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Things to Do in and Around Charleston

Updated on April 6, 2020
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The Kyp family is originally from Pennsylvania and has resided in South Carolina for the past 5 years. Spent time in and around Paris.

Charleston Market
Charleston Market


  • Rainbow Row
  • Carriage Ride through the City
  • Tour the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon
  • Tour a mansion on East Battery Street (Edmonston-Alston House)
  • Boat ferry to tour Fort Sumter
  • See a play at the Dock Street Theater
  • Tour the city by riverboat (Charleston Harbor Tours)
  • Spa treatment at the Wentworth Mansion
  • Mead Tasting
  • Charleston Market
  • Bulldog Walking Tours
  • December - Progressive Dinner hosted by Circa 1886 Restaurant
  • Accommodations at Barksdale House Inn

Farther Afield of Charleston

  • Sullivan's Island - tour Fort Moultrie
  • Johns Island - visit the Angel Oak tree
  • Wadmalaw Island - Charleston Tea Plantation
  • Kiawah Island - walk along the beach or take in the scenery for lunch/dinner
  • Tour a Plantation - Middleton Place, Drayton Hall, McLeod Plantation Historic Site, Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
  • Folly Beach
  • Isle of Palms
  • Patriots Point

Rainbow Row
Rainbow Row


Rainbow Row

  • A row of pastel-colored historic homes along East Bay Street

Carriage Ride through the City

  • Charleston Carriage Works - randomly assign one of four local routes
  • Old South Carriage Tours - offer Santa Sleigh Rides, Haunted Carriage Tour, Historic Charleston and Historic Colonial Charles Towne Tours

Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon

  • Since 1771, the building has been many things from a commercial exchange, custom house, post office, city hall, military headquarters to now a museum
  • Open Daily 9am-5pm
  • Children (0-6) Free; Children (6-12) $5; Adults $10
  • Self-guided tour of the top two floors and a 25 minute guided tour of the Provost Dungeon
  • Tours every half hour starting at 9:30am
  • Allow 45 minutes to an hour
  • Open Gift Shop

Edmonston-Alston House

  • Incredible views of the Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter
  • General Robert E. Lee spent a night here to escape a wide-spreading fire that threatened his safety at a hotel
  • Open 10am-4:30pm Tuesday-Saturday; 1pm-4:30pm Sunday-Monday
  • 30 minute guided tours
  • Children (6-13) $8; Student (14+ with Student ID) $8; Adults $12 ($11 with online purchase)
  • More tour options - 60 minute tours, Charleston Battery tour, private event with cocktails or dinner on the second floor piazza

Fort Sumter Tours

  • The first shots fired here igniting the start of the Civil War
  • Only tour that stops at the fort and disembarks visitors
  • Spend an hour on the site
  • Drinks and Snacks available for sale on board the cruise to and from the fort
  • Open Gift Shop at the Fort Sumter Visitor and Education Center at Liberty Square and at Fort Sumter
  • Other tours - Charleston Dinner Tours, City Tours, Sunset Tour

Dock Street Theatre

  • Built in 1736, it is the first building in America built to be used exclusively for theatrical performances
  • Past performances: Elf the Musical, Footloose, Mamma Mia!, A Christmas Carol, White Christmas, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Mary Poppins, Of Mice and Men, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Streets surrounding the theatre have parking restrictions. Park in City garages or lots near the theatre.
  • Patrons can drop off and pick up in a loading zone on Church Street

Charleston Harbor Tour

  • Relax and see over 75 landmarks and points of interest
  • Fully stocked bar and snack bar on board
  • Combo tours available for carriage rides and tours of Boone Hall Plantation

Wentworth Mansion

  • 2020 U.S. News Best Hotel Rankings - #1 Best Charleston, #1 Best South Carolina Hotel, #11 Best USA Hotels
  • Historic landmark built in 1886
  • Italian crystal chandeliers, marble fireplaces, Tiffany stained glass
  • Spa provides facials, massages, body treatments, and spa waxing

Mead Tasting

  • Savannah Bee Company on W Broughton Street
  • Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water and some various fruits, spices, grains, or hops

Charleston Market

  • Sweetgrass baskets, ornaments, wall decor, etc. made by locals
  • Highly recommend the Sweet & Spicy BBQ seasoning from Virginia's Vegetable Stand

Bulldog Walking Tours

  • History tours
  • Food tours
  • Ghost tours

Progressive Dinner (December)

  • Diners journey by horse-drawn carriage for a festive evening singing carols through the streets of Charleston
  • Hors d'oeuvres start at the Historic Kings Courtyard Inn on King Street
  • Then, diners are taken by carriage to the main meal at Circa 1886 Restaurant adjacent to the Wentworth Mansion
  • Last, diners enjoy coffee and dessert at the Historic John Rutledge House Inn on Broad Street
  • The evening begins at 5:30pm and wraps up by 8:30pm
  • The cost includes the meals, carriage ride, tax, and gratuity

Barksdale House Inn

  • Great price for accommodations
  • 1778 property with a porch and gardens
  • Parking and wi-fi is free
  • Pet-friendly
  • Free Breakfast and afternoon tea
  • Around the corner from shopping on King Street

Angel Oak
Angel Oak

Farther Afield of Charleston

Fort Moultrie

  • First fort built on Sullivan's Island constructed of palmetto logs and sand
  • The fort has been restored to portray the major periods of its history from World War II to the original construction of it from 1776.

Angel Oak Tree

  • Over 60 feet tall with a wide canopy
  • Possibly in excess of 400-500 years old
  • Open Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 1pm-5pm

Charleston Tea Plantation

  • The only North America tea plantation to see hundreds of tea bushes
  • No admission charge
  • Only charge is for the 45 minute trolley tour that makes a stop at the greenhouse
  • Educational tour of the tea factory
  • See Waddy the Frog, the mascot of the Charleston Tea Plantation
  • Gift shop stocked with tea related items

Kiawah Island

  • Kiawah Beachwalker Park - public beach with seasonal lifeguards and chair and umbrella rentals
  • Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House - open 11:30am-9pm

Middleton Place

  • Open daily 9am-5pm
  • Adult (14+) $29 ($26 with online purchase); Student (14+ with Student ID) $15; Child (6-13) $10; Children 5 and under Free
  • General Admission includes access to the 65 acres of Landscaped Gardens and the following Guided Walking Tours: Garden Overview-45 minute discussion of the garden design and history; Meet the Breeds-30 minutes to meet the different animal breeds; Beyond the Fields-60 minute exploration of the lives of the enslaved and freedmen; Nature Walks (only Sept-June, Friday-Saturday)-60 minute exploration of the various types of flora and fauna
  • Online Tour Add-ons: House Museum Tour $15 - Monday 12-4pm, Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm; Combo Package $49 Adult, $35 Student, $30 Child - Middleton Place, House Musem tour, admission to the Edmonston-Alston House, and a House Museum of the Middleton Place Foundation located in downtown Charleston
  • On-site Booking Packages: Carriage Tour $18, Children 5 and under Free - 35-45 minute ride through the less-traveled areas of the plantation; Spend the Day Tour $55 Adult, $44 Student, $39 Child (6-13) - includes Middleton Place general admission, House Museum Tour, and a 35-45 minute carriage ride
  • Other excursions - Ashley River House and Garden Tour - guided tour of Drayton Hall and Middleton Place; Middleton Place excursion with the Pineapple Tour Group - Transportation in a luxury coach from Downtown Charleston along with lunch at the Middleton Place Restaurant and explore Middleton Place
  • Side note the Magnolias bloom in May on the property

Drayton Hall

  • Open Monday-Saturday 9am-3:30pm; Sunday 10:30am-3:30pm
  • Tickets include a house tour and access to all exhibits and grounds
  • Children 7 and under are free and do not require a house tour ticket
  • $4 off tickets purchased online
  • Adult $32; Youth (8-14) $15
  • You are to arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to your tour start time
  • The Garden Cafe offers a wide variety of meal options
  • Combination Tours: Drayton Hall & Middleton Place ($49 Adult, $28 Child) with exclusive House & Garden Tour; Drayton Hall & The Aiken Rhett House ($39.99 Adult, $15.99 Child)

McLeod Plantation Historic Site

  • 37 acre Gullah/Geechee heritage site preserved in recognition of its cultural and historical significance
  • The main house experience is self-guided
  • Included in admission are 45-60 minute guided tours offered 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm

Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens

  • #1 Plantation in the Charleston area according to USA Today 10BEST
  • Adults $26, Children (6-12) $12, Children 5 and under Free
  • Senior Citizens/Military/AAA $23
  • Admission includes: walking along the Avenue of Oaks, Black History in America exhibit, Plantation House Tour, Plantation Tractor Tour, The Slave Street and History Tour, Garden Tour, 'Exploring the Gullah Culture' Live!, and the Butterfly Pavilion (the butterfly pavilion is open May-September)
  • Plantation Tractor Tour - loads up at the Butterfly Cafe (30-40 minutes)

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

  • Charleston's most visited plantation originally founded by the Drayton family
  • Open daily 9am-4pm
  • Peacock Cafe - breakfast served until 11am, sandwiches available for lunch, ice cream treats, candy, chips, and cookies are also available along with bottled water, sweet or un-sweet tea, soda, juices, coffee, hot tea, bottled beer, and sangria
  • The Zoo and Nature Center allows visitors to walk among peacocks and white-tailed deer
  • The Plantation House Tour is an additional cost to general admission ($8 per person, children under 6 are free)

Folly Beach

  • Taco Boy - great tacos
  • Lounge on the beach
  • Walk along Folly Beach Pier

Isle of Palms

  • Coconut Joe's Beach Grill - views of the ocean from the deck and rooftop bar
  • Relax and listen to the ocean waves
  • Seaside Inn - pet-friendly (reduced rates Sunday-Thursday)

Patriots Point

  • USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier now a maritime museum
  • Located in Mt Pleasant, SC (just over the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge from the city of Charleston
  • Open daily 9am-6:30pm

© 2020 Kyp


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