Charleston Harbor

Enter your dates to find available activities

Charleston Harbor: Our most recommended tours and activities

Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket and Ferry Ride

1. Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket and Ferry Ride

Enjoy 2 convenient ferry departure points: Liberty Square in downtown Charleston or Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant. See the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge as you ride the ferry along, and take in sights of Charleston’s stately Rainbow Row and Battery homes.  As you approach Fort Sumter, graceful sailboats and playful dolphins add to the photogenic scene. If you depart from Mt. Pleasant you will enjoy views of the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier from up-close, while tours embarking from downtown will see Aquarium Wharf as they depart and return. Arrive at The Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, which sits prominently at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, a strategic location that was crucial to its defense.  While here, explore the grounds of Fort Sumter. Stand on the grounds where America’s deadliest war began at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. The first shots were fired here, igniting a conflict that saw more than 700,000 casualties. Experience the opening battle of the American Civil War and explore its origins with a National Park Ranger. Your approximate 1-hour visit to Fort Sumter allows ample time to explore well-preserved fort ruins and browse Museum Store souvenirs. A visit to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park provides a window into the life and trials of America’s heroes, from the Civil War to today’s modern conflicts. Learn about the events leading to the war from knowledgeable National Park Rangers who will relay stories of courageous heroes in action from the Civil War’s first battle. Walk in the steps of those who shaped this nation alongside a National Park Ranger. Then enjoy the beautiful views of the city as you ride the ferry back to Charleston.

Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise

2. Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise

Embark on a true Charleston Harbor dining experience aboard the Spirit of Carolina. Enjoy a three-course dinner, made to order from local seasonal ingredients. As you dine on a delicious multi-course plated dinner, cruise through the beautiful Charleston Harbor, past Fort Sumter, along the Battery and beneath the Ravenel Bridge. Take in the views from the large enclosed air-conditioned dining decks or the open-air observation deck. Enjoy music throughout the cruise, as well as a full-service bar.

Charleston Harbor: Narrated Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

3. Charleston Harbor: Narrated Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

Take in the amazing sights of Charleston Harbor on a 1.5-hour boat tour with live narration from an expert guide. Pick up insight into the fascinating Charleston history while you glide through the gentle waves of the harbor. Your knowledgeable and entertaining guides have been licensed by the City of Charleston and are eager to share their knowledge with all guests aboard the cruise. Make sure to bring your camera for famous American landmarks, such as Fort Sumter, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney, and other sites from Charleston's past and present. This relaxing and fun tour departs from Patriots Point and Aquarium Wharf daily. Get ready to hear enthralling tales of the city’s colorful past as well as scintillating facts about its most interesting former citizens. Perfect for all ages, the whole family can enjoy cruising along the coastline of the beautiful “Holy City”. Do you know why it's called the "Holy City"? Find out on this trip around the Charleston Harbor.

Charleston: Historic City Tour and Harbor Cruise

4. Charleston: Historic City Tour and Harbor Cruise

Discover 300 years of Charleston history from land and sea with passionate licensed tour guides. Experience a 90-minute narrated tour of Charleston in a climate-controlled luxury coach and then head to the water for another perspective of the city from Charleston Harbor. Learn fascinating historical facts about Charleston while you cruise the gentle waves of her harbor. Knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides are licensed by the City of Charleston and are eager to share their knowledge with all guests aboard the cruise. Don't forget your camera as you will see all that the Holy City has to offer: Charleston's Historic Homes and Churches, the Old Market, Rainbow Row, Fort Sumter, USS Yorktown, and incredible views from Charleston Harbor.

Charleston: 90-Minute Historic City Highlights Tour

5. 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.

Charleston: Historical Walking Tour

6. Charleston: Historical Walking Tour

An exciting walking tour of the only English walled city in North America - Charleston! Once the leading seaport of the thirteen colonies and later the United States, historical Charleston is waiting to be discovered. On this 2-hour walking tour, you will learn about the intriguing history of Charleston from veteran guide Al Ray. See pre-and-post colonial homes, storefronts, churches and public buildings while Ray recounts the rich tales and legends of Charleston's proud and turbulent past. Learn the meanings of the ancient symbols on the tombstones, the city's history of rapid growth and rampant piracy, and the rise of the rice planters. Listen to your charismatic guide describe the numerous disasters, such as seven major fires, numerous hurricanes, epidemics, sieges and bombardments, plus a major earthquake, that have struck the city over its long and colourful history.

Charleston Harbor 2-Hour Speedboat Adventure

7. Charleston Harbor 2-Hour Speedboat Adventure

Take the wheel and become the captain of your very own speed boat with this one-of-a-kind adventure tour. Experience driving your own boat while taking in the views from the Charleston harbor. This fully narrated tour takes you 13 miles through the world-famous Charleston Harbor. See everything while listening to a highly trained and professional guide through a two-way communication system.   You will have a once-in-a-lifetime view of the Battery, USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, the downtown Charleston skyline, Waterfront Park, South Carolina Aquarium, the cruise ship terminal and all the wildlife that call Charleston Harbor home.  This is a great adventure for all ages.

Charleston: Patriot's Point Haunted USS Yorktown Tour

8. Charleston: Patriot's Point Haunted USS Yorktown Tour

Come aboard the USS Yorktown and hear the stories of the American heroes who lived, died, and are still rumored to be here today. Commissioned in 1943, the Fighting Lady was once manned by over 3,000 people and designed to fight off enemies all over the globe during WWII. Learn about the ultimate sacrifice and heroism of the people who once inhabited this ship.  This tour gives you exclusive night time access to areas of the ship that are usually closed to the public, including the flight deck after dark. Don't forget your camera, you never know who or what you might capture.

Charleston: Tour Pass with 40+ Attractions

9. Charleston: Tour Pass with 40+ Attractions

Save 40% or more off of Charleston's top tours and attractions, pay zero to enter, simply show your Mobile Pass! Choose a 1, 2 or 3-day pass. Includes admission to Fort Sumter, Ghost Tours, Plantations, Museums, Carriage and Bus Tours, Historic House Museums, Cultural sites and many more. After purchase we'll send you a text and email to start using the pass on your smartphone where you can choose from a selection of hand-selected tours, attractions, and historic sites. The Mobile Pass provides instant access to over 40 of the city's top tours, attractions and historic sites where admission is included. Reserve tours in advance before arriving. Multi-day passes can be used on non-consecutive days.Choose from: 1-Day pass: Choose 2 featured tours + visit unlimited "Walk-in or Standard" attractions for 1 day. 2-Day Pass: Choose 3 "Featured Tours" + visit unlimited "Walk-in or Standard" attractions for 2 days. 3-Day Pass: Choose 4 "Featured Tours" + visit unlimited "Walk-in or Standard" attractions for 3 days. FEATURED TOURS (requires reservations which can easily made within the mobile pass) Fort Sumter Tour Downtown Carriage Tour Boone Hall Plantation Drayton Hall Charleston Harbor Tour Haunted USS Yorktown Guided Tour Charleston Strolls History Walking Tour Historic Charleston Walking Tour Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tour Ghost & Dungeon Walking Tour Chilling Charleston Walking Tour The Hunley Submarine Tour (Weekends only) Narrated City Bus Tour WALK-IN or STANDARD ATTRACTIONS (no reservation required, can be visited anytime during operating hours): Aiken Rhett House Museum Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site Caw Caw Interpretive Center Nathaniel Russell House Museum Charleston Fun Park ($20 value) Charleston Museum Gibbes Museum of Art Charleston Tea Plantation Charleston Water Taxi (all day ride pass) Confederate Museum Deep Water Vineyard (free tasting + wine glass) McLeod Plantation Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon Slave Mart Museum Powder Magazine South Carolina Historical Society Museum The Grit Counter ($7 lunch voucher per person) Palmetto Brewery (free flight per person) Verde Salads & Wraps ($5 voucher per person)- Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts (free doughnut per person) North Charleston Fire Museum

Mount Pleasant: Charleston Harbor E-Bike Tour

10. Mount Pleasant: Charleston Harbor E-Bike Tour

See Mount Pleasant's attractions and get to know its neighborhoods on this guided E-bike tour. Have a one-of-a-kind riding experience as you cycle through historic areas and along the Charleston Harbor. Meet your guide and have a quick demonstration of how to use your e-bike. Once ready, ride into the old village towards Pitt Street Bridge and check out Fort Sumter in the distance. Bike along Pitt Street to Shem Creek Park and pass restaurants, dockside bars, watersports, an active shrimp boat fleet, and regular dolphin sightings. Work your way toward the Ravenel Bridge. Cycle through quiet neighborhood streets and head directly to Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. From here, start the trip to the USS Yorktown Naval aircraft carrier along a connected walkway that includes meandering boardwalks and gravel pathways. Get a broadside view of USS Yorktown with its deck filled with fighter planes and sometimes helicopters that take off from this point. On your way back to the meeting point, pass by Patriots Point Cold War Submarine Memorial, a large submarine that has been buried inland to become a memorial to submariners.

Other Sightseeing Options in Charleston Harbor

Want to discover all there is to do in Charleston Harbor? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Charleston Harbor

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 2,578 reviews

The history surrounding Fort Sumter is so interesting. The walk around this place and hearing the significance it plays in our history is worth the ferry ride out there. Seeing the site in person is so moving. The ferry ride could be more interesting. Some sites were pointed out along the way.

We were fortunate to be the last tour of the day (4 p.m. ), and our group was able to witness the lowering of the flag and helped fold it. The museum was very informative and interesting.

Excellent & heartfelt presentation at the flag raising. The ferry ride was very organized.

Interesting, beautiful ride to and from Fort Sumter. Perfect amount of time at the fort.

Comfortable. Very knowledgeable narration. Covered all the sights well.