If you’ve toured aboard the Carolina Belle, you’ve seen and heard about myriad local attractions. You can visit many of them via a money-saving combo package, such as the Palmetto Carriage Tour Combo, the Boone Hall Plantation Combo, the South Carolina Aquarium Combo and the Walking Tour Combo.
Other attractions pointed out by the informative narrator during the harbor tour are easily reached once you exit the boat.
The easiest site to reach is the U.S.S. Yorktown, the WWII aircraft carrier at Patriot’s Point, directly across the Cooper River from the City Marina, where you boarded and exited for your tour. Charleston Harbor Tours offers a water taxi to take you directly there.
The ship, one of whose final missions was rescue of the Apollo 8 crew, is part of the Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Explore the entire ship, including the WWII-era fighter planes on the deck.
Also east of the Cooper is Shem Creek, an awesome place to eat a meal and watch the shrimp boats pass and the seagulls follow. Have lunch, dinner or just a beer at Red’s Ice House, Vickery’s, Shem Creek Bar and Grill, R.B.’s Seafood or Water’s Edge.
If you’re a walker, you’re in luck: Charleston is a great city to walk. Take a stroll from Mt. Pleasant to Charleston (or vice versa) across the Cooper River Bridge, the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America. With its iconic diamond towers, it offers views of the harbor and the ports.
Or walk downtown to award-winning Waterfront Park, east of East Bay Street between Vendue Street and Adger’s Wharf. The iconic pineapple fountain welcomes visitors and the floating dock juts into the river and offers great views of the bridge, the harbor, Fort Sumter, Castle Pinkney, Patriot’s Point and the many dolphins passing by.
Then head to the southern tip of the Charleston Peninsula to Battery Park and White Point Gardens. You’ll be standing at the point where the Cooper and Ashley rivers meet to form the Atlantic Ocean, as locals like to say. A great place to sit and watch the world pass by, just as locals did in 1861 when Confederate cannons began firing from Fort Johnson on Fort Sumter. Or turn around and admire the spectacular, historic houses that comprise some of the most expensive real estate in the country.