A bird's eye view of Charleston affords spectacular vistas of the colonial charm of the city, the vast blue ocean that surrounds it, and the green marshes that separate the two. Holy City Helicopters organizes flight tours that provide anyone with access to these unparalleled views from above.
The helicopter tours hover over locations as far flung as Kiawah Island or Edisto Beach to let tour goers soak in the colorful sights of the Low Country. From inside the cabin of a chopper during some tours, guests can see local buildings and landmarks such as Rainbow Row from above or get a better look at the U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriot's Point. Though helicopters are not usually equipped with gyro stabilized imaging, this can be requested prior to the tour.
At Walks in History, 1-mile tours are based on stories from the books Haunted Charleston and Haunted Harbor by authors Geordie Buxton and Ed Macy. The 90-minute Pirate and Haunted History tour tracks the fading footsteps of Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, Anne Bonney, and Mary Read through the cobblestone streets and bastion walls of the Old Walled City. Making pit stops at six to eight haunts, the guides unravel tales regarding pirate hangings, Fort Sumter and the Pink House, where Blackbeard once shot rum and drunk dialed former first mates.
The 90-minute Haunted Charleston Ghost Tour ventures into the murky twilight like a darkness-starved vampire bat after the summer solstice. As the expert guides snake through six to eight stops, they shed light on ghostly activity at sites such as the Old Citadel, a Revolutionary War burial ground, and the remains of the Charleston Orphan Asylum.
"I love that I get to take a walk, literally, into the past every day." That's how Charleston Sole's owner, Brian Simms, described his job for the company website's Q & A section. A self-described history buff and Charleston native, Simms leads tours that explore the Holy City's past, lore, and legends. He spins tales of days past at landmarks such as Revolutionary War sites, Antebellum Mansions, and St. Michael's Church—Charleston's oldest church edifice. Simms' walking adventures last approximately two hours and cover 1.5 miles—the average distance humans can walk before needing to recharge their batteries.
Captain Howard, the man at the helm of Adventure Harbor Tours, has an inherent attraction to the water. The second he steps out onto his boat he finds less dread, more excitement, and a desire to share this joy with others. As the voices of Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley sing from his boat's onboard stereo, Captain Howard ferries groups of up to 12 out into Charleston Harbor, where Atlantic bottlenose dolphins swim beneath the surface and one lonely scuba diver guards the harbor's flush valve. The captain's expeditions can take the form of private charters, fishing charters, or his most popular trip: a tour of Morris Island.
Untouched by cars or roads, Morris Island welcomes visitors onto secluded beaches filled with shells, sand dollars, and conchs. The 4-mile barrier island allows ample room for visitors to pick these shells, play in the sand, or run alongside their dogs—which Captain Howard welcomes onto his tours.
Daufuskie Discoveries creates opportunities to explore Daufuskie Island's lush, historic habitat with customized guided or private outings. An enclosed or open-air water taxi quickly shuttles small groups from Hilton Head or Savannah to the island's three-mile stretch of sandy beach in 30 minutes, with captains tossing out facts about Calibogue Sound and Cooper River. Customers disembark and board their conveyance of choice—golf cart, boat, or shoes—before bursting through the tree line into specific isle regions, such as Bloody Point, which houses the Bloody Point Cemetery and Bloody Point Lighthouse & Silver Dew Winery. Three-hour private cruises skirt the coastline as a guide artfully describes the sun dipping beneath marshes as a hot air balloon deflated by a stampeding herd of storks.
North Island Surf and Kayak's durable and dependable rentals transport paddlers into the natural world of Georgia's barrier islands. Kayaks zip through inland rivers, bays, and sinuous creeks with equal deftness and gusto. Adventurers can load the versatile vessels onto cars with the aid of a willing staff or cast off from North Island's floating dock to explore the surrounding territory. Navigate the marshes of nearby Little Tybee Island or climb to the top of Cockspur Beacon and misdirect hapless mariners. From the perch of a kayak, vigilant oar-pullers can commune with the region's native species, including dolphins, otters, and a bevy of avian friends. In addition to the pointy aquatic vessel, each rental comes with a paddle, life jacket, comfortable seat back, and flushing toilet.