South Carolina Nature & adventure

Our most recommended South Carolina 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.

Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Watching Guided Tour by Boat

3. Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Watching Guided Tour by Boat

Take in the beauty of Hilton Head from the perspective of the water on a fully narrated boat tour. Delight in up-close encounters with dolphins, and find out about their habits, eating patterns, and more with a local guide. As you explore the island's waterways, learn about the history of the area and the surrounding islands from your guide's narration. Hear about oysters, spartina grass, tides, pluff mud, and more. As well as dolphins, keep on the lookout for other wildlife including pelicans, osprey, stingrays, herons, turtles, and more which may be seen along the way.

Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Nature Cruise

4. Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Nature Cruise

Take a sightseeing cruise to explore the incredible nature around Hilton Head Island and the surrounding waterways. Hear about the island’s history from your expert crew as you search for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Admire the coastal landscape as you learn about the lifecycle of these mammals. Discover why this region is the perfect place for dolphins to settle. With sightings guaranteed, this tour is sure to be a highlight of your vacation.

Charleston: Magnolia Plantation Tour and Transport

5. 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.

Hilton Head Island: Sunset Dolphin Cruise

6. Hilton Head Island: Sunset Dolphin Cruise

Discover the incredible wildlife of Hilton Head Island with a dolphin spotting cruise at sunset. Search for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in open water before watching the sunset on Daufuskie Island. Sail towards the open ocean in search of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins on an amazing sightseeing cruise. Dolphin sightings are guaranteed on this cruise. After seeing these animals in open water, travel to Daufuskie Island and up Bull Creek to Dolphin Hole to watch the setting sun. Admire the incredible landscape of salt estuaries at sunset. Listen to live commentary from your expert captain, and ask the crew any questions you might have. Beer, wine, snacks, and drinks are available for purchase throughout the trip.

Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Cruise & Nature Tour

7. Hilton Head Island: Dolphin Cruise & Nature Tour

Set sail on a 14 passenger boat cruise in the surrounding waters of Hilton Head Island and encounter bottlenose dolphins and other coastal species such as osprey, egrets, pelicans, bald eagles, a variety of shorebirds, and more. Get scenic views of Broad Creek and admire the private residential homes in Long Cove, Wexford Lock System, and Spanish Wells Plantations. See famous attractions including the Harbor Town Lighthouse, Daufuskie Island, the Atlantic Ocean, Tybee Island, and the Savannah River Bridge.

Hilton Head Island: Scenic Helicopter Tour

8. Hilton Head Island: Scenic Helicopter Tour

Marvel at breathtaking views only seen by helicopter. Spot a range of wildlife from dolphins and sharks to sea turtles and manta rays. See Hilton Head, Daufuskie, Tybee Island, and downtown Savannah by air. Choose between 3 options: Ocean View – 3 minutes Get views of Folly Field Beach and the Port Royal Sound on an 8-mile loop around the northeast corner of the island. This flight is designed as a discovery flight to experience what it is like to fly in a helicopter. Beach Cruiser – 6 minutes Fly right over the sandy shores of Hilton Head. Depart out of the Hilton Head Airport and head east, right down the busiest beaches on the island. This tour offers great views of Folly Field Beach, Broad Creek, Port Royal Sound, and Shelter Cove. Beach Bum – 10 minutes A combination of the Ocean View and Beach Cruiser tours, this tour takes you along the most active stretch of beaches to Coligny Beach, Hilton Head's most popular beach park. Keep an eye out for marine life as you fly low along the beach. As you turn around you will begin to climb high in the sky giving you the best view of the island along with Parris Island and Downtown Savannah.

Hilton Head: Guided Kayak Tour

9. Hilton Head: Guided Kayak Tour

Get out onto the water with this 90-minute guided kayaking tour - perfect for all ages and experience levels, from first-time paddlers to veteran kayakers.  First, arrive at the meeting point at Hilton Head and get kitted out with a kayak, paddle, and life jacket. Both double and single kayaks are available. Then, launch your kayak into the water and glide through the waters of Skull Creek. Listen as your tour guide enriches your mind with historical and wildlife knowledge of Hilton Head Island. Then, begin to paddle through the rich ecosystem of the saltwater marshlands, observing many indigenous species of bird wildlife. Try to spot brown pelicans, egrets, herons, osprey, bald eagles, and many more. Also, get up close and personal with beloved Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Hilton Head is home to over 100 local dolphins, living here year-round, and is also located on the migratory path for these spectacular mammals. Don't be surprised to see these curious creatures swimming right alongside your kayak.

Charleston: Harbor Bar Pedal Boat Party Cruise

10. 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.

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What people are saying about South Carolina

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.