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24 Hours in Charleston- Day Trip to Charleston, South Carolina

I recently had an exciting 24 hours in Charleston, South Carolina!  My coworker and I (I’m a teacher) took a group of students from our history club up to see some historic sites in Charleston, and we had an excellent time!  

We stayed the night, arriving on a Friday evening and returning Saturday late afternoon, but you could easily pack these same adventures into one long day trip!

Palmetto Carriage Works Tour

 What an excellent tour the Palmetto Carriage Works provided for us!  They provided a lot of knowledge about the horses before we left (Charleston has very strict rules and regulations for the horses, so they are very well taken care of and happy), and about how the city of Charleston actually determined which part of the city each carriage ride can show in order to avoid too much traffic build-up.  We got our assignment from the city, which was to tour the west side of the town.

This was a great pick because we learned all about the history of the city’s earthquakes and fires.  Our guide was very knowledgeable about the city and the houses. She went out of her way to stop and show us certain areas where the fires stopped and to explain why.  She also discussed religious history, the reasons for certain aspects of the architecture of the homes, and, most importantly to my group, the history of the city as a whole.  

We had an excellent time, and this particular place also takes group photos you can then digitally purchase later (which I won’t include here because of my students’ privacy).  

Fort Sumter

I have to confess that I had never been to Fort Sumter before this trip, despite being a history teacher!  I was thrilled to be able to remedy the situation on this trip.

The center where you can buy your tickets (you can also buy them in advance) has a museum and gift stop for Fort Sumter.  You then meet downstairs in a long line, where your tickets are then scanned and you’re brought onto the ship.

The ship itself has a snack bar, which includes coffee, small meals like hot dogs, chips, wine and beer, and souvenir cups for soda purchases.  The boat ride takes about a half an hour there and back, and there are lovely views of Charleston and her many sites along the way. In addition, there is an ongoing narration about Charleston and the fort, including safety information, while you’re on the ride.  Oh, and there is a spacious indoor deck for those needing AC or heat!

Once on the island, you have an hour to explore the fort.  There is another museum inside with the original flags flown over the fort, and sometimes the rangers do demonstrations.  When we were there, they had a flag-raising ceremony at noon. There is also a gift shop to browse and restrooms (though they are not fully accessible for all disabilities, so if you need that, be sure to use the restrooms on the ship).

A walled up opening for cannons

A union shell embedded into the brick

In total, you’ll take about 2 hours to go to the fort and explore!  I think I’m going to make this a regular feature of my future Charleston trips.

Ghost Tour

We went on a ghost tour our first night, but if you’re doing a day trip to Charleston, then this will be the last thing to do before heading back home.  Yes, some of the stories were embellished, but we had an excellent time. Charleston is so charming at night, and a ghost tour is a great way to learn the history and details of locations while on foot. 

Luckily, our tour was more learning than intense walking, and we got to see many of the churches and graveyards (and restaurants) that are Charleston icons! We had a great time in Charleston in our 24 hour day trip. Make sure you check it out when you get a chance!

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