Things to do in Charleston

As one of America's most beloved towns, Charleston offers a wide variety of exciting activities to try and sights to see.

Charleston Parks Explore, Discover and Let Loose!

There's a lot going on at the Charleston parks! Run-Walk-Bike Trails, Picnic Pavilions, Rock Walls, Water Slides, Dog Parks, Festivals and Events!  

flowers

Angel Oak

Angel Oak Rd. (off of Bohicket Rd.)  

Johns Island , SC    

Battery Park/White Point Garden

Beachwalker Park 

8 Beachwalker Drive  

Kiawah Island, SC 29455   

Caw Caw Interpretive Center 

5200 Savannah Highway (US 17 South)  

Ravenel, SC 29470   

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site 

1254 Long Point Rd.  

Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464   

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site 

1500 Old Towne Rd. (Hwy. 171)   

Charleston, SC 29407   

Folly Beach County Park 

1100 W. Ashley Ave   

Folly Beach , SC 29439   

Folly Beach Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier 

101 East Arctic Avenue   

Folly Beach, SC 29439   

Francis Marion National Forest 

USDA Forest Service - Witherbee Ranger Station   

2421 Witherbee Road   

Cordesville, SC 29434   

Hampton Park 

30 Mary Murray Blvd.   

Charleston, SC 29401   

Historic Charleston Battery   

Murray Blvd and East  Battery   

Charleston, SC 29401   

Isle of Palms County Park 

1st-14th Ave.   

Isle of Palms, SC 29451   

James Island County Park 

871 Riverland Dr.   

Charleston, SC 29412   

North Charleston Wannamaker County Park 

8888 University Blvd (Hwy 78)   

North Charleston, SC 29406   

Old Santee Canal Park 

900 Stony Landing Road   

Charleston, SC 29461   

Palmetto Islands County Park 

444 Needlerush Pkwy. 

Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464   

Riverfront Park 

1061 Everglades Ave

North Charleston, SC 29405  

The Center for Birds of Prey 

4872 Seewee Road   

Awendaw, SC   

Waterfront Park   

Vendue Range and Concord Street and runs along the Charleston Harbor   

843-724-7327

Charleston Museums

Where the Low country Past Comes to Life explores the rich offerings of the many Charleston museums and uncovers the history of the Holy City. Home to America’s first museum founded in 1773, the Low country entrusts these establishments to tell her story. 

old exchange and provost

Museum Mile

"Stroll the one-mile section of Meeting Street and you will discover six museums, five nationally important historic houses, four scenic parks and a Revolutionary War powder magazine, as well as numerous historic houses of worship and public buildings including the Market and City Hall."

Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture 

American Military Museum 

Charleston Museum America's First Museum!   

Children's Museum of the Low country

Citadel Museum

City Hall Gallery 

Confederate Museum 

Gibbes Museum of Art

Karpeles Manuscript Museum

North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum & Educational Center 

Old Slave Mart Museum 

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum   

Postal Museum 

South Carolina Historical Society 

Historic Buildings of Charleston, SC

Nothing captures exquisite architecture of the past like the historic buildings of Charleston, SC.  Here are the highlighted buildings that draw the most attention, but all you really need to do is walk the streets of the off-beaten path through Historic Downtown Charleston to get a flavor for the times. 

Morris lighthouse

College of Charleston   

"Founded in 1770, the first municipal college in America was built in 1724 on land set aside for educational purposes. The present main building was designed by eminent Philadelphia architect William Strickland, built in 1828, and paid for by voluntary subscription by the people of Charleston." 

Dock Street Theatre   

Dating back to 1809, this was originally constructed inside the Planters Hotel and built on the site of one of America’s first theatres dating 1736. A replica of a Georgian Playhouse.    

Drayton Hall   dating back to c. 1738, Drayton Hall maintains its nearly original state and is the oldest preserved plantation house in America that is still open to the public. 

Middleton Place House 

Dating back to c. 1741, Middleton is a National Historic Landmark with an Inn, restaurant, America's oldest landscaped gardens and stable yard demonstrations of life in the 18th century. The magnitude of this plantation is awe-inspiring! 

Morris Island Lighthouse   

A famous Charleston landmark that is isolated on a barrier island and is subject to the sea at high tide. It is listed as one of the top 100 cultural sites in the state of South Carolina by the Heritage Trust Program Board. 

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon   

Dating back to 1771, this prison of American Soldiers during the Revolutionary War is "one of the three most historically significant buildings of colonial America." Originally it was built as the Exchange and Customs House. 

Powder Magazine   

Dating back to 1712, this is the oldest public building in North and South Carolina. It's purpose in defending Charleston in time of war was to store powder. It serves as a National Historic Landmark. 

Historic Forts of Charleston, SC

Visit the forts of Charleston, SC to learn the history and hear the stories that are told within their walls and at their visitor centers.  

old building

Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site   

Settled in 1695 with the Fort built c. 1757, the ruins of this small town are protected by the boundaries of a state park.  Archaeologists work to uncover the story of Colonial Dorchester. 

Fort Moultrie   

A palmetto log fort on the Charleston Harbor, Fort Moultrie is the site of the first American victory over the British Navy on June 28, 1776. 

Fort Sumter National Monument   

The site where the Civil War began on April 12, 1861. This National Memorial sits in the middle of Charleston Harbor and can be visited by ferry or private boat 

Historic Homes of Charleston, SC

You should plan to visit any of these riveting historic homes of Charleston if you are the slightest bit fascinated by the past and eager to see how Southerners of the 18-19th century lived!  Witness charm and elegance as you explore the residences that depicted the significant Charlestonians that lived there. 

You'll find authentic architectural designs encasing many of the original furnishings bought for the rooms they still reside in. 

Colorful homes

Aiken-Rhett House   

Dating back to c. 1818, this house still holds many of its original furnishings and has been preserved almost unchanged since 1858. 

48 Elizabeth Street

Charleston, SC 29403   

Edmondston-Alston House   

Dating back to c. 1825, this house showcases original furnishings and possessions while showcasing a fantastic view of the Charleston Harbor. It is known most for the reside of General Beauregard who witnessed the attack on Ft. Sumter in 1861 from here. 

21 East Battery

Charleston, SC 29401   

Heyward-Washington House   

Dating back to 1772, this house was called home by Thomas Heyward, Jr. who was a Revolutionary patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence. 

87 Church Street

Charleston, SC 29401   

Joseph Manigault House   

Dating back to 1803, this is known as “Charleston’s Huguenot House” showcasing the Adam-style or Federal architecture with furnishings of a wealthy, rice-planting proprietor. 

350 Meeting Street

Charleston, SC 29403  

843-722-2996 

Nathaniel Russell House   

Dating back to 1808, this home of a wealthy Charleston merchant, Nathanial Russell, depicts the essence of eloquence of the time, even showcasing a free-flying staircase. 

51 Meeting St.

Charleston, SC 29401

Historic Churches of Charleston, SC

Tour Charleston's historic churches and indulge in the wonders of this Holy City of South Carolina. Each of these architectural marvels contributes their own aura and grace of the times. Charleston has been dubbed “The Holy City” because of the abundant church steeples that grace its skyline. 

holy city

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

122 Broad Street

Charleston, SC 29401

Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul

126 Coming St.

Charleston, SC 29403

Circular Congregation Church

150 Meeting Street

Charleston, SC 29401

Congregation Beth Elohim

90 Hasell St.

Charleston, SC 29401

First Baptist Church

61 Church St.

Charleston, SC 29401

French Protestant (Huguenot) Church

136 Church St.

Charleston , SC 29401

Mother Emanuel A.M.E Church

110 Calhoun St.

Charleston, SC 29403

Mt. Zion A.M.E Church

5 Glebe St.

Charleston, SC 29401

Old Bethel Methodist Church

222 Calhoun St.

Charleston, SC 29401

Old. St. Andrews Parish Church

2604 Ashley River Rd.

Charleston, SC 29414

Second Presbyterian Church

342 Meeting St.

Charleston, SC 29403

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

440 Whilden St.

Charleston, SC 29464

St. John’s Lutheran Church

5 Clifford St.

Charleston, SC 29401

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church

89 Hasell St.

Charleston, SC 29401

St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church

405 King Street,

Charleston, SC 29401

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

14 St. Michael’s Alley (corner of meeting and Broad St)

Charleston, SC 29401

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church

142 Church St.

Charleston, SC 29401

Unitarian Church

4 Archdale St.

Charleston, SC 29401

Historic Charleston Attraction

If you love a good look into the past or have an appreciative eye for beauty and charm, add any of these sites to your itinerary and you won't be disappointed.

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Aiken-Rhett

House Dating back to c. 1818, this house still holds many of its original furnishings and has been preserved almost unchanged since 1858.

Battery Park/White Point Gardens

One of the favorite Historic Charleston attractions!

Boone Hall Plantation

This "still working" plantation is lined with "one of the world’s longest oak-lined avenues" and has been cultivating crops for over 320 years.

Charleston Museum

This is America’s first museum! Learn all about the Lowcountry and its history. They now also have a hands-on children’s exhibit called Kidstory.

Dock Street Theatre

Dating back to 1809, this was originally constructed inside the Planters Hotel and built on the site of one of America's  first theatres dating 1736. A replica of a Georgian Playhouse.   

Drayton Hall   

Dating back to c. 1738, Drayton Hall maintains its nearly original state and is the oldest preserved plantation house in America that is still open to the public. 

Edmondston-Alston House   

Dating back to c. 1825, this house showcases original furnishings and possessions while showcasing a fantastic view of the Charleston Harbor. It is known most for being the residence of General Beauregard who witnessed the attack on Ft. Sumter in 1861 from here. 

Fort Sumter National Monument   

The site where the Civil War began on April 12, 1861. This National Memorial sits in the middle of Charleston Harbor and can be visited by ferry or private boat. Tours leave from either Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant or the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square Downtown. 

Friends of the Hunley

The Hunley was the world's first successful submarine that was lost to the sea in 1864. After careful discovery and transport in 2000, the Hunley is now on display for weekend tours while scientists work to uncover its story. 

Heyward-Washington House   

Dating back to 1772, this house was called home by Thomas Heyward, Jr. who was a Revolutionary patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence. 

Historic Charleston Battery 

The Battery is located at the southern most tip of the Charleston Peninsula, w here Murray Blvd. and East Battery (East Bay) Street meet. Part of The Battery is White Point Gardens and collectively they are the landmarks that help to define Charleston. If you don't have time to walk it, please take a leisurely drive by to view the impressive mansion architecture and glorious oak trees. Your visit to Charleston is not complete without heading down to the Battery!   

Joseph Manigault House   

Dating back to 1803, this is known as “Charleston’s Huguenot House” showcasing the Adam-style or Federal architecture with furnishings of a wealthy, rice-planting proprietor.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens   

Dating back to c. 1676 this plantation house boasts America's oldest gardens. Magnolia claims the ultimate plantation experience with a Biblical garden, antebellum cabin, nature train, nature boat, wildlife observation tower, gift shop and more. 

Middleton Place   

Dating back to c. 1741, Middleton is a National Historic Landmark with an Inn, restaurant, America's oldest landscaped gardens and stable yard demonstrations of life in the 18th century. The magnitude of this plantation is awe-inspiring! 

Morris Island Lighthouse   

A famous Charleston landmark that is isolated on a barrier island and is subject to the sea at high tide. It is listed as one of the top 100 cultural sites in the state of South Carolina by the Heritage Trust Program Board. 

Nathaniel Russell House   

Dating back to 1808, this home of a wealthy Charleston merchant, Nathanial Russell, depicts the essence of eloquence of the time, even showcasing a free-flying staircase. 

Old City Market 

Dating back to 1841, Market Street features independent merchants selling their wares in an open air setting, including Gullah ladies weaving the ever famous sweet grass baskets. The street is also lined with specialty shops and restaurants. 

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon   

Dating back to 1771, this prison of American Soldiers during the Revolutionary War is "one of the three most historically significant buildings of colonial America." Originally it was built as the Exchange and Customs House. 

Old Slave Mart Museum   

Tells the story of the sale of slaves and Charleston's role, in conjunction with the history of the building itself. 

Powder Magazine   

Dating back to 1712, this is the oldest public building in North and South Carolina. Its purpose in defending Charleston in time of war was to store powder. It serves as a National Historic Landmark. 

South Carolina Aquarium 

The Aquarium boasts they are Charleston's most visited attraction. And why not?! Kids and adults alike will be amazed at all the animals and history throughout. A great place to view the harbor too. Check out their new exhibit and visit Alabaster the albino American Alligator or even pet the stingrays! 

USS Yorktown - Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum   

The Yorktown, commissioned in 1942, was the 10th aircraft carrier of the US Navy and is now the center attraction at Patriots Point. It "earned 11 battle stars for service in World War II" and is accompanied by Destroyer Laffey, the Coast Guard cutter Ingham, the submarine Clamagore and 25 other aircraft. 

Waterfront Park 

Bring a change of clothes for the kids on the hot summer days! They'll want to join others running through the fountain at the end of Vendue  Range.  Then enjoy a leisurely swing on the pier while looking for dolphins in the Harbor with the USS Yorktown as the backdrop. The Pineapple fountain of Charleston can also be found here with other intimate gardens and jogging paths along the water's edge.

Charleston Plantations

Experience visual and historical wonders at any of the Charleston plantations. Year-round splendor and charm radiate throughout the gardens, homes and plantations of these Southern jewels.

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Boone Hall Plantation

This "still working" plantation is lined wit h "one of the world’s longest oak-lined avenues" and has been cultivating crops for over 320 years.

Charleston Tea Plantation

his is America’s only tea garden! Tours educate visitors on the entire tea making process. Their gift shop gives plenty of opportunity to take some home with you.

Cypress Gardens

this was one of the areas largest rice plantations in the 1700's. Now, enjoy the pristine beauty of the gardens, swamp boat rides, butterfly house and a freshwater aquarium.avenues" and has been cultivating crops for over 320 years. Charleston Museum

Drayton Hall   

Dating back to c. 1738, Drayton Hall maintains its nearly original state and is the oldest preserved plantation house in America that is still open to the public. 

Hampton Plantation State Historic Site   

Headed out towards Myrtle Beach, you can visit the Georgian-style mansion that resides on this National Historic Landmark plantation. 

Magnolia Plantation and Its Gardens   dating back to c. 1676 this plantation house boasts America's oldest gardens. Magnolia claims the ultimate plantation experience with a Biblical garden, antebellum cabin, nature train, nature boat, wildlife observation tower, gift shop and more. 

Middleton Place

Dating back to c. 1741, Middleton is a National Historic Landmark with an Inn, restaurant, America's oldest landscaped gardens and stable yard demonstrations of life in the 18th century. The magnitude of this plantation is awe-inspiring!

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