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Charleston Experiences

Charleston, the South Carolina port city founded in 1670, is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel antebellum houses, particularly in the elegant French Quarter and Battery districts. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.

Below is a small selection of the tours we can organise for you when you have booked your USA holiday with us and are visiting Charleston.   

Welcome to Magnolia Gardens. Unlike most of America's gardens, which are formal and seek to control nature, Magnolia cooperates with nature to create a tranquil landscape like Eden where humanity and nature are in harmony.

The gardens at Magnolia Plantation are of such beauty and variety that they have brought tourists from around the world to view them since they were open to the public in the early 1870s. However, many parts of the gardens are much older, some sections more than 325 years old, making them the oldest unrestored gardens in America. As the plantation has stayed within the ownership of the same family for more than three centuries, each generation has added their own personal touch to the gardens, expanding and adding to their variety. Today there are various varieties of flowers from camellies, daffodils, to azaleas and countless other species in bloom year round, with the climax of incredible beauty building towards the spring bloom.

Duration: 45 minutes

Slip back in time as your boat glides through Magnolia's old flooded ricefield along the Ashley River. While you explore the cattail-fringed canals, your naturalist captain will transport you to the age of rice growing and river-going. Alligators still slip silently across canals as egrets wade along shore, stalking fish or frogs. You might even surprise a flock of wood ducks or spy a grackle building its nest. Today the rice is gone, but the history is still alive.

The boat tour is also a perfect way to take a break from walking. You can cool your heels and enjoy the breeze of the Ashley River as you glide through a water world unknown to most visitors. Come see the wild wetlands as the "locals" do – from the water.

Nature Boat Tour Highlights

  • Regular tour times throughout the day
  • Opportunity to view varied species of wildlife and vegetation

Duration: 30-45 minutes

Step back in time with a half-hour guided tour of the Drayton family home, the third to grace the site in more than three centuries of Drayton family occupation. The “Big House” you see today was built in the late nineteenth century. (Two previous houses were destroyed by fire—the first accidentally, the second by Union soldiers in 1865.) This tour gives an overview of family life at Magnolia, focusing on the years between 1870 (when work on the present structure was begun) and 1975, when the house was opened to the public. Ten rooms are open to the public, furnished with early-American antiques, porcelain, quilts, and other Drayton family heirlooms. Guides describe life in the 19th century, using furniture and household objects to bring plantation culture alive. 

Patriots Point Development Authority was established in the 1970s to develop a naval & maritime museum on Charleston Harbor with the World War II aircraft carrier, USS YORKTOWN as its centerpiece. It’s also home to the Patriots Point Museum and a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, the Cold War Memorial and the only Vietnam Experience Exhibit in the U.S., the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and the agency's official Medal of Honor Museum.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum serves as a national destination of excellence for the preservation and education of current and future generations about America's history, traditions and values.Since opening in 1976, Patriots Point has become one of the the state's most popular tourist attractions with more than 300,000 visitors each year. The YORKTOWN boasts one of the largest education and overnight camping programs in the nation, with more than 40,000 school age children attending these programs each year.

Life in the Lowcountry is all about slowing down and taking a moment or two to relax, and locals and visitors both agree that Charleston's Waterfront Park is the perfect venue to stretch out and soak up the scene. With a prime location overlooking Charleston Harbor and the Cooper River, and more than 10 acres of room to roam, (most of which is waterfront), Waterfront Pak is essentially a romantic, engaging, serene, and perfectly picturesque destination that will make any newcomer fall in love with this unique southern city.

Today, visitors will easily see why this park gained national acclaim, as the long stretches of wide riverfront walking paths are perfectly picturesque, and capable of allowing a crowd of park visitors to relax and enjoy the activity along the harbor front. Dozens if not hundreds of benches are stationed within the park, both along the river and in the well-tended green spaces just offshore, and tall palmetto trees create a slightly shaded barrier just yards away from the water's edge.

The park is popular with runners, bikers, birdwatchers, and anyone who enjoys a cool waterfront rest stop, and is open daily to the public. Evening patrons are encouraged to swing by the distinctive central fountain, which provides a unique and romantic glowing backdrop to any evening stroll. Springtime visitors will also want to be on the lookout for the bright fuschia blooms which seasonally circle the fountain in the hundreds, and are impossible to miss.

Waterfront Park Highlights

  • Scenic viewpoints and opportunities to view a variety of wildlife first hand.
  • Open daily to the public
  • Shaded areas and picnic tables available to use

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