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How to Spend 1 Day in Charleston

How to Spend 1 Day in Charleston

Centuries-old mansions, flowery gardens, ironwork balconies, and palmetto palms accentuate the old-world charm of Charleston, a city where American history and Southern hospitality meet. While you could easily spend a week or more exploring, here are some tips for how to make the most out of a single day in the Holy City. 

Morning: Historic District

Much of Charleston’s appeal lies in its immaculately preserved historical district, so spend time this morning soaking up the scenery of this romantic neighborhood. Visit some of the city’s many mansions, gardens, and churches by horse-drawn carriage, or lace up your shoes for a walking tour of its historic streets. Most sightseeing tours, whether on foot or by bus or carriage, include a historical introduction to the city, with stops at points of interest such as Rainbow Row and the Waterfront Battery.

Afternoon: Forts and Plantations

This afternoon, take your pick of one of the city’s star attractions to focus your attention. History buffs might want to hop on a boat and visit Fort Sumter National Monument to see where the Civil War began. Another option is to spend the afternoon at one of Charleston’s antebellum plantations, such as Magnolia Plantation with its romantic gardens or 17th-century Boone Hall Plantation, among the oldest working plantations in the US.

Night: Sunset Sail

Some of the best views of Charleston are from the water. This evening, board a classic tall ship for a sailing excursion through picturesque Charleston Harbor and sip a cocktail as the sun sinks below the horizon. Once back on solid ground, head to King Street to sample some of the city’s famed Low Country cuisine, such as shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, po’boy sandwiches, or pimento cheese (aka the caviar of the South). Let your stomach lead the way, or join a local foodie for a guided tasting through the city streets. 

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21 Tours and Activities | All Charleston Tours

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Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour

Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Horse & Carriage Tour

star-5
3127
Experience more than 300 years of history on this guided carriage tour of Charleston. See the many mansions, churches, and gardens as your horse-drawn carriage tour covers more than 2.5 miles and 30 blocks of historic Charleston. Belgian and Percheron draft horses will you lead you through the streets while you learn about this “Holy City” and its role in the Civil War.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$40.00
From
$40.00
Taking safety measures

Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour

Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour

star-4.5
569
Combine Charleston’s history with unique food samplings on this small-group culinary walking tour. Explore Charleston’s Old and Historic District, discovering the local landmarks and cuisine of locally owned and operated restaurants. Enjoy enough local favorites to make a meal for most visitors. All food tastings are included on this fantastic introduction to the ‘Holy City.’
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$85.00
From
$85.00
Taking safety measures

Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston

Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston

star-4.5
114
Visit Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens on this 4.5-hour tour from Charleston. One of the oldest working plantations in the United States, Boone Hall was founded in 1681 and still grows crops. During your tour led by a guide in period costume, you'll see the plantation's slave quarters and learn about its history and modern-day use. Select a morning or afternoon departure time when booking. Enjoy a personalized experience on this small-group tour of just 15 people.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$60.50
From
$60.50
Taking safety measures

Charleston History Sightseeing Bus Tour with Joseph Manigault House Option

Charleston History Sightseeing Bus Tour with Joseph Manigault House Option

star-4
191
Travel back in time to discover one of America’s most historic cities—Charleston, South Carolina—on this guided sightseeing tour. Visit a plethora landmarks including Rainbow Row, the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States; the Old Exchange Building, South Carolina's most historic building; White Point Garden, in the heart of Charleston’s historic district, with a spectacular view of Fort Sumter and many more. Upgrade option available to include a tour of the famous Joseph Manigault House, one of Charleston's most exquisite antebellum structures.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$37.97
From
$37.97
Taking safety measures

Charleston's Upper King Street Culinary Tour

Charleston's Upper King Street Culinary Tour

star-4.5
144
Get to know Charleston through its food on this walking tour of Upper King Street. Meet with culinary innovators and learn about their edgy and creative styles that have turned this once off-the-beaten-path area into a lively destination for food lovers. Along the way, sample dishes at local restaurants and eateries.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$85.00
From
$85.00
Taking safety measures

Ghosts of Charleston Night-Time Walking Tour with Unitarian Church Graveyard

Ghosts of Charleston Night-Time Walking Tour with Unitarian Church Graveyard

star-4.5
676
Uncover Charleston’s darkest secrets on an evening ghost and cemetery tour. Stroll through the atmospheric heart of the old city while an entertaining local guide regales you with tales of the dark deeds, restless spirits and supernatural phenomena that make Charleston one of the most haunted cities in America. Get exclusive after-hour access to the famous Unitarian Church Graveyard, where an overgrown southern garden surrounds historic plots said to be haunted by wandering ghosts.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.00
From
$30.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Night-Time Guided Walking Tour

Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Night-Time Guided Walking Tour

star-4.5
405
Peek into Charleston’s shadowy history with a chilling nighttime walking tour of the city’s most eerie sites! Wind through the dark corridors of the Historic District and hear spooky tales of graveyard hauntings, voodoo and botched burials from your local guide. Pass by infamous locations with grisly histories and wander through the Charleston’s oldest cemetery after hours.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.00
From
$36.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Night-Time Walking Tour

Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Night-Time Walking Tour

star-4
164
Explore the darker side of Charleston with an evening walking tour of the city’s most eerie sites! Wind through the Historic District’s dark corridors and graveyards, and hear spooky tales of ghosts, voodoo, local superstition and famous haunted spaces from your local guide. Cap off the tour with a chilling visit to the Provost Dungeon, a pre-Revolutionary dungeon steeped in grisly history.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.00
From
$36.00
Taking safety measures

Historic Charleston Walking Tour: Rainbow Row, Churches, and More

Historic Charleston Walking Tour: Rainbow Row, Churches, and More

star-5
204
Experience the charm and beauty of Charleston on a morning or afternoon walking tour. With an entertaining guide, take a leisurely stroll through the city’s Historic District, passing antebellum mansions, hidden gardens, historic churches and graveyards, as well as famous sites like Fort Sumter, Rainbow Row, and the Waterfront Battery. Along the way, learn about Charleston’s rich history and contemporary culture.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.00
From
$36.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston Harbor Sunset Cruise

Charleston Harbor Sunset Cruise

star-4.5
191
Watch the sun set above Charleston, South Carolina with a 2-hour sunset harbor cruise aboard a 45-foot motorized catamaran. Find a comfortable seat on deck, spot the landmarks of downtown Charleston and the waterfront, and watch for the dolphins and sea birds that thrive along the South Carolina shoreline. Enjoy a relaxing break from the city while spending a romantic evening on the water.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$45.00
From
$45.00
Taking safety measures

Evening Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Downtown Charleston

Evening Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Downtown Charleston

star-4.5
82
Discover downtown Charleston on a Southern-style carriage ride that passes through the Commercial District and Waterfront Park. Learn about the history, architecture, and people of this old South Carolina city throughout the tour.
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  • 35 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.00
From
$30.00
Taking safety measures

Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston

Daytime Horse-Drawn Carriage Sightseeing Tour of Historic Charleston

star-5
1215
Ride a horse-drawn carriage through the heart of historic Charleston on a guided tour through the heart of the city. Soak up the old fashioned charm of cobblestone streets lined with antebellum houses, lush gardens, and landmark churches as you listen to stories about Charleston history, architecture, and culture.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$40.00
From
$40.00

Private Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

Private Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston

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100
Explore Charleston in an intimate horse-drawn carriage during this private tour. Get personalized attention from your guide while riding through the historic streets of the old walled town.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$300.00
per group
From
$300.00
per group
Taking safety measures

Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise

Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise

star-4.5
1215
See the Charleston Harbor by boat with a leisurely sightseeing tour along the Cooper River to Fort Sumter National Monument. This fully-narrated tour focuses on Charleston history from Civil War sites to antebellum houses and landmarks, passes under Cooper River bridges, and explores a waterfront that’s home to bottlenose dolphins and pelicans.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.35
From
$36.35
Taking safety measures

Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour

Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour

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317
Charleston's colonial history, laid-back vibe, and beautiful sites continue to steal the hearts of visitors to the Holy City. See the highlights of the peninsula in comfort on this 90-minute guided tour on a climate-controlled minibus with a maximum of 15 passengers. This narrated tour keeps you cool as you ride past must-see Charleston sights such as the Battery, the Citadel, Old City Market, and Hampton Park as well as enjoy spectacular views of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse at a distance. Bonus: Admission to Charleston Powder Museum is also included with the price of your tour.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$32.00
From
$32.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston Marsh Eco Boat Cruise with stop at Morris Island Lighthouse

Charleston Marsh Eco Boat Cruise with stop at Morris Island Lighthouse

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534
Cruise through Lowcountry tidal creeks and marshes en route to the uninhabited Morris Island on this boat cruise from the Charleston area. A private boat company launches from Bowens Island for the scenic ride through an estuary rich in biodiversity before a soft landing on Morris Island. Spend free time to taking photos of the historic Morris Island Lighthouse, combing for seashells, and looking out for birds, sea turtles, and dolphins before your return.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$54.00
From
$54.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston Land & Sea Combo: Historical Sightseeing Bus Tour with Harbor Cruise

Charleston Land & Sea Combo: Historical Sightseeing Bus Tour with Harbor Cruise

star-4
21
On this historical Charleston tour, journey back in time as your guide reveals the beauty and charm of one of America's most historic cities. Learn about the history of Charleston and discover its pivotal role in American history with visits to more than 100 points of interest including Rainbow Row, Colonial Lake, the Old Exchange Building and Whitepoint Gardens. This tour combines a 90 minute Historic City Tour with a 90 minute narrated, non-stop Harbor Tour. The harbor tour may be taken in conjunction with the city tour or you may choose to split them up and take them on separate days.
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$48.00
From
$48.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston City Sightseeing Bus Tour

Charleston City Sightseeing Bus Tour

star-5
324
An air-conditioned sightseeing bus offers a refreshing Charleston Sightseeing Tour for summertime visitors trying to escape the heat or those with limited mobility. Roll by popular "Holy City" sights like Rainbow Row, the Battery, White Point Gardens, Nathaniel Russell House, and St. Michael's Church from wide viewing windows while your guide informs and entertains with stories from Charleston's rich past.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$39.00
From
$39.00
Taking safety measures

Middleton Place Tour & Lunch with Transportation from Charleston

Middleton Place Tour & Lunch with Transportation from Charleston

star-4.5
111
Middleton Place is one of the most popular plantations in the Charleston area, but getting there can be tricky without a private car. This tour makes it easy by including transportation from downtown Charleston aboard a comfortable, air-conditioned van, plus a guided tour of the house upon arrival. A 3-course lunch is also included for a taste of Lowcountry cuisine.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$120.90
From
$120.90
Taking safety measures

Charleston City Walking Tour with Edmondston-Alston House Admission

Charleston City Walking Tour with Edmondston-Alston House Admission

star-5
2
This Charleston walking tour not only takes you to top sights around downtown Charleston such as the Battery and South of Broad Street, but also includes access to the Edmondston-Alston House, a gorgeous 19th century home with unobstructed views of the Charleston Harbor. After learning about Charleston history on a guided walking tour, visit the house for a peek inside the lives of Charleston’s elite class—and an unforgettable view.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$50.00
From
$50.00
Taking safety measures

Drayton Hall Plantation Admission Ticket in Charleston

Drayton Hall Plantation Admission Ticket in Charleston

star-4.5
41
One of the most popular plantations in the Charleston Area, Drayton Hall is a top choice among visitors—and tickets can go fast. Guarantee entry by booking ahead, and then visit on your own schedule without having to adhere to a tour. This all-access admission ticket includes a narrated home tour, as well as access to the historic grounds, the Gates Gallery, and an interactive educational program.
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  • 1 to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$23.98
From
$23.98
Taking safety measures