As one of America’s oldest cities, Charleston, SC is famous for its variety of in-depth and exciting historical tours throughout the downtown area.
Here are our top picks for best land-based tours in downtown Charleston:
Palmetto Carriage Tour: Take a seat in a shaded horse-drawn carriage as you soak in Charleston’s charming city life, history, and culture. Whether you want to embark on a private carriage tour or a group carriage tour, Palmetto Carriage offers the best and most information-packed carriage tours in the Charleston area.
For one-hour group Charleston carriage tours, guests will be seated in a four-row carriage as their expert tour guide points out some of Charleston’s most unique historical artifacts and places of interest. From hidden secrets of the past to modern-day facts and figures, you’ll be engulfed in some of this city’s most interesting sights and facts.
Image above of a private carriage tour taken from the Palmetto Carriage website
If you’re interested in a more intimate tour, Palmetto Carriage offers one-hour private tours, as well as custom group tours.
No matter if you choose a group tour, private tour, or custom group tour, you’ll experience the same elements of downtown Charleston, which include:
- 25 – 30 blocks of Charleston’s historic district
- Stunning estates, Federal mansions, quaint gardens, century-old churches and cemeteries, and more.
- An insight into Charleston’s fascinating history and culture and how Charleston has been shaped into the city that it is today
And for those of you who want to experience Charleston from both the land and the water, try the Charleston Harbor Tour Historic Cruise + Palmetto Carriage Ride Combination Package. This package includes a 90-minute historic boat tour aboard The Carolina Belle though Charleston’s history-clad harbor, plus a one-hour carriage ride (tours can be taken on separate days or the same day, as long as you purchase the combination package). Click here to get more information about the combination tour.
Image above of Charleston Pirate Tours’ Eric Lavender, taken from the Charleston Pirate Tours website
Charleston Pirate Tours: Suited up in full pirate gear, Eric Lavender and his trusty sidekick, Captain Bob (a colorful, live macaw) takes Charleston visitors through a fascinating walking tour through historic Charleston, spotlighting the area’s most bewildering pirate history.
During this two-hour walking tour, Eric takes visitors through Charleston’s historic waterfront area, immersing them into an intricate story that is filled with historical pirate facts and history about Blackbeard, Charles Vane, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and more.
In addition to daily tours at 10 am (Sunday tours are at 1 pm), Charleston Pirate Tours also offers The Charles Towne Pub Stroll, as well as private tours and pirate parties. Click here for more details.
Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tours with Bulldog Tours: From its gas-lantern-strewn streets to its 17th-century graveyards, and its rich history of piracy, slavery, and war, Charleston emits a spooky, yet charming and fascinating, aura. Not to mention, the city is one of America’s most haunted . . .
With dark tales of ghosts and spirits, Charleston has attracted visitors from all around the world to explore its haunted alleys, streets, and buildings.
Image above of a Charleston graveyard taken from the Bulldog Tours website
Visitors looking to dive into the supernatural world of Charleston can embark on a ghost tour with Bulldog Tours. Some of the specialty ghost tours offered by Bulldog Tours include the Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Tour, Dark Side of Charleston Tour, Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Tour, and the Haunted Jail Tour. All of these tours are sure to send a chill through your spine as they bring you up close to some of Charleston’s most haunted places . . . But beware, you might just get followed home by a ghost . . .
For a different perspective on Charleston’s history, take a ride through Charleston harbor on a Charleston Harbor Tour aboard The Carolina Belle or a Charleston sailing tour aboard our 84-foot sailing vessel, The Schooner Pride.