H.L. Hunley Submarine#16 in Best Things To Do in Charleston
Originally built in 1864 for the Confederate Army, the H.L. Hunley became the world's first successful combat submarine. Toward the end of the 19th century, it was suddenly lost at sea until 1995 when it was discovered off the coast of Sullivan's Island. In 2000, the Hunley and the remains of its crew were brought to the surface for a detailed restoration at the Old Charleston Naval Base. Today, you can visit the base and tour the submarine; an experience that many recent visitors say is well worth your time, especially if you're interested in nautical history. However, travelers do point out that a trip to the H.L. Hunley isn't well-suited to children because it's not an interactive museum – it's an ongoing, public restoration project that likely won't capture the attention of young kids.
The H.L. Hunley Confederate Submarine and the Old Charleston Naval Base are located about 7 miles north of downtown Charleston. Half-hour tours are provided on the weekends (Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.), but they must be scheduled ahead of your visit. Tickets for adults cost $16 and can be ordered online or purchased at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. The most efficient way to reach the Old Charleston Naval Base is to drive. Once you arrive, you'll find plenty of parking. For more information, check out the submarine's website.
More Best Things To Do in Charleston
#1 The Battery
Many visitors say you can't leave Charleston without seeing this stretch along the city's southern tip. This row of Southern-style mansions overlooking Charleston Harbor was formerly the heart and soul of the city's maritime activity. Today, the area attracts camera-toting tourists from all over the country.
As you explore this picturesque neighborhood, make sure to also spend some time in the nearby White Point Gardens, where several Civil War relics and memorials commemorate the city's role in the battle. Start your tour of the Battery at the 12-acre Waterfront Park (home to the giant pineapple fountain featured on many Charleston postcards), then follow the walking paths on East Battery Street for the nearly mile-long stroll to White Point Gardens. If you're staying at one of the hotels or bed-and-breakfasts located downtown, you can easily walk along the Battery from your digs. If you're driving to the Battery, you'll find some limited street parking, and some lots closer to Waterfront Park. Bus route No. 211 provides service to Waterfront Park and East Bay Street.
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