Historic Charleston Travel

Empty street in Charleston, South Carolina

There are a number of historic Charleston travel ideas appropriate for visitors of all ages. This beautiful city, originally founded in 1670, is full of culture, charm and elegance. Charleston has a rich history you are sure to find interesting and entertaining.

Charleston Hot Spots

With its rich heritage, Charleston has something for everyone. Some of the most popular tourist spots in Charleston include:

Historic Sites

Charleston's past covers three centuries. Originally known as Charles Towne, the city played a key role in the American Revolution and the Civil War. There is a lot to see in Charleston, such as:

  • Fort Moultrie: The site of the first American naval victory of the Revolutionary War in 1776. Now run by the National Park Service (NPS), it is part of a ring of four forts located around Charleston Harbor.
  • Fort Sumter: Also part of the NPS, it was where the Civil War began. In 1861, Confederate artillery opened fire here on Federal troops. You can take tours of Fort Sumter, visit the National Monument and view exhibits at the Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square.
    Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC
    Fort Sumter
  • The Edmondston-Alston House: It was built in 1825, and is located in the High Battery neighborhood full of historic homes. It also has a panoramic view of Charleston Harbor. The house was where General Beauregard watched the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1861. Take a candlelight tour to really get a feel for this magnificent home.
  • Magnolia Plantation: This gorgeous site was built in the 1600s and is the oldest garden in the United States. This pre-revolutionary War plantation has an antebellum cabin, nature train and a wildlife observation tower. It is also home to a Biblical garden and a gift shop.
    Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC
    Magnolia Plantation
  • Old City Market: Built in 1841, it has shops, a flea market and restaurants. Be sure and look for ladies hand weaving traditional sweetgrass baskets.


Charleston boasts outstanding museums covering a myriad of interests. Museum Mile is a one-mile section of downtown Charleston, which boasts historic sites and homes, scenic parks and six museums:

  • The Charleston Museum
  • Children's Museum of the Low Country
  • Confederate Museum
    Confederate Museum in Charleston, SC
    Confederate Museum
  • Gibbes Museum of Art
  • Old Slave Mart Museum
  • Postal Museum

Where to Stay

If your interest is history, then your lodgings should also be historic. Here are a few suggestions for historic inns and bed and breakfasts in the Charleston area:

  • Planters Inn: This historic inn was built in 1844. It features four-poster beds, 10-foot ceilings and marble tubs. The elegant inn overlooks City Market and is one block from King Street and the Antiques District. Guests can enjoy the courtyard with a reflecting pool or have tea and apples in the parlor.
  • John Rutledge Inn: It was the home of John Rutledge, who signed the Constitution. The inn was built in 1761 and George Washington was once a visitor. Now a boutique hotel with 19 rooms, it combines the old with the new. Guests can enjoy carved Italian marble fireplaces, antiques in the rooms and wireless Internet. Prices include breakfast and afternoon tea.
  • Governor's House Inn: It is a National Historic Landmark and former governor's mansion. Built in 1775, this luxury B&B features 11 rooms and suites, each decorated with antiques. Breakfast, afternoon tea and a wine and cheese reception are included in the cost. Governor's House is located in Charleston's Historic District.

Historic Charleston Travel Tips

Charleston horse carriage rides
Horse carriage rides

Whether it's your first trip to the area or your tenth, you may find these historic Charleston travel tips helpful:

  • Plan your trip in April or May. You'll enjoy the spring weather and miss the crowds and humidity which are part of the summer season.
  • Carriage rides are a great way to get the historic feel of the city. By traveling the old-fashioned way, you can relax and enjoy the sites without worrying about traffic.
  • Charleston's visitor centers are full of information and ideas. They are well worth a quick stop.
  • The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau has a wealth of information on lodging, attractions and discounts.

Charleston is a unique city with a long history. You will enjoy its charm, hospitality and beauty.

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Historic Charleston Travel