Charleston Carriage Tours and Rides

This post compares and reviews all of the different Charleston carriage tour companies operating throughout this beautiful city.  Carriage tours are a relaxing way for visitors to learn more about the city’s rich history — all from the comfort of a beautiful horse-drawn carriage! There are many companies leading both group and private carriage tours of the area, as well as night tours and the occasional haunted carriage tour. We hope that this post encourages you to visit and helps you decide which carriage company to use! Don’t forget that you could also explore Charleston’s Historic District on one of our pay-what-you-wish walking tours.


Private Tours

Deals, Discounts + Combos

Plantation Tours

Daytime Tours

Night Tours

Ghost Tours


 


DAYTIME TOURS

There are several different tour companies offering daytime carriage tours of the city. In order to avoid overcrowding of certain areas, the City of Charleston randomly awards one of four routes to each carriage operating in the historic district of Charleston. This means that the route that each tour takes is predetermined and selected by City officials, rather than the individual companies. In this sense, all of the carriage tour companies in Charleston are very similar. However, what distinguishes one company from another is the quality of their guides and the types of tours they offer. For example, in addition to their daytime tours, Palmetto Carriage Works and Old South Carriage Company also offer night tours of the historic district. Additionally, Classic Carriage Works is the only company to also offer a Civil War Tour and Slavery to Freedom Tour. For those planning on visiting other tourist attractions, consider buying your carriage tour ticket as part of a combo deal. Carolina Polo & Carriage and Old South Carriage Company both offer special discounts on combo packages. Finally, Old South Carriage Company also runs a Haunted Carriage Tour for those hoping to learn more about Charleston’s darker history. 

 


Palmetto Carriage Works

Palmetto Carriage Works is the oldest carriage tour company in Charleston. During their 60 minute tour, you will visit 25-30 blocks in Charleston’s historic downtown district. Tours run continuously 9 am – 5 pm (17:00), typically departing every 15 minutes. As Palmetto Carriage Works offers several different tour routes which are assigned by lottery upon arrival, guests have the option of doing multiple tours with this company. All tours are family friendly and feature guides who are reputed for artfully blending humor with history. In addition to their day tours, this company also offers private tours and night tours.   TIP: Get $2 off with promo code FreeByFoot.

 

Palmetto Carriage Works

 

  • Adults – $16
  • Children – $12
  • More info or to book.  TIP: Get $2 off with promo code FreeByFoot.

Reviews of Palmetto Carriage Works

Reviews for this company are extremely positive, with an average of 4.5 of 5 stars on TripAdvisor (read some of the reviews), with most guests raving about the merit of the guides. As guests can choose from multiple routes, many are return customers happy to explore another part of Charleston – which in itself speaks volumes about the quality of these tours. The carriages themselves also receive excellent reviews for being very comfortable and clean. A handful of guests report being disappointed with their guide, however reviews such as these are uncommon. 

 


Carolina Polo & Carriage 

All Carolina Polo & Carriage’s public tours begin in the Historic City Market. Like Palmetto Carriage Works, this company also offers several different tour routes covering a wide range of sites. Each is approximately 1 hour and fully narrated by licensed guides who bring guests through the quaint and charming streets of Charleston. Tours depart every 30 minutes between 9:30 am – 5 pm (March – Nov) and 9:30 am-4 pm (Nov – Feb). Additionally, they also offer private tours and special combo deals. 

 

Carolina Polo & Carriage

 

Reviews of Carolina and Polo Carriage 

Carolina Polo & Carriage also receives extremely positive reviews from most guests, averaging 4.5 of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Several report that their experience was fun, interesting, and relaxing, thanks in large part to the wonderful guides who work for this company. The only common complaint comes from guests who did not enjoy their tour route. However, all carriage tour companies must adhere to whatever tour route the City of Charleston doles out to them, so it is not a fault of the company.  

 


Classic Carriage Works

Like the other companies, Classic Carriage Works also offers 1-hour narrated history tours of Charleston’s historic district. Their guides are especially highly reputed as each averages more than 10 years experience. Though Classic Carriage Works is one of the smallest carriage tour companies, they are the only one to offer both a Charleston History Tour as well as a Civil War Tour and Slavery to Freedom Tour. Tours depart every 30 minutes from 9 am – 5 pm. Additionally, they offer Adults-only and No Young Children (NYC) for those seeking a more relaxed atmosphere. Private tours are also available. 

  • Adults – $25
  • Children – $15
  • Early Bird Adults (9:30 am) – $20
  • Early Bird Children (9:30 am) – $13
  • More info or to book.

Reviews of Classic Carriage Works 

Classic Carriage Works also comes highly rated on TripAdvisor, average 4.5 of 5 stars, with many guests describing it as “amazing”, “entertaining”, and “a must-do.” Their most recent reviews are especially positive, which suggests that the company has worked out any kinks that were plaguing it. Though their Charleston History Tour is more popular, the Civil War and Slavery to Freedom Tours also come highly recommended. 

 


Old South Carriage Company

Perhaps the most well known of all the carriage tour companies, Old South Carriage Company offers a Historic Residential Tour which reveals 300 years of Charleston’s history in just 1 hour. Guests travel through 2.5 miles and 30 blocks of historic Charleston, learning about the city’s most significant sites. There are no booking fees and guests are required to arrive at least 10 minutes before departure. This company also offers night tours and combo deals

(save $2/Adult and $1.25/child through Trusted Tours)

Reviews of Old South Carriage

Like the other companies, Old South Carriage Company also boasts very positive reviews for their tours, averaging 4.5 of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Guests describe their experience as “fun” and “very informative.” History lovers seem especially impressed with the quality of their guides. Negative reviews are fairly rare, which suggests that any issues reported by guests were not reoccurring. 

 


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NIGHT CARRIAGE TOURS OF CHARLESTON

Evening tours are virtually the same as any of the daytime tours, however they have much more limited availability and typically only run for 30 minutes rather than a full hour. Many guests prefer night tours over day tours due to Charleston’s warm weather, especially during the summer months. Evening tours also prove to be popular with those hoping to explore the city as the sun is setting. 

 


Palmetto Carriage Works 

In addition to their daytime tours, Palmetto Carriage Works also offers at an Evening Tour of the Commercial District, which departs everyday at 5:45 pm and 6 pm. These tours typically sell out, so it’s best to book a spot well in advance. The tours visits many historic sites in the old Walled City, including the Old Exchange Building, Four Corners of Law, and the Waterfront Park on the Cooper River. Unlike their daytime tour, the evening tour is only 35 minutes long. 

 


Old South Carriage Company

The Old South Carriage Company also runs 30 minute tours through the Walled City. Evening tours start from 5:30 pm and are subject to availability. Like Palmetto Carriage Works’s Evening Tour of the Commercial District, this company’s night tours tend to sell out in advance so be sure to book ahead. They also offer a Haunted Charleston Tour which runs in the evenings and is featured in the ghost tours section. 

  • Adults – $15
  • Children – $10

 


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GHOST TOUR CARRIAGE RIDES

There are many ghost tours running in Charleston. However, only one company offers a Haunted Carriage Tour of the city.  Be sure to read our post comparing the various ghost tours in Charleston.


Old South Carriage Company

Old South Carriage Company’s ghost tour shares the darker history of Charleston. Tours last approximately 40 minutes and are available seasonally. All guides are licensed and eager to regale guests with eerie tales as they take you by haunted alleys, graveyards, churches, hotels, and even a dungeon! 

Reviews of the Haunted Carriage Tour 

Like their regular tours, the Haunted Carriage Tour offered by Old South Carriage Company also comes highly rated, averaging 4.5 of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Though their TripAdvisor Rating covers all the tours they offer, reviews written specifically about their ghost tour is almost unanimously positive. Guests describe their experience as “fun” and “spooky.”  This is a great option for families.

 


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PRIVATE CHARLESTON CARRIAGE TOURS

All of the companies listed above also offer private carriage tours around Charleston. Prices vary depending on the length of the tour and whether the guest requests a customized pick up location, but they typically start from approximately $135 – $150. Private tours are subject to guide availability and must adhere to the regulations imposed by the City of Charleston. Contact each individual company to learn more or we could create a package for you that would include our pay-what-you-wish tours. 

 


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COMBINATION TICKETS (Harbor/Walking/Plantation)

Several different cruise companies offer combo packages featuring other popular tourist attractions. Guests hoping to take a carriage tour of historic Charleston, as well as enjoy a cruise around Charleston Harbor, for example, should consider buying the two as a package to save money and avoid the extra hassle. Palmetto Carriage Works and Carolina Polo & Carriage both promote a wide range of package tour deals. 

 


Carolina Polo & Carriage

Carolina Polo & Carriage has partnered with Walks of Charleston to offer a combo deal that saves guests $10 by buying the 2 together. The History Walking Tour is approximately 2 hours and begins from just outside City Hall. Sites featured during the tour include St Michael’s Church, the French Quarter, St Philip’s Church,Hayward Washington House, and the famous Battery. Guests can choose to take both tours on the same day or split them into 2 different days. 

 


Palmetto Carriage Works

Palmetto Carriage Works offers 2 different combo packages. In addition to their standard carriage tour of Charleston, each also features either a boat tour of Charleston Harbor or a plantation tour of Middleton Place. The Charleston Harbor Tour takes place aboard the 80-foot Carolina Belle, where guests are told local stories and ensured to see more than 75 landmarks. The Middleton Place Plantation Tour allows visitors to explore the 65 acre plantation and follow a complimentary walking tour of the garden. 

  • Carriage Tour + Charleston Harbor Tour: $44 per adult; $30 per child
  • Carriage Tour + Plantation Tour: $44 per adult; $30 per child
  • Learn more or to book online.

 


Old South Carriage Company

Old South Carriage Company offers 2 different package tour deals. The first combines their carriage tour with a tour of Charleston Harbor with SpiritLine Cruise, entertaining guests on both land and sea. The second package deal also takes guests on the water as it combines a ticket to visit Fort Sumter with their standard carriage tour. You are advised to first schedule your carriage tour, and then arrange your trip to Fort Sumter. 

  • Carriage Tour + SpiritLine Harbor Cruise: $43 per adult; $28 per child
  • Carriage Tour + Fort Sumter: $45 per adult; $27 per child

 


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