Join us for a behind the scenes tour that is sure to frighten all who dare enter the Old City Jail.
Dark and sinister, this jail housed some of Charleston's most heinous convicts, slaves and Civil War prisoners. On this exclusive tour, you'll discover where Charleston's worst criminals lived, died and are rumored to reside today.
You'll hear about (& possibly encounter):
- The beautiful Miss Lavinia Fisher, quite possibly America's first woman serial killer. She suffered so much in Charleston's all male jail even the devil wouldn't take her when she died. She remains in the jail to this day.
- The remaining black Union soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th (whose story was the basis for the 1989 blockbuster Glory). The jail was the last place they were together after the Battery Fort massacre.
- Slaves worked into submission or to death when beatings were no longer effective in the Jail's "work house". Thousands of slaves died here. Many still haunt the grounds seeking revenge for injustices.
Step into the realm of the supernatural with Bulldog Tours. Along the way, you'll discover haunted Charleston sites only we can show you!
Don't forget your flash camera! You never know what spirit images you might capture...
Charleston Ghost Tour & Harbor Tour Combo
Want to see more of Charleston? Come experience the scenic Charleston Harbor on a classic, 80-foot Carolina Belle while hearing fascinating local stories and seeing more than 75 landmarks. Be sure to get your combo tickets for the Haunted Tour and Harbor Tour!
- ----------------------QUESTIONS ABOUT HAUNTED JAIL TOUR----------------------
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Advanced purchase is strongly recommended, as tours often sell out well in advance. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance.
- What if it rains?
- Tours will go on rain or shine. If there is a hurricane in Charleston at the time of the tour, there is no need to show up. We will be busy boarding up windows or throwing a Hurricane Party. (Seriously though, we run in every kind of weather.)
- Are restrooms available?
- Unfortunately, there are no designated restroom stops along the tour route.
- Is there an age limit for the tour? Do I have to purchase a ticket for my young child?
- You know your children better than we do, so there is no official age limit for the tour. For children ages 7 to 12, you should purchase a reduced price Child ticket. Children ages 6 years and under may attend for free, but you’ll still need to enter the appropriate number of Wee One tickets labeled “Free” when purchasing. All guests, regardless of age, must have a ticket, so please make sure your entire party is accounted for in this way.
- What is the difference between your tours? Are they appropriate for children?
- Each tour goes to a unique location. The Charleston Ghost and Dungeon Tour and The Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Tour are family oriented but if your child screams the entire trip, we do ask you keep that child at least 100 feet from the other guests. And if your child freaks out from hearing ghost stories, it is probably your fault, not ours. The Haunted Jail Tour may be too scary for young children or easily frightened adults. The Darkside of Charleston tour is rated R and not suitable for children because it contains adult content.
- Are cameras & video recorders allowed on the tours?
- YES!! In fact, we highly recommend taking pictures during the tour. We often get pictures of some eerie stuff from our guests – especially from The Dungeon (Charleston Ghost & Dungeon Tour) and the Jail (Haunted Jail Tour)!! We would appreciate you sending anything out of the ordinary to us. You can e-mail us any photos.
- Are we gonna see a ghost on the any of the tours?
- Maybe. However, there is a minimal charge of $3 per person if we see a ghost. That is, if you stick around to actually PAY the $3!!
- Why is The Dark Side of Charleston Rated R?
- The Darkside of Charleston is an adult history tour. Topics include brothels, scandals, murder, crime, bootlegging, and prostitution. It is only suitable for people who are at least 17 years old, even if your child has watched an obscene amount of cable TV!
- What about ghosts in the Old City Jail?
- Let's just say that if you get scared easily, do not take The Haunted Jail Tour!! The Jail is not quite as scary if it is light outside. Perhaps the 7pm depending on the time of the year.
- Where does the tour end?
- The Charleston Haunted Jail Tour ends at the Old City Jail in Charleston's Historic Market District.
- How much walking is involved?
- This tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and covers about 3/4 mile. Some of the tour does involve walking up some steps. There are frequent stops along the way and the tour is far from strenuous unless you are grotesquely out of shape, in which case, the walk did you some good. Your doctor and our boss thank you for taking the tour.
- Can I buy food or drinks along the way? What about souvenirs?
- Unfortunately, because of time constraints, we make only scheduled stops. You may want to bring a bottle of water as it can get fairly warm in Charleston.
- Are these tours only for tourists?
- Of course not. All Bulldog Tours are chock full of facts and stories even the oldest Charlestonian couldn't tell you. Tourists and locals alike all learn things about Charleston they didn't know before and have a great time in the process.
- Are there other ghost tours that go into the Jail?
- No, The Haunted Jail Tour is the ONLY tour in town that goes into the Jail! Bulldog Tours has EXCLUSIVE access to Charleston’s most haunted building!!
- Is the tour wheelchair- and/or stroller-accessible?
- Only if you are able to climb stairs. This tour does require participants to walk up some steps, so if this is not a possibility, you will not be able to participate in this tour.
- Are there any discounts available?
- Customers booking through Zerve will automatically receive a $2 per adult ticket website discount on all adult tickets. This will effectively cancel out the $2 ticket fee charged by Zerve for advanced tickets. Additionally, an extra $1 per adult ticket will automatically be taken off for purchases including 8 or more adult tickets. No further discounts will be applied upon check-in.
- I have a group of more than 20 people. Will we all be able to attend the tour together?
- Unfortunately, Charleston law prohibits us from leading walking tour groups larger than 20 participants. If your group exceeds 20 people, please keep in mind that we will have to split you into smaller groups in accordance with the law.
- Do we guarantee the tours?
- Yes, if you are not 100% satisfied with the tour, your money will be refunded.
- Are the tours conducted in English only?
- Yes. But you don’t need to understand every word out of the tour guide’s mouth to see the historic and supernatural sights.
- Can I arrange for a private event?
- Yes! A private Bulldog tour can make any occasion more memorable. Please click “Contact Bulldog” to the left of the page to find out more. Advanced notice is required.
- Can I buy a gift certificate?
- Bulldog Tours does offer gift certificates. To purchase or find out more information, please click “Contact Bulldog”.
- -----------------------QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HARBOR TOUR-----------------------------
- Where/when can I pick up my Harbor Tour voucher?
- Guests must pick up their Harbor Tour vouchers at the Bulldog ticket office located at 40 North Market Street. They can pick up the voucher either before or when they attend the Charleston Haunted Jail Tour
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is highly recommended and tours often sell out in advance. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
- What type of ticket should I buy if I'm bringing a very young child?
- We have reduced price tickets for children ages 4 to 11. Children ages 3 and younger are free with an accompanying Adult ticket.
- What exactly do we see on the tour?
- You will see the profile from the water of one of the oldest cities in the United States. Specific sites you'll see and hear about include: the stately homes along the Battery, Customs House, South Carolina State Ports Authority, churches including: the white steeple of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, the three forts – Moultrie, Sumter, and Johnson, Patriot’s Point, the home of the Yorktown, the famous “Fighting Lady” of World War II, Charleston’s landmark Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
- Is the viewing equally good on both levels of the vessel?
- Yes, you will have a panoramic view from either level.
- What happens if it rains?
- The cruises take place rain or shine, regardless of weather conditions. The Carolina Belle has a glassed-in, enclosed observatory and the upper deck is also partially covered, so you'll be able to get great views of the Harbor's famous sights in any weather!
- Is the Carolina Belle covered?
- Yes, the Carolina Belle has two decks - A glassed-in “Main Salon,” which is climate controlled and an “Observation Deck,” each providing spectacular views of Charleston Harbor. The Observation Deck is open, however, it does have some roof-covered space.
- Can I buy food or drinks on board?
- There is a snack bar aboard the Carolina Belle that has soda, bottled water, wine, beer, mixed cocktails, chips, hot dogs, burgers, candy bars, cookies, etc. The snack bar accepts cash or charge on board.
- Can I bring my own food or drinks on board?
- No, we ask you not to bring any food or drinks on board. You will be able to purchase food and drinks at our snack bar.
- Does the tour run year-round?
- No, the public Harbor Tour runs from mid-February through Thanksgiving, with weekend cruises in December. Please check the calendar for the most up-to-date schedule information!
- What should I wear?
- Please dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Keep in mind that the temperature on the water is significantly lower than on the land, so you may want to bring a sweater in the cooler months.
- Are there any stops along the way?
- No, there are no stops. We will be cruising for the entire tour.
- Is the Harbor Boat Tour safe?
- The Carolina Belle is a safe vessel with a normal operating crew of three or four depending on the number of passengers. She is certified for 300 hundred passengers to cruise the inland waterways, harbors and tributaries by the USCG and meets all the US Coast Guard safety requirements.
- Will I get seasick?
- The Carolina Belle is a steady 85-foot vessel with classic lines. The Charleston Harbor has a mild atmosphere and it is unlikely that you will feel much movement aboard the boat. If you often feel seasick, you may want to consider some light medication before beginning the trip. We cannot officially advise you to take any medication, however.
- Is the trip handicapped and wheelchair accessible?
- The Carolina Belle is Wheelchair friendly, we are able to accommodate guests with wheelchairs for the most part. Entrance to the boat is via a 30-foot ramp, which varies in steepness depending on the tide. If you're able to enter using the ramp, you'll be able to participate in the tour.
- How do you normally board the vessel? Will we have to use the stairs?
- Normally stairs are not required for boarding or disembarking from the Carolina Belle, we use a ramp to load passengers directly on to the upper deck, where the boat's restrooms are located. Stairs are required to get to the lower level which is enclosed and climate controlled. Please make sure you consult with our staff before boarding if having to use the staircase will pose problems for you.
- Is there any narration on the tour?
- Yes, the Harbor Tour is fully narrated.
- Do we see dolphins and other sealife or birdlife?
- We often catch a glimpse of dolphins skimming the surface as they feed or a pelican as he nose dives into the water in search of a tasty tidbit.
- Is parking available near the departure point?
- Yes, a limited amount of free parking is available at the Charleston Maritime Center for Harbor Tour guests. If the lot is full, you may also park at meters or in a City Parking lot nearby, however you must pay for those parking spaces.
- Is there a restroom on the boat?
- Yes, the boat is equipped with clean restrooms.
- Can I stow anything during the cruise?
- We do have limited closet space for wheelchairs and strollers on board. If you have a backpack or other item, we ask that you keep it under your seat. We are not responsible for lost or missing items.
- Where does the Harbor Tour finish?
- The tour finishes in the same place that it departs from, the Charleston Maritime Center, near Calhoun and Concord Streets.
- Is smoking allowed on board the Carolina Belle?
- Smoking is not allowed on the Carolina Belle per the City of Charleston ordinance against smoking in restaurants, bars, and other public areas.
- Are dogs allowed on board?
- No, Department of Health regulations prohibit animals on board with the exception of service animals.
- Non-refundable, can be rescheduled with 24 hours notice.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded. You may reschedule your tickets (subject to availability) only if you do so at least 24 hours in advance.
- Activity takes place rain or shine.
- The activity runs regardless of weather conditions. In the rare situation where the seller is forced to cancel the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule to another time (subject to availability).
- Online Coupon
- Customers booking through Zerve will automatically receive a $2 per adult ticket website discount on all adult tickets. This will effectively cancel out the $2 ticket fee charged by Zerve for advanced tickets. No further discounts will be applied upon check-in. Please proceed to the next page for a breakdown of your total charges.
Conserving America's rich history and landmarks is one of Bulldog Tours' most important commitments. A portion of everyone's admission is donated to the preservation of Charleston's Old City Jail and the American College of Building Arts.