Known as “The Holy City,” Charleston, South Carolina needs no introduction. This world-renowned city has everything to offer families and groups looking to have a great time. Mixing a wealth of history with a lot of fun, here are some of the reasons why Charleston — and surrounding areas — continuously attract millions to its cobblestoned and rainbow-hued streets.
40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant
843-884-2727 or (866) 831-1720, patriotspoint.org
Climb aboard the USS Yorktown, the decommissioned aircraft carrier that stands solemn watch over the harbor. Vintage aircraft line the flight deck, while the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum is located inside the cargo bay.
The flight deck of the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier offers a panoramic view of the bustling harbor, while the hanger bay is home to the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor Museum.
Fort Sumter National Monument
1214 Middle Street Sullivan’s Island
The eyes of a fledgling nation were upon Charleston’s harbor on April 12, 1861, when the opening shots of the Civil War were lobbed upon this island citadel.
South Carolina Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston
Conservation is the lynchpin of our ocean’s health, and the South Carolina Aquarium is a hands-on resource for learning environmental stewardship. Take the behind-the-scenes tour of the Sea Turtle Rescue Program, a pivotal education lesson for people of all ages.
Gibbes Museum of Art
135 Meeting Street, Charleston
A movement occurred in the 1920s when a cadre of poets, playwrights, painters and musicians put forth the city of Charleston itself as their collective muse and produced a voluminous body of work inspired by Charleston’s curious customs and evocative geography. The era, which spanned 1915-1940, became known as the Charleston Renaissance, a far-reaching movement with enduring eclat. Artists from across the nation were drawn to the fertile bohemia that was rich in visceral inspiration but post-war poor. Acclaimed painter Alfred Hutty, who relocated to Charleston to teach for the Carolina Art Association in 1919, is said to have wired his wife, “Come quickly, have found heaven.” Hutty joined the ranks of Josephine Pinckney, DuBose Heyward, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, Alice Ravenel Huger, Emmett Robinson and Susan Pringle Frost, among others, and a cache of their work, including 247 pieces credited to Hutty, are archived in the Gibbes Museum of Art’s permanent collection.
Center for Birds of Prey
4872 Seewee Road, Awendaw
The awe-inspiring sight of soaring hawks, falcons, owls, eagles and vultures fills the sky above this one-of-a-kind 150-acre avian conservation center.
Charleston Strolls – Walk Through History
115 Meeting Street, Charleston
Featured in Southern Living and recommended by The New York Times and AAA Tourbook, this two-hour tour is absolutely the best overview of Charleston’s rich history, antebellum homes, architecture, people, gardens, and culture. The tour departs from the Mills House Hotel at 10:00 a.m., rain or shin.
4300 Ashley River Road, Charleston
843-556-6020 or (800) 782-3608, middletonplace.org
This National Historic Landmark is home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens and a lively stableyard that is home to free-grazing sheep, cashmere goats, Belgian draft horses, guinea hogs, peacocks and majestic water buffalo. Step back in time and envision the self-sustaining lifestyle of a bustling plantation with pottery, weaving, blacksmithing, candle-dipping and open fire cooking methods demonstrations. Here, you may trace the humble rice seed’s journey from subsistence crop to sterling commodity that made Charleston the wealthiest colonial city during the 18th century.
Boone Hall Plantation
1235 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant
For more than three centuries, crops have been grown on the grounds of this picturesque plantation, which has appeared in several movies and television mini-series. Where cotton plants once flourished, tomatoes and strawberries now thrive (the U-Pick fields are quite popular). Learn about Gullah culture with the interactive Black History in America exhibit.