With so many options, coming to Charleston can be difficult for the indecisive tourist. There are so many things to do with your time here that it is hard to choose how to spend it. Charleston has something for everyone from history buffs, to shopaholics, to nature enthusiasts. To help you plan a Charleston excursion, here are 4 of the best things to do in Charleston that anyone can enjoy.

1. Downtown:
If you’re fascinated with the history of the United States, then Charleston couldn’t be a better place to visit. The history of Charleston stretches all the way back to the pre-colonial eras, but most of the city’s charm is centered on its role as a leading port city beginning in the pre-revolutionary years. If you would like to experience history of Charleston firsthand, then come down to Market Street downtown where people have been selling port wares for centuries. In more recent years, the area has become a hub for shops where locals go to sell their products. At the top of the street is a colonial jailhouse that is rumored to be haunted with ghosts stalking the grounds after dark.

best things to do in Charleston: visit Battery
Photo by Sofia Toro

2. The Battery:
After visiting Market Street, walk further south into the city and you will arrive at the famous Charleston Battery that is now a lovely park with multiple statues, sculptures, and fountains. Bring a bathing suit with you as well because one fountain allows people to “wade at their own risk,” and another shoots water arches (which allow you to walk underneath them in a water fountain carousel). Then completing the loop through the battery, you will pass beautiful colonial mansions. Walking the loop at Battery Park is one of the best things to do in Charleston.

3. Fort Sumter:
Out in the distance from the Battery, you will be able to see Fort Sumter, which is an iconic location for American history because it is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Across the bay, at Patriots Point, they offer boat tours to the magnificent structure. Along with Fort Sumter tours, at Patriots Point there is also a retired World War II-era battleship, destroyer, and submarine that you to explore. Once finished with touring American history, you can stroll among the shops and boutiques that line Charleston’s streets.

Best things to do in Charleston: Visit the Aquarium.

4. South Carolina Aquarium:

Take a stroll down Calhoun Street to the South Carolina Aquarium to see some of the most adorable creatures, like otters and lemurs—definitely one of the best things to do in Charleston. You can also see a gigantic albino alligator and can touch real stingrays.

(Bonus Points!) As your day comes to an end, don’t miss out on a true Charleston must-see. Take a walk on Calhoun Street, off East Bay Street, and walk down to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. From it, you can watch the sun set across the water with the best view in the city. This is the perfect way to end to end such a fun-filled day in Charleston.

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