Spooky Tours Make for a Frightfully Fun Charleston

A city with this kind of deep history, colorful characters and abundance of dark alleys and church graveyards is bound to have a few ghosts – or at least some pretty great ghost stories. It’s fun to explore Charleston’s spooky side any time of the year, but fall is a particularly good time to hit the streets after dark to tour historic buildings and cemeteries and maybe even join in a spooky event or two.

We’ve compiled some favorite events sure to give you thrills and chills.

Charleston graveyard tour

photo/Bulldog Tours

Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tour

Join Bulldog Tours for an exclusive opportunity to walk inside the gates of one of Charleston’s oldest graveyards after dark. Explore the dark corners, inspect the headstones and step across the graves – if you dare. Learn about the history of Charleston’s graveyards and hear the stories of the famous individuals who found their final resting place in the Holy City.

Tours are 7:30 and 9:30 nightly; meet at 18 Anson St. Tickets: 843-722-8687 | bulldogtours.com

USS Yorktown Ghost Tours

After dark, come aboard the famous “Fighting Lady” on this guided, 90-minute tour that explores the unexplained mysteries of the USS Yorktown, the legendary WWII aircraft carrier docked in the Charleston harbor. Hear the stories of sacrifice and devastation that befell many who served as this tour ventures into areas normally restricted to the public.

Tours are at 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; meet at Patriots Point ticketing area 15 minutes prior to your scheduled tour time. Tickets: 843-277-0587 | yorktownghosttours.com

The Haunted Jail Tour

Bulldog Tours take visitors behind the scenes of what just might be the spookiest place in Charleston, the Old City Jail. This jail housed some of Charleston’s most infamous criminals, 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. Tour the cells, hallways and creepy corners where Charleston’s worst criminals lived and died.

Tours are at 7, 8, 9 and 10 nightly; meet at 18 Anson St. (this tour is popular so book in advance). This tour may not be suitable for small children. Tickets: 843-722-8687 | bulldogtours.com

Boone Hall Fright Nights

For visitors who love a heart-stopping fright, Boone Hall hosts its Boone Hall Fright Nights through Nov. 1. This event has grown to be the largest multi-attraction haunted event in the state. Boone Hall is pulling out all the stops with

Wicked Woods at Boone Hall

photo/Boone Hall Fright Nights

four terrifying attractions for a guaranteed fright-filled night. Find out where nightmares come from at the Frightmare Factory ($10), the ultimate production facility of fear. The Wicked Woods Hayride ($12) – the most popular Fright Night event – takes visitors on a hayride through the deep, dark woods of Boone Hall Plantation where horrors await in the dark mist. Infested by flesh-eating zombies, Zombie Town ($10) is now an area crawling with bloodthirsty creatures with a need to feed. If you’re afraid of clowns, you’ll be thoroughly spooked in the Twisted Terror ($8) attraction – all done in mind-blowing 3D.

Boone Hall Fright Nights is open dark to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and dark to 10 p.m. Sundays and weekdays. Purchase individual attraction tickets or an All You Dare to Scare Pass for $27. Tours are not recommended for children under 12. Tickets: boonehallfrightnights.com (images on the website may be too intense for some viewers)

Halloween in the Swamp

Cypress Gardens in Moncks Corner (about 30 minutes from downtown Charleston) becomes a spooky swamp for Halloween. Events are 7:30-11 p.m. Oct. 24-25. General admission to Cypress Gardens includes family fun for all ages, including a lighted pumpkin trail, jump castles, storytelling and a campfire and marshmallow roast.

Halloween in the swamp

photo/Cypress Gardens

A separate event is the Haunted Swamp Experience (not recommended for young children). Take a guided adventure through the swamp at night before disembarking the boat for a walk through a haunted trail, complete with scary sights and eerie sounds. If you survive the swamp and trail, pause to get your heart rate back to normal at the marshmallow roast and campfire with ghost stories and food.

General admission to Cypress Gardens is $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-12. Tickets for the Haunted Swamp Experience must be purchased separately at mycommunitytickets.com; space is limited. Info: 843-553-0515 | cypressgardens.info

The Haunted Harbor

Join Sandlapper Tours for tales of Charleston’s haunted harbor. Board the Palmetto, a 45-foot catamaran, for a Haunted Harbor Ghost Tour around the harbor and into secluded creeks. Tours are 8 p.m. Mondays and 9:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; meet at the Maritime Center near East Bay and Calhoun streets. Tickets: 843-849-8687 | sandlappertours.com

Book one of the Haunted Harbor Sails aboard the Schooner Pride for tales of pirates, ghosts and spirits that haunt the harbor. Sails are Oct. 17-19, 24-26, 30-31 and Nov. 1. Board at 8:15 p.m. at the Aquarium Wharf. Tickets: 888-245-9206 or schoonerpride.com

Need more fright in your Charleston visit? Check out some of these events:

Nightwalks at Francis Beidler Forest – Take a nighttime tour through the swamp, learning about the nocturnal life of the swamp, while experiencing the flowing water and moving shadows bathed in the light of the moon. Tours are 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 and 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1. Reservations are required; tour not recommend for children under 10. Audubon Center & Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest is located in Harleyville (about 45 minutes from downtown Charleston). Info: 843-462-2150 | beidlerforest.audubon.org

Pint of Hope Zombie Pub Crawl – Zombies will be on the streets of Park Circle for this annual fundraiser for Lowcountry AIDS Services. The event is 5-11 p.m. Oct. 18 at restaurants and bars in North Charleston’s Park Circle area. Info: pintofhope.org

Ghostly Tide Tales – Sit by a campfire on the beach to hear local haunting stories; bring blankets, chairs and the makings for s’mores. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at 28th Avenue beach access on Isle of Palms. Info: iop.net

rUNdead Charleston Zombie 5K – The race begins at 5 p.m. with runners making their way through the course as zombies try to grab the flags attached to each runner’s belt. Stay for the post-race party with music, food, beverages, a costume contest and more. Event is 2-10 p.m. Oct. 25 at North Charleston Wannamaker Park. Info: 843-795-4386 | rundead5k.com