8 Fun Things to Do in Charleston, SC

Charleston is quickly becoming one of the USA’s top tourist destinations. Although this South Carolina city by Charleston Harbor was captured during the Civil War, the old section of town survived with minimal damage. Some people believe Charleston has the best-preserved architecture from the Antebellum era. But you don’t have to be at all interested in history to have a great time in this regal city. Below, we’ll go through eight fun things to do in Charleston, SC that any traveler will enjoy.

1. Visit the Historic Fireproof Building

Historic Fireproof Building, Charleston

You might not have heard about the Fireproof Building before, but it’s certainly one of the top tourist attractions in this city. Located at 100 Meeting Street, the Fireproof Building was constructed in 1827 and is considered to be the first fireproof building ever built in the USA.

Visitors will learn all about Robert Mills, the fascinating architect behind the construction of this building. Did you know that Mills actually worked alongside Thomas Jefferson on architectural projects and later contributed to the Washington Monument?

These are just a few interesting tidbits you’ll learn as you admire Mills’s ingenious structure. Today, the Fireproof Building is one of Charleston’s many Historic Landmarks and welcomes thousands of tourists every year.

2. Book a Culinary or Wine Tour

Savor the Flavors of Charleston Food Walking Tour

Charleston is known all around the world for its high-class cuisine, especially its fresh seafood. Thanks to the recent influx of tourists into the city, dozens of companies have organized impressive culinary and/or wine tours you can take a part in.

A few popular tour options include the Downtown Charleston Culinary Tour, the Charleston Mixology Walking Tour, and the Charleston Chefs’ Kitchen Tour. Most of these packages are walking tours where you get to explore the city’s major attractions while sampling local specialties along the way. Taking one of these tours is certainly a great addition to any foodie’s list of fun things to do in Charleston, SC.

3. Learn About the Civil War at Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter, Charleston SC

The most significant monument in Charleston is the Fort Sumter National Monument. To get to this island monument, you will have to take a short 30-minute ferry ride. Although Fort Sumter is mostly in ruins today, there are helpful signposts around the area to explain what exactly happened here on April 12th, 1861. This area does tend to get flooded with visitors, so try to get up early and leave on the very first boat to this monument.

4. Stop by Middleton Place

Visiting Middleton Place, one of the most fun things to do in Charleston SC

Yet another one of the many fun things to do in Charleston, SC for history buffs is paying a visit the Middleton Place at 4300 Ashley River Road. Founded by farmer John Williams (no, not the composer!) in the 1730s, the Middleton Plantation is the oldest landscaped garden in the entire USA. Just a few prominent people who called this farm home include early American diplomats like Henry Middleton and Arthur Middleton.

Although damaged by an 1886 earthquake, the Middleton Place has gone through major renovations in recent years and the residence has now been listed as a National Historic Landmark. Visitors to Middleton Place will see extremely well-preserved grounds and learn a great deal about American history from the Colonial Era through the Civil War and beyond.

5. Admire the City’s Numerous Churches

St. Michael's Church in Charleston, SC

Charleston isn’t called America’s “Holy City” for nothing. You’ll see as you walk around that this city’s skyline is still dominated with church steeples. Indeed, a city ordinance forbids architects from building anything higher than the original church steeples. There are so many beautifully preserved churches in the city to check out, but a few of the more popular ones include St. Michael’s Church, the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, and the Circular Congregational Church.

During its heyday, Charleston wasn’t only one of the wealthiest cities in the “New World,” it was also a place of great religious tolerance for dissenters fleeing England. That’s why you’ll find many churches for both the Church of England and even the French Huguenots on your tour of the city. If you want to learn more about Charleston’s fascinating religious history, consider scheduling a walking tour of the city at the Charleston Visitors Center or visit the Charleston Museum.

6. Go on a Boat Tour

Stern - heading towards Ravenel Bridge

Taking a boat tour around Charleston’s harbor is another one of the many fun things to do in Charleston, SC. Nowadays you can book anything from more intense “adventure speed boat tours” to laid-back sailing charters and everything in between. There are also schooner tours, eco-friendly boat rides, and fishing boat tours for those who are interested. Don’t be surprised if you see a few dolphins jumping out to greet you as you sail around Charleston’s waterfront!

7. Take a Carriage Ride Through Charleston’s Cobblestone Streets

Charleston Carriage Tours

One of the really “touristy” things to do in Charleston is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Sure, it may be a bit kitschy…but it’s still a requisite for every “fun things to do in Charleston, SC” list. Honestly, there’s no better city in the USA to take a carriage ride in, especially as the sun is setting.

If you’re traveling with your lover, then you really have no choice but to take a carriage ride. As you and your loved one ride through Charleston in a horse-drawn carriage, you’ll see first-hand why this city is now considered one of the best vacation destinations in the USA for honeymooners.

8. Swim with the Fish at the South Carolina Aquarium

South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston, SC

If you’re looking for some fun things to do in Charleston, SC with kids, look no further than the South Carolina Aquarium. Opened in 2000, this relatively new aquarium measures 93,000 square feet and has a massive 385,000-gallon tank. You’ll get to see thousands of marine animals like otters, Spanish hogfish, and sand tiger sharks as you tour this massive complex. You can even pet a few animals like horseshoe crabs and stingrays at the aquarium’s Touch Tank. The SC Aquarium is located alongside the Charleston Harbor at 100 Aquarium Wharf.

Summing Up

Of course, we could go on and on listing all the fun things to do in Charleston, SC. But anyway, why would you just want to sit here reading all about Charleston and not, you know, actually visit there? Be a bit spontaneous; put that guidebook aside and discover the magic of Charleston for yourself. Book your flight to Charleston International Airport today!

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