Charleston
Nature & Adventure

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Our most recommended Charleston Nature & Adventure

Fort Sumter: National Monument Entry Ticket & Ferry

1. Fort Sumter: National Monument Entry Ticket & Ferry

Enjoy 2 convenient ferry departure points: Liberty Square in downtown Charleston or Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant. See the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge as you ride the ferry along, and take in sights of Charleston’s stately Rainbow Row and Battery homes.  As you approach Fort Sumter, graceful sailboats and playful dolphins add to the photogenic scene. If you depart from Mt. Pleasant you will enjoy views of the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier from up-close, while tours embarking from downtown will see Aquarium Wharf as they depart and return. Arrive at The Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, which sits prominently at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, a strategic location that was crucial to its defense.  While here, explore the grounds of Fort Sumter. Stand on the grounds where America’s deadliest war began at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. The first shots were fired here, igniting a conflict that saw more than 700,000 casualties. Experience the opening battle of the American Civil War and explore its origins with a National Park Ranger. Your approximate 1-hour visit to Fort Sumter allows ample time to explore well-preserved fort ruins and browse Museum Store souvenirs. A visit to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park provides a window into the life and trials of America’s heroes, from the Civil War to today’s modern conflicts. Learn about the events leading to the war from knowledgeable National Park Rangers who will relay stories of courageous heroes in action from the Civil War’s first battle. Walk in the steps of those who shaped this nation alongside a National Park Ranger. Then enjoy the beautiful views of the city as you ride the ferry back to Charleston.

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Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

2. Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

Experience Charleston on board a 1920s-Bay-Steamer-replica yacht. Listen carefully as your captain guides you on a journey through more than 300 years of American history. You’ll pass by 75 landmarks and points-of-interest on this 20-mile trip. Get close-up views of the “Holy City,” including Fort Sumter - where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Glide past Confederate and Union army forts and see the famous “Fighting Lady” of World War II. As you pass by remnants of the Civil and Revolutionary wars, don’t forget to look for dolphins and pelicans splashing nearby. Choose between indoor or outdoor seating. There is also an enclosed observatory and a partially-covered upper deck in case of rain.

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Charleston: Magnolia Plantation Tour and Transport

3. Charleston: Magnolia Plantation Tour and Transport

Witness a slice of living history at Magnolia Plantation and its world-famous gardens, owned by the Drayton family for 12 generations. Visit the Historic Gardens, Petting Zoo, and The Conservatory. Begin your half-day tour by boarding a climate-controlled coach in Charleston. Meet your professional guide and ride to Magnolia Plantation, dating from 1676 and the time of the British colony. Step into one of America's first tourist attractions and first public gardens, which have been open to the public since 1870. Take a guided walk through America's last large-scale romantic garden. Experience history on a 45-minute narrated tram ride through the Audobon Swamp Gardens and visit important locations like Drayton Home (not Drayton Hall), Orientation Theater, and the Old African American Cabin.

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Charleston: Haunted Carriage Evening Tour

4. Charleston: Haunted Carriage Evening Tour

Listen to spine-tingling tales of prisoners, rogues, and pirates that make up the history of Charleston. Cover over 300 years of history from the comfort of your carriage. Mysterious alleys and cobblestones await as your expert guide leads you through Historic Charleston on a 40-minute Haunted Carriage Tour. Start the tour at Old South Carriage Company's stables where the tour explores the 15 block core that comprises Historic Charleston. Along the way you will see Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, Circular Congregational Church and Graveyard, Charleston City Market, and St. Michael's Episcopal Church. All tour guides of this activity are members of the Palmetto Guild, which indicates that they have successfully passed a comprehensive examination of the history of Charleston.

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Charleston: Supernatural 90-Minute Ghost Tour

5. Charleston: Supernatural 90-Minute Ghost Tour

"There is only one essential ingredient in a ghost story: death." So say Charlestonians Ed Macy and Geordie Buxton in their introduction to their book about the haunted streets of Charleston. By rambling through the oft-forgotten enclaves of the Holy City, the paranormal authors bring guests face to face with a group of orphans who haunt a dorm of a Charleston College, a Citadel cadet who haunts a local hotel, and an angelic spirit in a Freedman Methodist graveyard, to name just a few. We will hear tales of a bookstore phantom, notorious for rearranging books in perfect vertical stacks, and a gruesome 19th century amputation taking place in a medical student’s apartment. This tour is not for the faint-hearted! Based on historical events and specific details that are often lost in our general notion of ghosts, each haunting encounter will send chills down your spine.

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Charleston: Historic City Tour and Harbor Cruise

6. Charleston: Historic City Tour and Harbor Cruise

Discover 300 years of Charleston history from land and sea with passionate licensed tour guides. Experience a 90-minute narrated tour of Charleston in a climate-controlled luxury coach and then head to the water for another perspective of the city from Charleston Harbor. Learn fascinating historical facts about Charleston while you cruise the gentle waves of her harbor. Knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides are licensed by the City of Charleston and are eager to share their knowledge with all guests aboard the cruise. Don't forget your camera as you will see all that the Holy City has to offer: Charleston's Historic Homes and Churches, the Old Market, Rainbow Row, Fort Sumter, USS Yorktown, and incredible views from Charleston Harbor.

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Charleston: Haunted Bar Crawl with Tarot Reading

7. Charleston: Haunted Bar Crawl with Tarot Reading

Get an insider's view of Charleston's paranormal history on a walking tour with an expert local guide. Begin your urban walking adventure by meeting your guide on the steps of the US Customs House. Make your way to one of Charleston's most notorious bars and listen to ghost stories and tales of Charleston’s darker side while enjoying your favorite beverage. From the bar, walk towards a graveyard where you will learn how to spot a ghost and the spirits of those who still roam the streets. Turn the corner and walk towards a very different, but equally spooky bar. Finish the evening with more history and ghost stories and a tarot reading.

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Charleston: City Tour and Museum Combo

8. Charleston: City Tour and Museum Combo

Feel the past come alive on this combination tour in Charleston. Ride in comfort on a climate-controlled coach and discover Charleston's 300 years of living history with passionate licensed tour guides. Follow your bus tour with a visit to the Charleston Museum, one of the oldest museums in the United States. On your bus tour, experience the Old Market area and admire the historic homes and churches where generations of Charlestonians worked, lived, and worshipped. See and hear about Fort Sumter, the Harbor of History, and the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point. Make sure to take your camera as you will have the opportunity to stop at the famous Battery Seawall and enjoy the spectacular views. Keep your camera handy when you pass by the colorful houses on Rainbow Row, too. Finally, dive into the history of the Holy City at the Charleston Museum, which was opened to the public nearly 200 years ago. Explore the exhibitions that cover the American Civil War, the natural history in the area, and much, much more.

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Charleston Harbor 2-Hour Speedboat Adventure

9. Charleston Harbor 2-Hour Speedboat Adventure

Take the wheel and become the captain of your very own speed boat with this one-of-a-kind adventure tour. Experience driving your own boat while taking in the views from the Charleston harbor. This fully narrated tour takes you 13 miles through the world-famous Charleston Harbor. See everything while listening to a highly trained and professional guide through a two-way communication system.   You will have a once-in-a-lifetime view of the Battery, USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, the downtown Charleston skyline, Waterfront Park, South Carolina Aquarium, the cruise ship terminal and all the wildlife that call Charleston Harbor home.  This is a great adventure for all ages.

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Charleston: Shem Creek Bar Tour

10. Charleston: Shem Creek Bar Tour

Guests will meet at the starting location where the host or hostess will lead participants to the correct table. After brief introduction, groups will have the opportunity to purchase a variety of recommended beverages, as they taste a variety of appetizers served at each of the three to four locations visited.  Your licensed tour guide, Capt. Bryan is a 7th generation Charlestonian of Huguenot Heritage and tell you the history of beautiful and historic Shem Creek as the group walks to the various stops. The tour will end at an establishment with a wonderful view of Shem Creek, typically as the sun is setting over the Charleston Harbor. Ride-share services are recommended to make sure you can take full advantage of all the delicious drinks and get home safely.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Charleston

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What people are saying about Charleston

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 205 reviews

I have been to Ft. Sumter a few times but not since Hugo. Happy it's still a fun and learning experience. This is my friend's 1st time. Very enjoyable. Love history. Ferry out to the Fort was very nice also.

This is an excellent experience and a must due excursion if you are interested in U.S. history. You have around an hour at the fort and that is plenty of time. The rangers are helpful and informative.

The tour was great and the guide was awesome. Very entertaining and knowledgeable. My teens also really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend this to anyone while in Charleston.

It was a fun experience and we learned a lot about Charleston history and the ride around town gave us a chance to see the historical locations and shops up close.

Great way to explore Charleston and all the history with a very Knowledgeable guide. Plus the horses are very well taken care of.