The four of us were in downtown Charleston one afternoon and noticed the abundance of horse carriage tours toting loads of tourists here and there. Of course, being tourists ourselves and not having had an opportunity to learn much about the history, architecture, and geography of the area on our own we decided to dive in and see what the fuss was about.
This post is part of a series about things to do with kids in Charleston, SC. Check out the full list.
Our Charleston Horse Carriage Ride
We signed up for a 60-minute tour with Palmetto Carriage Works. This outfit is apparently the oldest in Charleston, but honestly the deciding factor for us was that the tours took off from a big red barn with animals running around (i.e. entertainment while we waited for our tour) and bathrooms.
At the start of the tour the driver must check in at a booth operated by the city to get approval for the tour and the specific route. The city tries to distribute the tours to limit their impact on traffic due to the large number of carriages trundling about.
The Palmetto carriage was comfortable, with several rows of bench seating and a shade over the entire carriage to protect from the hot Charleston sun. One bench was perfect for our family of four, with space for J & A to sprawl a bit when they tired of sitting.
Our tour wound its way through various historic districts in the city, including waterfront, residential, and park areas. The guide pointed out several specific houses describing their historical significance, means of construction, current ownership, and recent sale prices.
The guide was funny and friendly, and seemed well versed in local knowledge beyond his basic script. For a quick primer on the city and its downtown area the carriage tour was a success and highly recommended.
Kate and I really liked the condensed version of the Charleston history lesson. The kids got a kick out of being pulled around by the horses (some carriages are actually pulled by mules) though their interest started to wane near the end of the tour (they just weren’t quite as into the architecture as we were). One hour was just about perfect.
Check out our full list of things to do with kids in Charleston, SC.
Charleston Horse Carriage Ride Logistics
- Charleston Palmetto Carriage Website
- Hours: 9am – 5pm during daylight savings and 9am – 4pm the rest of the year (weather permitting); details here.
- Cost: Adults are $23 and children 3 and under are free (they may be required to ride on your lap depending on how many people are on the carriage); kids 4-11 are required to have a ticket; additional info here.
- Time: 1 hour tours; you may need wait up to 30 minutes after arrival before boarding.
- Getting There: There’s an office on North Market Street but the tours take off from the “big red barn” on Guignard Street; we parked in a garage on Cumberland Street for the Charleston standard $1 per half hour.