Whole Lotta Bad Guys
Pirates played a starring role in Charleston's rough and tumble past. Take Blackbeard, for instance. In 1718, the city's most infamous high seas scoundrel anchored his ship near the mouth of the harbor, terrorizing the city for eight days. Later that year, dozens of pirates were publicly hanged at the waterfront Battery.
You'll learn all about these swashbuckling scalawags in "The Pirates of Charleston," a 1.5-mile walking tour of the harbor that includes the former tavern on Elliot Street, where the bad guys guzzled rum and "hatched their plots." (Guides will skip some of the gorier details for toddlers.) If pirate tales don't shiver your timbers, there's a "Ghosts of Charleston" tour, celebrating the old town's famous spirits and specters.
For another dose of pirate lore, tour the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. You'll hear tales about colorful pirate prisoners as well as George Washington's 1791 visit. Little treasure-seekers will enjoy the pirate scavenger hunt map of sites within a four-block radius of this museum.
Then, cruise the port the way Blackbeard did, aboard Schooner Pride, an 84-foot, pirate-like tall ship offering two-hour harbor tours. There are usually three sailings per day, but schedule and route change with the tides. Don't be surprised if the friendly crew enlists the help of your little sailors. Drinks are sold on board.