Charleston Tourism: Charleston’s Best from a Local

Blue Life Charters |33 Lockwood Drive Charleston SC 29401 |  (843) 743-4915

On a regular basis we are asked our favorite things to do living in Charleston, South Carolina. We are grateful to live in such a beautiful city and always offer our local knowledge in order to ensure guests have the best experience possible. Our beautiful city beckons with its historic charm, antebellum architecture, and Southern hospitality.

As the oldest and largest city in South Carolina, Charleston offers a treasure trove of attractions for visitors. From historic plantations and museums to beautiful beaches and iconic landmarks, the Holy City has something for everyone. Explore our top 18 best things to do in Charleston for an unforgettable experience and some bits of advice from a local to set you in the right direction.

City of Charleston

Rent a Bike for the Day and Cruise the City

Charleston is the perfect city for leisurely cruising through the city with little to no effort involved. Furthermore, there are a plethora of bike shops that offer hourly to daily rentals. One of our favorites is The Bicycle Shoppe on Meeting Street. Most of the city’s historical monuments offer reading plaques to learn about what you’re seeing and at your own pace while cruising. Being in the low country, this is a great option for seeing the majority of the city at a relaxing pace.

Charleston Rooftop Bars

You cannot visit Charleston without seeing the skyline from 1 of our many rooftop bars. YOu can spot the Charleston waterline from some and see the many church steeples from many that help to serve the city its name the “Holy City”. As locals, some of our favorites include The Citrus Club at the Dewberry Hotel, the Vendue Rooftop Bar near the Market area, and Pour Taproom for all the beer lovers out there. These are situated in various parts of the city and offer different perspectives for each site. There are many others to choose from so make sure you check them out for a great view!

The Citrus Club at the Dewberry-phot credit Holly Hillman

The Citadel & Hampton Park

Located just 10 minutes northwest of the city center, The Citadel is a prestigious and historic military college established in 1842. Explore its large campus featuring Spanish Moorish-style schools, barracks, and monuments, including the Checkerboard Quadrangle and Summerall Chapel. Close by to the Citadel there is also a local favorite for walking: Hampton Park is a wonderful park to enjoy and take a stroll through. The park itself has a large historical significance as well and is considered the site for the first Memorial Day in the US.

Charleston City Market

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Charleston City Market, situated in the historic heart of the city. With over 300 stands, this sprawling market, centered on the grand Greek Revival-style Market Hall, offers everything from fresh produce to souvenirs. Make sure you stop at some of the local restaurants, bars or ice-cream shops along the road! One of our favorite dessert bars, Carmella’s Dessert Bar & Cafe, is nestled close by. Also, if you are in need of some late-night pizza, the Pizzeria Di Giovanni is amazing!

City Market in Charleston SC

South Carolina Aquarium

A family favorite since 2010, the South Carolina Aquarium at Charleston Harbor showcases diverse marine life. From alligators to sea turtles, visitors can explore underwater ecosystems and even touch marine animals in a captivating touch tank. The local aquarium also boasts an amazing Sea Turtle Care Center. Here you can witness marine creature care and rehabilitation as local veterinarians, staff, and volunteers bring back to health any and all types of ailments they come across for our marine friends.

Take a Ghost Tour

The history of Charleston dates back to the 1600’s, so undoubtedly we have quite a story. With this story we have quite the spooky side to accompany the tale. Make sure to take the time to experience a small piece of our spooky history. Bulldog Tours offers some great tour options for both daytime and late night scares: ranging from a visit to the haunted (and historic) old jail to a paranormal investigation of the USS Yorktown.

Charleston Museum

For a deeper dive into Charleston’s rich history, visit the Charleston Museum, the nation’s oldest museum. With artifacts, artworks, and exhibits spanning local and natural history, this museum is a treasure trove of knowledge.

Folly Beach

After exploring the historic city, take a short drive south to Folly Beach. Enjoy the sun, sand, and surf on this Atlantic Ocean coastline, complete with beachfront bars and eateries. A little local knowledge: drive all the way to the north end of Folly beach and park your car. There you will find a ½ mile blocked off road that turns into a sand path. This path takes you to a viewpoint where you can see the historical Morris Island Lighthouse. It is also common to find an abundance of Shark’s teeth along the beach here and to occasionally see Dolphins strand-feeding in action here (a very magnificent site).

Morris Island Lighthouse at Folly Beach

Middleton Place

Discover tranquility at Middleton Place, a vast plantation with the oldest landscaped gardens in the U.S. Tour the grounds, learning about generations of Middletons and the enslaved individuals who shaped the gardens. It was this location where a scene of the movie The Patriot was featured. Specifically, the scene where the British threw a Ball and the ship was blown up.

Angel Oak

Witness the majesty of Angel Oak, considered one of the oldest and largest living organisms east of the Mississippi. Just 30 minutes southwest of Charleston, this iconic oak tree with sprawling branches is a captivating sight. While out there be sure to stop at the Charleston Distillery Co. for a refreshing beverage and bite to eat before or after.

Angel Oak tree charleston sc

The old and historic Angel Oak Tree

Sailing Yacht Charters

Looking for a luxurious and private way to enjoy the sights of Charleston from the sea? Blue Life Charters has you covered. Combining the best of Southern hospitality with the fascination of the open seas, this yacht charter opportunity will make for an unforgettable experience. Blue Life Charters operates 2 charming charter boats — Llibertat and Xocolata and each with state-of-the-art interiors and professional staff. No matter which one you choose, you are in for an unparalleled, bespoke experience.

Each tour will take you past Charleston’s most iconic sights, including Fort Sumter, The Battery, Waterfront Park, and much more.

Private sailboat tour in Charleston

Battery and White Point Gardens

At the southern tip of the peninsula, the Battery and White Point Gardens offer breathtaking views of the harbor. Wander through this park featuring monuments, cannons, and statues, reflecting its military history. Furthermore, the live oaks throughout the park make for a great scene to relax with a picnic and watch others go about their day. Getting there note: Make sure you start your walk there from nearby the city market area walking down East Bay St. You will pass by multiple sightseeing opportunities including, the Provost Dungeon, the oldest liquor store in America, multiple cobblestone roads, and Rainbow Row.

Rainbow Row in Charleston SC

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Explore the historic Magnolia Plantation, one of the oldest plantations in the South. Wander through romantic gardens, tour the house, and learn about the enslaved individuals who worked on the plantation. If you have to choose ONE plantation to visit, then we highly suggest this be your choice. The gardens alone are breathtaking, even if you don’t have a bit of a botanist’s bone in your body.

Magnolia Plantation View

Riley Waterfront Park

Cap off your Charleston adventure at Riley Waterfront Park. A short walk from the historic heart of the city, this park on the Cooper River boasts lush gardens, a wooden pier, and the iconic Pineapple Fountain. The Pineapple is the symbol for hospitality, so it is quite fitting for the city of Charleston. During the summer months, it is not uncommon to see children playing in the water of both the Pineapple Fountain and the nearby fountain in the park.

Waterfront Park Pineapple Fountain Charleston SC

Overall

Charleston’s allure lies in its ability to seamlessly blend history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring historic plantations, strolling through vibrant markets, or relaxing on the beach, the Holy City offers a diverse range of experiences. Discover the top 18 best things to do in Charleston for an enriching and memorable journey through the heart of the Old South.

Want some more inside information to assist in your trip to Charleston? Make sure to book a charter with us as we always love to give our personal advice on favorite things-to-do and also favorite restaurants to go to! We want your time in the city to be spectacular, even when you’re not on the water with us!