Charleston Nature & adventure

Our most recommended Charleston Nature & adventure

Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket and Ferry Ride

1. Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket and Ferry Ride

Enjoy a ferry ride to the grounds of Fort Sumter and explore the grounds at your own pace. Pass by the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and take in the 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: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

2. Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

Cruise through the Charleston Harbor on an old-fashioned 1920s-Bay-Steamer-replica yacht. Enjoy live narration from the captain and purchase treats from a fully-stocked drink and snack bar. See the Civil and Revolutionary war sights and keep an eye out for dolphins. Relax in the enclosed observatory or on the partially-covered upper deck. 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. Pass by remnants of the Civil and Revolutionary wars and look for local wildlife like dolphins and pelicans splashing nearby. Choose between indoor or outdoor seating.

Charleston: Magnolia Plantation Tour and Transport

3. Charleston: Magnolia Plantation Tour and Transport

Witness a slice of living history at Magnolia Plantation and its world-famous gardens, owned by the Drayton family for 12 generations. Visit the Historic Gardens, Petting Zoo, and The Conservatory. Begin your half-day tour by boarding a climate-controlled coach in Charleston. Meet your professional guide and ride to Magnolia Plantation, dating from 1676 and the time of the British colony. Step into one of America's first tourist attractions and first public gardens, which have been open to the public since 1870. Take a guided walk through America's last large-scale romantic garden. Experience history on a 45-minute narrated tram ride through the Audobon Swamp Gardens and visit important locations like Drayton Home (not Drayton Hall), Orientation Theater, and the Old African American Cabin.

Charleston: Harbor Bar Pedal Boat Party Cruise

4. Charleston: Harbor Bar Pedal Boat Party Cruise

Hop on board and experience Charleston’s favorite party cruise. Enjoy the spacious boat and mingle with your group or private party on a 39-foot pontoon boat in style. Check out local landmarks from the water such as the Ravenel Bridge, Fort Sumter, and the USS Yorktown. Meet your guide and crew at the meeting point and step aboard the comfortable vessel. Feel the ocean breeze swirling around and experience the area's natural beauty on a river tour with the iconic Charleston coastline as the backdrop. Try to spy the abundant local wildlife including majestic pelicans and frolicking dolphins. Take in unparalleled views while taking a turn on one of the optional 12 pedal stations. Equipped with a bar lined with coolers, feel free to bring your own drinks and appetizers.

High Ropes Adventure Park in Charleston, South Carolina

5. High Ropes Adventure Park in Charleston, South Carolina

Your experience begins at check-in, where friendly and highly trained staff check you in for the ultimate Charleston ropes park adventure. The adventure park is conveniently located just minutes from the historic downtown Charleston SC, and Folly Beach SC. One of the experienced crew members will individually fit each person in your group with a climbing harness and helmet. Head off to ground school where you will learn how to use the climbing equipment, which you are clipped into at all times, even while transferring from one element to another. Safety is paramount and having and maintaining top-notch equipment is a top priority. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a cross-fit warrior or a rugged maniac to embrace the high-ropes experience. The 72 suspended obstacles are expertly designed with varying degrees of difficulty. Much like a ski trail, the ropes course is color-coded to indicate difficulty – from beginner to expert. It's a challenge by choice adventure, so what you take on is up to you. Getting down off the course is an entire adventure in itself. People have the opportunity to jump from an 35 ft. elevated platform, and to experience the adrenaline rush of leaping out of your comfort zone first hand. The owner of the high-ropes course, Hugh, will greet you at the park, and be available to climb with your party. After the adventure, you'll kick back and enjoy a CHS local craft beer or soft drink of choice, while marveling at Charleston's famous live oak trees. 

Frequently asked questions about Charleston

Other Sightseeing Options in Charleston

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What people are saying about Charleston

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 205 reviews

Ferry ride was very informative and the grounds at Ft. Sumter we’re all we could expect. Would be nicer to have more than an hour to walk the grounds.

The rangers at the Fort were amazing! The flag ceremony was phenomenal— very inspirational and meaningful! Thank you so much!!

Could use more time at Fort Sumter - flag raising was great but not enough time to read the placards and visit the museum.

The narrator (tour guide) was really kindly and low key. The music on board set the mood for a fun and relaxing time.

Fantastic trip. The park ranger, Christopher, was wonderful. Full of info and dad jokes. He knew his stuff.