Any city with a deep history is sure to have some secrets, and Charleston is no exception. Local tour companies offer a variety of opportunities for visitors to explore Charleston’s spookier side – the old jail, graveyards and historic homes said to be haunted by centuries-old ghosts.
Harbor & Ghost Tours
Charleston Harbor Tours offers a 90-minute water tour on the Carolina Belle plus your choice of either a graveyard tour or a haunted jail tour provided by Bulldog Tours. The Ghost and Graveyard Tour takes visitors into Charleston’s oldest graveyards. Peek into dark corners, inspect the historic headstones and learn about some of the famous individuals who found their final resting place in the Holy City.
The Haunted Jail Tour takes brave visitors to the Old City Jail, for a behind-thescenes look into one of city’s spookiest places. The Old City Jail housed some of Charleston’s most infamous criminals, including 19th-century pirates and Civil War prisoners. The Old City Jail was in operation from 1802 until 1939 and most of the building’s original structures remain intact including the cells and warden’s quarters.
Sandlapper Tours also offers a Charleston Ghost Tour aboard a 45-foot catamaran. Enjoy the cool water breezes mixed with ghostly history and tales of lost fortunes and pirates in the haunted Charleston harbor. Take a 45-minute Haunted History Tour with Palmetto Carriage Works, the oldest carriage tour company in Charleston. Tour guides blend knowledge, wit, humor and folklore with Charleston’s haunting history for a truly entertaining carriage tour. See graveyards, churches and other historic (and maybe haunted) buildings downtown while learning about Charleston’s local legends, folklore and Gullah superstitions.
Spooky Walking Tours
The Dark Side of Charleston Walking Tour: Take an uncensored look at Charleston’s history – full of brothels, prostitutes, corruption, crime, scandal and sordid affairs – with Bulldog Tours. This is an uncensored tour of Charleston’s dark past so it is restricted to adults 18 and older.
Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Walking Tour: Join Bulldog Tours for a guided tour of the Holy City’s streets, cemeteries, back alleyways and churches on this 1-1/2-hour walking tour through the dark edges of Charleston. Hear fun and chilling stories of Charleston ghosts, haunted houses, voodoo and Lowcountry superstitions. Plus, gain access to the Provost Dungeon in The Old Exchange Building. (This tour is not available in December.)
For visitors who love a heart-stopping fright, Boone Hall hosts its Fright Nights through Nov. 2. Spooky tours highlight zombies, creepy creatures in the woods and a 3D nightmare. Purchase tickets to four separate spooky attractions or go online to buy an All You Dare to Scare Pass for $27.
If you want fall fun without the fright, check out Boone Hall’s Pumpkin Patch. The Pumpkin Patch is open daily through Nov. 2. Activities include a corn maze, hayride, play areas, corn hole toss, a rock climbing wall and a pumpkin patch to select your own pumpkins for carving.
USS Yorktown Ghost Tours
Board the “Fighting Lady” for a guided ghost tour that explores the unexplained mysteries of this legendary WWII aircraft carrier docked in the Charleston harbor. Hear stories of sacrifice and devastation that faced many who served and learn of the strange activity on the ship that has been documented and reported over the years, including the results of the investigation by Syfy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.” This tour is for ages 12 and older.