Last Updated on April 7, 2021
Are you looking for spooktacular things to do in Charleston? This guide has you covered with some of the best Charleston ghost tours. To this day, I vividly remember doing a ghost tour in Charleston and it was the most memorable part of my weekend getaway here.
When most people visit Charleston, they tend to stick to the charming side of things. They’ll pose with the pastel-colored houses of Rainbow Row, take a romantic carriage ride, stroll along The Battery, and try the many different eateries of the city’s thriving food scene.
But, there’s also a darker side to Charleston – a haunted side. There are prisons, graveyards, alleys, and restaurants known for their ghost sightings. Are you brave enough to dig deeper into these potentially disturbing stories?
If you are, here are 12 of the best Charleston ghost tours for you to go on. I hope you have a chilling and exciting evening!
And before you head to Charleston, be sure to read my weekend itinerary for the Holy City. I cover all of the must-sees, where to eat, where to stay, and more!
Charleston’s Ghost-Filled History
Charleston, South Carolina is considered one of the most haunted cities in the United States. And considering that Charleston’s history is filled to the brim with brutal wars, notorious prisoners, and even the country’s first female serial killer, this is really isn’t a huge surprise.
To fully understand the haunted side of Charleston, you’ll need to know about some of the most notorious ghosts in town.
Lavinia Fisher is arguably the most well-known ghost in Charleston, due to her reputation as the U.S.’ first female serial killer.
According to the story, Lavinia Fisher and her husband, John Fisher, owned and lived in a hotel called The Six Mile Wayfarer House. Whenever there was a lone traveler, Lavinia would invite him or her to tea to determine the guest’s wealth. If the guest was wealthy, Lavinia would send them back up to his or her room with a cup of tea – one that was poisoned.
Surprisingly, Lavinia Fisher wasn’t actually convicted of murder. While there is evidence that the tea-poisoning stories are true, it wasn’t enough to prove anything. Instead, it was her crime of highway robbery that led to her (and her husband’s) conviction and death.
As for Lavinia Fisher’s ghost, she’s frequently spotted at the Old Charleston Jail, which was where she was held before she died.
If you head to the French Quarter during your Charleston ghost tour, there’s a good chance you’re looking for the ghost of Nettie Dickerson. You’ll likely head to the Dock Street Theatre, which was previously the Planter’s Hotel.
Nettie Dickerson was known for her visits to the Planter’s Hotel – not as a guest, but as a prostitute. Yet, despite her profession, Nettie Dickerson would go to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church every Sunday. Of course, the other ladies at the church didn’t think this was proper, but Nettie did so anyways.
One unfortunate evening, Nettie Dickerson was standing on a balcony wearing a bright red dress. A storm picked up and Nettie Dickerson was fatally struck by lightning – or so the story goes.
Where is Nettie Dickerson’s ghost today? People have claimed to see a woman in a bright red dress wandering near the Dock Street Theatre.
Zoe St. Amand
One of the most famous haunted sites in Charleston is Poogan’s Porch, and that’s thanks to Zoe St. Amand. Zoe St. Amand’s story isn’t nearly as scandalous as those of Livinia Fisher and Nettie Dickerson.
Ms. St. Amand was a kind, sweet schoolteacher who lived at Poogan’s Porch (before it became a restaurant, of course). It seems that her spirit isn’t ready to leave her home just yet.
On a related note — you must enjoy a meal at Poogan’s Porch! The food is incredibly delicious and it’s actually one of my favorite restaurants in all of Lowcountry. Sometimes I want to hop on a plane just to eat their fried chicken.
Why You Should Go on a Ghost Tour in Charleston
One of the coolest things you can do in Charleston is to take a ghost tour. Since so much of the city revolves around the charming atmosphere, thriving dining scene, and rich history, the Charleston ghost tours offer a little something different.
These ghost tours are also a fun way to learn the history of the city. Rather than wandering through museums and looking at exhibits, you can hear captivating stories and maybe even get a little spooked!
All of that said, a Charleston ghost tour isn’t for everyone. If you’re easily freaked out and you refuse to watch horror movies, you might want to pass on taking a ghost tour of the city. These ghost tours are also not very suitable for children.
12 Spooky Charleston Ghost Tours
1. Haunted Evening Horse and Carriage Tour of Charleston
If you’re looking for a short, yet spooky Charleston ghost tour, this Haunted Evening Horse and Carriage Tour may be the one for you!
This 40-minute tour takes you past some of the most haunted alleys, houses, and graveyards in Charleston. And you’ll of course pass by one of the most haunted spots of all: The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, where the ghosts of pirates, prisoners, and soldiers all roam.
In addition, rather than walking from stop to stop, you’ll get to ride around in a picture-perfect carriage – which also makes this tour more accessible than the rest of the Charleston ghost tours on this list.
2. Charleston’s Pleasing Terrors Ghost Tour
Much of the appeal of Charleston ghost tours comes from the stories. So, it only makes sense that a tour will be exponentially better if the guide is an experienced storyteller. Luckily for you, Charleston’s Pleasing Terrors Ghost Tour is led by Mike Brown, the host of the ghost-focused Pleasing Terrors podcast.
Charleston’s Pleasing Terrors Ghost Tour will take you all around the haunted spots in downtown Charleston, including Poogan’s Porch, the Charleston Library Society, Philadelphia Alley, and St. Michael’s Church. At the end of your 90-minute tour, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be thoroughly spooked.
3. Ghosts of Charleston Nighttime Walking Tour with Unitarian Church Graveyard
Many Charleston ghost tours stop at the same locations. The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, Poogan’s Porch, and the Old City Jail are all regular spots.
Now, don’t get me wrong – all of those stops are interesting (and, of course, haunted). But if you’ve already done a ghost tour in Charleston before and are looking for something a little different, consider taking this Ghost of Charleston Nighttime Walking Tour.
This particular Charleston ghost tour stands out from the rest because it includes exclusive after-hours access to the Unitarian Church Graveyard. Many believe that dozens of ghosts haunt this graveyard. The most famous of these ghosts is Annabelle Lee, the subject of one of Edgar Allen Poe’s poems of the same name.
4. Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Nighttime Walking Tour
Within the 90 minutes of this Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Nighttime Walking Tour, you’ll see a handful of different haunted sites and hear dozens of different spooky stories.
Your first stop will be the Circular Congregational Church graveyard, which is haunted by many Revolutionary War soldiers. And you’ll only have access to this particular graveyard if you take this tour! As you continue your tour, you’ll visit St. Philip’s Church, learn the story of the spirit of John C. Calhoun, and find out where the term graveyard shift came from.
5. Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Nighttime Walking Tour
This Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Nighttime Walking Tour stops at three of the major ghost hotspots in town: The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, the French Quarter, and Philadelphia Alley.
During your first stop at The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, you’ll hear loads of stories about the ghosts haunting the halls – many of which were prisoners during the American Revolutionary War.
After your time in the dungeon, you’ll make your way through haunted alleys and find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Charleston’s connections to haunted houses, ghosts, superstitions, and even voodoo.
6. Narrated Haunted Ghost Cruise of Charleston Harbor
Most Charleston ghost tours are walking tours. A few give you a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. But only a couple are aboard a lovely boat, including this Narrated Haunted Ghost Cruise of Charleston Harbor.
Since this particular tour takes place on the water, it only makes sense that most of the shared ghost stories are ocean-themed. You can find out more about pirate attacks, naval battles, and of course the ghosts that haunt the scenes of these historic events.
As an added bonus, you’ll get all the perks of being aboard a well-equipped boat. While on this 45-foot catamaran, you can enjoy the stunning views of Charleston Harbor, catch the beautiful sunset (if it’s the right time of day), and even enjoy a drink or two (for an additional fee).
7. Dark Side of Charleston Nighttime Walking Tour
While many of Charleston’s ghost tours follow the ghosts of those who have died honorable deaths, like brave soldiers and sad schoolteachers, the Dark Side of Charleston Nighttime Walking Tour takes a look at the seedy side of the city.
Instead of heading to church graveyards, you’ll visit quite a few brothels and other scandalous sites. You’ll also hear stories of tempting prostitutes and sordid affairs. For obvious reasons, this tour is rated R.
8. Charleston Boo Hag & Brews Walking Ghost and Bar Tour
The Charleston Boo Hag & Brews Walking Ghost and Bar Tour is one of the most highly rated Charleston ghost tours. After all, who doesn’t love an intriguing story and a couple of cold drinks?
During your tour, you’ll visit two amazing bars, where you can get a couple of tasty drinks. After all, you’ll need something to calm your nerves while listening to these mysterious ghost stories! And while the captivating stories are the best part of this tour, you’ll also walk past haunted graveyards, homes, and parks to add another, more tangible layer to these supernatural stories.
9. Supernatural Charleston Tour
If there’s any group of people that could be deemed expert storytellers, it would be authors. And all of the guides who run this Supernatural Charleston Tour are local authors! You can’t ask for anyone more knowledgeable or engaging than that.
During your 90-minute ghost tour, you’ll wander all around downtown Charleston. But one of the main highlights of the tour is Marion Square, where you’ll find a 111-foot-tall statue of John C. Calhoun, one of the most frequently spotted ghosts in the city.
10. Charleston Ghosts of Liberty Guided Walking Tour
If you’re looking for a Charleston ghost tour that’ll hit the main haunted sites in the city, you’ll want to consider booking the Charleston Ghosts of Liberty Guided Walking Tour.
During this tour, you’ll have the chance to see many of Charleston’s most well-known ghosts. You’ll visit the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, which is said to be filled with spirits. You’ll also pass by the Unitarian Church Graveyard, where you might be able to say hello to Annabelle Lee. If you’re lucky, you might even hear “The Whistling Ghost” as you pass through Philadelphia Alley.
11. Small Group Haunted History Walking Tour of Charleston
The haunted parts of Charleston are intertwined with the city’s history. While many tours gloss over the historic background of the town, the guides of this Small Group Haunted History Walking Tour of Charleston make sure to fill in the details. That way, you’ll be able to glean as much from the ghost stories as possible. And as you continue your tour, you’ll stop at many of the best haunted sites in the city.
Last but certainly not least, the small group size is definitely a perk. With a maximum of ten people per group, you’re guaranteed to clearly hear the stories and ask as many questions as you’d like.
12. Charleston Terrors Walking Ghost Tour
With captivating storytelling and spooky sites, this Charleston Terrors Walking Ghost Tour is definitely one of the best Charleston ghost tours.
First and foremost, there are the amazing tour guides, which past guests have praised as “animated” and “theatrical.” And then there are the haunted destinations. You’ll stop at all of the well-known supernatural sites in Charleston, including the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, the Dock Street Theatre, The Powder Magazine, and the Circular Congregational Church.
By the end of the night, you’ll find yourself looking out of the corner of your eye to catch a glimpse of one of Charleston’s many ghosts.
Do you have any recommendations to add to this list of the best Charleston ghost tours? Let me know in the comments below!
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