Special Guest Contributor: M.L. Cissy Petty
The city of Charleston, South Carolina receives over four million visitors each year. It’s no surprise that people are drawn to the history, charm, and Southern culture of this distinctive town. On a trip to Charleston, you can enjoy the warm Southern weather, lounge on the beach, shop till you drop, learn about Civil War history, or tour the beautiful homes.
Things to Do in Charleston, S.C.
There is a never-ending supply of things to do in Charleston, S.C. during the day or night – this city is known for its excellence in accommodating tourists, but the great thing is that Charleston certainly does not feel like a “tourist area”.
Charleston Walking Tours
Walking tours are a great way to see this beautiful city; tour guides take the guesswork out of where you should go next. A variety of tours are offered on a daily basis. You can take a historical tour where you can see old plantations, breathtaking gardens, and hear stories about old Charles Town from its founding through the Civil War Era right through to today. Or you can take a more creative route and travel Charleston in a ghost tour, their old jail tour, or as travel expert M.L. Cissy Petty tells us, “You can learn all about the secrets of the city in The Dark Side of Charleston tour.”
Charleston Boat Tours
Because Charleston, South Carolina is located right on a harbor of the Atlantic, several boat tours are available. You can choose from daytime or sunset cruises. Some even offer drinks and appetizers. If you are planning a large gathering in Charleston like a family reunion or a wedding, chartering a boat might be fun for the whole group.
If you are interested in seeing Fort Sumter, a boat tour of the historical Civil War Fort is just what you are looking for. Only one company offers access to the Fort island that was “where the Civil War began.” You will learn about the history of Fort Sumter over the speakers of a passenger yacht as you cruise to the island, then you will spend an hour at the actual Fort which is staged with genuine artifacts and living quarters before returning back to your originating port. “If you let your imagination run wild, you can almost picture what it was like back in 1861,” says recent visitor Anthony Pierpont. In addition to the Fort, there is a small museum and gift shop on the island.
Charleston, S.C. Homes
As you walk around Charleston, South Carolina, you will certainly notice the many beautiful, historical homes that grace the city’s streets. What makes home touring so unique and interesting is the placement of these homes. As you walk along the city streets, you notice that the homes are inserted sideways into their lots. Front doors to these homes, therefore, are on the side. Homes were built like this because in the old days, home owners were taxed based on the amount of frontage space they occupied. If you would like a closer look, you can also go on a walking tour, a candlelight walking tour, which Ms. Petty recommends because is much cooler at night, or the tour of homes, which will take you inside the best homes.
Charleston, S.C. Beaches
Charleston is a very well rounded city, offering entertainment for the whole family, but one thing some people forget is that Charleston is also a beach city. Because of Charleston’s mild weather, you can swim mid-March through October. Many of the beaches are owned and run by the state, so there are parking lots, lifeguards, snack bars, umbrella and chair rentals, and outdoor showers on many of the public beaches. M.L. Cissy Petty recommends, “Leave time to explore the city as a whole, but get a hotel right on the beach so that you can enjoy it throughout your vacation.” The four most popular beaches in Charleston, South Carolina are Folly Beach in the West Islands which reminds many of the commercialized Coney Island days in the 1950’s; Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island in East Cooper for windsurfing and jet-skiing; and finally, Kiawah Island, said to be the most beautiful of them all.