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The Battery at dawn picture in Charleston
Beautiful Battery picture in Charleston
Mansions galore picture in Charleston
Palms and proper shrubs picture in Charleston
The Battery at dawn picture in Charleston
Beautiful Battery picture in Charleston
Mansions galore picture in Charleston
Palms and proper shrubs picture in Charleston

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • 24/7 daily

Details

  • Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

Local Experts Scorecard
Based on 8 interviews

  • Must-see
  • Recommended
  • If You Have Time

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

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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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
John Rutledge House Inn

John Rutledge House Inn ...

  • 0.5 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
The Governor's House Inn

The Governor's House Inn ...

  • 0.5 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Battery Carriage House Inn

Battery Carriage House Inn ...

  • 0.1 Miles Away
  • 2.5-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Charleston »

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#1 Walking Tours With its centuries-old mansion and cobblestone streets, Charleston is like a living museum. One of the best ways to learn about its history (and its ghosts) and the significance of ... Read more » DaveAlan / Getty Images

#2 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 ... Read more » ClimberJAK / Shutterstock

#3 Boat Tours To get a better view of the Charleston harbor (and maybe even spot some dolphins), consider signing up for a boat tour. Not only will you enjoy some time on ... Read more » aimintang / Getty Images

#4 Middleton Place If there were ever a place to stop and smell the roses, this house would be it. Built in 1755, this mansion was once the home of Arthur Middleton, one ... Read more » Courtesy Middleton Place

#5 The Nathaniel Russell House Museum Constructed at the turn of the 19th century by Nathaniel Russell  a wealthy Southern merchant  this historic home is best known for its magnificent spiraling staircase, detailed furnishings and landscaped ... Read more » Rick McKee / Courtesy the Historic Charleston Foundation

#6 The Aiken-Rhett House Museum According to many, there's no better example of antebellum life than the Aiken-Rhett House Museum. Originally built in the early 1800s and then expanded by Gov. William Aiken and ... Read more » Courtesy of the Historic Charleston Foundation

#7 Charleston City Market While some may say that the Charleston City Market is a bit of a tourist trap, others call it a great glimpse into life in the Old South. It is ... Read more » Courtesy of the Charleston Area CVB, ExploreCharleston.com

#8 Fort Sumter National Monument You probably remember Fort Sumter as the place where the first shot of the Civil War was fired, back in 1861. Today, you can see for yourself where all the ... Read more » Courtesy ExploreCharleston.com

#9 Magnolia Plantation & Gardens While Middleton Place's gardens attract those who like trimmed hedges and flower-lined paths, the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the place to go if you're more of an ... Read more » Dave Allen Photography / Shutterstock

#10 Sullivan's Island Comprising only 3.3 square miles, Sullivan's Island may not seem like a must-see for Charleston visitors. But this beachfront town proves that good things come in small packages ... Read more » Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

#11 Drayton Hall Built in 1738, Drayton Hall is one of the oldest surviving plantations left in the South. Take your time exploring the massive red-brick main house, which hasn't changed all ... Read more » Courtesy ExploreCharleston.com

#12 Folly Beach After a few days exploring Charleston's historic sites, take some time to kick back, relax and enjoy the Southern sun. Overlooking the Atlantic from the West Islands  12 miles ... Read more » Ann Rivall / USN&WR

#13 H.L. Hunley Submarine 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 ... Read more » Courtesy Friends of the Hunley

#14 Isle of Palms County Park If several days in Charleston proper have you longing for a do-nothing day at the beach, Isle of Palms might be just the ticket. Located just 16 miles east of ... Read more » Jacob Sjman Svensson / Folio / Getty Images

#15 Charleston Food Tours Considered one of the best foodie cities in the USA, Charleston is famous for its low country cuisine and bevy of trendy restaurants. For a crash course in the city ... Read more » Courtesy of Charleston Food Tours

#16 Crafted Travel Brewery Tours After you've sampled Charleston's culinary scene on a food tour, your next logical step should be a brewery tour. The four-hour tours start with a distillery stop (and ... Read more » David Prahl / EyeEm / Getty Images

# Children's Museum of the Lowcountry Read more » Courtesy of Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

# South Carolina Aquarium Read more » Jill Lang / Getty Images

Walking Tours picture in Charleston
The Battery at dawn picture in Charleston
Boat Tours picture in Charleston
Middleton Place picture in Charleston
Nathaniel Russell House picture in Charleston
Aiken-Rhett House picture in Charleston
Charleston City Market picture in Charleston
Fort Sumter National Monument picture in Charleston
Magnolia Plantation & Gardens picture in Charleston
Sullivan's Island picture in Charleston
Drayton Hall picture in Charleston
Folly Beach picture in Charleston
H. L. Hunley picture in Charleston
Isle of Palms picture in Charleston
Food tour picture in Charleston
Brewery tour picture in Charleston
Children's Museum of the Lowcountry picture in Charleston
Aquarium picture in Charleston
Walking Tours picture in Charleston
The Battery at dawn picture in Charleston
Boat Tours picture in Charleston
Middleton Place picture in Charleston
Nathaniel Russell House picture in Charleston
Aiken-Rhett House picture in Charleston
Charleston City Market picture in Charleston
Fort Sumter National Monument picture in Charleston
Magnolia Plantation & Gardens picture in Charleston
Sullivan's Island picture in Charleston
Drayton Hall picture in Charleston
Folly Beach picture in Charleston
H. L. Hunley picture in Charleston
Isle of Palms picture in Charleston
Food tour picture in Charleston
Brewery tour picture in Charleston
Children's Museum of the Lowcountry picture in Charleston
Aquarium picture in Charleston

To gain a better understanding of Charleston's history and its best-known landmarks, consider signing up for a guided walking tour. Most last two hours and cover a variety of topics. DaveAlan / Getty Images

If you're hoping to avoid the throng of tourists that walk along the Battery every day, consider making your trip at dawn for a spectacular sunrise. ClimberJAK / Shutterstock

There are a variety of boat tours offered in Charleston. Some of the most popular are sunset cruises.  aimintang / Getty Images

Middleton Place boasts America's oldest landscaped gardens, with a history that dates back 320 years. Courtesy Middleton Place

The Nathaniel Russell House, located just off the Battery, is best known for its "flying" spiral staircase. Rick McKee / Courtesy the Historic Charleston Foundation

Until it was sold to The Charleston Museum and opened as a museum house in 1975, family descendants owned the Aiken-Rhett property for 142 years. Courtesy of the Historic Charleston Foundation

Peruse souvenirs and Charleston-made wares at the Charleston City Market. Courtesy of the Charleston Area CVB, ExploreCharleston.com

On April 12, 1861, Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Courtesy ExploreCharleston.com

Magnolia Plantation is home to the oldest collection of Indica Azaleas in America. Stop by in spring to see these plants in full bloom. Dave Allen Photography / Shutterstock

Sullivan's Island is a laid-back beach town situated about 9 miles southeast of downtown Charleston. Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

Drayton Hall, a plantation that dates back to the late 1700s, sits along the Ashley River. Courtesy ExploreCharleston.com

Folly Beach is located about 12 miles south of downtown Charleston. Ann Rivall / USN&WR

The H. L. Hunley made history on the night of Feb. 17, 1864 when it became the first submarine to ever sink an enemy ship.
Courtesy Friends of the Hunley

Plan to hang your hat in Isle of Palms if you want to rent a beachfront house, or stay in a fully equipped resort: You won't find these types of accommodations in downtown Charleston. Jacob Sjman Svensson / Folio / Getty Images

For a crash course in the city's best eats, consider spending a few hours with Charleston Food Tours Courtesy of Charleston Food Tours

Past visitors gave Crafted Travel high marks for its brewery and distillery tour and praised the knowledgeable and fun guides.  David Prahl / EyeEm / Getty Images

Courtesy of Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Jill Lang / Getty Images

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