Sometimes the best way to get to know a place and embrace its true beauty is by taking part in a guided tour. With Charleston’s historic charm, breathtaking views, and vibrant food and drink culture, it’s no wonder it’s ranked among the most visited cities in the nation!
If you are planning a trip to Charleston – or are a long-time resident looking to learn more about your town – a guided tour will open your eyes to everything this wonderful city has to offer.
So with much deliberation, we’ve picked the “Top 5” tours that you really need to take in Charleston. No matter if you’re a visitor or a local.
Check it out:
Charleston Footprints Walking Tour
Watch Charleston come alive on this enchanting historical and entertaining tour with 7th-generation Charleston native, Michael Trouche. Michael’s tour walks in the footsteps of Charleston duelist and blockade runner George Trenholm, whose life was the inspiration behind Rhett Butler’s character in Gone With The Wind.
Tour routes can vary but visitors can usually expect to travel approximately 16 to 18 blocks through the French Quarter, South of Broad, White Point Garden and The Battery.
Points of interest include:
historic parks with monuments and cannons
colonial churches and graveyards
alleys famed for pirates and duelists
old taverns and wharves
classic architectural styles
former cotton warehouses and factories
Join Michael on this wonderful informative tour through Charleston for incredible views and stories of famed Charleston’s historic streets.
Tours must be booked in advance. Check out Charleston’s Footprints Walking Tour’s website to learn how you can book your tour today.
Approximate Time: 2 hours
Admission: $20 per person
Oyster Point Historic Walking Tour
Oyster Point Historic Walking Tours cover everything from pirates and privateers to the Civil War in Charleston. Oyster Point offers two different tours: a Civil War and Secession Tour and a Highlights of Charleston Tour.
The Historic Civil War and Secession tour takes tourists through key Secession and Civil War sites through the streets of Charleston. This tour will expand your knowledge about the innovative military engineering achievements of both the Confederacy and Union and open your understanding about the political, social and economic forces that were ignited in the war for Southern Independence. This tour is not recommended for children under 14 years of age.
The Highlights of Charleston tour will take you through some of Charleston’s most interesting landmarks. Relive the past as you absorb Charleston’s stunning monuments, gorgeous Charleston Harbor and steeples that define the skyline.
Visit Oyster Point’s website to book your tour.
Approximate Time: 2 hours
Admission: $20 per person
Charleston Outdoor Adventures
If walking tours aren’t your thing, consider an eco-adventure! Charleston Outdoor Adventures is an eco-adventure guided tour that will bring you up close and personal with the local saltwater estuaries, wildlife and barrier island eco-systems that call the Charleston coast home.
Take a 2- or 3-hour marsh kayaking tour through Folly Creek and the maze of tidal creeks that surround Hammock Islands. Whether you consider yourself a novice or an intermediate, marsh kayaking is for everyone. This lighthearted, easy moving trip will give you the opportunity to explore the wildlife. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and loggerhead sea turtles are common sights on this tour.
Visit Charleston Outdoor Adventures’ website to book your tour.
Approximate Time: 2 to 3 hours – you choose
Admission: $45 per person and $25 for children ages 12 and under for 2-hour tours. $55 per person and $35 for children ages 12 and under for 3-hour tours.
Are you looking for a dolphin kayak tour of Shem Creek? Or maybe a family tour from the Isle of Palms? How about a multi-day adventure into Charleston’s nearby wilderness? Well you’re in luck because Coastal Expeditions has all your guided coastal tours covered.
Take a tour with Coastal Expeditions and choose the coastal tour that’s right for you and your family. Coastal Expeditions offers kayak and SUP tours, boat tours, and a Bulls Island ferry tour – simply book online and away you go!
Spanning the coast from the waters of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and the Santee Delta to the floodplain of ACE Basin, Coastal Expeditions will give you a tour you and your family will never forget.
If you have a passion for local ecosystems, environment and conservation for our water and heritage, then Coastal Expeditions is the right tour group for you.
Approximate Time: Between 1.5 to 4 hours, depending on the tour you choose.
Admission: $20 to $65.
Charleston Brews Cruise
Are you a craft beer enthusiast?
Hop on the Charleston Brews Cruise to take a tour of Charleston’s local breweries and get a behind-the-scenes look at the art, science and passion behind every great glass of beer.
Charleston Brews Cruise offers a Happy Hour Bus Tour on Fridays and Saturdays and a Brews Cruise Bus Tour for those looking to make a day of it.
The Happy Hour Bus Tour is best suited for the working crowd looking for a fun after work activity before hitting the town. This tour focuses less on craft beer education and more on having fun, meeting new people and enjoying two of Charleston’s craft brewers.
The Brews Cruise Bus Tour runs from Tuesday to Sunday and features three different breweries; the locations vary depending on the day of the week. This tour is considered educational and focuses on all aspects of craft beer including the history of beer and Charleston and the brewing process.
Both tours include 5 to 6 generous pours at each location. Visit Charleston Brews Cruise’s website to learn how you can book your tour!
Approximate Time: 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on the tour.
Admission: $48 to $60 per person, $25 for non-drinkers
Are you ready to get out and explore Charleston? Which tour will you choose?