Sandlapper Water Tours: Learn the Haunted History of Charleston, By Boat!

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Did you know you can catch a ride on a haunted harbor tour with Sandlapper Boat Tours? Reviews are in, and this haunted tour in Charleston, SC is a must-do! Sandlapper Boat Tours actually offers a wide range of water tours. In addition to a haunted tour, you can also discover new things on Sandlapper Boat Tours’ Eco Tour or enjoy nature, sunset, and good company on a sunset cruise through the harbor.

Sandlapper Water Tours: Reviews of the haunted tour in Charleston, SC

We recently polled the Kidding Around readers on social media about what they would like to see us cover in Charleston. The two top results were ghost tours and harbor tours. Since we here at Kidding Around try to go above and beyond, we found an activity that fits the bill for both top requests: A Ghost tour, with Sandlapper Water Tours!

We were provided media passes in partnership with the Charleston CVB and Sandlapper Water Tours to bring you this review. The following review is an honest and genuine account of our experience. 

Travel Guide to Charleston, South Carolina

For more fabulous things to do in Charleston, don’t miss our KA Travel Guide to Charleston, SC

View of Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

If you are a loyal fan of Kidding Around, then you might have realized some of our team loves the thought of hunting ghosts. We’re too scared to actually do it, but the thought of it seems cool. So, when I saw that our readers wanted us to cover a ghost-related activity in Charleston I was thrilled.

Readers also wanted a harbor boat tour activity, imagine my delight when I discovered I could knock it out of the park and offer readers a “two-fer”! I had already planned on booking their educational-eco tour for another piece I was working on (more on that in a bit), so I didn’t have to go far to find information on the ghost tour. 

Places to Stay in Charleston

Find a place to stay in Charleston. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.

Learning About The Ghosts Of Charleston with Sandlapper Water Tours

Any place that has seen turmoil and tragedy is bound to have restless spirits. The history of Charleston includes the start of the civil war, the main port for incoming enslaved people, the fires that ravaged the city, and so many other things. This makes it a perfect setting for tales of ghostly encounters. 

The night we took the tour, the weather couldn’t have better lent itself to the setting of the tour if it had been orchestrated by the tour company. A lightning storm came rolling in out of nowhere just a few minutes before we were supposed to board, and it had the other passengers on edge (myself included). After a too close for my blood pressure lightning strike, the storm disappeared as quickly as it came and we never heard another peep from mother nature.

Spooky Charleston Ghost Stories to Expect

We set off on the haunted harbor tour on a covered pontoon boat and began listening to stories of the city. Ed Macy knows his ghosts, in fact he’s published several books on the ones that reside in Charleston. You can learn about the city’s maritime ghosts , and the ghosts of Charleston in his published books. He runs this locally owned and operated tour company simply because it brings him joy.

While the tour is open to all ages 3 and over, you should know that the stories could get scary for young children. I had my four year old who talks about ghosts all the time. ALL THE TIME! I had read reviews from other parents and brought some noise cancellation headphones along just in case. We never needed them, and my children slept just fine that night.

You will learn about the school marm that visits the brunchtime patrons of Poogan’s Porch, which is allegedly one of the most haunted places in the city. You might learn about the unfortunate history surrounding the bridge that once stood where the Ravenel Bridge now is, or about the mother who was caught mourning the death of her child graveside. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our ghost adventure of the tour, it also provided us with spectacular nighttime views of the city and the Ravenel Bridge. The tour lasts 90 minutes. 

Sandlapper Water Tours Ghost Tours
Adults $40 | Children (ages 4-12) $30 

Side of the Sandlapper Water Tours boat

Learning About The Animals That Call Charleston Harbor Home

Sandlapper Water Tours reviews boast about the other tours offered as well! They offer a few options besides the ghost tour, and one of them is a Nature and Dolphin eco-tour! I was excited to take this because it’s also a dolphin tour and it lived up to the promise. With breathtaking views, the nature tour is wonderful!

Each tour has a local naturalist on board that will talk to passengers about the ecology of the local waters. The boat will bring you to Morris Island (one of 30 SC barrier islands), where you will disembark for a short time to explore the island and beachcomb. I hit the jackpot and found the very first shark’s tooth I’d ever found!

There were lots of cool things found on the beach, and we had a show and tell once we boarded the boat again. On the tour, we saw all sorts of different wildlife, including a sea turtle! My children really enjoyed learning about the ecology of the harbor and wanted to go out again the next day! Their website offers links to powerpoint lessons that meet SC education standards! 

The tour lasts two hours. 

The Sandlapper Nature & Dolphin Tours
Adults $52 | Children (ages 4-12) $40 | Children (3 and under) Free

Watch The Sunset Over Charleston

Sandlapper Water Tours reviewers seem to really love the sunset cruise! Though we didn’t get to experience it personally, it’s easy to see how this tour would be absolutely gorgeous! If it’s as nice as the ones we did get to enjoy then it’s worth checking out.  Sunset cruises are two hours long. Beer and wine are purchasable on board, as well as snacks and water.

Sandlapper Water Tours Reviews: Sunset Cruise

Experience the beautiful sights and sounds of the coast, as Charleston’s unique skyline comes alive with peaceful and breathtaking views of sunset silhouetted steeples. It is truly remarkable! In addition to the gorgeous cityscape, dolphins and shorebirds will entertain you with their whimsy.

The Sandlapper Tour Website

The Sandlapper Sunset Cruises
Adults $56 | Children (ages 0-12) $40

Things To Know Before You Go on a Sandlapper Water Tours

  • The boat used by Sandlapper Tours has an onboard bathroom, and they offer soft drinks, water, and alcohol sales. 
  • The ghost tours do not allow children under 3 years old to attend.
  • The boat has a covered ceiling, but we recommend wearing sunscreen if you are taking a day cruise.
  • Making your reservations ahead of time online will ensure your spot on the tour boat.
  • There is an onboard restroom! Phew!
  • Parking: The tour leaves from the Charleston Maritime Center which is just a block away from the South Carolina Aquarium. The website suggests parking in the parking garage in front of the aquarium. However, unless you plan on doing more sightseeing or heading to the aquarium, I wouldn’t park that far away. In front of the maritime center they are building an African American History Museum, there is metered parking there and it is much closer. 

Have you been on a tour like this in Charleston? Let us know what your favorite kind of harbor tour was in the comments.

About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

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