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The Battery, Charleston

  • Guided tours
  • Water activities
  • Other experiences

The Battery, Charleston: Our most recommended tours and activities

Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket and Ferry Ride

1. Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket and Ferry Ride

Enjoy 2 convenient ferry departure points: Liberty Square in downtown Charleston or Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant. See the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge as you ride the ferry along, and take in sights of Charleston’s stately Rainbow Row and Battery homes.  As you approach Fort Sumter, graceful sailboats and playful dolphins add to the photogenic scene. If you depart from Mt. Pleasant you will enjoy views of the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier from up-close, while tours embarking from downtown will see Aquarium Wharf as they depart and return. Arrive at The Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, which sits prominently at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, a strategic location that was crucial to its defense.  While here, explore the grounds of Fort Sumter. Stand on the grounds where America’s deadliest war began at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. The first shots were fired here, igniting a conflict that saw more than 700,000 casualties. Experience the opening battle of the American Civil War and explore its origins with a National Park Ranger. Your approximate 1-hour visit to Fort Sumter allows ample time to explore well-preserved fort ruins and browse Museum Store souvenirs. A visit to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park provides a window into the life and trials of America’s heroes, from the Civil War to today’s modern conflicts. Learn about the events leading to the war from knowledgeable National Park Rangers who will relay stories of courageous heroes in action from the Civil War’s first battle. Walk in the steps of those who shaped this nation alongside a National Park Ranger. Then enjoy the beautiful views of the city as you ride the ferry back to Charleston.

Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise

2. Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise

Embark on a true Charleston Harbor dining experience aboard the Spirit of Carolina. Enjoy a three-course dinner, made to order from local seasonal ingredients. As you dine on a delicious multi-course plated dinner, cruise through the beautiful Charleston Harbor, past Fort Sumter, along the Battery and beneath the Ravenel Bridge. Take in the views from the large enclosed air-conditioned dining decks or the open-air observation deck. Enjoy music throughout the cruise, as well as a full-service bar. Dinner menu: Soup: Charleston she-crab soup Salad: Edisto green salad with a blend of baby lettuce, dried cranberries, crumbled feta cheese, and toasted almonds with herb vinaigrette (gluten-free) Entrées: (All entrees include freshly baked bread and butter) • Braised short rib of beef (gluten-free, dairy-free) with cabernet reduction, roasted garlic whipped potatoes (gluten-free), and seasonal vegetables (gluten-free)• Seared wing tip chicken breast (gluten-free) with white wine lemon sauce, sautéed spinach and feta cheese fillings, roasted garlic whipped potatoes (gluten-free), and seasonal vegetables (gluten-free)• Low country shrimp and grits (gluten-free) with sautéed shrimp, tasso ham, and andouille sausage. Served on creamy stone-ground grits and topped with aged cheddar cheese and bacon jam garnish• Roasted sliced cauliflower (dairy-free, vegetarian) with roasted red pepper drizzle, wilted spinach, lemon and olive oil mixed ancient grains of quinoa, farro, toasted barley (dairy-free, vegetarian), and grilled asparagus (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian) Desserts: • New York-style cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream • Chocolate pot de crème (gluten-free) with whipped cream and chocolate shavings ($6.00 each) Food is not prepared in a nut-free, shellfish-free, or gluten-free facility.

Charleston Harbor: Narrated Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

3. Charleston Harbor: Narrated Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

Take in the amazing sights of Charleston Harbor on a 1.5-hour boat tour with live narration from an expert guide. Pick up insight into the fascinating Charleston history while you glide through the gentle waves of the harbor. Your knowledgeable and entertaining guides have been licensed by the City of Charleston and are eager to share their knowledge with all guests aboard the cruise. Make sure to bring your camera for famous American landmarks, such as Fort Sumter, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney, and other sites from Charleston's past and present. This relaxing and fun tour departs from Patriots Point and Aquarium Wharf daily. Get ready to hear enthralling tales of the city’s colorful past as well as scintillating facts about its most interesting former citizens. Perfect for all ages, the whole family can enjoy cruising along the coastline of the beautiful “Holy City”. Do you know why it's called the "Holy City"? Find out on this trip around the Charleston Harbor.

Charleston: Magnolia Plantation & Historic City Tour

4. Charleston: Magnolia Plantation & Historic City Tour

Begin your half-day tour by boarding a climate-controlled coach in Charleston. Meet your professional guide and ride to Magnolia Plantation, dating from 1676 and the time of the British colony. Witness a slice of living history at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and get an amazing perspective on Charleston's past and present. The Magnolia Plantation and its world-famous gardens have been owned by the Drayton family for 12 generations. Enjoy your visit to one of America's first tourist attractions and first public gardens, which have been open to the public since 1870. Take a guided walk through America's last large-scale Romantic garden, and experience history on a 45-minute narrated nature tram ride through the Audobon swamp gardens. Step out among the Romantic gardens and Spanish moss to see wildlife such as alligators, egrets, herons, and turtles on the nearly 600-acre plantation. Cap it all off with a 30-minute tour of the Magnolia Plantation Home before boarding your bus back to Charleston. Back in the Holy City, your deluxe, climate-controlled shuttle will take you for a 1.5-hour tour of the city’s historical highlights. Accompanied by a knowledgeable, local guide, visit over 100 of Charleston’s most iconic sights of the past and present whilst listening to amazing tales and anecdotes about the city. On your tour, travel through some of the most historic parts of the city and visit Charleston’s historic homes, The Battery Sea Wall, the Four Corners of Law, and Rainbow Row to name but a few. Other highlights of the tour include a number of historic churches, old markets, and picturesque neighborhoods.

Fort Sumter: Sunset BBQ Dinner Cruise & Tour

5. Fort Sumter: Sunset BBQ Dinner Cruise & Tour

Explore the grounds at Fort Sumter National Monument with a National Park Ranger and visit the Museum. Get a window into the life and trials of America’s heroes, from the Civil War to today’s modern conflicts. Enjoy a BBQ dinner on the way back from Fort Sumter. Depart from Liberty Square in downtown Charleston at 5:00 PM, see the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge as you ride the ferry along, and take in sights of Charleston’s stately Rainbow Row and Battery homes. Approach Fort Sumter with graceful sailboats and playful dolphins in sight. Arrive at The Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, which sits prominently at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, a strategic location that was crucial to its defense. Explore the grounds of Fort Sumter and stand on the grounds where America’s deadliest war began. Have enough time to explore well-preserved fort ruins and to browse Museum store souvenirs in 1 hour. Learn about the events leading to the war and stories of courageous heroes in action from the Civil War’s first battle. Walk in the steps of those who shaped this nation. Enjoy the beautiful views of the sun setting in the city and a delicious BBQ dinner as you ride the ferry back to Charleston. Relax and take in the spectacular views of the harbor and her marine life while dining on Southern BBQ cuisine. Feel free to purchase beer, wine, and cocktails to/from the fort. Arrive back in Liberty Square at 7:45 PM.

Charleston: Strolls Walking Tour

6. Charleston: Strolls Walking Tour

A Charleston classic since 1979, this two-hour walking tour through America’s most charming historic district is sure to be the highlight of your visit to historic Charleston. Join a local guide on this walking tour and receive a wealth of historical information and “insider tips” on where to stay, dine, and things to do. Let the knowledgeable tour guide show you some of Charleston’s most famed landmarks as well as give you glimpses of this historic city that you can only see on foot. The pace of the walking tour is leisurely and the guides are there to answer any questions that you may have as you stroll through the cradle of southern charm and hospitality. Visit some of Charlestons most notable landmarks including Rainbow Row, the Waterfront Battery, Antebellum Mansions as well as points of interest from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Get amazing views of Fort Sumter and discover hidden gardens, courtyards, historic churches, and graveyards.  If selecting the VIP option, you will also receive entrance into the oldest museum home in the city, The Heyward Washington House. This Georgian-style double house and was once the townhome of Thomas Heyward Jr, one of the four South Carolina signatories of the Declaration of Independence. The house also played host to President George Washington during his week-long stay in the city. You will see the only 1740s kitchen building open to the public in the city, as well as the beautiful formal gardens used in the late 18th century.

Charleston: Historical Walking Tour with Storytelling

7. Charleston: Historical Walking Tour with Storytelling

Stroll through Charleston’s oldest neighborhood on a guided walking tour, led by an expert guide. Learn about the women and men – both pirates and patriots – who first founded the city, as you discover its highlights. The tour begins in front of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, one of Charleston’s oldest and most historical buildings. Continue down East Bay Street, passing Rainbow Row. See period mansions, and admire the views of Charleston Harbor and White Point Garden. Walk in the footsteps of pirates and their captors, as your guide tells you stories of looting and plundering. Wander the streets and alleys of Charleston’s South of Broad neighborhood. Learn about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the founding of America. Head back to the starting point, passing the Four Corners of the Law and the shops and residences on Broad Street. Your experience includes entrance to both the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and Philip Simmons House.

Charleston: Self-Guided Audio History Walking Tour

8. Charleston: Self-Guided Audio History Walking Tour

Enjoy a journey of over 300 years of history in Charleston on a self-guided walking tour. Explore the French Quarter’s iconic sights, Old Customs House, and more at your own pace with the magic of an audio guide. You will receive the download instructions after booking. Download the app and start the tour with your mobile phone as your guide. Start your tour at the famous City Market and have a chance to grab a cup of coffee or a quick bite before stepping into a time machine to explore Charleston’s rich and fascinating past. Visit the scenic Pineapple Foundation in Waterfront Park, Old Exchange, and the Provost Building. Take a stroll down memory lane to visit some of the city’s oldest and best-preserved homes. Hear about the revolutionary Civil War and Charleston’s connection to the slave trade. Discover the facts about why George Washington stayed in the city for three days straight during his tour of the South. You will know the significance of the pineapple in the area. Walk through the beautiful lanes and hear the stories behind the famous buildings of Charleston. 

Charleston: The Edmonston-Alston House Walking Tour

9. Charleston: The Edmonston-Alston House Walking Tour

Charleston's history and unique way of life can be greatly attributed to its location on a small peninsula bounded by two rivers. The southern tip of this peninsula, known as the Battery, has become one of the city's most treasured sites and no visit to Charleston would be complete without touring this historic district. Starting and ending at the Edmondston-Alston House, take an hour-long guided walking tour South of Broad Street, learning not only about the area's rich history, but further about the extended Alston family during the years before the Civil War. Your experience will conclude with a 30-minute tour of the Edmondston-Alston House, which is constructed in lush Greek Revival style, evocative of a classic antebellum architectural trend. Constructed in 1825, the house commands a magnificent view of Charleston Harbor and 90% of the home's furnishings were originally owned by the family.

Other Sightseeing Options in The Battery, Charleston

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What people are saying about The Battery, Charleston

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,327 reviews

The Fort Sumter cruise was interesting and enjoyable. The ferry ride was very relaxing and you could see many sites from the boat. The tour’s museum was done very well and it really made you realize what the fighting was like back then.

Enjoyed the whole experience. I thought the ferry ride left from Charleston not Patriot's Point, so I had to change some lunch reservations. Also, I would have liked at least 1/2 hr. more while at the site.

Just the right amount of time to keep you interested in the trip and it’s history. There was a lot of valuable information about Fort Sumner and the trip that we took.

Wonderful! Ask for Steve the tour guide for the boat he is awesome!

Great staff very knowledgeable. Worth what we paid.