Calling all history buffs! Charleston, South Carolina offers countless locations to investigate and learn about our country’s past. The wealthy seaport city played a significant role in America’s Colonial, Revolutionary, and Civil War eras. Charleston boasts the country’s first theatre, public college, museum, and much more. Within the downtown district alone there are more than 1400 historically significant buildings. Get acquainted with some of these — along with Charles Towne Landing, Fort Sumter, and several grand plantations — in our primer of preserved places.
CHARLES TOWNE LANDING
See where it all began, as though you were there in 1670 when English settlers established the Carolina colony at this very spot. This “park” is actually a sprawling educational playground. Check out the interpretive exhibits and programming, see cannons fired, and board a 17th-century sailing ship replica. Walk or bike the trails, including an audio history tour. Survey period crop installations and 80 acres of lovely gardens and greenspaces. Don’t miss the Animal Forest natural habitat zoo with species settlers would have encountered including otters, bears, and bison.
Fort Sumter sits majestically on a man-made island at the entrance to Charleston Harbor. On April 12, 1861, the newly formed Confederacy fired on the U.S. garrison in residence here — the beginning of the Civil War. This national monument features one of the country’s greatest collections of 19th century seacoast artillery, with plenty of cannons. The 30-minute ferry ride from either downtown Charleston or Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant is a scenic bonus.