Historic King Street Shopping Charleston, SC

King Street Shopping Charleston SC

Bustling King Street has developed into a top-notch shopping area where you can find anything and everything your heart desires.

The central Charleston street has three distinctive areas: Upper King Street Design-and-Dining District, Middle King Street Fashion District, and Lower King Street Antiques District.

Lower: Among the many shops, you can find various things that are unique to Charleston. As a historic city, the shopping district wouldn’t be complete without antiques. A visit to George C. Birlant & Co. is a must during your trip. It is one of the largest and oldest antiques establishments in the southeast. The founder, George Birlant is one of the most highly respected antiques dealers in the nation and is also a well-known auctioneer of fine estates.

Middle: If you the type to shop ‘til you drop, you’re destined for Middle King. From big chains like H&M to name brands like Laura Ashley to independent boutiques, there’s plenty to put a dent in your bank account. Don’t forget to stop into the shops at Charleston Place and grab some Godiva chocolate, or get some first-class casual wear at Charleston’s Madewell, or a pair of shoes at the local institutions that is Bob Ellis.

Upper: Upper King is the more recently developed area of town that lends itself to a hip and trendy feel. Experience a Hollywood 1960s diner feel at Rarebit (get the chicken and waffles and a Moscow Mule!) or cozy up to a house full of locals in love with the Thai offerings at Basil. (Hint: the red curry duck may change your life). Grab a fancy, vintage-style cocktail or a good Scotch at the Belmont, or sling back a few bottles of champagne (a.k.a. Miller High Life) at the long-adored local dive bar, AC’s.

What part of King Street do you want to hit up first? Looking for a particular item or souvenir? Ask our helpful tour guides and they will be happy to point you in the right direction!

JFK’s Ties to Historic Charleston, SC

John F Kennedy Charleston SC

Here’s a tidbit not many locals are even in on: One of the most well-known and iconic presidents has a connection to the Holy City.

John F. Kennedy’s first experience with Charleston was when he was stationed here for the Navy and worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence. At the time, Charleston was so overwhelmed with Navy personnel that Charleston’s mayor asked the residents to help out by opening their homes to them.

Social butterfly:
Kennedy was taken in by a local family, the Middletons, and he lived on the Battery on Murray Boulevard for several months. During his stay, Kennedy attended house parties in the area and enjoyed all that Charleston had to offer. He often talked about how much he enjoyed the city and how the hospitality was like no other. Specifically, the would-be president attended a cocktail party next door, and even some 20 years later he was still retelling a story about how, as a prank, someone started up a boat motor inside the house. The characters he encountered here obviously left an impression on the young man.

As far as matters of the heart go, Kennedy was romantically involved with Inga Arvad while in Charleston. But as this was during World War II, the FBI worried that the lady who stole Kennedy’s heart may be a spy and so they closely monitored their every move. During their intimate phone calls, the FBI listened and secretly recorded their conversations, and during her frequent visits to see the president, the authorities bugged her room and observed the two wherever they were. JFK’s Charleston stay was memorable, and he made many friends, but unfortunately those relationships were terminated due to the scandalous affair.

Don’t forget:
The Dark Side of Charleston adult history tour is a great opportunity to learn more about JFK’s stay as well as numerous other Charleston secrets. Learn more about the many fascinatiing historical tidbits on your next tour of historic Charleston.

Kiawah Island Resort – Charleston, SC

Kiawah Island SC

Kiawah Island is more than a place where the Legend of Bagger Vance was filmed. It’s a world-class resort with championship golf courses so other-worldly beautiful, you’ll swear you’re in a another land altogether.

Golf: With six courses and 90 holes of championship golf to play, the island is a golfer’s dream. The resort offers many services to make it a perfect golf experience, including the Golf Learning Center, Caddie Services, Club-Fitting Services, Tips from the Golf Pros, and the Annual Friendship Cup.

Tennis: If golf’s not your game, the tennis courts should keep you busy.  You can make reservations for private instruction or rent equipment and a court upon request.

Go wild: But Kiawah’s also more than a island full of gorgeous greens.  Families interested in wildlife will love the walking tours, junior naturalist program, turtles’ nest art studio, paddling tours, fishing tours, nature program, and motorboat tours. Visitors have been known to spot anything from gators to deer, and as of June 2014, the island had logged 47 Loggerhead sea island turtle nests. You can even go on an alligator-spotting adventure, back-island bird-spotting, butterfly walk,  historical sunset cycle, a nature photography tour — and so much more, y’all! Kiawah is truly a naturalist’s paradise.

Dip: And if it’s too hot for activities such as golf and tennis and wildlife tours, then take a dip in any of the four pools the resort has to offer, including killer ones with slides to thrill the young and young at heart. The resort also offers a luxury spa perfect for kicking back after an active day on the course or courts.

Eat: After a long day of activities, sit down to an elegant dinner at any of the 12 restaurants on the island, including Jasmine Porch, Loggerhead Grill, the Ocean Room, and Night Heron Grill.  Bon appetit!


Why is Charleston, SC so Haunted?

Haunted Charleston, SC and Ghost Stories

It is said that Charleston has more ghosts than any other city in America. Why is that so?

Centuries old, Charleston’s countless tragic events have left restless spirits roaming the city. The very trees that stand at the Battery were once used to hang Pirates; and it is rumored that the ghosts of Pirates can be seen walking and screaming there from time to time.

Folly: Folly Island is haunted by the ghost of Blackbeard. Blackbeard once blockaded Charleston and threatened to burn the city. He used Folly Island as his hideout and even had a house there, which has since been destroyed by a hurricane. Civil War soldiers as well as a confederate officer have reportedly been spotted at and around the Morris Island lighthouse on the edge of Folly. The police and Coast Guard have also been called out there for over 100 years, because people have spotted a woman in a white dress and apron standing in the doorway of the lighthouse.

Old City Jail: Built in 1802, it not only housed but is responsible for the deaths of many criminals, which are said to still haunt the jail today. One of these criminals was the first female serial killer in the United States, while others involve pirates and slaves.

Battery Carriage House Inn: At the Battery Carriage Inn, a headless torso has often appeared in peoples’ rooms. Reportedly, the figure is from the Civil War when a large battery of guns blew up in the area. In another legend dating to the 1930s, a man was working on the roof of the Inn when the headless torso appeared. He was so frightened that he jumped off the roof and was killed, and his ghost is also said to roam about on the roof and in the yard below.

Poogan’s: On Queen Street in downtown Charleston is the restaurant, Poogan’s Porch. Zoe St Amand died in the house in 1954, and it is said that she still haunts the restaurant, often playing tricks by moving things and slapping things off tables when she’s angry. A friendlier ghost is rumored to live there too: the dog after which the restaurant is named! If you faintly feel something licking your legs, it just maybe Poogan, the pooch.

Have you sensed a spirit in Charleston before? Learn more about Charleston’s haunted past on our Ghost and Graveyard Tour or the popular Ghost and Dungeon Tour!

Top 10 Things to do in Charleston on a Rainy Day

Top 10 Things on Rainy Day in Charleston

1. South Carolina Aquarium

Featuring 60 fascinating habitats, the South Carolina Aquarium is a great place to visit on a rainy day for all ages. Visitors also have the opportunity to visit South Carolina’s only hospital for sick and injured sea turtles at the aquarium. During the tour, visitors learn about the turtles as well as the care these endangered animals need.

2. USS Yorktown

Stretching an astonishing 888 feet, the USS Yorktown is the centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. You can embark on a self-guided tour of the many exhibits throughout the ship with arrows to follow so you can view the ship without confusion. Delicious, hot lunch is also served in the aircraft carrier’s C.P.O. mess for only $8.50.

3. Charleston Restaurants

Charleston offers delicious Southern food that is served in countless restaurants throughout the peninsula. Fresh, local seafood is Charleston’s forte, like shrimp and grits and crab cakes. Coast, Fleet Landing, and Hank’s Seafood are just a few examples of places serving up specialties fresh from the sea. Charleston also offers up incredible dessert venues like Kaminsky’s Baking Company and Charleston’s Candy Kitchen.

4. Bay Street Biergarten

Supplied with 24 beers on tap behind the bar, 60 taps in the building, tap tables and booths and a beer wall, you are guaranteed to have an incredible, and tipsy, experience at the Bay Street Biergarten. Executive Chef Jason Walker also prepares Bavarian-inspired Southern food.

5. Historic Houses

Founded as a colonial seaport and growing to become a wealthy city, Charleston is covered head to toe with magnificent historic houses worth visiting. The wonderfully preserved houses, furnished with pieces from the eras gone by, perfectly demonstrate Charleston’s history and bring it to life. Some houses to tour include the Joseph Manigualt House, the Aiken-Rhett House, the Nathaniel Russell House, and the Heyward-Washington House.

6. Firefly Distillery

Located on Wadmalaw Island, the Firefly Distillery is the perfect place to relax and get away from the faster-paced city. Being the largest micro-distillery in South Carolina, Firefly Distillery also has a tasting room where you can taste and buy Firefly products. Head to the distillery to experience where the world’s first hand-crafted sweet tea-flavored vodka is made. We recommend mixing it with lemonade!

7. The Charleston Museum

Found in the heart of America’s most historic city is the Charleston Museum, America’s first museum. Founded in 1773, the museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying the history of the Lowcountry.

8. Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Head over to the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry and let the kids explore the museum’s nine interactive exhibits. The museum provides the wee ones with endless hours of fun while also serving as a cool learning experience for all.

9. Dock Street Theatre

The first building in America built exclusively to be used for theatrical performances, the Dock Street Theatre is home to many of the city’s finest cultural institutions. Charleston Stage, the resident professional theatre, produces over 120 performances each season.

10. Gibbes Museum of Art

Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes is the city’s premier art museum. The museum presents seven exhibits each year and offers lectures, classes, tours, and events for all ages.

Top 10 Free Things to do in Charleston 2015

Top 10 Free things to do in Charleston SC

1.Citadel Dress Parades

The Military College of South Carolina, located at 171 Moultrie Street, features dress parades on Fridays during the school year. This 200-year-old tradition features the band, pipe band, and the entire corp of cadets, as well as the cannons that are fired during the parade. Arrive to the parade early to check out the Citadel Museum, which features Citadel memorabilia like Citadel rings, photographs, letters, diaries, uniforms, and other artifacts. The museum is open Sunday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on college, religious, and national holidays. Be sure to check the parade times on their website.

2. Waterfront Park

This gorgeous 12-acre park located on the Charleston peninsula is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery Charleston has to offer. You’re sure to see a few sailboats, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, and maybe even some dolphins on the waterfront’s pier, which boasts park benches and swings. The park also includes two fountains, including the well-known Pineapple Fountain, that are perfect to wade in on a hot summer’s day.From here, you are also just a short walk away from Rainbow Row and the Battery Park.

3. Angel Oak Tree

The Angel Oak Tree, believed to be between 400 and 1,500 years old is a large and beautiful Live Oak covering 17,200 square feet. Angel Oak Park includes a picnic area and a small gift shop. A short drive from Charleston on John’s Island, the Angel Oak restaurant is always a good idea, too.

4. Old City Market

In operation since the 1800s, the four-block-long market is the perfect place for a casual stroll while visiting Charleston. Sweetgrass baskets are woven here, keeping Gullah tradition alive on the peninsula. You can also find everything from Charleston t-shirts to locally made jewelry and home decor.

5. Charleston Farmers Market

Located at Marion Square in the heart of Charleston, the Farmers Market brings the Lowcountry together every Saturday to promote local farmers, and growers. Live entertainment and crafts from local artisans are a great way to start your Saturday morning on the peninsula, plus food vendors like the Crepe Stand make it a regular tradition for locals. The market is open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., rain or shine.

6. Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

The longest cable bridge east of the Mississippi River, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge provides a spectacular view of the Charleston Harbor. With a pedestrian lane provided, the bridge makes for a great run, walk, or bike ride over the Cooper River.

7. Magnolia Cemetery

Founded on a rice plantation in 1849 just off the banks of the Cooper River is the stunning Magnolia Cemetery. This 92-acre cemetery is the final resting place of many Confederate soldiers and southern leaders. The cemetery is located on the upper part of Charleston but is more than worth the visit!

8. Charleston Beaches

The Charleston area is home to many must-see beaches, including Kiawah Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, Seabrook Island, and Sullivan’s Island. The beaches are the perfect place to relax, unwind, slow down, and soak in the southern sun.

9. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, situated just across the Cooper River in Mt. Pleasant, is part of the estate of Charles Pinckney. There, you can see the house and grounds and learn about plantation life of that period.

10. Irvin House Vineyard

Located on nearby Wadmalaw Island, Irvin House is the only domestic winery in Charleston. The vineyard has many attractions, including a large stocked fish pond, walking trails, and wildlife. Free tours (and samples!) of the winery are offered on Saturdays at 2 p.m. This is also the home of Firefly vodka, which you should definitely try if you’re game. The sweet tea variety is a local fave!

Sweetgrass Baskets Charleston, SC

sweetgrass basket history charleston sc

Introduced to the Lowcountry in the 17th century by West Africans, the sweetgrass basket has become a Lowcountry trademark.  Africans brought the basket-making skill when they arrived to the Lowcountry as slaves.

Sweetgrass is an indigenous bulrush that’s strong yet supple. It thrives in the sandy soil of the southern coast, and a sweetgrass basket is considered to be a prized cultural souvenier.

A little history: Enslaved Africans often made baskets for use on plantations as well as for commerce. Many who were no longer able to work in the fields spent their days making these beautiful, hand-woven works of art.

The art of making baskets from sweetgrass began to change due to the Civil War and emancipation.  Women began making them considerably smaller in order to use them in their own homes for storing food.

After the Civil War, Mt. Pleasant in particular drew many black families that began mass-producing show-baskets for profit. In the 1900s, basket-makers began selling the sweetgrass baskets in gift shops and by catalogues that were owned by white businessmen.

Merchants began buying sweetgrass baskets that were attractive to tourists, which still happens today.  Varying in shape, size, and price, the baskets can still be found in the Mt. Pleasant area as well as many places in Charleston, especially downtown. Specifically, you’ll find basket makers weaving away on the spot throughout the city market as well as beside St. Michael’s church on the corner of Broad and Meeting Streets.

The baskets are mainly made by women who no longer work outside of their homes, and the sweetgrass is still mainly gathered by men. Although tourism allows the art to economically prosper, the use of land threatens the natural resources needed to make the baskets. The survival of the production of sweetgrass baskets relies on the tourists as well as others who purchase them.

What do you think of Lowcountry sweetgrass baskets? Learn more from our local walking tour guides on your next visit to the Holy City.

The History of Summerville, SC

Summerville, SC history

Similar to much of the Lowcountry, Charleston’s neighbor to the north, Summerville, SC has a rich history.

Located about 30 minutes from Charleston, Summerville’s reputation is recognized with its nickname, “Flowertown in the Pines.”  The town was first visited in the late 1700s as it attracted the residents of the Lowcountry with its cool breezes and pine trees, which provided shade and refuge from the heat and disease of Charleston summers.

Not the trees: In the early 1800s, the railroad arrived to Summerville, which required many trees to be cut down. The village knew they needed to protect their biggest asset, the trees, so they helped introduce a law that prohibited the cutting of certain-sized trees without permission. Any that broke that the law faced a hefty fine of $25. Today, the ordinance is still in effect in Summerville, making the law one of the oldest of its kind in the United States.

Good for your health: In 1888, the International Congress of Physicians in Paris declared Summerville one of two most healthful places in the world. The town’s mild climate and piney fragrance greatly benefited the ill, especially victims of lung disease. As word spread, the town became a major health retreat for the infirmed and was also a refuge from harsh winters of the North.

Summerville not only attracted patients with its beauty and tranquility but also famous visitors from afar. Grand inns and guesthouses became populaly frequented from the likes of presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, who stayed at the Pine Forest Inn. During the Golden Age,  celebrities were known to retreat to Summerville, its tall pines, and its healing air.

Still today, the town attracts tourists for its spring blossoms and flower festivals. Summerville’s first annual Flower Festival was held in 1941 and has continued every April since.

A city that has thrived on heritage and natural beauty from the beginning, Summerville still displays many of the same traits that made it such a popular destination in the first place.

What do you love about Summerville?  Never been? Ask our experienced walking tour guides about this little gem, and they will point you in the right direction. It is only a short, 30 minute drive from Historic Charleston.

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church Charleston, SC

St. Philips Church, Charleston, SC

St Philip’s Episcopal Church sits footsteps from a bustling King Street today but is steeped in hundreds of years of history.

A little history
Founded in 1680, St. Philip’s was built only ten years after the colony was settled.  In 1708, Gideon Johnston was sent from England as a first commissary to the church but later drowned in the Charleston harbor. To replace him,  Alexander Garden was sent by the Bishop of London to be the commissary. Garden died in 1756 and is buried still in the churchyard. After Gardens death, Richard Clarke served as rector and Robert Smith as assistant rector.  During the Revolutionary Period, the city fell to the British (in 1780), and Robert Smith was exiled. Smith later returned and was active in the formation of a new church, and in 1795 consecrated as the first bishop of South Carolina.

In 1710, the church was badly damaged by a hurricane and was in the process of being rebuilt in 1713 when it was nearly destroyed by yet another hurricane. Though it had been through enough disasters, in 1835, it burned to the ground.

Other little-known facts about St Philip’s

  • John C. Calhoun was buried in the west church yard, but during the Civil War his body was moved to the east church yard in fear that the federal troops would desecrate it.  Calhoun’s massive tomb was erected by the state legislature in 1880.

  • During the war, a chime of eleven bells was contributed to the confederate army to be melted down and re-cast for ammunition and weapons. Four bells were replaced in 1976, which can still be heard today.

  • William Bell White served as rector and then Bishop of South Carolina, and in 1897 the white marble baptismal font in the nave was given in his memory in by the Chanel Guild.

  • In 1870, St. Philip’s home was dedicated and used as a home for widows and elderly ladies.

  • A beacon located in the steeple was used to guide ships into the harbor.

Like St Michael’s, St Philip’s was one of the city’s many churches that participated in #ChimeWithCharleston on Sun., June 21, 2015. In response to the tragic shootings at Mother Emanuel AME four days before, every church bell in the Holy City rang simultaneously at 10 a.m. in honor of the nine lives our community lost.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

St. Michael's Episcopal Church Charleston SC

Known as the oldest church edifice in Charleston, St. Michael’s stands on the site of the first Anglican Church built south of Virginia.  Originally built and founded in the 1680s, it stood as a small wooden church until 1727 when it was rebuilt to be more large-scale. Unfortunately, the church was destroyed by a fire in 1835.

Of course, the church was rebuilt again, this time following the architectural traditions of Sir Christopher Wren: the church’s alter is close to the congregation in a shallow recess, the choir and organ are in the rear, and there’s a gallery on three sides.

Steeple: St. Michael’s is one of a few churches in America that retains this original design.  Imported from England in 1771, the steeple is 186 feet in height with the weather vane being seven-and a-half-feet long!  As a result of the earthquake in 1886, the entire steeple sank eight inches.

President George Washington worshipped in St. Michael’s at pew no. 43, known as “The Governor’s Pew,” on May 8, 1791.  General Robert E. Lee also worshipped in the same pew seventy years later.

The original chandelier still in the church was ordered from London in 1803, once lit by candles, then by gas, and now by electricity.  The remarkable pulpit is also the original one. During the Federal bombardment of the city in 1865, a shell burst near the chancel, and the base of the pulpit still bears a scar that can be seen.

The church’s chancel rail made of wrought iron dating back to 1772 was the first piece of wrought iron to be imported to Charleston.

St Michael’s clock was imported from England in 1764, and its ring of eight bells originally only had an hour-hand for each face. But in 1849, the city council was granted permission to add a minute hand.  It’s believed to be the oldest functioning colonial tower clock in the country.

Located on the corners of Broad and Meeting Streets, St Michaels was one of the city’s many churches who participated in #ChimeWithCharleston on Sunday, June 21, 2015. In response to the tragic shootings at Mother Emanuel AME four days before, every church bell in the Holy City rang in honor of the nine lives our community lost.


Celebrities Who Visit Charleston, SC

celebrities in Charleston

Charleston is a city that captures the heart of many, locals and visitors alike,  so it’s no surprise that celebrities love the city, too. Not only is it a great place for anyone to get away, but a lot of films and television shows are made here as well. The Lowcountry landscape is so picturesque, it’s hard for filmmakers to resist.

At Kiawah, celebrities and professional golfers flock to enjoy the outdoor ambiance the island has to offer. From Will Smith and George Clooney to Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Matt Damon, and Conan O’Brian, Kiawah Island has hosted many a famous folk at its resort facilities.

With Bill Murray as the owner of the Charleston Riverdogs, a Murray spotting is highly likely, especially during baseball season. The Ghostbusters star and his sons live in town, and so Murray has been spotted not only at baseball games but at spots like King Street Grille, the Faculty Lounge, Piggly Wiggly, and simply walking along King Street. Apparently his famous catchphrase with locals is, “Nobody will believe you.”

Mel Gibson was in town years ago filming the Patriot, while the Notebook was shot here with actors Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling.  Cuba Gooding, Jr made his way around a few Market Street bars a few years back, and Sandra Bullock was seen dining at Jestine’s Kitchen on Meeting Street. Other sightings include southern girl Reese Witherspoon, and Blake Lively famously married Ryan Reynolds at a surprise ceremony in the Holy City.

At Hymans Seafood, there are brass plaques on the tables and signed plates hanging on the walls of celebrities who have dined there. Among the many hotels in Charleston, one popular hotel that has attracted many celebrities is Charleston Place, which has accommodated Prince Charles, governors and prime ministers, Mel Gibson, Ted Turner, Barbra Streisand, Richard Gere, Bruce Willis, Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange, Melanie Griffith, Julia Roberts, and many others.

TV shows are filmed in town, including Southern Charm, Reckless, Army Wives, and Vice Principals, so an actor spotting is highly common when you’re out and about town.

With all that Charleston has to offer, it places fourth in the top-ten best vacation spots for celebrity run-ins.  Who knows, you may run into a celebrity during your next tour of the Holy City!

Charleston SC Area Beaches 2015

charleston sc best beachesWhat do Edgar Allan Poe and Nicholas Sparks have in common? They were both inspired by Charleston’s beautiful beaches, that’s what. Though the coast has also seen revolutionary battles, today it’s the perfect place to while away the time on your next vacation.

Read a book or take a nap while relaxing in the warm sand of SC’s beautiful beaches, or perhaps pack your putter and try your golf hand at the championship golf courses on Kiawah Island.  Whether you’re seeking a relaxing vacation or one filled with activities, Charleston’s beaches provide it all.

One of the most popular beaches with endless entertainment is Folly Beach, a.k.a. The Edge of America.  This is the locals’ paradise, y’all. Whether it’s surfing, shopping, drinking frozen screwdrivers, or feasting on fresh crab, shrimp, and shark, Folly Beach will let you do it. With a surf shop, casual-but-great restaurants, ice cream shops, and a single hotel, Folly has a cinematic, beach-town feel. In fact, during the summer you can watch movies on the beach for free on the Tides’ large screen out back. Also on Wednesdays, the farmer’s market on Center Street offers locally produced goods — from locally written books to locally grown tomatoes.

Kiawah Island, home to a few well-known celebrities, is also the destination of many golf fanatics.  With ten miles of pristine beaches, Kiawah is as dreamy as you’ve heard. If you’re not staying there, it’s still fun to rent a bike and make your own way around the island. Be on the lookout for anything from deer to gators to Oprah!

Right next to Kiawah, Seabrook Island offers endless adventures. Golf, horseback riding, shopping, and award-winning restaurants are just a few of the many things to explore on Seabrook. Check out the Children’s Camp as it’s the perfect activity to keep the kids happy and begging to go back next year.

Past Mount Pleasant is the Isle of Palms, which has a bit of everything but is usually packed with tourists, so beware.  Its family-friendly beaches are perfect for the children to play in the sand, build sand castles, and collect shells. There you’ll also find a marina, restaurants, and shops to explore.

Nearby Sullivan’s Island is just down the coast from the harbor. Sullivan’s Island is a small beach with lots of personality, while the vibe is very peaceful and serene. For nightlife, check out Home Team BBQ for live music or Poe’s for tasty brews and burgers.

Lastly, one of Charleston’s most secluded beaches, Edisto Island embodies the beauty of the Southern coast. Marshes as far as the eye can see and a secluded quiet is what you’ll find here — seek out Edisto if you really want to get away!

Need some direction on which is the best beach to visit on your stay in Charleston? One of our local walking tour guides will be happy to point you in the right direction!

Hurricane Hugo: An Unforgettable Force of Nature

hurricane hugo charleston sc radar image

Long-time Charlestonians all have a Hugo story. Whether it’s a Market Street business with a watermark showing how very high the waters rose to or neighbor as far north as Summerville who spent months and years repairing the damage, everyone — even the tourists who evacuated, too — has a heartbreaking story to tell from that dark day in 1989.

September 21: Ranked in the Top 40 Most Intense Hurricanes at the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Hugo was a massively powerful hurricane that hit Charleston on September 21, 1989. Hugo smacked Charleston at a wind speed of 140 mph, causing damage beyond belief.

Charleston was evacuated before the hurricane reached the city, which saved countless residents and visitors alike from sustaining injuries. More than 120,000 people in Charleston County fled their homes in search for higher ground. Back home, roofs were ripped from buildings, including that of the National Weather Service building at the Charleston Air Force Base.

Hugo paralyzed the Ben Sawyer Bridge between Mt. Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island, knocking it off its foundation and leaving no access to or from Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. In addition, windows of the eight-story Omni Hotel near the market in downtown Charleston began to bulge and pop, while the French doors in the hotel broke and blew open. Centuries-old trees in Charleston bent and were uprooted by the horrific hurricane.

U.S. military authorities moved hundreds of aircraft and ships from bases that would be greatly impacted by Hugo, and seven bases even prepared for possible evacuation.

Tides were expected to rise 12 to 17 feet above normal with the hurricane hitting just at high tide, making the estimated storm surge 18-20 feet. The eye of Hugo was massive, at 40 miles wide and winds of about 50 to 60 mph that reached as far as 250 miles away.

Scaled as a Category 4 hurricane, Hugo caused $7 billion in U.S. damage. A week after the storm passed, 60,000 people were left homeless due to total annihilation, or it was deemed uninhabitable.

Due to the extensive damage and impact the storm had on the city, Hurricane Hugo will always be a significant part of Charleston’s history.

Learn more about this historic and tragic natural disaster as you tour the streets of Historic Charleston.

Historic Garden and Home Tour

home and garden walking tours charleston sc

Ever wonder what goes on behind the ornate iron gates of Charleston homes? Take a house and garden tour, and you can discover the architecture, interior design, and landscape that lies on the other side. Besides, a house and garden tour is the perfect way to spend a gorgeous day downtown.

What happens: You’ll stroll along the canopied streets South of Broad, mere steps from the Battery. Take in the summery smell of jasmine as you follow a guide down Tradd Street, Broad Street, South Battery, East Battery, Church Street, King Street, Anson Street, and Charlotte Street. Along each tour, you’ll view the inside of at least otherwise private homes and gardens, where each unique architectural, design, and garden detail, can reveal more and more about the rich history of Charleston.

Time travel: The guides are all knowledgeable, and can usually tell you where certain antique pieces originated, turning the tour into somewhat of a geographical history of the Holy City. A table brought from Scotland here or a design characteristic adopted from Italy there can reveal just how multicultural this Southern city really is. A guide can also explain garden designs, plant material, and the history behind the greenery.

Art: Speaking of geography and history lessons, a home’s art collection opens the door to a world of fascinating discovery — and this proves to be one of the most intriguing aspects of the home tours.

Know before you go:

Prepare for a lovely journey through time while on foot by wearing comfortable shoes. Between all the tours offered, you have the chance to view approximately 150 private historic houses within 10 colonial and antebellum neighborhoods.  We strongly encourage advance tickets and/or reservations, as these tours are one of the most popular events of the year and sell out very quickly!

For more information on the various tours and times, visit the Historic Charleston Foundation  or The Preservation Society of Charleston’s website. Or contact our expert guides at Bulldog Walking Tours to schedule a tour.


Historic Charleston City Hall

Historic City Hall Bulldog Tours

City Hall Charleston, South Carolina

Odds are you didn’t know that a trip to City Hall is also a lesson in art history, now did you? Here are some little-known facts about building that still sits at the Four Corners of Law, right on the corner of Meeting and Broad Street.

Constructed between 1800 and 1804, Charleston’s City Hall was erected in the Adamesque style. In 1800, the City Council proposed the idea of building an elegant building for the Federal government for the purpose of serving as a branch of The First Bank of the United States.

Charleston’s branch was one of eight in the country that served as the Office of Discount and Deposit. The architect, Gabriel Manigault, introduced the Adamesque style to the city after studying art in Europe. The semi-circular projection on the north side and the round windows in the basement are distinctive features of Manigault. The white marble trim was believed to have originated in Italy, and the original red brick walls contrasted well with the marble trim before the bricks were covered with stucco in 1882.

Local carpenters, Joseph Nicholson and Edward Magrath, and Mason Andrew Gordon constructed the beautiful and unique building. After being revoked by Congress in 1811, the bank was returned to the City of Charleston and transformed into City Hall in 1818.

Originally set aside as a public market within the Civic Square of the Grand Model in the 17th-century plan of the city, a beef market stood at the site from 1739 until 1796 when it was destroyed by a fire.  A lot has changed since the beef-market days, and the famous intersection is now called the “Four Corners of Law” due to the four buildings on each corner: ecclesiastical, state, federal, and City Hall’s municipal law.

To create additional space on the second floor, the original interior entrance hall was changed in 1839. In 1882, the interior was modified, the new roof was added and the brick was covered with stucco. The second floor remains the center of city government with the council chamber. Today, the building is still a bustling place where elected officials, citizens, lawyers, and media can regularly be found.

Charleston Food Photo Contest for Summer 2015


Summer has finally arrived and it’s time to announce our 2015 photo contest. Our Culinary Tours of Charleston offerings are doing great and, to celebrate, we’re launching a food-lovers photo contest. This year we would like our fans to post pictures of their meals at a downtown Charleston restaurant for a chance to win a two-night stay in Charleston.

The mouth-watering photos we see on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are just all too good to be true so we want to know where you got the meal by tagging the restaurant and using the hashtag #culinarytoursofCHS.

Contest ends on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. We’ll announce the winner by 5 p.m. Make sure you share your photo with friends and family so they can like it. That’s the only way you will win! Someone’s photo has to get the most likes. The official rules and details are posted below. Now go out to eat and snap those photos!

How it works:

  • Take a picture of your meal at a downtown Charleston restaurant and tag the restaurant. Post the photo to our Facebook page (Bulldog Tours), or tag @bulldogtours on Twitter or Instagram. Use the hashtag #culinarytoursofCHS.
  • We’ll move the picture over to our contest album on Facebook and promote the hell out of it so you can start getting likes in that location. Make sure you share your photo from that album with your friends and family.
  • The picture that gets the most likes will be declared the winner.
  • Winner receives a two-night trip to Charleston.

Trip includes:

  • Two nights at either the Fulton Lane Inn (http://www.fultonlaneinn.com/) or the Kings Courtyard Inn. (http://www.kingscourtyardinn.com/)
  • $100 gift certificate to Cru Café. (http://crucafe.com/)
  • 2 free tickets for a culinary tour with Culinary Tours of Charleston (www.culinarytoursofcharleston), 2 tickets for the Charleston Strolls Walk with History (www.charlestonstrolls.com) and 2 tickets for a night tour with Bulldog Tours (www.bulldogtours.com) (ghost tours and the Dark Side of Charleston History Tour).

Restrictions for the hotel:

Weekdays (Sunday-Thursday) for use on the following dates:

  • June 1-Sept. 17, 2015
  • Nov. 15-Dec. 24, 2015
  • Jan. 3-Feb. 10, 2016
  • Feb. 15-March 1, 2016
  • June 12-Aug. 31, 2016

Also good for any weekend nights from Nov. 20 to Dec. 19, 2015, or Jan. 8 to Feb. 2, 2016.

The winner will be announced on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, at 5 p.m. Post the photos to the Bulldog Tours Facebook page or tag us on Instagram or Twitter (@bulldogtours). For more information, contact 843-722-8687 or email theresa@bulldogtours.com. This promotion is for a limited time and is in no way sponsored by Facebook. When you upload your photos to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter we will move them to a designated folder on Facebook for the contest to streamline the “likes.” We reserve the right to refuse a photo for any reason. Please make sure you tag Bulldog Tours (@bulldogtours for Instagram and Twitter and/or post to Bulldog Tours on Facebook). Don’t forget to use hashtag #culinarytoursofCHS.

Please upload photos of food only. We are looking for plates of food that are spectacular and mouthwatering and are taken at a restaurant in Charleston, S.C.

History of Lowcountry Cuisine

charleston sc culinary tours

If you’re not eating your way through Charleston, you are definitely doing it wrong! With so many region-specific dishes that are to die for — shrimp and grits anyone? — there’s no reason not to keep filling your plate ‘til you can’t fit another forkful.

Utilizing many ingredients native to the region, Lowcountry cuisine has been passed down through many generations of Charlestonians who love to get creative. Like the people of the Lowcountry, our cuisines are one-of-a-kind and cannot be authentically found anywhere else.

The Lowcountry region stretches along the coast from the Savannah River to Pawley’s Island. Are you wondering why the region stretches specifically along the coast? The main ingredients of most of our cuisine are either found either in the ocean or are grown where water is plentiful!

Crabs, fish, oysters, or shrimp often define a dish from the Lowcountry, and rice, grits, and coastal, Southern produce round out our delicious meals — be it for breakfast or dinner.

Rice has thrived as part of our culture and cuisine for centuries. Old rice fields can still be seen along the rivers left from the Civil War period. In addition to rice, Africans introduced many ingredients to the South that became common ingredients, including okra, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, peanuts, and melons, just to name a few.

With a vibrant Caribbean and African influence, Lowcountry cuisines are similar to New Orleans and Cajun dishes. Surrounded by the ocean and many agricultural communities, the region serves up not only the tastiest, but also the freshest meals around.

Heading to the Lowcountry anytime soon? Try a few classic Lowcountry dishes such as Frogmore Stew, hoppin’ john, shrimp and grits, and, possibly the biggest favorite, she-crab soup.

Final top tip: the she-crab soup at 82 Queen has been award-winning for decades. And don’t forget to wash it all down with the champagne of the South: sweet tea.

Learn more about the history of Lowcountry cuisine from our locally grown tour guides. These foodies know their stuff!

History of Charleston’s City Market

Charleston's City Market history

The City Market is more than a place to get yourself a beautiful sweetgrass basket, a bag of local grits, or a hilariously titled bottle of hot sauce. Way back when, the tables weren’t piled high with tourist tees, but rather abundant produce stands made the market part of the locals’ regular routine. Though the goods are different these days, one thing remains the same: the market still certainly draws a crowd!

Here’s a little history: Ceded by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in 1788, the land on which Charleston’s City Market sits today was ordered to be built into a public market, and so the original market was constructed between 1804 and the 1830s. The current Market hall, designed by Edward Brickwell White, was constructed in 1841 for a price of $300 for the plans and a copy of the Temple of the Wingless Victory in Athens. The market has remarkably survived fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes that have torn through the city of Charleston.

Goods: Despite rumors that slaves were sold at the city market, all we can confirm is that meat, vegetable, and fish vendors filled the tables inside the space every day, despite being swarmed by buzzards, a.k.a. Charleston Eagles, who loved to gobble up the butchers’ meat scraps. The market halls’ original function was to be used for meeting, social functions, and rental space to the market commissioners.  Throughout the years, the Market has housed crafts and goods that reflect Lowcountry culture, history, and character.

Today:  Beautifully crafted sweetgrass baskets are a Gullah tradition and can be found in the market, as well as gift items such as artwork, jewelry, clothing and souvenirs.  Stop by the basket weavers today, and they will still speak to you in Gullah, a dialect spoken by the African-American population living in the Lowcountry.

The Charleston City Market is not only one of the oldest markets in the country, but it is so significant that it is part of an exhibit at the American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.  One stop inside, and you can feel the rich history of it and how it has survived throughout the years.

History of the Battery Historic Charleston SC

Battery Charleston SCThe Charleston Battery is a beautiful place shaded by large oak trees and lined with Palmetto trees that overlook the Charleston Harbor. Park benches, Spanish moss, and a pictureseque gazebo decorate the park, making it a thing of wonder. But the Battery has many layers of history behind it — and not all of them are as pretty and peaceful as an afternoon at Battery Park.

During the War of 1812 when the British blockaded Charleston Harbor, large caliber guns were placed along White Point, and the name “The Battery” was officially coined.

The town of Charleston began to develop near and around the Battery. Built in 1670, it’s where passengers sailing into Charleston’s harbor were greeted. Also at the very tip of the peninsula, local Indians disposed of many white oyster shells, giving the location the name White Point.

Under the shaded oak trees at the Battery is a stone monument reminding visitors that White Point was the location of countless pirates’ executions. Once up on a time, over the course of five weeks, roughly 50 pirates were hung underneath the beautiful oaks.

Though not captured and hung at the Battery, the notorious Blackbeard blockaded the Charleston Harbor and famously demanded medical supplies.  Among the not-so-lucky pirates though, was Stede Bonnet, also known as “The Gentleman Pirate.”

Bonnet was born into a wealthy English family and bought his way into piracy. And once he was captured, he was imprisoned in the home of the town’s Provost Marshall. He escaped the house but was captured and found guilty, and the powers that be sentenced him to be hanged.

His crew was hung two days before Bonnet at White Point, and their bodies were left hanging, waiting for their master. Stede Bonnet was hung at the Battery on December 10, 1718, and his body hung there for several days after execution — until it was dumped in the marsh along with the remains of his men.

By 1770, stunning mansions were erected  that still draws spectators even now, and the ugly history of the area is overshadowed by the beauty that surrounds it today.

Many of our historic walking tours will tour the historic Charleston Battery area. Contact Bulldog Tours today to learn more!


History of the Old Exchange Charleston

history of old exchange Charleston sc

Walk toward Waterfront Park along Broad Street and check out the Old Exchange Building that stands at the bottom of the road on East Bay Street. Known as one of the three most historically significant colonial structures in the country, it’s filled with a rich history dating back to when Charleston was founded.

When built in 1767, the Palladian-inspired Old Exchange Building accommodated commercial imports and exports. Supporting the political and social scene in Charleston, it played an important role in our developing nation.

The good: For example, the Declaration of Independence was read on the very balcony that’s still in place there today, while the Legislature met at the Exchange Building to ratify the new State Constitution in 1790.  During his stay in Charleston in May of 1791, George Washington also hosted banquets and events at the building.

The bad and the ugly: But unfortunately, the Old Exchange doesn’t just represent all the bright and wonderful parts of America’s history. For generations, slaves were sold on the same balcony where the Declaration of Independence was read. Underneath the building, pirates, deserters, civil war prisoners, and socialites were chained with heavy irons. Disease, sickness, rats, and death ran rancid throughout the dungeon, and the dead were often left to rot with the living prisoners.

Stede Bonnet, known as the “gentleman pirate,” was held in the Old Exchange Dungeon until his execution in 1718. For many months, the famous pirate was taken under the command of the one and only Blackbeard.

Declared a national historic landmark in 1973, many people claim that the building is haunted with ghosts of the prisoners that were once held in the dungeon, and the upstairs is filled with colonial spirits.

The Old Exchange Building preserves much of the nation’s history and is an unforgettable experience! Visit the historic landmark on your next walking tour of Historic Charleston with Bulldog Tours.

History of Golf Charleston, SC

history of golf in america charleston sc

Charleston Golf: A little history lesson

Thanks to good ol’ bonny Scotland, Charleston became a golf destination in the States from very early on.

Though shipments of golf clubs and balls from Scotland to Charleston date back to the 1640s, the South Carolina Golf Club was founded in Charleston in 1786 and Charleston is referred to by many as the birthplace of American Golf.  Evidence suggests that golf may have first been played in the US in a public park in Charleston known as Harleston’s Green.

Definitive research shows that a Charleston merchant named Andrew Johnston returned from a trip to Scotland with twelve golf clubs and a few balls in 1759. Johnston owned a Lowcountry plantation, where he most likely used the golf equipment he purchased.

The first announcement of the actual formation of the South Carolina Golf Club was located in North and South Carolina and Georgia Almanac 1788. Newspaper announcements from that same year advertised entries that requested members of the club to meet on Harleston’s Green.

It took golf nearly a century for it to take hold in the United States. The South Carolina Golf Club ultimately evolved into what we know as the Country Club of Charleston. The original Country Club course was built in 1921, and the existing course was opened in 1925.

Charleston is one of the finest golf destinations in the country, with its historic sites, beautiful beaches, and fine shopping and dining that attract many visitors each year.  Nearly 200 years after the Country Club of Charleston was founded, the city grew to embrace resort golf as well. The Lowcountry now hosts some of the most renowned golf and beach resorts: Kiawah and Wild Dunes.

The Ocean Course at Kiawah has more seaside holes than any other course in the Northern Hemisphere and has been played by golf pros galore, plus celebrities like George Clooney. The film The Legend of Bagger Vance was also shot at the breathtakingly beautiful course.

Charleston is not only acknowledged as America’s most beautifully preserved city, but also as the home of American golf. Even if you’re not a golf buff, it’s still worth it to take a drive out to Kiawah, rent a bike, and explore along the bike paths until you reach the Ocean Course, where the views will make you feel as if you’re in a different land. Though we don’t believe any of our walking tour guides currently hold a PGA Tour Card, they sure do know a lot about local courses and the history of golf in Charleston. Happy exploring!

Charleston Place Hotel

charleston place hotel history

The History of Charleston Place

Any local will tell you there’s plenty of reasons for residents and travelers alike to find themselves at Charleston Place. From world-class dining to top-shelf shopping, it’s not just a grand hotel.

Opening its doors on September 2, 1986 (only partially finished), Charleston Place Hotel has undergone many transformations.

At the time, the city unemployment rate was around 15 percent, so Mayor Joe Riley was determined to improve it. Between its event catering, restaurants, spa, hotel, and shops, Charleston Place today meets a 550-worker payroll. Not only did the hotel create jobs, but it also drew more people into Charleston.

Today, the hotel welcomes about 17,000 guests in an average month. Located at the Market Street entrance, the Charleston Place fountain marks the epicenter of a local economy that considers tourism the number-one industry.

Before Charleston Place, it was common to see empty storefronts. Some sections of King Street fell to pre-1948 levels, and it was rare to see pedestrians walking around downtown, much less shopping and dining out.

An Atlanta magazine even stated in 1979 that Charleston was the epitome of the decaying American city, a difficult fact to fathom these days! Desperate for change, Mayor Riley turned to help. He sorted through countless books from a Washington, D.C. consulting firm, and it was suggested that a hotel be built on Charleston Place’s current location.

The project split the city down the middle, with people in disagreement with the plans. The project was called “Riley’s Folly,” and the lead investor threatened to sell it to a low-budget motel company.  On September 2, 1986, the hotel finally saw its opening as the Omni Hotel.  The hotel had a rough start when a man disguised as a valet stole two luxury cars from guests; and rainwater seeped into the buildings bricks and walls, costing $15 million in repairs.  The retail sales at the Charleston Place shops began to show hope for the hotel and the surrounding area.  The rooms have been remodeled numerous times and the hotel launched Charleston Place events which attracted even more guests.  Mayor Joe Riley’s effort allowed room for something new in Charleston, which it lacked.  Today, the hotel brings in guests from all around the world and has made a miraculous difference in Charleston’s success. Today, you can find Charleston Place in the same historical location, but with a new name; The Belmond Charleston Place.

Learn more about the The Belmond Charleston Place and other landmarks in Historic Charleston by taking a tour with us!

Old City Jail Charleston, SC

old city jail charleston sc

Old City Jail

In case you’ve wondered what that Medieval-esque castle is doing in the middle of the Charleston peninsula, well that’s the Old City Jail.

Slightly off the beaten path on Magazine Street, the jail was constructed in 1802, and thousands of its inmates died there, either from execution, injury, or illness, until its doors closed in 1939.

Before the jail was built, the land was served as a hospital, poor house, and workhouse for runaway slaves. Meant to house only 130 inmates, instead, the jail often held more than 300 at a time, making disease and violence a common occurrence.

A famous inmate

More than slaves, the jail also held pirates and even America’s first female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher. Fisher and her husband John are two of the most well-known inmates. They owned a Charleston hotel in the early 1800s, where they apparently murdered their own guests, proving that the city hasn’t always been so hospitable.

Some stories claim that the Fishers murdered the wealthy guests by first poisoning their tea and then dumping their bodies in a spiked pit beneath the floor, while other accounts insist the two were part of a gang that robbed and then murdered the travelers.

Their actions came to light when two men were assaulted at the hotel at separate times and managed to escape. The authorities arrested the couple and found them guilty of highway robbery, sentencing them to death.

Before Lavinia Fisher’s hanging, she screamed to the spectators, “If any of you has a message for the devil, tell me now, for I will be seeing him in a moment.”

Lavinia’s ghost still allegedly haunts the jail. On a 2011 episode of Ghost Adventures, the crew claimed to have recorded her ghost saying, “the devil,” in response to the fill-in-the-blank question, “Lavinia, you asked if anyone had a message for the…” (You can hear the recording yourself by viewing the episode on travelchannel.com).

Slightly Scary Even Today

Visitors and investigation teams claim to see objects move or disappear, hear voices in empty rooms and chains dragging across the floor, and witness the slamming of doors within the jail.

A police officer also stated that the alarm regularly goes off and residents across the street see shadows around the building. The dense history behind the frightening jail can be felt once you step onto the grounds.

Learn more about the Old City Jail on your next visit to Historic Charleston. Our guides at Bulldog Walking Tours can share even more spooky tales about this historic landmark!

Today, events are regularly held inside and around the jail, giving it a positive new life that often celebrates the local arts community.

Historic Charleston SC Hotels

historic charleston sc hotelsCharleston is a city known for its rich history and century-old buildings, many of which today serve as some of the city’s best hotels. From Queen to East Bay to Broad Streets, inns with charm, character, and a few stories to tell are nestled here and there, waiting to offer up their own uniqueness to those looking for a very Charleston experience.

Walk along Queen Street, and you’ll find the historic Elliot House, a quaint, pink three-story house dating back to 1861, a spot that has charm for days.

Continue on down to where Meeting and Queen Streets meet, and behold one of the most revered hotels in town, The Mills House Hotel. It first opened in 1853, and any local will tell you of its endearing, colorful history — from how it was erected again after the Great Fire of 1861 to when Robert E. Lee checked in.

At The Embassy Suites’ current site on Meeting Street, city leaders discovered a plotted slave rebellion back in 1822, and the alleged conspirators were found guilty and hanged. In 1842, The Citadel,the city’s famed military school, opened there, and its turreted, castle-like original structure remains today as the grande hotel that overlooks Marion Square.

Across the way on King and Calhoun Streets is the towering Francis Marion Hotel, opened in 1924. Named after the Revolutionary war hero Francis Marion, it also overlooks Marion Square, where every Saturday during the warm season a farmer’s market keeps the park bustling with folks, food trucks, fresh produce, crafts, and live music. Sitting 12-stories high, the hotel received an award-winning restoration 20 years ago that refurbished every room and suite to the highest standards.

Built in 1853, Kings Courtyard Inn is one of King Street’s oldest buildings.  Designed in the Greek Revival style with Egyptian accents, it is one of Charleston’s finest antebellum hotels.  Each room is furnished with early 19th-century reproductions, making the rooms all stunningly beautiful.

Meanwhile, close to the market sits The Andrew Pinckney Inn on Pinckney Street. Named after the freed slave, the hotel was erected in the 1840s and originally used as a cotton warehouse. Today, its golden stucco exterior welcomes new generations to experience the modern amenities that mingle with sophisticated charm.

Closer to the Battery, you’ll find the epitome of Charleston’s southern hospitality at the John Rutledge House Inn located on Broad Street. Built in 1763 by owner John Rutledge, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, its beautiful, intricate steel iron-rod railings and gate are still admired and loved by passersby, both local and visiting.

No matter where you decide to rest your bones in Charleston, you’re sure to be mere footsteps away from some of the country’s most intriguing historical sites. Contact Bulldog Walking Tours to explore, and enjoy these beautiful, historic landmarks.


Fort Moultrie Charleston, South Carolina

history of fort moultrie charleton sc

Drive out to Sullivan’s Island and hang a right as you near the beach, and you’ll eventually find the series of citadels that is Fort Moultrie (on Middle Street). Quite a contrast to the rest of the island’s unassuming nature, the fort has come to be a significant symbol for the state. In fact, it will be pictured on 2016’s American the Beautiful quarter for South Carolina — an endorsement of its importance if there ever was one!

The first fort on Sullivan’s Island, Moultrie protected Charleston from British occupation in 1776. As the story goes, the original fort was built entirely of Palmetto logs, which is why South Carolina is now known as the Palmetto State. The fort itself was named after the famously resourceful commander in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, General William Moultrie.

Between 1776 and 1809, the fort continuously suffered destruction from war and neglect, until it was rebuilt with brick in 1809.  Today, the fort stands in its restored form, portraying different periods throughout its history.

Visit the fort and you’ll take a walk through time, from the Palmetto-log fort in 1776 to the World War II Harbor Control Entrance Post. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years), the fort welcomes members of America the Beautiful-National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass with free admission. Self-guided and guided tours are available, plus the visitor center and museum features an informative 20-minute film detailing the fort’s rich history. With videos, artifacts, and dioramas, the National Park Service has excelled in preserving and bringing the history of Fort Moultrie to life.

Like to learn more about Fort Moultrie and other Historic Charleston landmarks? Contact the experts at Bulldog Walking Tours today!