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Options for Charleston Carriage Tours Explained

Updated: December 22, 2023

This post compares and reviews all of the different Charleston carriage tour companies operating throughout this beautiful city.

We cover routes, prices, and types of carriage rides available to you.



There are several different tour companies offering daytime carriage tours of Charleston. 

In order to avoid overcrowding in certain areas, the City of Charleston randomly awards one of four routes to each carriage operating in the historic district. 

This means that each tour's route is predetermined and selected by City officials, rather than the individual companies. 

What distinguishes one company is the quality of their guides and the types of tours they offer. 

horse-drawn carriage crossing broad
horse-drawn carriage crossing broad by Photography at Vine Ripe Design CC BY 2.0

For example, in addition to their daytime tours, Palmetto Carriage Works and Old South Carriage Agency also offer night tours of the historic district. 

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 expedition ticket as part of a combo deal or discount

Carolina Polo & Carriage and Old South Carriage Organization 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 the darker side of Charleston’s history.

How long does a carriage ride usually last?

A carriage ride through the heart of the city, provided by the city's oldest carriage ride company, usually lasts about an hour, allowing passengers ample time to enjoy the views of historic downtown and antebellum mansions.

How much does a carriage ride usually cost?

The cost of a horse-drawn carriage excursion can vary depending on several factors. As an estimate, you may expect it to be around the same price range as an entry ticket to the Provost Dungeon or a guided tour through lush gardens.

How much should you tip for a carriage ride?

When considering how much to tip for a carriage ride, consider the comfort provided by the carriage, the wit and knowledge of the tour guide, and the care given to the Percheron draft horses. Typically, a 15-20% tip of the ride cost is a standard and appreciated gesture.


This section provides details about each of the Charleston carriage trips you can take during the day.

We include information about prices, availability, and other factors you may want to consider.

Palmetto Carriage Works

Palmetto Carriage Works is the oldest carriage ride company.

During their 60-minute tour, you will visit 25-30 blocks in the historic downtown district. 

Tours run continuously 9 am – 5:00 pm, typically departing every 15 minutes. 

This company offers several different tour routes which are assigned by lottery upon arrival.

So, folks have the option of doing multiple tours to see more than just one area in the city. 

Palmetto Carriage Works
Charleston Hospitality by John Hoey from Framingham, MA, United States CC BY 2.0

All tours are family-friendly and feature guides who are reputed for artfully blending humor with history.

In addition to its day tours, this company also offers private tours and night tours.

You are also allowed to visit their stables which makes for a fun outing.

Ticket Details

NOTE: This company also offers its ride for free for holders of the Charleston Tourist Pass, an attraction, and a tour discount card.  

Reviews for this company are extremely positive, with an average of 4 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor (read some of the reviews).

As people 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.

Carolina Polo & Carriage

All of 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 outing is approximately 1 hour and fully narrated by licensed guides who bring visitors through the quaint and charming streets of Charleston.

Tours depart approximately every 30 minutes daily 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.

Ticket Details

Carolina Polo & Carriage also receives extremely positive reviews from most visitors, averaging 4 ½ of 5 stars on TripAdvisor.

Several travelers reported that their experience was fun, interesting, and relaxing, thanks in large part to the wonderful guides who work for this company.

Classic Carriage Works

Like their competitors, Classic Carriage Works also offers 1-hour narrated history tours of Charleston’s historic district.

Their guides are especially highly reputed as each average more than 10 years of experience. 

Though Classic Carriage Works is one of the smallest carriage trip companies, they are the only ones to offer both a History Tour as well as a Civil War Tour and a Slavery to Freedom Tour. 

Tours depart approximately every 30 minutes from 9 am – 5 pm.

Additionally, they offer Adults-only and No Young Children (NYC) tours for those seeking a more relaxed atmosphere.

Private tours are also available.

Ticket Details

As with most other companies, Classic Carriage Works has received an overall rating of about 4 ½ out of 5 stars (read reviews here).

Many visitors describe this carriage excursion as amazing, entertaining, and a must-do activity, suggesting that their guides are very friendly and informative.

Old South Carriage Company

Perhaps the most well-known of all the carriage trip companies, Old South Carriage Company offers a Historic Residential Tour which reveals 300 years of history in just 1 hour. 

People travel through 2 ½ miles and 30 blocks of historic learning about the city’s most significant sites.  

This company also offers night tours and combo deals.

Ticket Details

Old South Carriage Company also boasts very positive reviews for their tours, averaging 4 ½ of 5 stars (read reviews here).

Travelers describe their experience as fun and very informative. History lovers seem especially impressed with the quality of their guides.


The following section covers each of the carriage rides you can take after dark.

We provide details about pricing, tour duration, and other information you might want to know.

Palmetto Carriage Works 

In addition to their daytime tours, Palmetto Carriage Works offers an Evening Tour of the Commercial District, which departs every day at 5:30 pm, 5:45 pm, and 6 pm. 

These tours typically sell out, so it’s best to book a spot well in advance.

Visit many historic sites in the old Walled City, including the Old Exchange Building, Four Corners of Law, & the Waterfront Park on the Cooper River. 

Palmetto Carriage Works

Unlike their daytime tour, the evening tour is only 35 minutes long.

Ticket Details

Old South Carriage Company

The Old South Carriage Company also runs 40-minute tours through the Walled City at the end of the day.

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 Tour which runs in the evenings and is featured in the ghost tours section.

Ticket Details

They also offer a Haunted Tour which runs in the evenings and is featured in the ghost tours section.

Alternatively, you can also take a private evening trip which we will cover in our private tours section.



All of the companies listed above also offer private carriage trips.

Prices vary depending on tour length and whether you need a custom pickup location, but they typically start at about $150-$200. 

Private tours are subject to guide availability and must adhere to the regulations imposed by the City of Charleston.

We cover some of the better private outings available in this section.

Contact each individual company to learn more or we could create a package for you that would include our pay-what-you-wish tours.

Carolina Polo & Carriage

Like their competitors, this company offers private carriage expeditions around Charleston and their rates are very similar.

Carolina Polo & Carriage charge a flat price for groups of up to 4 people.

With a private tour guide, you’ll receive a more personalized experience and the opportunity to ask more questions about the city as you head from one historic site to the next.

Daytime Private Carriage Tour

Reviews for this private tour are excellent, as this company has received a rating of 5 out of 5 stars (read reviews here).

Customers say the trip was well worth the price and their tour guides were both knowledgeable and entertaining.

Old South Carriage Company

In addition to their public outings, this company also offers private carriage trips during both day and night.

They charge a flat fee per group of up to 4 people.

Since the tour is private, you can ask any questions you want without worrying about being interrupted by another visitor. 

Daytime Private Carriage Tour

  • $400 per group (up to 4 people)
  • Availability: Daily
  • Duration: 1 hour

Evening Private Carriage Tour

  • $300 per group (up to 4 people)
  • Availability: Every evening
  • Duration: 40 minutes

Book your tour or learn more.

As we have mentioned in other sections, this company currently enjoys an overall rating of about 4 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor.

Most of the customers who have taken their private tours indicate that they are very informative and entertaining.


In this section, we’ll cover all of the discounts you can currently enjoy on carriage rides.

Details include tourist passes, combo tickets, and other opportunities to save money.

Tourist Attraction Discount Passes

If you’re planning to enjoy more than a few attractions or tours while visiting Charleston, you may want to think about getting a tourist pass to save some money off general admission prices.

The main service offered in this city is an all-inclusive pass, which means it provides admission to dozens of popular activities for a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days).

Customers who use this pass for as many attractions as possible will save the most money, but even the average traveler should be able to save between 20% - 50% off general admission prices.

The only carriage tour currently offered with a tourist pass is provided by Palmetto Carriage Works, a company that routinely receives excellent ratings.

If you’re wondering what else you can use this pass for, here are a few of the activities included:

  • Schooner Price Afternoon Sail | $52
  • Palmetto Carriage Works Tours | $45
  • Haunted Yorktown Tours | $39
  • Nathaniel Russell House Museum | $12
  • Aiken Rhett House Museum | $12
  • Gray Line City Bus Tour | $30
  • Charleston Harbor Tour | $36
  • Boone Hall Plantation | $27
  • McLeod Plantation | $20
  • Fort Sumter Tour | $31.80

Anyone planning to enjoy at least 3-4 of these attractions should definitely consider using this service.

You can learn more about this service by reading our post about Charleston tourist passes.

Combo Packages

Several different cruise companies offer combo packages featuring other popular tourist attractions. 

If you’re interested in both a carriage tour of history as well as a cruise around Charleston Harbor, consider buying the two as a package to save money and avoid the extra hassle.

Palmetto Carriage Works

This company offers 2 different combo packages. 

In addition to their standard carriage tour, you can also take a boat tour of Charleston Harbor. 

They also have a triple combo package that includes a carriage tour, a cruise on the harbor and a trip to Boone Hall Plantation. 

Carolina Polo & Carriage

This company has partnered with Walks and Culinary Tours to offer a combo deal that saves guests $5 on any tour with either company when you book any tour with Carolina Polo & Carriage.

Charleston Culinary Tours offers 8 unique food tours around the city as well as a private tour you can choose from, while Walks of Charleston‘s popular History Walking Tour is approximately 2 hours and begins from just outside City Hall. 

Sites featured during the walking tour include St Michael’s Church, the French Quarter, St Philip’s Church, Heyward Washington House, and the famous Battery. 

Guests can choose to take both tours on the same day or split them into 2 different days.

Old South Carriage Company

Old South Carriage Company offers 3 different combo packages.

The first combines their carriage trip with a tour of Charleston Harbor from 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, then arrange your trip to Fort Sumter.

The final combo deal offered by this company includes both their carriage tour and a walking.

This is the most affordable package. 

Discount Sites

Some Charleston carriage tour companies offer deals on their services through websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial.

In addition to the discounts they provide, these sites also frequently offer coupon codes that you can use to save an extra 10% - 20% off local activities such as a carriage tour.

If you’re planning to use one of these discount sites, make sure to check both the top and bottom of the page for coupons before purchasing any tickets.



About The Author

Scott Nelson

Scott has led over 2,000 tours of Charleston and has more than 1000 5 star reviews. He started working in museums at the age of 16 (Unsinkable Molly Brown House) and hasn't looked back. He was the Executive Director of Heurich House and on the historic interpretation/ education staff at Mount Vernon, both in Washington DC, for over 6 years. Scott moved to Charleston in 2012 for a job with the Historic Charleston Foundation and began leading tours for Free Tours by Foot.
Updated: December 22nd, 2023
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