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Best Activities in Charleston, SC

best activities in Charleston, SC

Are you in the market for the best activities in Charleston, South Carolina? Charleston is a vacation treasure trove. Its prime location is surrounded by water and near beautiful beaches with plenty to see and do, from speedboat adventures to historical sites. There are many top Charleston attractions that will make your trip fun-filled and memorable.

Here is our list of Charleston, SC best things to do to help with your vacation planning:

  1. Speed Boat Adventures
  2. Charleston Beaches
  3. Fort Sumter
  4. Historic King Street
  5. Magnolia Plantation Gardens
  6. Shem Creek
  7. Waterfront Park
  8. Yorktown
  9. Harborview Charters
  10. City Market


1) Speed Boat Adventures

Charleston Harbor Tour - best activities in Charleston SC

This thrilling top Charleston attraction is like no other! The tour is a fantastic way to see many of Charleston’s sights. Enjoy views of the Battery, USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, the downtown Charleston skyline, Waterfront Park, South Carolina Aquarium, the cruise ship terminal, and all the wildlife that call Charleston Harbor home. There is lots of dolphin spotting on a speedboat tour. Your guide will teach you everything you need to know to safely drive the mini speedboat. He then leads the way in his guide boat and points out historical sites and wildlife over a walkie-talkie. We saw lots of dolphins playing along the way! The Charleston Harbor Tour is a unique addition to your list of Charleston, SC best things to do.


2) Check Out Charleston’s Beaches and Parks

top charleston attractions beach

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Charleston’s beaches are meant to impress! Choose Isle of Palms Beach or Folly Beach and you won’t be disappointed. The park amenities include boardwalks and accessibility ramps, lifeguards, beach chair and umbrella rentals, dressing area, ice cream, drinks, snacks, playgrounds, restrooms, sand volleyball courts, picnic areas and grills, and outdoor showers. Soak up some sun and enjoy restaurants and shopping within walking distance at either beach.


3) Fort Sumter

charleston top attraction fort sumter

Stand on the grounds where America’s deadliest war began at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie national Historical Park. This attraction allows you to experience the opening battle of the American Civil War and explore its origins with a National Park ranger. The one-hour tour gives ample time to explore well-preserved fort ruins. The ranger will relay stories of courageous heroes in action from the Civil War’s first battle. Fort Sumter can be found on an island in Charleston Harbor that is only accessible by boat. Explore one of the best activities in Charleston, SC, and learn about the history of this city.


4) Historic King Street

best activities in Charleston SC historic king street

Photo credit -KC Carmen K Sisson / Cloudybright / Stock Photo

King Street has a history of more than 300 years. It is the second most historically and architecturally significant street in downtown Charleston and a must-visit attraction. See the trendiest restaurants, award-winning hotels, and exceptional shops. There are three districts to King Street -Lower King Street Antiques District, Middle King Street Fashion District, and Upper King Street Design and Dining District. Many lively events such as Marion Square’s weekly Saturday Farmers Market take place on King Street, making this one of Charleston, SC’s best things to do.


5) Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

charleston sc family activities magnolia plantations

The Zoo and Nature Center at the Magnolia Plantations Garden offers opportunities for you to encounter, pet, and feed various animals. The gardens are truly breathtaking and have some of the world-famous romantic-style gardens of the 19th century.


6) Shem Creek

charleston sc best things to do shem creek

Photo credit Charleston

Does Waterfront dining sound good to you? Walk the 2,000-foot-long boardwalk in nature and experience beautiful waterfront views of the Charleston waterways and the marsh.  The area is bustling with outstanding restaurants and bars lining both sides of the creek. See local fisherman cast and catch! Feel like preparing your own dinner? Fresh seafood is available for purchase from seafood retailers. Catamaran and kayak tours are also located on Shem Creek.


7) Waterfront Park

waterfront park charleston activities

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Locals and visitors both agree that Charleston Waterfront Park is the perfect venue to stretch out and soak up the scene. The park overlooks Charleston Harbor and the Cooper River, and has more than 10 romantic, picturesque acres. Waterfront Park is located along Concord Street, a long parcel of land that was the center of local maritime traffic. Beautiful landscapes, long stretches of wide riverfront walking paths, benches, a wide pier, family-sized swings allow you to enjoy the harbor front and fall in love with Charleston.


8) USS Yorktown

charleston best things to do USS Yorktown

Walk aboard the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier, USS Laffey Destroyer, and the USS Clamagore Submarine. Be sure to visit the Vietnam Experience Exhibit and a Medal of Honor Museum, it is definitely one of Charleston, SC best things to do. This attraction is a hands-on history lesson!


9) Harborview Charters

Journey past Fort Johnson, Fort Sumter, and Morris Island on a Harborview tour. Stroll the shores for two hours and hunt for sharks’ teeth and shells. Everyone will enjoy this top Charleston attraction. Think hands-on history lesson. 


10) City Market

charleston best things to do city market

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Charleston City Market is one of the nation’s oldest public markets. It is the cultural heart of Charleston.  This attraction is home to hundreds of vibrant entrepreneurs and is open every day of the year.

Charleston is known for its southern hospitality and laid back way of life, making it a dream for travelers searching for adventure. We invite you to step back in time as you make your way down our list of Charleston, SC best things to do.