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Charleston, South Carolina

Student Tours Packages

There are few places in the U.S. more beautiful and balmy in the spring than historic Charleston, South Carolina. The sun is bright, the air is temperate in the mid 70s and slightly infused with the salty smell of the ocean and filled with the aromatic smell of blooming native flowers. Walking down Meeting Street at night, as many prominent Americans did hundreds of years ago, you will hear the sounds of night, crickets and deep throated bullfrogs, as you pass by scores of mansions hundreds of years old, illuminated by lanterns of fire. Some can be toured, as can the area’s many plantations and their mansions, including one that was prominent during the American Revolution and was featured in the movie The Patriot as headquarters for British commander Lord Cornwallis. At the end of Meeting Street you will be at the harbor’s edge, called The Battery, and White Point Gardens, which is lined with cannon, some of which were used during the Civil War. Fifteen minutes from Charleston are many beaches, such as Folly Beach, open to the ocean, populated by crab shacks and boutique shops. Charleston has preserved much of its history and provides an opportunity to learn more about American history while at the very location where history was made. Charleston has existed since 1670, early settlers finding the location attractive because it was at the edge of a harbor, protected from swelling oceans, but providing ocean access for trade. By the middle of the 1700s, Charleston had become a bustling trade center, and the wealthiest and largest city south of Philadelphia. During the American Revolution, Charleston was targeted by the British, yet defended herself successfully for years prior to 1780. There was a major assault in 1776 when the British tried and failed to seize Fort Moultrie, constructed with Palmetto wood, which is why the flag of South Carolina today has a palmetto tree, and the state is referred to as the “palmetto state”. Following the American Revolution, South Carolina became so prosperous that it was the forerunner for state’s rights, spurning the importance of a centralized, federal government, and was the first state to secede from the U.S. in December 1860. Its economy’s dependence on cheap slave labor was the chief motive for leading the charge during the US Civil War. It was from Charleston that the first shot was fired during the Civil War, at Fort Sumter, which can be toured today after a ten minute boat ride from Charleston. One can also see the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley, which sunk off the coast of Charleston in 1864 after attacking the USS Housatonic. It was not found and recovered from the ocean floor until 2000, after being searched for endlessly by treasure hunters. Inside, the commander’s pocket watch had frozen the moment in time, and also discovered was a lucky $20 gold coin he carried which had been dented by a bullet during the Battle of Shiloh, saving his life because it was in a pocket. The submarine and the gold coin can be seen at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center. Historic house tours are available in town, and not far outside of Charleston are several large plantations and their mansions, such as Middleton Place, Boone Hall Plantation, and Drayton Hall, which can be toured while learning American history. The Old Exchange Building near the waterfront, its museum, and the Old Provost Dungeon can be toured. It has served as a custom house, mercantile exchange, military prison, and barracks. Tour guides will lecture about Charleston’s history of pirates, such as Blackbeard, who menaced the city in the early 1700s. Learning about the importance of the sea to Charleston would not be complete without a trip to Charleston’s South Carolina Aquarium.
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Fort Sumter

On April 12, 1861, the Confederacy fired the first shot of the civil war at this fort, which is on an island in Charleston Harbor.

Description: The fort can be reached and toured by a short boat ride from downtown Charleston, which offers a view of Charleston across the harbor. Walk where history... ...Read More

Year End Educational Tour to Fort Sumter School Class Educational Trip to Fort Sumter
Academic Educational Tour to Fort Sumter Academic Class Trip to Fort Sumter
Cultural Tour to Fort Sumter General Cultural School Trip to Fort Sumter
Language Immersion Tour to Fort Sumter Language Class Trip to Fort Sumter

Middleton Place

Middleton Place, 15 miles from Charleston, is a 65 acre plantation and mansion built in the 1730s. It appeared in the movie The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson, reenacting when British troops under Henry Clinton ransacked the mansion in 1780 and imprisoned Arthur Middleton. The entire grounds and its mansion are beautiful, preserved as they appeared in the 1700s, and can be toured.

Description: Middleton place was owned by Henry Middleton, a President of the First Continental Congress. His son Arthur was born in the house and later was a signer... ...Read More

Year End Educational Tour to Middleton Place School Class Educational Trip to Middleton Place
Academic Educational Tour to Middleton Place Academic Class Trip to Middleton Place
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Magnolia Plantation

On 70 acres of gardens, Magnolia Plantation was founded in 1679 by Thomas and Ann Drayton. It was occupied by both American and British troops during the American Revolution.

Description: Magnolia Plantation is 20 minutes from Charleston, on the Ashley River. There is a house tour, a swamp garden with alligators, a nature train ride, gardens of... ...Read More

Year End Educational Tour to Magnolia Plantation School Class Educational Trip to Magnolia Plantation
Academic Educational Tour to Magnolia Plantation Academic Class Trip to Magnolia Plantation
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The Charleston Museum

Founded in 1773, The Charleston Museum is the oldest museum in the U.S. Some of its collection has been on display since that date.

Description: The museum includes “The Swamp Fox of the Revolution” Francis Marion’s personal items, Native American artifacts who lived around Charleston before settlement, and women’s dresses of the... ...Read More

Year End Educational Tour to The Charleston Museum School Class Educational Trip to The Charleston Museum
Academic Educational Tour to The Charleston Museum Academic Class Trip to The Charleston Museum
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South Carolina Aquarium

The Aquarium juts out 200 feet into the Charleston Harbor, and its main hall has two-story windows with a view of Charleston Harbor. It is home to 10,000 animals and plants.

Description: The Great Ocean Tank extends from the 1st to 3rd floors, holds more than 385,000 gallons, and contains more than three hundred creatures. ...Read More

Year End Educational Tour to South Carolina Aquarium School Class Educational Trip to South Carolina Aquarium
Academic Educational Tour to South Carolina Aquarium Academic Class Trip to South Carolina Aquarium
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Language Immersion Tour to South Carolina Aquarium Language Class Trip to South Carolina Aquarium

H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine

The Warren Lasch Conservation Center displays the Civil War submarine H. L. Hunley, which sank off the coast of Charleston in 1864 after attacking the USS Housatonic.

Description: The submarine was not found and recovered from the ocean floor until 2000, after being searched for relentlessly by treasure hunters. Inside, there was the lucky $20... ...Read More

Year End Educational Tour to H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine School Class Educational Trip to H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine
Academic Educational Tour to H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine Academic Class Trip to H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine
Cultural Tour to H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine General Cultural School Trip to H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine
Language Immersion Tour to H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine Language Class Trip to H. L. Hunley Civil War Submarine

Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation is an ante-bellum plantation 20 minutes north of Charleston. There are 9 original slave cabins dating to 1790-1810, a smoke house dating to 1750, the Cotton Gin house of 1853, and an Avenue of Oaks planted in 1743 which line a 3/4 mile road from the entrance to the front house gates.

Description: Boone Hall Plantation is one of America's oldest plantations still in operation today, continually growing crops for over 320 years- strawberries, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, watermelons, and sweet... ...Read More

Year End Educational Tour to Boone Hall Plantation School Class Educational Trip to Boone Hall Plantation
Academic Educational Tour to Boone Hall Plantation Academic Class Trip to Boone Hall Plantation
Cultural Tour to Boone Hall Plantation General Cultural School Trip to Boone Hall Plantation
Language Immersion Tour to Boone Hall Plantation Language Class Trip to Boone Hall Plantation