Historic Sites

Charleston: Adventures of Historic Proportions

Stand on the site of the first shot in the Civil War. Come face to face with a giant sea turtle. Take a tour of an antebellum mansion. Climb aboard a WWII aircraft carrier. There are so many blossoming gardens, so many photo opportunities and so many reasons to come back to see us again.

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Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

A plantation relic once owned by a Founding Father is a National Park Service site. Enjoy the grounds, historic cottage, exhibits, film, museum shop, and programs. Free entry.

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Fort Sumter Tours

Stops at Fort Sumter National Monument, where the Civil War began. Tours depart from the Visitor Education Facility at Liberty Square downtown and from Patriots Point.

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Drayton Hall

America’s oldest unrestored plantation house still open to the public. Admission includes house tour, Connections program, African-American cemetery, nature walks, and more.

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Aiken-Rhett House

The city’s most intact antebellum urban complex (c. 1820). Historic interiors, surviving virtually unaltered since 1858, have been conserved and stabilized. Many family objects are still found in the rooms for which they were purchased. $12. M-Sa 10am– 5pm, Su 2pm–5pm. Last tour beings at 4:15 p.m.

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Edmondston-Alston House

Dating to 1825 and located on Charleston’s High Battery, guided tours invite visitors to step into a world of Antebellum elegance and style. Visitors will see furniture, silver and paintings original to the Alston family, and breathtaking views of the harbor from the second-floor piazza.

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Nathaniel Russell House

Grand Federal townhouse completed in 1808. Restored interior w/ elaborate ornamentation and a magnificent free-flying staircase. Set amid spacious gardens and furnished with period antiques, the house evokes the gracious lifestyle of the city's elite. $12. M-Sa 10am– 5pm, Su 2pm – 5pm. Last tour beings at 4:15 p.m.

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Middleton Place House Museum

Built in 1755, the House Museum interprets generations of the Middleton family -- rice barons who shaped the history of the U.S. from the founding of Charleston to the Civil War. Guided tours describe the amazing collection of original Middleton family portraits, furniture, silver, jewelry and documents.

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Heyward-Washington House

Built in 1772, Charleston's Revolutionary War House was the town-home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence. The home features magnificent Charleston-made furniture and a formal 18th century garden. See website or call for hours and pricing.

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Joseph Manigault House

Built in 1803, the Joseph Manigault House is an exceptional example of Federal period architecture. This National Historic Landmark displays a remarkable collection of period English and French furnishings dating to the early 19th century. See website or call for hours and pricing.

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Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture

Reading room and archives open 10am-5pm M-F and 12-5pm Sa. Walk-in tours open M-Sa 12-5pm. Group tours by appointment. (1990 Carolopolis Award). Beautifully restored facility, site of former Avery School built in 1865. Tour of building includes exhibits and archives.


Charleston City Market

Open M-Su. Built in 1841 to sell produce and meats, it features small shops, restaurants and flea market with everything from produce to antiques.


Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site

Su-M 9am-6pm. Dorchester was settled in 1696 by a small group of Congregationalists on a high bluff on the east bank of the Ashley River. Today, the ruins of Fort Dorchester, old St. George’s Church, and interesting archaeological excavations mark the site of Dorchester.

Fort Moultrie

The National Park Service explains and preserves the evolution of seacoast defense from one of the first decisive victories in the American Revolution through World War II.


Fort Sumter National Monument

Situated on an island at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter is where the American Civil War started on April 12, 1861. The fort is accessible only by boat.


Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square

This National Park Service site is the primary departure point for visitors to Fort Sumter. Exhibits provide an overview of events leading up to the Civil War. Free admission.


Morris Island Lighthouse

Morris Island is located off of Folly Beach and is an ecologically and historically sensitive barrier island. One of Charleston's best known and most beloved landmarks is recognized as one of the top 100 cultural sites in the state of South Carolina by the Heritage Trust Program Board.


Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Built by the British in 1771, American Patriots were held prisoner in the Provost during the War of Americas' Independence. One of the three most historically significant buildings of colonial America. Educational tours/evening events. Adults $8; 7-12 $4; 6 and under free.


South Carolina Historical Society

The state’s oldest historical society maintaining a vast research library and archives. Researchers are invited to explore our collections. Members conduct research for free and receive the Society’s publications. Tours available by appointment.


The Charleston Library Society

M-F 9:30am-5:30pm; Sa 9:30am-2pm. Established December 28, 1748 by seventeen young gentlemen of various trades. The Charleston Library Society paved the way for the founding of the College of Charleston in 1770 and provided the core collection of artifacts for the founding of the Charleston Museum.


The College of Charleston

Founded in 1770, the first municipal college in America was built in 1724 on land set aside for educational purposes. Present main building was designed by eminent Philadelphia architect William Strickland, built in 1828, and paid for by voluntary subscription by the people of Charleston.


The Historic Dock Street Theatre

“America’s First Theatre,” located in the heart of downtown Charleston, is home to the City’s finest cultural institutions including Spoleto Festival USA and Moja Arts Festival. Charleston Stage, the theatre company in residence at Dock Street, presents a full season of plays each year.


The Powder Magazine

Oldest public building in the Carolinas. The Powder Magazine stored the powder crucial for defending Charleston. Although replaced by a newer magazine in 1748, it served effectively until the American Revolution. Restored to its mid-nineteenth century appearance and open as a National Historic Landmark.


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