Charleston Locals, Here’s 10 Ways to Spend a Day as a Tourist in Your Own Town

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by McKenna Weatherford

As Charleston locals, we have become accustomed to the warm weather, scenic views, and the beauty of all that is Charleston. There are numerous reasons as to why Charleston is named the No. 1 city in the U.S. and why it’s one of the top tourists destinations. If you are looking for something fun to do during your free time, take the opportunity to explore the city as a tourist in your own town! Whether it be a family outing, a date with your loved one, or a day with your closest friends, here are ten ways you can explore your hometown and fall in love with Charleston all over again.


Image Courtesy of Bulldog Tours

Walk a path to see a view of the Morris Island Lighthouse on Folly
The Morris Island Lighthouse stands at 161 ft. tall with 201 steps leading to the top. The lighthouse, originally built in 1767, was destroyed in the Civil War and was rebuilt in 1876. Due to the construction of the jetties, erosion intensified and the lighthouse crept closer and closer to the ocean, leading to the closure of the lighthouse in 1962. In order to see the lighthouse, take East Ashley street until it ends and you will see a dirt path that leads to the fantastic view!


Image courtesy of Donnie Whitaker

Gather shark teeth at Sunrise Park on James Island
Located at 640 Wampler Drive, this hidden park is a secret treasure on James Island. Enjoy panoramic views of the Battery, Patriots Point, Ravenel Bridge, Mount Pleasant, Sullivan's Island, and Fort Johnson. It’s also a great place to look for shark teeth!

Image Courtesy of Charleston Tea Plantation

Take a tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation
Here in the South, sweet tea is a staple for almost every meal. If you’ve ever wanted to know how tea is made, the Charleston Tea Plantation offers free tours of their factory! They also offer a trolley tour that takes you around the scenic plantation, where you get to see the tea bushes. ($14 per person and $6 for kids 12 and under).


Image courtesy of Joan Perry

Sit on the bench swings at Waterfront Park
The bench swings at Charleston Waterfront Park are the perfect place to relax and feel the ocean breeze. The bench swings are also a nice date spot for you and your loved one to watch the sunset!

Image courtesy of Traveler of Charleston

Snap a photo of the legendary Angel Oak Tree
If you haven’t been to Angel Oak, you’re missing out. Estimated to be over 400-500 years old and standing at 65.5 feet tall, the Angel Oak tree is thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country. The best part about this must-see? It’s absolutely free!

Image courtesy of Scott Schweiger

Go and see Charleston’s iconic pineapple fountain
The pineapple fountain is one of the most popular icons in Charleston, representing hospitality. Since it opened in Charleston Waterfront Park in 1990, many have enjoyed the pineapple fountain for photo opportunities, proposals, and even for taking their kids to play in the fountain during the summertime!

Photo courtesy of glimpsesofcharleston.com

Walk the historic, cobblestone streets of Downtown Charleston
One of the most popular streets is Charleston is Chalmers Street. Why? Because it’s one of only eight cobblestone streets remaining in the Holy City. Chalmers Street is also one of the most photographed streets in Charleston, so be sure to bring your camera. If you haven’t checked out the cobblestone streets already, make sure to put it on your list of must-sees!


Photo courtesy of Traveler of Charleston

Admire the beauty of Rainbow Row
Rainbow Row is Charleston’s iconic row of pastel-colored houses and is also the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States. In 1931, a section of the homes
were painted a bright, pastel pink to honor the city’s Colonial Caribbean heritage roots. Throughout the late 1930’s and 1940’s, more of the homes were painted in bold, Caribbean colors as a way to improve the aesthetics and keep the houses cool throughout the warm months.


Courtesy of middletonplace.org

Stroll through botanical gardens at Middleton Place
Middleton Place is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in America. Generations of the Middleton family contributed to the creation of the gardens, which reflect classic styles of Europe and England in the early 18th century. Click here to schedule a tour to learn more about its history and the stories behind the stunning plantation.


Photo courtesy of inthenext30days.net

Experience history at The Battery and White Point Gardens
The Battery is a defensive seawall and promenade and was a place for artillery during the American Civil War. Stretching along the lower shores of the Charleston Peninsula, The Battery has incredible views, which include the Sullivan Island Lighthouse and Fort Sumter. The Battery also features cannons and piles of cannon balls, which make it a fun place for families and tourists to visit.