Rainbow Row, Charleston South Carolina

Top 10 Things to do in Charleston South Carolina 2020

Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, pastel antebellum houses, gas-lamps on streetside, spooky cemeteries. All of these make Charleston a picturesque city to visit. You can spend a romantic weekend here. Also, you can quench your thirst for history. There are lots of activities and things to do in Charleston, South Carolina. Naturally, this makes Charleston one of the best places to visit in the USA.

BookOnboard’s Guide to Charleston – Things to do in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston packs a whole lot of activities for couples and weekenders. Consequently, it can be hard to decide what to do here. Not to worry, though. For this reason, we have brought you a list of things to do in Charleston. Which is a beautiful port city.  The official tourism site of this beautiful heritage port city.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina – Photo by Doug Kerr from Flickr

List of things to do in Charleston, South Carolina

  • Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
  • Fort Sumter National Monument
  • Patriots Point
  • Waterfront Park
  • Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens
  • Historic Charleston City Markets
  • South Carolina Aquarium
  • Rainbow Row
  • The Charleston Museum
  • North Charleston Fire Museum

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Rich historic vibes come from this old house and gardens. These are located on Ashley River. It is one of the oldest plantations in the south. Consequently, it draws a lot of tourists to understand the history of those times. Also, there are no fees to visit this place. This makes Magnolia Plantation one of the most affordable things to do in Charleston, South Carolina.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina bookonboard guide to south carolina us
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina – Photo by Francine Sreca from Pixabay
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolinabookonboard travel guide best places to go south carolina
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina – Photo by rdailey4 from Pixabay

Fort Sumter National Monument

This sea fort has been converted into a civil war memorial museum. Fort Sumter faced two notable, violent battles. The first of which pretty much started the American Civil War. The fort was built in 1860. It contains a lot of historic memories. That is why visiting Fort Sumter should be in your list of things to see and do in Charleston South Carolina.

Fort Sumter National Monument bookonboard guide to south carolina
Fort Sumter National Monument – Photo by JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD from Wikimedia Commons
Fort Sumter National Monument
Fort Sumter National Monument – Photo by Daveynin from Flickr
Fort Sumter National Monument bookonboard guide to south carolina fort
Fort Sumter National Monument – Photo by Xeres Nelro from Wikimedia Commons
Fort Sumter National Monument
Fort Sumter National Monument – Photo by Dennis Flarsen from Pixabay
George Wall Fort Sumter National Monument travel to US
George Wall Fort Sumter National Monument – Photo by Daveynin from Flickr

Patriots Point, Charleston, South Carolina

Patriots Point, Charleston bookonboard south carolina, South Carolina
Patriots Point, Charleston, South Carolina – Photo by Something Original from <"https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Yorktown_(CVS-10)_panorama_2012.jpg">Wikimedia Commons

The Patriots Point is a famous maritime museum in Charleston. It is located at the mouth of the Cooper River on the Harbor. You can see many ships and naval artifacts here. Accordingly, this is one of the best places to visit in Charleston with your family. People say there is amazing food, music, and serving here. The museum also has an elevator. Which is, of course, very helpful for handicapped people or in strollers.

Waterfront Park

The Pineapple Fountain Waterfront Park Charleston South Carolina
The Pineapple Fountain Waterfront Park Charleston South Carolina – Photo by Ron Cogswell from Flicker

One of the most romantic things to do is to visit Waterfront Park. The Park is as large as eight acres. Also, it sits along the Cooper River, along one-half mile of it. These qualities make the park a very refreshing and scenic place. In fact, the park received the 2007 Landmark Award from the American Society of Landmark Architects. It is a very relaxing place, with many beautiful fountains and secluded pathways. You can just sit and enjoy the breeze here, while all the worries of the world slide right off your shoulders. Additionally, the food served here has great selection and kind, attentive service.

Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens

Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina
Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina – Photo by Gvanbriesen from Wikimedia Commons

A visit to the historic Boone Hall is also another activity you should not miss. It has been one of the oldest plantations in America. Accordingly, they have been growing crops here for over 320 years. It is located in Mount Pleasant. This place has many flower gardens, large colonial-era houses with historic memories, and the beautiful “Avenue of Oaks”. There are ample parking and other facilities here for visitors. Although a little bit overpriced, people feel that it is one of the places in Charleston definitely worth a visit.

Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina
Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina – Photo by Clynnwersch from Wikimedia Commons
Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina bookonboard
Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens Charleston South Carolina – Photo by Naveed Hassan from Wikimedia Commons

Historic Charleston City Market

You should definitely visit this great city market! One of the best things to do is a visit to the City Market. It is a historic landmark. But also, it is a great place for shopping. The market stretches for four city blocks and starts from the architecturally significant Market Hall. You can buy fresh produce and beef from local plantations and farms here. Not only that, but it is also a great place to socialize and celebrate events. The place offers great service and nice selections of beer, wine, and mixed drinks.

Old City Market Charleston South Carolina
Old City Market Charleston South Carolina – Photo by Daveynin from Flickr
Old City Market Charleston South Carolina
Old City Market Charleston South Carolina – Photo by Ron Cogswell from Flickr

South Carolina Aquarium

Does your list of top 10 things to do in Charleston, South Carolina include this downtown attraction? If not, you are definitely missing something vital. The SC Aquarium houses over ten thousand species of flora and fauna. Most of which are marine species. Here, you can see North American river otters, loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, great blue herons, owls, lined seahorses, jellyfish, pufferfish, green moray eels, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, pythons, and even sharks! Your family will definitely love this place. Also, this is a great opportunity for kids to learn how life works underwater. You can also buy many great souvenirs from the cool gift shop here.

Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row, Charleston South Carolina things to do in south carolina
Rainbow Row, Charleston South Carolina 1 – Photo by Neal Vickers from Wikimedia Commons

One of the oddest tourist spots in Charleston is Rainbow Row. Actually, it is a collection of thirteen historic houses, each painted in a different pastel color. The Row is located from 79 to 107 East Bay Street. This spot attracts many contemporary and romantic tourists. Not only that but also it is the most photographed location in the state. There are fine dining and relaxing options here. Also, you can enjoy a lovely romantic sunset walk here with your loved ones or spouse.

The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum is the oldest of them in the United States of America. Accordingly, it is definitely one of the 10 best things to do. You must visit here to see the various exhibits collected. These include historic artifacts, natural history, decorative arts, etc. Not only that but also the museum has two whole historic houses and a submarine as historic exhibits. You can find model ships, engines, stuffed animals, prehistoric skeletons, model houses, statues, potteries, and so much more here. Friendly staff and cheap prices make this museum even more of an attraction in Charleston, South California.

North Charleston Fire Museum

North Charleston Fire Museum
North Charleston Fire Museum – Photo by North Charleston from Wikimedia Commons
North Charleston Fire Museum 2
North Charleston Fire Museum – Photo by North Charleston from FAQs about things to do in Charleston, South Carolina

What are the modern things to do in Charleston?

Charleston is indeed a historic city. That doesn’t mean it is stuck in the past! On the contrary, you can find many modern activities here like:

  • Innovative restaurants
  • Interesting shops
  • Contemporary Art Galleries
  • Beach Activities
  • Boat Tours
  • Marsh Kayaking
  • Speedboating
  • Fishing Charters
  • Culinary tours
  • Unique selfie spots

What is the best time to visit?

The weather is nice from March to May. Alternatively, it is enjoyable here from September to November as well. However, that means those times are the most crowded as well. Also, accommodation and ride costs will go up as well. You will lose some of the magnificent seasonal beauties like the blooming magnolia trees if you visit in winter or fall. However, for a romantic or spooky weekend getaway, that would be the best time to visit this historic port city.

What are some of the unique tours in Charleston?

Charleston offers some of the best tours in all South Carolina. These include:

  • Daytime Carriage Tour of Historic Charleston
  • Small Group Haunted History Walking Tour of Charleston
  • Charleston Scavenger Hunt Adventure
  • Charleston Puzzling Adventure
  • Wacky Walk Adventure Game – Charleston, SC
  • 30, 60 or 120-minute Private Vacation Photography Session
  • Morris Island Lighthouse Eco-Cruise
  • Haunted Evening Horse Carriage Ride
  • Romantic Christmas Sleigh Ride
  • Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park Challenge Course
  • Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony Package
  • Sunset 30 minute Flight

How do I save money on a Charleston trip?

  • Visit in the winter. At this time, the accommodations and rides are much cheaper. Also, there are some seasonal deals you might be able to score. It doesn’t mean that experience will be marred by winter. On the contrary – winter brings out an entirely different vibe in Charleston.
  • Stay at a Bed-&-Breakfast. B&B’s are much cheaper than hotels or homestays. Also, there are a lot of them in Charleston. Often, some are in actual colonial houses. Some of these might even give you evening happy hours.
  • Make Lunch Reservations. The dinner reservations are costly. Get your money’s worth by having better lunches instead, at the expensive restaurants. There are lots of these dotted around Charleston.

What should I wear?

Charleston has a different take on attire, being the ‘genteel south’ center in America. Consider dressing up a little if you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. Skirts and dresses for women and khakis and polos for men are considered casual standards here.

What should I know when visiting Charleston?

  • This is the classic south here. Life moves at a slower pace here. Take it easy in Charleston, with fewer worries and frenetic activities. 
  • This is a city that lives in the streets, much like many old cities. Therefore, you should get to the streets as well. Consider walking tours the most. 
  • If you are visiting in the summer, remember that the sun is pretty hot here. So, don’t forget your sunscreen! The humidity can be suffocating as well. Make sure you hydrate a lot. And also, if you have heart or blood pressure conditions, make sure you consult your doctor for some emergency meds before visiting here in summer.
  • Make sure you show respect to the Gullah culture. The Gullah are low-country African Americans whose ancestors were heavily enslaved. The slaves at that time made their own culture. Which influenced a lot of Charleston culture, from food (red rice, okra soup, gumbo) to folk stories and songs (“Michael Row the Boat Ashore”).

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