670 through the Civil War and up to the Charleston Modern Renaissance period, your guide will entertain you with Charleston’s rich and colorful history.Points of Interest on your tour will include: Historic Charleston Market, French Quarter, Dock Street Theatre, "Four Corners of Law",St Philip's Episcopal Church, Views of Fort Sumter, White Point Gardens (the Battery).

$27.56 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Charleston Harbor Carolina Belle Scenic Cruise History Tour

While aboard the Carolina Belle your professional and licensed captain will narrate history, sights, and facts about the Charleston Harbor as you pass locations critical to United States history. You will  get close-up views of the Holy City's most famous and charming sights such as  Fort Sumter: One of Charleston's most popular landmarks, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, USS Yorktown: the famous World War II “Fighting Lady," Confederate and Union army Forts Moultrie and Johnson, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church: A surviver 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. You will also see the Cooper River Bridges, including the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge: A state of the art span that accommodates the largest ships in the world and connects downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. To add to this wonderful experience, don't be surprised if you see Dolphins skimming the surface of the water and pelicans diving for food. 

$24 Cultural & Theme Tours

Charleston History Tour including Rainbow Row, Colonial Lake

Enjoy a guided tour of Charleston by mini-coach and learn about the city’s significant history. With your professional guide, explore the former city walls; visit the famous Battery Waterfront district; and stop at Charleston’s picturesque Battery Sea Wall for closer views of Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter and Patriots Point. This tour will entertain you with more than 300 years of Charleston’s rich history, from the American Revolution to the Civil War and beyond. Learn from your guide about the city’s pivotal role in America's history with visits to famous sites such as Rainbow Row, Colonial Lake, the Old Exchange Building and Whitepoint Gardens. You'll also see St Phillips Episcopal Church, the Public Market and more than 100 other points of interest. It's a great comprehensive overview of this charming historical city!Upgrade: Charleston Tour with a visit to the Joseph Manigault House:Upgrade your tour to include a visit to the restored Joseph Manigault House, a historic Charleston home constructed in 1803. Designed by architect Gabriel Manigault for his brother, Joseph, this 3-story, Federal-style brick townhouse reflects the lifestyle of the wealthy 19th-century rice-planting family and slaves who lived there. Explore this National Historic Landmark with your guide and discover why it’s considered one of the city’s most elegant and historically significant buildings in the city.