Best Attractions and Sights in Charleston

August 24, 2022

Whether you’ve lived here for years, just moved to town, or are visiting for the weekend, there are a lot of things to see in Charleston. From must-see museums to historical landmarks, consider this your Charleston bucket list.

THE BEST ATTRACTIONS AND SIGHTS IN Charleston


Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row is a popular destination for Charleston tourists, but also a spot locals adore due to its history. These thirteen multicolored homes along East Bay Street are the longest stretch of Georgian row houses in America. It’s a popular place for photos and walking tours. If caught gazing and photographing them for long enough, you may even meet a local who will tell you the Rainbow Row hidden secrets. Visit Rainbow Row at 79 to 107 East Bay Street.

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Patriots Point

If you’re a history buff, you have to visit Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Patriots Point is home to the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, the USS Laffey Destroyer, the USS Clamagore Submarine, the Vietnam Experience Exhibit, and the Medal of Honor Museum. And if one day just isn’t enough to explore all of them, they also offer overnight camping experiences on the USS Yorktown. Day passes start at $16 for guests ages 6-11 and $27 for guests 12 and over.

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History Walking Tour

Charleston is full of history, and what better way to learn than by walking through the beautiful city with an expert? History walking tours are very popular among tourists. There are several different types of tours that you can choose from.

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Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island is located about 20 minutes from The Peninsula (downtown Charleston) and is home to affluent families and retirees. When you arrive, you immediately notice the pace of life slows down. Residents drive golf carts to the simple main strip of local restaurants, shops, and playgrounds. There are also several access points to the beautiful Sullivan’s Island beach. It’s worth the drive to see how this local community lives and plays.

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Angel Oak Tree

The Angel Oak Tree is basically just a massive and very old (estimated to be over 500 years old) tree located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island. It’s a sight to see with its height of over 65 feet and expansive branches. It’s free to stop by and gawk at this historic and behemoth tree.

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South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium should be on your shortlist if you’re looking for a fun, kid-friendly activity. From huge tanks with fish and sharks to a touch tank to a sea turtle care center, there is a lot to see. There is also a play area for younger kids as well as interactive experiences for the older kiddos.

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Charleston Boat Tours

There are many companies that offer boat tours in and around Charleston. One reputable company is Charleston Harbor Tours, which has a departure location from downtown Charleston for convenience. They have daily tour options like a 90-minute harbor history tour as well as specialty cruises like a jazz brunch cruise.

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Fort Sumter National Monument

The Fort Sumter National Monument is located on Sullivan’s Island about 20 minutes from downtown Charleston. This Civil War monument is a popular attraction for history enthusiasts. There is also the option to take a boat from downtown Charleston to the Fort Sumter National Monument with Fort Sumter Tours, which costs $19-$32 per person.

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Ghost Tour

Ghost tours are an extremely popular activity in Charleston. Whether you want to explore the downtown Charleston haunts, tour the jail, or see who may still be residing on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, Bulldog Tours has you covered.

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Halls Chophouse

Halls Chophouse, located in downtown Charleston, is one of the most frequented fine dining restaurants in the city. They are known for the attention to detail they show each and every guest. While you might spend more money than you would on an average dinner, Halls Chophouse is anything but average. It’s a Charleston experience you should definitely consider.

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Folly Beach

Folly Beach is small beach town located about 25 minutes from downtown Charleston. The laid back vibe and beach draws people to this area. Eat and drink at one of the 20+ restaurants and pop in the local shops. There is public access to the beach, too.

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Pineapple Fountain

The Pineapple Fountain is located in Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston. It’s a popular destination for photos. Waterfront Park also has swings and benches, if you want to take a break from exploring to gaze at the water.

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Brewery Tour

Charleston has over twenty local breweries, which you can see in our Charleston Breweries Guide. Whether you want to do a self-guided tour by picking a few breweries and grabbing a group of friends to join you, or you want to hire a company for a brewery tour, it’s a fun thing to do in Charleston. Two companies hosting regular brewery tours are Crafted Travel and Charleston Brews Cruise.

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Poe’s Tavern

Poe’s Tavern located on Sullivan’s Island is a must-visit spot when you’re in Charleston. The tavern is named after Edgar Allan Poe, the American poet, who was stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island in 1827. The restaurant is known for good burgers and great service.

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Food Tour

Charleston has a plethora of incredible restaurants, and a food tour is a good way to try a few without committing to an entire meal. Not only will you get to taste delicious food, but you’ll learn about the history of how Lowcountry cuisine came to be.

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