To get a better view of the Charleston harbor (and maybe even spot some dolphins), consider signing up for a boat tour. Not only will you enjoy some time on the water, you’ll also have the chance to learn more about the city’s maritime history (many boat captains provide historical commentary throughout their tours). Along the way, you’ll likely see some of Charleston’s top landmarks, including The Battery, Waterfront Park, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney.
There are a variety of tours and operators (including private charters) in Charleston that offer a bevy of experiences for all types of travelers. Adventure Harbor Tours receives high praise from previous visitors for its Morris Island tours and sunset cruises. Tours aboard The Schooner Pride are also popular, especially if you’re interested in the mechanics of sailing, as the captain offers travelers the option to raise and trim the sails with the crew. If you’re looking for a less intimate or more formally narrated experience, sign up for a Charleston Harbor Tour, which has a fleet of boats that can accommodate hundreds of passengers.
Tour prices and excursion lengths can vary, but generally, you can expect to pay between $25 and $55 for adult tickets. Not all tours leave from the same harbor; check with your tour operator. Some companies allow you to bring your own food and beverages (including alcoholic libations) on board, while others sell snacks and drinks on the boat. Tours can last between one and three hours, with many spanning 90 minutes. For more information, visit each individual company’s website, or check out our list of the Best Charleston Tours.