Top 5 History Tours in Charleston

It is impossible to explore Charleston without being blown away by its sense of history. This charming Atlantic Coast city is one of the oldest in the United States, and it shows in its elegant houses and dark alleys reminiscing of days gone by. 


Charleston history tours are a must-do whether you are visiting Chucktown for the first time or are a long-time resident. No matter how long you have been exploring the cobblestone streets of this beautiful town, you can always discover something new about its rich and complicated past with the help of a knowledgeable guide.


Here are our top five Charleston history tours!


French Quarter Guided Tour

The French Quarter is one of the most scenic neighborhoods in Charleston. Roaming through its cobblestone streets among pastel-colored grand houses, and ornate iron gates will take you back in time. The French Quarter is located within the original "walled" city of Charleston and is home to many of the witnesses of the history of Charleston. Among them are some of the oldest buildings in South Carolina, like the Pink House Tavern and the Dock Street Theater, which is considered the first site of theatrical productions in the United States.


Historic Harbor Cruise

Some of Charleston's most beautiful views can only be seen from the water. One of the most fun things to do in Charleston is to take a cruise in the historic harbor on a replica of 1920s boat, the Carolina Belle. From its deck, you will admire some of the most striking sights of the city, including historic landmarks like Fort Sumter – witness of the first shots fired during the Civil War. With a little bit of luck, you may also encounter some of the harbor's inhabitants, like the friendly dolphins and pelicans.


Charleston Ghost Tour

Some of Charleston attractions come alive at night. The history of Charleston is long and rich, with the good, the bad, and the ugly it entices and is a fertile ground for the supernatural. Legends surrounding some of the oldest houses in the city, cemeteries, or the Provost's Dungeon, where prisoners were once held, abound. Ghost tours mix history with local myths as they explore what was once the underbelly of the city and the darkest tales of its past inhabitants, uncovering the secrets hidden behind the charming pastels walls. If you enjoy history as much as stories about things that go bump in the dark, then Charleston ghost tours should be on your bucket list.


McLeod Plantation Historic Tour

Visiting a plantation ranks high among the things to do in Charleston. There are many offering historical tours to visitors in the area surrounding the city. With their elegant gardens and refined interiors, they offer a dreamy vision of days gone by, with ladies in sweeping dresses spent sipping mint juleps on the porch. However, this polished vision often hides the darker truth behind the plantations: the enslaved communities who made it all possible. Many plantations gloss over the reality of slavery. On the other hand, McLeod plantation stands as a testimony to the grit and resilience of the enslaved men, women, and children, and their descendants who contributed to the foundation of Charleston’s wealth and the Lowcountry culture. A visit to McLeod is one of the best Charleston history tours to get a full picture of the region’s complicated past.  


Fort Sumter Tour

Fort Sumter is one of the most popular attractions in Charleston among history buffs. Standing on an island in Charleston Harbor, it can only be accessed by boat. One cannot discuss Charleston’s past without mentioning the Civil War, and the Fort Sumter was the site of the shots fired that marked the official start of the conflict. Even if military history leaves you indifferent, the breathtaking views of Patriots Point, Downtown Charleston, and the Ravenel Bridge are sure to make the trip worthwhile.


If diving into the Holy City's past with one of the Charleston history tours is a lot of fun, becoming part of its future can be just as enticing. Charleston home builders offer a fantastic opportunity to make the city your own and shape the days yet to come in this colorful city!



Contributed to Your Home blog by Alix Barnaud

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Published 1.6.21

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