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Top 10 History Tours In Charleston, South Carolina

history tours in charleston sc

A picturesque port city boasting Southern charm, Charleston is one of South Carolina’s architectural and historical gems. Its antebellum architecture, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages will transport you back in time, while the pastel plaster of the buildings gives it a coastal vibe. It’s not just the history that attracts travelers to this Southern paradise but also its food and social scene. Whether it’s high-end restaurants, chic cafes, or dockside seafood spots, you are bound to have your taste buds tickled with flavor. Read on as we check out the best history tours in Charleston, South Carolina, so that you can learn about the city’s story, coastal culture, and gastronomical heritage.

1. Learn about the women who wrote Charleston's history (from USD 29.0)

One of the first things that travelers learn from visiting Charleston is the city’s impressive history. Aside from the history attached to through every antebellum-styled building and cobblestone street, this city was also once ruled by women. Join this tour that will tell you all about Charleston’s women, their contributions, and their perspective. The tour starts at the execution site of America’s first female serial killer and includes stops at the city’s female plantation owners, artisans, and activists’ homes. It’s quite spectacular to listen to the city’s history from the perspective of the women who built it.

Strong Women of the South History Tour

Duration: 2 hours

126 reviews

2. Wine and dine with a top chef in Charleston (from USD 150.0)

When it comes to the food scene in Charleston, get ready to embark on a flavorful journey that will delight your senses. This four-hour tour will offer guests a one-of-a-kind experience where Chef Forrest Parker will take you exploring the city’s history and gastronomic influences. Along the way, you will get a chance to check out some of the city’s landmarks as well as some of its hidden gems. The tour ends at Bistro A Vin, a cozy spot where you can wine, dine, and participate in a cooking demo. You will get to take home some spectacular recipes as well as grasp some cooking techniques.

Chef's Food & History Tour of Charleston

Duration: 4 hours

54 reviews

3. Discover Charleston's history from a local historian (from USD 23.0)

For a walk around the city, you will get to meet a local historian named Jeff Zimmerman. Listen to all sorts of stories only a local can tell, learn about the many cultures and ethnic groups that have shaped Charleston’s history, and visit the city’s most iconic landmarks and oldest parts. Don’t forget your camera as the opportunities to photograph imposing architecture and lush gardens will be plentiful. You will start at Waterfront Park and make your way through the city’s cobblestone streets and antebellum buildings.

History Tour with local Jeff Zimmerman

Duration: 2 hours

120 reviews

4. Get spooked inside Charleston's oldest graveyards (from USD 30.0)

This 90-minute tour of Charleston’s haunted sites will take you on a unique journey throughout Charleston’s historic district as well as inside some of its oldest graveyards and churches. You will see the city’s haunted buildings and listen to spooky stories about ghosts and spirits. The tour is ideal if you are looking for a more intimate experience as it caters to only small groups of up to 10 people.

Haunted History Tours Of Charleston

Duration: 1.5 hours

182 reviews

5. Trace back the pirates' footprints in Charleston (from USD 29.0)

Charleston’s rich history is full of diversity and encompasses many unique tales, including those of pirates and patriots. These people have played a massive role in shaping the city’s history, and today is celebrated throughout its streets. This tour will take you from Provost Dungeon and Rainbow Row to Charleston Harbor and White Point Garden. The tour comes with tickets to Philip Simmons House and Halsey Gallery of Contemporary Art.

Patriots and Pirates History Tour

Duration: 2 hours

4 reviews

6. Come upon Charleston's African heritage (from USD 29.0)

This two-hour tour will take you back to explore Charleston’s history files created around the African community. The tour starts at Philip Simmons House that guests can visit with the ticket included in the tour price, continues down America Street, and ends at Mother Emanuel AME Church. Along the way, you will learn about the role the African community played in the city’s history including how people of color united and fought against racism.

Seven Eras of Slavery History Tour

Duration: 2 hours

14 reviews

7. Take part in a comprehensive tour about the city's history (from USD 35.0)

From slavery times to modern days, this tour will tell you all there is to know about Charleston’s colorful and diverse history. Meet the group at Waterfront Park and prepare to discover the city’s history through funny and interesting stories. The tour guide has a very flexible approach and is genuinely interested in finding out what the group members’ interests are to deliver a personalized experience.

The Best Charleston History Tour-2pm

Duration: 2.5 hours

281 reviews

8. See for yourself why Charleston is known as a drinking city (from USD 29.0)

Charleston’s history has many pages, each unique and captivating. Start your experience at one of the best bars in the city where you will get to taste some complimentary appetizers and sip cocktails or craft beer. Next, you will get to explore French Quarter, listen to stories dating back to the colonial days, and engage in an entertaining tour. The tour will wrap up next to one of the city parks in an area sprinkled with many bars and restaurants if you decide to stick around for another drink.

History and Hops Tour-Bar & History Walk

Duration: 2 hours

13 reviews

9. Find out how well brews and ghosts go together (from USD 29.0)

Might seem like an unusual combo, but brews and ghosts really go well together when in Charleston. This two-hour walking tour is held by a local who offers participants an interactive experience. Get started with a complimentary appetizer at a local Irish bar; Guinness beer is on tap, and the ghost stories are plentiful. Continue the evening throughout the city, as you pass by several historic graveyards and make a stop at another location where the appetizer goes hand in hand with cold brews and pirate stories. Wrap things up in one of the local parks, where you’ll hear all about one of the first female killers and get completely spooked.

Boo-Hag and Brews Ghost/Bar Tour

Duration: 2 hours

50 reviews

10. Take in the Southern charm on a carriage ride (from USD 35.0)

Your Charleston experience wouldn’t be complete without a horse-drawn carriage ride, one of the city’s staple activities. Nothing speaks Southern charm better than a carriage ride around town paired with tales of city history, including some of the most pivotal moments that have shaped the city we see today. The carriages can carry up to 16 passengers and are super comfortable, making your tour as relaxing as possible.

Charleston's Historic Residential Horse and Carriage Tour

Duration: 1 hour

10 reviews

Get your dose of Southern charm in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston’s history goes way back, and it includes African communities, antebellum architecture, coastal charm, local craft brews, ghosts, and pirates. Whenever you decide to visit this Southern gem, make sure you make the most of it by joining one of the top history tours in Charleston, South Carolina, as presented in this article.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Karina is a content creator based in Bucharest, Romania. A world traveler, obsessed over F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and a coffee addict, she dreams of one day calling Colorado home. Some of her favorite...Read more

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