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Charleston Sightseeing Information

 Charleston Attractions

South Carolina Aquarium

Copyright (C) South Carolina Aquarium
Address:100 Aquarium Wharf Charleston, SC

Just entering this museum is a delight; the structure itself extends out over Charleston Harbor and as guests draw near the entrance, they enter beneath a beautiful stained glass wall. Entering the Great Hall, the centerpiece is the breathtaking Carolina Seas Exhibit. Spend the day walking through a mountain ravine, exploring the rivers of the Piedmont region, visiting with swamp dwellers and marveling at the 300,000-gallon Great Ocean Exhibit.

Admission: $14 Adults; $12 Seniors; $7 Children ages 4-12; children age 2 and under free.

Fort Sumter National Monument

Copyright (C) National Park Service
Fort Sumter had been under construction for more than 30 years in December of 1860 when Major Robert Anderson relocated his troops there in the middle of the night from Fort Moultrie. On April 12, 1861 the first shot of the Civil War was fired on the Fort by Confederate troops at Fort Johnson. Following 34 hours of fighting, Major Anderson surrendered but the siege continued for two more years. Fort Sumter has since stood as a symbol of Southern resistance.

Tour boat: $11 Adults; $6 Children ages 6-11; children under 6 are free.

Gullah Tours

Copyright (C) Gullah Tours
Climb aboard the 21-passenger air-conditioned bus and prepare to be educated and entertained. This tour offers a two-hour exploration of Charleston like no other. The owner and tour guide is fluent in the Gullah language and well versed in Gullah culture and history. Peppered with anecdotes and Gullah speak, tours are humorous and enlightening. The emphasis is on the influences and contributions of original black Charlestonians. A highlight: meeting Philip Simmons, blacksmith and Local National Treasure.

Admission: $15 Adults; $12 Students ages 12-18; $5 Students ages 5-11

The tours leave from the African American Art Gallery at 43 John Street, just diagonally across from the Charleston Visitor's Center.

Copyright (C) Original Charleston Walks
Lowcountry Ghost Walk
Ghost tours are enormously popular and Lowcountry Ghost Walk is one of the best. This is the city's original year-round tour and it is filled with local ghostly legends and folk tales. Hear hair-raising stories of Sue Howard's ghost, the ghost in City Hall and the Gullah Boo Hag. You may want to leave a light on when you go to bed! Adult tickets are $15; tickets for children ages 7-14 are $8. Save $3 if you order online.

Charleston Tea Plantation
Attention tea connoisseurs! This is the only working tea plantation in the United States; you can learn about tea harvesting, processing and packaging. The plantation supplies the official tea of the White House and grows over 300 varieties on its 127 acres. If you are visiting during the summer, wear a hat or take an umbrella as the sun will be intense and there is little shade available outside. Admission is free; call for an appointment for parties greater than ten.

Drayton Hall

Copyright (C) Drayton Hall
Addr : 3380 Ashley River Road Charleston,SC

Drayton Hall is a National Trust Historic site resting on 630 lovely acres. The building was completed in 1742; today it stands as a quality example of Georgian-Palladian architecture. Owned by the Drayton family for seven generations, the house remains close to its original condition. Drayton Hall regularly hosts school field trips.

Admission: $12 Adults; $8 Youth ages 12-18; $6 Children ages 6-11; children under age 6 are free. Grounds-only tickets are $3. Military discount is $2, AAA discount is $1. Tours on the hour beginning at 10am.

Nathaniel Russell House

Copyright (C) Historic Charleston Foundation
In the early 1800s, this neoclassic dwelling was the home of Nathaniel and Sarah Russell. The marriage of the Russells resulted in the merging of two great merchant families who made a fortune peddling rice and indigo. The interior of the home can only be described as graceful?intricate plasterwork, uniquely designed rooms and a breathtaking free-flying staircase are just a few of the architectural highlights. Much of the art displayed around the home is of Charleston origin, and each room is decorated in fine turn-of-the-century style.

Admission: $7

Boone Hall Plantation

Copyright (C) Boone Hall Plantation
In the early 18th century, cotton plantations were enormously profitable and a giant of Charleston's lowcountry cotton farming was this stunningly beautiful estate. The house and grounds are available for tours and special events. Boone Hall is an understandably popular setting for weddings. The world-famous Avenue of Oaks and the plantation house alone make this a worthwhile tour. Open all year except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Admission: Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $6 for children 6-12. Cash or Traveler's Cheques only.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Copyright (C) Magnolia Plantation
In existence since 1676, this plantation is a journey back through time. Walking along a numbered path, you will find many beautiful cypress and live oak trees along the river. The Barbados Tropical Garden, Biblical Garden, and Horticultural Maze offer a variety of landscaping styles. For those who ride bicycles, several trails wind through the woods. Plan to spend several hours.

Admission: Admission cost for gardens is $12; for children $6-9; the house tour is an additional $7; Audubon Swamp Garden $5. Boat and train tours are available. Cash only.

Heyward-Washington House

Copyright (C) The Charleston Museum
Addr : 87 Church Street, Charleston, SC

Thomas Heyward, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, built his splendid home in 1772. In 1791, the city rented the home for use by an honored guest: George Washington. The building is decorated with Charleston-manufactured furniture and the gardens showcase flowers that were available and popular in the 18th century. The Heyward-Washington House has been featured on Home and Garden Television. Guided tours are available.

Admission: Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the house or through the Charleston Museum.

Fort Moultrie National Monument

Copyright (C) National Park Service
This fort is a superior example of how coastal defenses have evolved over time. It is actually the third structure built to defend the coast on Sullivan's Island; the first two versions of Fort Moultrie were destroyed in hurricanes. Edgar Allan Poe penned a poem and the story "The Gold Bug" while stationed here in the early 1800s, and Seminole Indian Chief Osceola was buried at the entrance to the fort. Artillery buffs will find the historic cannons fascinating.

Admission: $2 Adults; $1 Seniors and Children under 16; $5 Family. Credit cards are not accepted.

SpiritLine Dinner Cruise

Copyright (C) Spritline Cruise
Depart the Patriots Point Military Museum aboard the Spirit of Carolina for a magnificent three-hour dinner tour of Charleston Harbor. Look out at Rainbow Row at sunset as you enjoy the beautiful, climate-controlled dining salons and open observation decks of this well-equipped yacht. A three-course meal, cooked to order, live music and dancing await for an evening not soon forgotten. The dinner menu includes she-crab soup, pesto chicken, grilled beef tenderloin and assorted sumptuous desserts.

Rates: $37.95 Sun-Thu, $40.95 Fri-Sat.
Classic Carriage Tours

Copyright (C) Classic Carriage Tours
Addr : 10 Guignard Street, Charleston, SC

An old custom thrives in Charleston as you tour the city in a horse-drawn carriage. Classic Carriage Tours offers guided tours in carriages drawn by award-winning Percheron Draft Horses. Horse-drawn transportation is a tradition in Charleston that the owners of Classic Carriage Tours make every effort to maintain as authentically as possible. One-hour, private, group, wedding and other special occasion tours are offered.

Fare: Group fares are $17 for adults and $10 for children. There are discounted rates for advance reservations. Private fares are $75 for 2 people, $85 for 3, and $95 for 4.

Barksdale House Inn (The)

Copyright (C) Barksdale House Inn
Address:100 Aquarium Wharf Charleston, SC

George Barksdale, formerly of the South Carolina House of Representatives, built his home in 1778. After his nephew, Thomas Barksdale, sold the property in 1817, the houses condition slowly deteriorated until it was painstakingly restored in 1985. Today, the Barksdale Inn is a 14-room bed and breakfast. Each room offers comfort and intimacy with a blending of modern luxuries and traditional furnishings. Tea and sherry are served on the back porch each afternoon. In season rates are higher.

Civil War Walk

Copyright (C) Original Charleston Walks
The attack on Fort Sumter was Charleston's first experience in the Civil War, but certainly not the most vivid. In 1863, The Union and Confederate armies descended on the port city in a siege that virtually devastated the town. The tour was founded and is led by Chris Phelps, author of The Bombardment of Charleston. He will introduce you to people, places and events that shaped that pivotal period of Charleston's history.

Fare: Adult tickets are $15; tickets for children ages 7-14 are $8. Save $1.50 if you order online.

Historic Homes Walk
Charleston is known for its amazing architecture that blends an early American influence with more than a little English style. Many of these well-preserved homes date back to the mid-eighteenth century. As you walk 1.5 miles down Charleston's avenues, your guide will regale you with stories of the people and events that helped give these historic structures their unique character.

Fare: Adult tickets are $25; tickets for children ages 7-14 are $20. Save $1.50 if you order online.

Governor's House Inn

Copyright (C) Governor's House Inn
Addr : 117 Broad Street, Charleston SC

South Carolina Governor Edward Rutledge was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. He lived with his wife at this house on Broad Street, which has since become a National Landmark. Built around 1760, the building houses the quintessential bed and breakfast in Charleston. Innkeepers Karen Spell Shaw and Robert Hill Shaw are continuing three generations of lodging excellence. The Governors House Inn is located in Charleston's historic downtown just a short stroll away from many of the city's attractions. Bring your checkbook or cash; credit cards are not accepted.

Aiken-Rhett House

Copyright (C) Historic Charleston Foundation
Addr : 48 Elizabeth Street, Charleston SC

This is perhaps the most remarkable home on Charleston's downtown waterfront. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Aiken-Rhett House is a revealing architectural portrait of the antebellum South. Owned at one time by wealthy planter and former South Carolina governor William Aiken, the house is decorated with fine examples of classical art and sculpture. Around the home, the original servants quarters, sheds, kitchens, and stables reveal a fuller view of Charleston city life in the 1800s.

Admission : $7

4 Unity Alley

Copyright (C) 4 Unity Alley
Addr : bet East Bay and State Sts, Charleston SC

4 Unity Alley combines the character of an 18th century warehouse exterior with contemporary rooms and modern amenities. Literally hidden in an alley, this bed and breakfast offers antique reproductions, beautiful gardens and huge rooms. The bed and breakfast caters to business travelers as well as families. Swimming, jogging, golfing and tennis can all be located within a short distance from the inn. A full breakfast is served in the formal dining room. There is a $50 service charge for canceling your reservation. A few credit cards are accepted but cash, personal check or traveler's checks are preferred.

Slavery and Freedom Walk

Copyright (C) Original Charleston Walks
In the early 1800s, Charleston was named the Home of African Slavery, and while this was a dubious distinction to sure, the history of how this came about is fascinating and enlightening. This two-hour, 1.5 mile walking tour explains why slavery evolved in Charleston the way it did, exploring Gullah folklore, slave uprisings and the role that free blacks played during this time in history. Interestingly enough, Charleston was home to free persons of color that owned slaves themselves.

Admission : $15 Adults; $8 Children ages 8-14. Save $1.50 by ordering tickets online.

Middleton Place

Copyright (C) Middleton Place
Addr : 4300 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC

This 18th century plantation is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America. Known for beautiful geometry and symmetry, the gardens run along the West bank of the Ashley River. On these magnificent grounds is the House Museum, once home to Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house, filled with period antiques, has survived both fire and earthquake. Guided tours given on the half hour.

Admission : $15 Adults; $8 Children; House tour an additional $8 per person.

Charleston's Pirates and Buccaneers

Copyright (C) Original Charleston Walks
This excursion is presented by The Original Charleston Walks and takes you on a guided tour of The Walled City, Pirate Tavern and more. Host Mike Brown is a professional guide and writes about the pirate legends. In your imagination, you will travel back in time to 1718 when Charleston regularly battled the French, Spanish and Native Americans. Now the city must face another terror from the sea.

Tickets Fee :Adult Tickets are $15. Tickets for Children 7-14 are $8. Ticket Office hours are 8:30am to 9:30pm daily. Order in advance and save $3.

Frankie's Fun Park

Copyright (C) Frankie's Fun Park
Addr : 5000 Ashley Phosphate Rd. N.Charleston, SC

Get the family together and spend some time playing the 18-hole "tropical" miniature golf course, riding go-karts and tooling around on the bumper boats. The park also offers a large arcade, batting cage and rock climbing wall. For the really adventurous, there's the "Trampoline Thing." Golf fans are happy to send their kids off with a handful of tokens and practice their swing at the Golf Range. The Pizza Shop on site lets you spend the whole day playing.

Party packages are available. 100 tokens for $20.

General History Tour
This is the tour to take if you know little about Charleston and want a fast-paced overview of this charming city. The General History Tour is a 75-minute bus ride through 300 years of the city's history. Among the stops on the tour are The Battery, Dock Street Theater, Charleston Market, Four Corners of Law and The Citadel.

Tickets Fee : Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children. There is a $2 discount for ordering online. Tickets are also available at the visitor's center.

Beachwalker County Park

Copyright (C) The Signatures Groupk
Location : Located on the west end of Kiawah Island.

This park offers public access to the beautiful beachfront of Kiawah Island. Lifeguards watch over the 450-foot swimming area during high season and outdoor showers and well-maintained dressing rooms are available. Stroll the boardwalk, set up a cookout at the picnic area equipped with grills, play Frisbee and enjoy a cold drink from the snack bar or rent a beach chair and umbrella and just stretch out with a good book.

Admission : $5 per car, $20 per bus. Beach chair or umbrella: $6 per day. Credit cards not accepted.

Charleston Waterfront Park

Copyright (C) Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
Don't miss this wonderful park located in the center of downtown. Spanning over 1,000 feet along Charleston Harbor, this is a must-see for any walking tour of the city. Sit on one of several family-sized swings on the pavilion and watch ships come and go. Find an old-fashioned park bench in a shady spot and watch people stroll by as children romp on the large green and run along the palm tree-lined walkways. Two artfully designed enormous fountains invite children to splash and play.

Isle of Palms County Park
With 600 feet of ocean frontage, this public access beach is a great place to come and spend the day. Lifeguards are on duty for safety during the high season and there is plenty of parking available. Stroll the dunes boardwalk, set up a family get together at the designated picnic area, play sand volleyball and let the kids enjoy the play area. Or just rent a beach umbrella and chair and while away the day reading a good book. Snack and drink vending
Admission : $5 per car.

Captain Adam Ridgeway

Copyright (C) South Carolina Fishing Guides
Captain Adam Ridgeway offers guided fishing excursions for the novice or the expert. He encourages you to bring your own gear, but he can provide everything you need including the license. Full-day and half-day charters are available and can be tailored to the type of fishing you prefer.

The maximum number in your party is two if you are fly-fishing; otherwise it is three. A third person will cost $50. There is a $100 deposit required to schedule a trip. Half-day charters are $300; 3/4-day charters are $400; full-day charters are $500.

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