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South Carolina

For first-time visitors

Our most recommended South Carolina For first-time visitors

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 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. Dinner menu: Soup: Charleston she-crab soup Salad: Edisto green salad with a blend of baby lettuce, dried cranberries, crumbled feta cheese, and toasted almonds with herb vinaigrette (gluten-free) Entrées: (All entrees include freshly baked bread and butter) • Braised short rib of beef (gluten-free, dairy-free) with cabernet reduction, roasted garlic whipped potatoes (gluten-free), and seasonal vegetables (gluten-free)• Seared wing tip chicken breast (gluten-free) with white wine lemon sauce, sautéed spinach and feta cheese fillings, roasted garlic whipped potatoes (gluten-free), and seasonal vegetables (gluten-free)• Low country shrimp and grits (gluten-free) with sautéed shrimp, tasso ham, and andouille sausage. Served on creamy stone-ground grits and topped with aged cheddar cheese and bacon jam garnish• Roasted sliced cauliflower (dairy-free, vegetarian) with roasted red pepper drizzle, wilted spinach, lemon and olive oil mixed ancient grains of quinoa, farro, toasted barley (dairy-free, vegetarian), and grilled asparagus (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian) Desserts: • New York-style cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream • Chocolate pot de crème (gluten-free) with whipped cream and chocolate shavings ($6.00 each) Food is not prepared in a nut-free, shellfish-free, or gluten-free facility.

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: 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: 1-Hour Carriage Tour of the Historic District

5. Charleston: 1-Hour Carriage Tour of the Historic District

Explore Charleston's historic district on a horse or mule-drawn carriage tour. Listen to your guide tell you local stories and anecdotes as you go past iconic landmarks, buildings, churches, and more. Begin your tour at the Big Red Barn in downtown Charleston and meet your local driver/guide. Then, settle into a carriage drawn by either horses or mules for your guided tour. Follow a route that takes in some of the historic downtown district’s most elegant mansions and gardens, learning about the architecture of each place as you drive along. Catch the scent of jasmine flowers from deep, shady porches, and pass by rows of bristling palmetto trees. Get an overview of Charleston’s dramatic history, from long-ago pirate raids to plantations, Revolutionary battles, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. The city was founded in 1670, and Charleston's historic buildings have been meticulously preserved and restored. Conclude your tour with drop-off at the Big Red Barn.

Charleston: Speakeasy Sagas Prohibition Pub Crawl

6. Charleston: Speakeasy Sagas Prohibition Pub Crawl

Learn more about Charleston during Prohibition on a lively guided tour. Hop from bar to bar and sip on delicious cocktails as you hear funny and outlandish stories from the 1920s. Meet your guide in downtown Charleston for a combination history tour and bar crawl. Hear more about the lesser-known characters who made names for themselves in the era of Prohibition. Discover the wild and wacky legends that you may not have heard of before, but you’ll never be able to forget. As you explore the bars and cocktail lounges of the present day, enjoy delicious cocktails to get your night off to a great start. Get an accurate picture of the nightlife of the city in the present day as you explore its most vibrant streets.

Charleston: True Crime Stories Guided Pub Crawl & Cocktails

7. Charleston: True Crime Stories Guided Pub Crawl & Cocktails

Bay Street Bastards is Revelry’s hair-raising True Crime experience in Charleston. We've got the scoop on the Holy City’s evildoers and their nefarious deeds, and we're willing to share. Charleston is a city steeped in history and stained with blood. You’ll get a taste of both, as well as a few cocktails. We wouldn’t want you to be thirsty now, would we? Seriously, you might need a few adult beverages to handle some of these stories. Charleston’s mild climate and brisk river breeze make a perfect backdrop for an extraordinary evening. Join one of our guides and sample your choice of cocktails from some of the finest bars Charleston has to offer.

Charleston: Small Group Food Tour – Savor the Flavors

8. Charleston: Small Group Food Tour – Savor the Flavors

Taste your way through Charleston on a comprehensive food tour. Visit a variety of local eateries, culinary landmarks, restaurants, and bakeries, each with its own story. Experience more than 300 years of history while sampling delicious specialties. Gain a unique perspective on the area and food culture from your guides, each with their own culinary credentials. Enjoy small samples at each location that will equal a large meal. Typical tastings include: Stone ground grits •Charleston benne wafers •Locally-made gourmet chocolates •Southern pralines •Sweet tea •Collard greens •Lowcountry barbeque

Charleston: Supernatural 90-Minute Ghost Tour

9. Charleston: Supernatural 90-Minute Ghost Tour

"There is only one essential ingredient in a ghost story: death." So say Charlestonians Ed Macy and Geordie Buxton in their introduction to their book about the haunted streets of Charleston. By rambling through the oft-forgotten enclaves of the Holy City, the paranormal authors bring guests face to face with a group of orphans who haunt a dorm of a Charleston College, a Citadel cadet who haunts a local hotel, and an angelic spirit in a Freedman Methodist graveyard, to name just a few. We will hear tales of a bookstore phantom, notorious for rearranging books in perfect vertical stacks, and a gruesome 19th-century amputation taking place in a medical student’s apartment. This tour is not for the faint-hearted! Based on historical events and specific details that are often lost in our general notion of ghosts, each haunting encounter will send chills down your spine.

Charleston: Patriot's Point Haunted USS Yorktown Tour

10. 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 nighttime 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.

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What people are saying about South Carolina

The views of Charleston Harbor, the cotton candy colored sunset, and the Ravanel Bridge, especially after dark, were beautiful. The service of the wait staff was prompt and friendly. The food was quite tasty and satisfying. The live music was very soothing as we enjoyed the cruise. It was a very relaxing, enjoyable evening! So glad we chose to take the dinner cruise!

We really enjoyed the food tour. All the food was amazing!!! Our tour guide, Blake Mims, was informative and made the tour really enjoyable!! Would definitely love to take another tour w/ him as our guide.

Plantation was beautiful. Tour of main house and Slavery to Freedom were both educational and entertaining. A must see if you are in Charleston.

It was one of the highlights of our vacation. Everyone must do it!

It will transport you to the 1860’s to a sad time in history.