South Carolina’s oldest city was founded in 1670. In centuries past, Charleston played a part in southern American history; the city became exceedingly prosperous during the Antebellum decades when the plantation business was at its most lucrative, and most slavery-intensive. Today however it is famed more for the well-preserved architecture and the affability of locals – being consistently named America’s friendliest city.
Much of the city was destroyed in the American Civil War, but there remain many beautiful and important old buildings in the historic quarter. The best way to explore is on foot, and we have compiled a list of the best five tours that will help you discover more about the city and its history. Our selections take into account a number of factors including duration, price and past reviews of the tours.
FROM: $20/per person
The Holy City, as Charleston is often known, has a plethora of pleasant alleys and passageways that are inaccessible to vehicles and therefore offer an insight into the Charleston of the past. Bypassing some of the more obvious and well-known sights of the city, this tour aims to recount the lesser known history of the city in a guided and narrated tour that is likely to unlock areas of the historic city that newcomers would not have imagined visiting.
From $60/ per person
Over the course of 2.5 hours, the Charleston Culinary Tour combines two of the best elements of travel: history and food. By way of the historic heart of the city, the guided tour stops by three or four different restaurants to sample cuisine typical of the Lowcountry region. The food tastings are included in the price. The amount of food served during the tour should be enough for a full meal.
From $20/ per person
Focussing on the history and famed friendliness of Charleston, this tour is great for first time visitors especially as it takes in a number of the more important and significant sights. During the tour the history of the grand old city is explained by way of historical mansions, gardens and churches. Tours depart either in the morning or the afternoon.
From $25/ per person
The Strolls Tour has been running since 1979, unravelling the mysteries of historic Charleston for countless visitors over the years. With extensive local knowledge and that kind of experience, you can expect a highly polished tour. Highlights visited during the approximately two hour walk include some of the city’s antebellum mansions, Rainbow Row and important sites in the city during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
From $20/ per person
This relaxing two hour stroll aims to illuminate the history that helped shape the modern city since 1670. This is done by passing through the Old Walled City and visiting some of the most historically significant spots in the city. Places of interest include the French Quarter, Dock Street Theatre and the Battery in White Point Gardens. There are two tours a day departing late morning or early afternoon.