1-day Itinerary in Charleston
Explore the best things to do in Paris in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.
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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 its best-known landmarks is on a walking tour. There are a variety of options available, ranging from broad tours of the city's historic downtown district, to more niche tours that explore the city's paranormal presence, pirates and art galleries and studios.
Recent visitors praised operators like Charleston Footprints, Oyster Point Historic Walking Tours and Two Sisters Tours. To see a more complete directory of available walking tours, check out the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau's website.
Most tours last two hours and cost $20 per person. Some operators may require you to make reservations in advance; check each tour company's website for specific times, reservation requirements and rates. And remember, you'll want to wear sturdy shoes and sunscreen, and bring water with you.10-15 minute walk
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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.10 minute walk
- 3#15View all Photos#15 in CharlestonHistoric Homes/Mansions, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHistoric Homes/Mansions, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
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 gardens. Unlike the Aiken-Rhett House, the Nathaniel Russell House has undergone an architectural and interior restoration.
Recent visitors said this is the place to go if you're looking for insight into the more lavish side of Southern comfort. Tours, which last approximately half an hour, are docent-led and commence every 30 minutes. During the tour, you'll learn about the Russell family and the slaves who cared for the home.
The Nathaniel Russell House sits in the heart of downtown Charleston, rubbing elbows with The Battery. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m., with the last tour beginning at 4:30 p.m. every day. Adult admission is $12; children's admission costs $5. If you're also planning to visit the Aiken-Rhett House, you can purchase a joint ticket that grants entry to both properties for $18 ($10 for children). For more information, visit the home's section of the Historic Charleston Foundation's website.10 minutes by car
- 4#2View all Photos#2 in CharlestonSightseeing, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
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 the water, you'll also have the chance to learn more about the city's maritime history (many boat captains provide historical commentary throughout their tours). Along the way, you'll likely see some of Charleston's top landmarks, including The Battery, Waterfront Park, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney.
There are a variety of tours and operators (including private charters) in Charleston that offer a bevy of experiences for all types of travelers. Adventure Harbor Tours receives high praise from previous visitors for its Morris Island tours and sunset cruises. Tours aboard The Schooner Pride are also popular, especially if you're interested in the mechanics of sailing, as the captain offers travelers the option to raise and trim the sails with the crew. If you're looking for a less intimate or more formally narrated experience, sign up for a Charleston Harbor Tour, which has a fleet of boats that can accommodate hundreds of passengers.
Tour prices and excursion lengths can vary, but generally, you can expect to pay between $25 and $55 for adult tickets. Not all tours leave from the same harbor; check with your tour operator. Some companies allow you to bring your own food and beverages (including alcoholic libations) on board, while others sell snacks and drinks on the boat. Tours can last between one and three hours, with many spanning 90 minutes. For more information, visit each individual company's website.
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