Special Issues » Summer Guide 2009

Tourist in Your Town

Staycations, Ghost Tours and City Tours

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Take a Staycation

Whether or not Charlestonians will admit it, tourism drives a lot in this town. Charleston does have the best of most everything, after all. From beaches to boutiques, museums to the Market, there's a lot to take in. We've compiled a list of some of our favorite tourist stops in the Holy City, so you won't have to do the legwork. —Moira Phillips and Kinsey Labberton

Fort Sumter National Monument

Tourists and natives alike flock to the fort, accessible by boat, to see where the Civil War began.

340 Concord St., Downtown
Ferry departs from Patriots Point and Liberty Square
$16, $14.50/seniors, $10/ages 6-11, free/ages 5 and up
(843) 883-3123
nps.gov

S.C. Aquarium

The aquarium is home to more than 10,000 plants and animals; its Great Ocean tank extends through two stories and contains over 300 animals. Though you might not expect to see penguins in our balmy climate, the newest exhibit features the exquisite birds.

100 Aquarium Wharf, Downtown
$17, $16/seniors, $10/ages 2-11, free/under 1 year
(843) 720-1990
scaquarium.org

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Patriots Point undoubtedly has a lot to offer. Perhaps its most famed attraction, however, is the USS Yorktown, which was commissioned in 1942. From stem to stern, this giant runs 188 feet long and displaces over 30,000 tons of water.


View Tourist Hot Spots in a larger map

1 Patriots Point Road, Mt. Pleasant
$16, $13/seniors and military, $8/ages 6-11, free/under 6
(843) 884-2727
patriotspoint.org

Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

This museum gives kids and parents a break from the constant touring of historic buildings. There's a healthy grocery store, a children's garden, and a creativity castle.

25 Ann St., Downtown
$7, free/under 1 year
(843) 853-8962
explorecml.org

The H.L. Hunley

The H.L. Hunley sank the Union sloop-of-war Housatonic. Several hours later, the Hunley sank with all eight soldiers onboard. The Hunley was resurrected from its watery grave in 2000.

Charleston Naval Yard
1250 Supply St., North Charleston
$12

Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation hosts house and slave quarter tours, a brand new black history exhibit, a show honoring the Gullah culture, a butterfly garden, and U-Pick gardens which allow visitors to grab a taste of what's in season.

1235 Long Point Road, Mt. Pleasant
$17.50, $7.50/children
(843) 884-4371
boonehallplantation.com

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

This plantation features a stunning home and gardens, slave cabins, and a boat tour, as well as a nature train and a petting zoo for the kids.

3550 Ashley River Road, West Ashley
$7-$15, $7-$10/ages 6-12, free/under 6
(843) 571-1266
magnoliaplantation.com

Avery Research Center

For any information concerning the African-American experience in Charleston, the Avery with its galleries, museum, and archives is a resource one shouldn't ignore.

125 Bull St., Downtown
Free
(843) 953-7609
cofc.edu/avery


Spectral Strolling

Take a trip to the other side with these ghost tours

In a city that's known for being holy, there sure does seem to be a whole lot of the undead walking around. No, not zombies — we're talking about ghosts. If you've never lived in a house that made weird creaks and scared the bejeezus out of you at least once a week, you probably know somebody who has. With a past as long and rich as Charleston's, there are bound to be a few skeletons hanging around the closet or moving your coffee mug half an inch to let you know how damn pissed off they are that they're still stuck around here.

You wouldn't even imagine how angry my house ghost Beau got when I told him the Yanks had actually won the War of Northern Aggression. But if you're not lucky enough to have your very own Rebel or hooker or old Charleston socialite, my God, are there tours to take!

Each tour offers access to particular sights throughout Charleston. Julian Buxton of Tour Charleston told us about the Unitarian Church Graveyard, which their tour has access to. He says the church dates from 1772 and the cemetery is "overgrown with lush foliage." He recalls with a laugh the night when "a big white lab ran through the cemetery and scared everybody." Not exactly eerie, but we bet it was funny as hell.

Ghost tours offer the added bonus of taking place at times that don't involve standing under the blistering sun or fighting your way through flocks of school groups on their way to any seafood restaurant they can find. Whether you think it's all a bunch of hooey, or you consider yourself a ghost whisperer, ghost tours are designed to fright and delight us all. —Moira Phillips

Bulldog Tours
Ghost & Dungeon Tour, Dark Side of Charleston Tour, Ghost & Graveyard Tour, and Haunted Jail Tour
40 N. Market St.
(843) 722-8687
bulldogtours.com

Tour Charleston
Ghosts of Charleston, Ghosts of Charleston II, and Pirates of Charleston
184 East Bay St. #103
(843) 723-1670
tourcharleston.com

Charleston's Ghost Hunt Tour
200 East Bay St.
(843) 813-5055
charlestonghosthunt.com


Tour de Tourist

We're not quite sure how many different ways there are to tour Charleston, but the number is probably somewhere in the high thousands. On foot, in a carriage, on a bus, or by boat — these are some of the best ways to get around town and take in the sights. —Moira Phillips


View Charleston Walking Tours in a larger map

Walking

Bulldog Tours
40 N. Market St.
(843) 722-8687
bulldogtours.com

Civil War Walking Tour
17 Archdale St.
(843) 722-7033
civilwarwalk.com

Original Charleston Walks
45 S. Market St.
(843) 577-3800
charlestonwalks.com

Tour Charleston LLC
184 East Bay St. # 103
(843) 723-1670
tourcharleston.com


View Charleston Carriage Tours in a larger map

Carriage

Carolina Polo & Carriage Co.
181 Church St.
(843) 577-6767
cpcc.com

Classic Carriage Tours
10 Guignard St.
(843) 853-3747
classiccarriage.com

Olde Towne Carriage Co.
20 Anson St.
(843) 722-1315

Palmetto Carriage Works
8 Guignard St.
(843) 723-8145
charlestoncarriage.com


View Charleston Van Tours in a larger map

Van

Adventure Sightseeing Tours
1090 Fort Sumter Drive
(843) 762-0088
touringcharleston.com

Charleston's Finest Historic Tours
375 Meeting St.
(843) 577-3311
historictoursofcharleston.com

Doin' the Charleston Tours
(843) 763-1233
dointhecharlestontours.com


View Charleston Boat Tours in a larger map

Boat

Charleston Harbor Tours
285 East Bay St.
(800) 979-3370
charlestonharbortours.com

Spiritline Cruises & Fort Sumter Tours
360 Concord St.
(800) 789-3678
spiritlinecruises.com

Ghost Walk Walking Tour
74-A N. Market St.
(843) 720-TOUR
ghostwalk.net

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