Charleston
Theme Tours

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Our most recommended Charleston Theme Tours

Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

1. Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

Experience Charleston on board a 1920s-Bay-Steamer-replica yacht. Listen carefully as your captain guides you on a journey through more than 300 years of American history. You’ll pass by 75 landmarks and points-of-interest on this 20-mile trip. Get close-up views of the “Holy City,” including Fort Sumter - where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Glide past Confederate and Union army forts and see the famous “Fighting Lady” of World War II. As you pass by remnants of the Civil and Revolutionary wars, don’t forget to look for dolphins and pelicans splashing nearby. Choose between indoor or outdoor seating. There is also an enclosed observatory and a partially-covered upper deck in case of rain.

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Charleston: Historical Downtown Tour by Horse-drawn Carriage

2. Charleston: Historical Downtown Tour by Horse-drawn Carriage

This 60-minute narrated carriage tour covers more than 2.5 miles and 30 blocks of historic downtown Charleston. It really is the best way to see the “Holy City” and learn about its rich and vast history. The tour begins at our stables just one block from the city market, where a number of our horses live. Restrooms and water are available as well as a loading ramp to easily board one of the custom-built carriages.  Departing from the barn, you will continue to the city gate located in the Old City Market. Historic Downtown Charleston is split up into a number of areas that each tour is directed to travel to. Some highlights of these areas are Charleston Harbor, Rainbow Row, 4 Corners of Law, King Street, White Point Gardens, and the Charleston Battery.  A licensed tour guide will be narrating the entire tour with informative and entertaining commentary. At the end of the tour you will arrive back at the stables, where you will get off the carriage using the unloading dock.

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Charleston: 1-Hour Carriage Tour of the Historic District

3. Charleston: 1-Hour Carriage Tour of the Historic District

This tour begins at the Big Red Barn in downtown Charleston, where you'll meet a knowledgeable driver-guide and settle into a carriage drawn by either horses or mules. Follow a route that takes in some of the historic downtown district’s most elegant mansions and gardens, learning about the architecture of each place as you drive along. Catch the scent of jasmine flowers from deep, shady porches, and pass by rows of bristling palmetto trees. Get an overview of Charleston’s dramatic history, from long-ago pirate raids to plantations, Revolutionary battles, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. The city was founded in 1670, and Charleston's historic buildings have been meticulously preserved and restored. Guides combine humor with history for a lighthearted experience of Charleston’s atmospheric center, and you'll cover between 25 and 30 blocks of the downtown district. This tour concludes with drop-off at the Big Red Barn.

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Charleston: 90-Minute Historic City Highlights Tour

4. Charleston: 90-Minute Historic City Highlights Tour

The tour departs from Charleston Visitor’s Center where you’ll hop on board a deluxe, climate-controlled shuttle for a 90-minute tour of the city’s historical highlights. Accompanied by a knowledgeable, local guide, visit over 100 of Charleston’s most iconic sights of the past and present whilst listening to amazing tales and anecdotes about the city. On your tour, travel through some of the city’s most historic parts. Visit Charleston’s Historic Homes, The Battery Sea Wall, the Four Corners of Law, and Rainbow Row to name but a few. Other highlights of the tour include several historic churches, old markets, and picturesque neighborhoods.

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Charleston: Small Group Food Tour – Savor the Flavors

5. Charleston: Small Group Food Tour – Savor the Flavors

Taste your way through Charleston on a comprehensive food tour. Visit a variety of local eateries, culinary landmarks, restaurants, and bakeries, each with its own story. Experience more than 300 years of history while sampling delicious specialties. Gain a unique perspective on the area and food culture from your guides, each with their own culinary credentials. Enjoy small samples at each location that will equal a large meal. Typical tastings include:• Stone ground grits• Charleston benne wafers• Locally-made gourmet chocolates• Southern pralines• Sweet tea• Collard greens• Lowcountry barbeque

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Charleston: Historic City and Southern Mansion Combo Tour

6. Charleston: Historic City and Southern Mansion Combo Tour

Take a journey through Charleston's 300 years of living history with passionate licensed tour guides. Experience the Old Market area and the historic homes and churches where generations of Charlestonians worked, lived, and worshipped. Step out of the air-conditioned minibus onto the famous Battery Seawall to admire the wonderful views. See and hear about Fort Sumter, the Harbor of History, and the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point. Enjoy a tour through the elegant interior of a fully-restored historic home - Joseph Manigault House. Come and enjoy the beauty and hospitality of one of America's most historic cities.

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Charleston: African-American History & Simmons House Tour

7. Charleston: African-American History & Simmons House Tour

Start the tour at the Philip Simmons House where one of the greatest African-American artists of the 20th century created a lifetime of beauty. Led by museum docents, learn more about the humble life of a great Charleston artisan. After the museum visit, walk down America Street, the heart of Charleston’s African-American community. Along the way, learn about and witness the trials and tribulations of the past and present. Briefly stop at the edge of the African-American community where you'll see a powerful visualization of class division. Finally, walk to Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the southern United States. Learn about how free African Americans came together to form flourishing communities and houses of worship.

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Charleston: Downtown Evening Carriage Tour

8. Charleston: Downtown Evening Carriage Tour

Palmetto Carriage Works, family owned and operated, has been leading tours since 1972.   They are the oldest and largest carriage company in town and boast the most experienced guides.  Their 35-minute evening tour is great way to get in a quick overview of Charleston's world famous history and charm.  Sights include the Charleston City Market, The Old Walled City, Waterfront Park and The Forner Corners of Law. Tours start and end in The Big Red Barn at 8 Guignard street where all are invited to visit with the animals and learn about their world class animal welfare program.   Carriages are easy loading and handicap accessible.  

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Charleston: Dark Side of Charleston 1.5-Hour Walking Tour

9. Charleston: Dark Side of Charleston 1.5-Hour Walking Tour

Explore the dark side of Charleston, South Carolina, on a 1.5-hour walking tour through the streets of the Holy City. You will see the city in a different light, as you learn the truth hiding just beneath the surface, and new meaning is attached to places of historical significance. Charleston has long been a place where high society life is shadowed by scandals, temptations, and unruly behavior. Listen as your guide shares the side of the city that is not talked about often. Learn its complicated history of brothels, prostitutes, corruption, crime, scandal, and sordid affairs. You will emerge at the end of your tour with a deeper understanding of the two complex and conflicting sides of the city.

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Charleston: Haunted Bar Crawl with Tarot Reading

10. Charleston: Haunted Bar Crawl with Tarot Reading

Get an insider's view of Charleston's paranormal history on a walking tour with an expert local guide. Begin your urban walking adventure by meeting your guide on the steps of the US Customs House. Make your way to one of Charleston's most notorious bars and listen to ghost stories and tales of Charleston’s darker side while enjoying your favorite beverage. From the bar, walk towards a graveyard where you will learn how to spot a ghost and the spirits of those who still roam the streets. Turn the corner and walk towards a very different, but equally spooky bar. Finish the evening with more history and ghost stories and a tarot reading.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Charleston

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What people are saying about Charleston

Thoroughly enjoyable tour of a few of the hidden and not so hidden gems of Charleston’s food scene. Gia, our tour guide was tons of fun and knowledgeable of Charleston’s rich history and diversity!

Easy 5 stars for this Tour....food was excellent and Guide great was outstanding, very knowledgeable personable and accommodating.... highly recommended

Mike was our guide and he was both knowledgeable and fun! The ride was VERY enjoyable and I highly recommend it to visitors AND locals.

In 90 minutes we saw the most important sights with a history lesson in the comfort of a air conditioned closed vehicle.

Adam was amazing, very informative, great history and far from boring at all!