Charleston is a city with a rich history. As a city, it has remained true to her Motto – “She Guards Her Customs, Buildings, and Laws.” Fidelity to this Motto is seen in the preservation of the city’s original infrastructure and architecture.
When this preservation is coupled with the city’s prominent role in the country’s diverse history, it becomes a powerful tourist attraction. The city attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. For most tourists or local enthusiasts, the highlight of a visit to Charleston is usually a ride on a horse carriage.
The following are some of the things you need to know before you embark on a carriage tour of the Holy City.
i. The Horse Carriage May Be a Mule Carriage
While these tours are generally referred to as horse carriage tours, there are instances in which mules will draw your carriage. There is nothing to worry about because mules are also traditional draught animals in Charleston and they pull the carriage just the same.
If you feel that you must have your classic carriage rides drawn by a horse, you can always ask the tour company to organize for the horse instead of a mule. However, it is not usually an issue for most people.
ii. The Guides
Having been established in the 17th century, Charleston is a city of history. Great events in this country were triggered from here as were some of the darkest chapters in the country. There are also some interesting local memories along carriage routes. You would miss most of the fun and history in these routes if all you had were the views, but tour guides give life to what you see.
The guides are usually thoroughly informed about the city, and they present this information in a jocular way. For most, it is these guides who make horse drawn carriage tours, top of the list of things to do in Charleston.
Many tourists make a point of going for these trips not just to see, but for a chance to be informed and to laugh. If for one reason or the other, you find yourself going back to a route you have been in before: your experience will be just as fresh as it was the first time.
iii. Charleston’s Afternoons Can Get Quite Hot
Other than during winter, you are better off going for your tour in the morning. The ambient temperatures in Charleston can go up to 98 degrees or even higher during summer. You may be shielded from the sun by sitting in the horse carriage, but the animals are not shielded. Due to this situation, there are instances where these trips have been stopped altogether to protect animals from the heat. This situation may, however, be mitigated by evening carriage tours.
iv. Remember Sunscreen and Bug Spray during summer
As earlier observed, Charleston summers are hot and being merely 90 miles from the Atlantic, and they are humid too. The sun is hot, and you should, therefore, ensure that your skin is protected from the sun by packing some good sunscreen.
You will likely encounter bugs in some of the places you visit. These bugs may be an irritating distraction, but should not keep you from enjoying your trip to the fullest. Having bug spray handy will ensure that your fun is not distracted.
v. Choice of Route
There are many fascinating routes in Charleston, all of which are full of history. You likely have your sights set on a particular site, but it is imperative for you to know that you don’t get to choose. Which route you take is determined entirely by the luck of the draw.
The city government has divided the historic district into four areas. It is in these areas that tourist routes are located. Once your carriage is full, the driver draws a ball in a designated kiosk. This ball contains information on the route you will take. The selection is entirely the luck of the draw. The city put this system in place to avoid traffic gridlocks on some routes that more people may prefer.