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Charleston Tour Pass: Is It Worth It?

 

How my husband and I saved $180 with Charleston Tour Pass.

 

Here at charleston.com we know Charleston inside and out and what visitors should go see and do. When we came across Charleston Tour Pass (tourpass.com/charleston), we decided to check it out and write a review to tell you whether or not we think it’s worth the cost.

 

How it Works

On their website, you can choose either a 1, 2, or 3-day pass that admits you into over 30 of Charleston’s tours, attractions, and restaurants. The site also states that admission is included; all you have to do is show your pass at the ticket window. It had been a while since I’d been a tourist in my own town, so I chose to do a 2-day pass for a mini stay-cation. The 2-day pass is $104 per person and includes three featured tours (tours that require a reservation) and an unlimited number of places in the “Walk-In” category (or as many as you can do within the two day pass activation time).

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Getting Your Pass

Since we planned to start the next day, I was ready to pull the trigger! I visited their site, entered my info into the checkout page, hit submit, and right away I received a welcome text and email with my link to start using the pass. I opened the pass on my phone, in the mobile browser, and was pleased to see that it was neatly organized. It even has a video that demonstrates how to use the mobile pass, which was great. On the pass, there are different tabs that organize the featured tours/attractions, walk-in attractions, free sites, discounts, and an interactive map with location icons. Easy enough!

The mobile pass prompted me to book my featured tours (I got to choose 3 with the 2-day pass). I wanted to do two of my three featured tours on Day 1 and the third featured tour on Day 2. Booking the featured tours was simple, and once I confirmed the tours, I was sent a confirmation email… so just like that, we were all set to go! I also wanted to allow time to sprinkle in some attractions in the walk-in category to get the most value out of my pass.

 

Planning Our Trip

Their website says “The More You Do The More You Save.” I love a challenge, so I wanted to pack in as much as possible in the two days, but you can go at your own pace and make it more relaxing by visiting maybe two or three places. Just as a warning, some of the places can be pretty spread out. We have a vehicle in town, but if you don’t have a car, the DASH Shuttle is a free bus service that will take you all over downtown for free. There are plenty of things to do just downtown if you don’t want to leave that area.

 

DAY #1: Downtown Historic Sites
-I reserved the 9 am Charleston Strolls History Walking Tour as our first featured tour. This is a great tour that shows off many of Charleston’s most famous sites, such as Rainbow Row, the Battery, and other historic houses and locales. Our tour guide Franny was great!

-Next, we used the Tour Pass interactive map on the mobile pass to see was was nearby. The Gibbes Museum of Art was right next door! 

-The Slave Mart Museum is just down the street, and I had never been, so we went there next.


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-To get off our feet for a while, I booked the GrayLine See it All City Bus Tour as our second featured tour. The narrated tour gives you a nice overall history lesson while showing you the most famous sites … and it’s air-conditioned!

-At 4pm we were hungry, so it was time for an early dinner! Lewis Barbecue is on Tour Pass and offered a $7 per person voucher. So good!

-After a fun day, we decided to get our two free pints that Revelry Brewing offers on the pass.


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Day #1 Summary
-Total value of day #1 tours taken = $98 per person.

-If we had purchased the 1-Day Pass, we would have saved $26 per person … not too shabby.

-The price of the 2-Day Tour Pass is $102 per person … only $4 before we break even.


 

DAY #2: Rural Wadmalaw Island to Downtown
We have a car and love the drive out to Wadmalaw Island because of the beautiful live oak trees and rural scenery.
-At 10:30 am, we started at the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the United States. With Tour Pass, we received a free trolley tour that tells the history of the tea plantation and how tea is cultivated. The tour provides a nice scenic tour around the grounds.

-A few miles down the road is Deep Water Vineyard, the only winery in Charleston. There we got to do a free wine tasting with our Tour Pass -- and got to keep the wine glass as a souvenir!

-On the same property is Firefly Distilleries, which is famous for their Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. They also produce different varieties of rum and moonshine. We also received a free tasting here and souvenir shot glass by presenting our Tour Pass. My husband didn’t participate in the tastings since he was driving.


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-After that, we were ready to head back to Charleston. On the way was McLeod Plantation, which is included on the pass as a Walk-In. We were greeted by a docent who really brought to life the perspective of the enslaved and the conditions they had to endure along with plantation life and general history. We toured the beautiful grounds and plantation house and explored the original slave cabins on site as well.

-Charleston Harbor Tours was our only featured tour of the day. It was nice to get on the water, relax, and admire how beautiful Charleston is. We even saw some dolphins jumping in the bow wake, which is always a fan favorite with visitors.

-The Charleston Harbor Fish House in Mount Pleasant has waterfront dining and some of the best views in the city. We ate some fantastic seafood, but they have salads and more casual sandwiches as well. And, a $7 voucher was included on the pass!


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-After dinner, we headed over to Charleston Fun Park. Who doesn’t love to ride go-karts, play arcade games, and putt-putt? Tour Pass allows for two premium attractions, which includes go-karts, putt-putt, or the rock climbing wall. We had a blast acting like kids.


Day #2 Summary
-Total value of Day #2 tours taken = $94 per person

-Total 2-day value of tours taken: $98 + $94 = $192 per person

-Price of the 2-Day Tour Pass = $102 per person

-Total Savings = $90 per person

-Total savings for both of us = $180

-Savings % = 88%


 

Conclusion
I must say that at first I was a little more than skeptical of whether using Charleston Tour Pass would provide a great experience and also save us money. Would it be more headache than it was worth and would the savings, if any, be worthwhile? I have to say that it was much better than my husband and I expected. Using the mobile pass was a breeze and it really enhanced our trip by allowing us to see what attractions were near us and by providing detailed information on all of the attractions. There were many more sites that we could have seen, but didn’t have time to do so. You can really create your own experience from the choices, though. I would highly recommend Charleston Tour Pass. Not only did we have a great time, but saving $180 between the two of us was more than I could have hoped for.

 

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