Charleston Harbor is where locals like to say “the Ashley and Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean.” While this might be a little hyperbole, the waterway is and always has been crucial to life in Charleston, SC.
The city was founded on its banks because of the prime location, providing easy access to water transportation before inland roadways were available. Downtown Charleston’s finest homes were built along the harbor, and meant to be seen from the water. Merchants would watch their ships enter the local waterways from piazzas or widow’s walks. The location was also ideal for defense and sprung several fortifications including Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson and Castle Pinckney – all of which figured prominently in the Civil War. The Confederate H.L. Hunley carried out the first successful wartime submarine attack in the harbor. On the night of February 17, 1864, it sunk the Union USS Housatonic before disappearing for over 100 years. In 2000, spectators again lined the banks of the harbor to watch the Hunley ceremoniously be raised from its watery resting spot.
CHARLESTON HARBOR PORTS
From Colonial times until the present, Charleston has been one of the busiest posts on the east coast. In its earliest days, it transported lumber, rice, cotton, tobacco, naval stores, indigo, and animal furs and skins. This trade made Charleston one of the wealthiest cities in the Americas. Today, it services containerized as well as breakbulk shipments, plus cars. The South Carolina State Ports Authority owns and operates public terminals in downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and North Charleston. There are private terminals as well. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently deepening the harbor to accommodate the largest post-Panamax vessels.
Charleston Harbor also serves as home port and a port of call for cruise ships by Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Tourists are able to stroll the streets of our historic district for a day, while locals and visitors can sail to the Bahamas and other Caribbean locales right from home.
South Carolina Aquarium – with exhibits and hands-on activities highlighting South Carolina habitats “from the mountains to the sea.”
Fort Sumter Tours – enjoy a boat ride through Charleston Harbor out to the fort where the Civil War started.
Charleston Harbor Tours – another option to cruise through history and sights.
Battery – with its grand antebellum mansions and White Point Gardens.
Riley Waterfront Park – home of the famous Pineapple Fountain, as well as a popular splash fountain, pier with bench swings and green space.
Ravenel Bridge – connecting Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, with stunning views from its popular walking and biking lanes.
Memorial Waterfront Park – located East of the Cooper, tucked under the bridge. It features a pier, playground and sweetgrass basket pavilion.
Boating and Sailing – the ultimate way to enjoy Charleston Harbor and its beautiful weather.
Charleston Harbor is one of the most picturesque, as well as most utilized, areas of Charleston. Disher, Hamrick & Myers lists properties with views of the harbor from downtown Charleston, as well as James Island and Mt. Pleasant. Currently, we have several homes with panoramic harbor views available.