Palmetto Carriage Works is the oldest carriage tour company in Charleston, and has developed the greatest carriage experience in the city! A Palmetto Carriage tour offers a blend of knowledge, wit, humor and history, and is exciting and ever changing, a seamless fusion of 19th century conveyance in a 21st century city.
For those who want to experience Charleston in a private carriage, our elegant wagonette carriage offers small groups the wonderful opportunity to see the city in a more intimate setting with their own personal tour guide. These carriages are available for groups of 5 to 8 adults and children, and up to 2 lap children (under the age of two). For groups of 4 or less looking to do a private tour, please check out our "Daytime Private Carriage Tour (~4 Seated Guests)" by following the link to the left of the page!
During this private, one-hour tour, you will:
Experience 25-30 blocks of Charleston's historic downtown district
See houses, gardens, mansions, churches, and parks
Learn about buildings, history, architecture, flora and the people that make up the "Holy City"
Learn everything that Charleston has to offer the visitor on a Palmetto Carriage tour
From the ground crew that assists in the carriage loading to the guide that leads your tour, our personnel is the most experienced in the industry.
Located in the heart of the Market area, our famous Red Barn is both the beginning and end of your carriage tour. Book in advance and receive free parking in Downtown Charleston for up to 4 hours! That's 2 more hours than our walk-up customer receive.
See the FAQs tab above to learn about the Palmetto Guarantee!
What Is Not Included?
This is a private tour for groups of 5 to 8. These wagonettes have a limited capacity and can hold private groups of 5 seated passengers (ages 2 and up), and you are welcome to add up to 3 additional passengers (ages 2 and up) for a total of 8 paid-for passengers. We also allow up to 2 free children under the age of 2 years old who can be seated on an adult's lap.
For groups of 4 or less looking to do a private tour, please check out our "Daytime Private Carriage Tour (~4 Seated Guests)" by following the link to the left of the page!
For larger groups (8+) wanting to do a private tour, please contact us directly by clicking the "Contact Palmetto" link to the left of the page.
North Market St. and Anson St. (Charleston, SC)
(Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of tickets.)
Advance purchase is available and highly recommended. When you buy your ticket in advance, you receive up to 4 hours of free parking at our lot in Downtown Charleston, located a few steps away from the meeting location! That's 2 more hours than our walk-up customers receive! To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please buy your tickets well in advance. Advance tickets can only be purchased online or over the phone using a Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Advance tickets can be purchased up until 5pm the day before the scheduled tour. If you are looking to purchase tickets for a same-day tour or it is after 5pm, tickets can only be purchased in person on the day of the tour (and not online or over the phone) using cash or credit cards. Same day tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis and subject to availability.
Is my group alone on the carriage? How many people fit in one wagonette carriage?
Yes, this carriage ride is for private groups of 5 to 8. The wagonette has a limited capacity and can hold up to 8 seated passengers (adults and children ages 2 and older) and up to 2 children under the age of 2 years old who can be seated on an adult's lap.
What if I have less than 5 people and want to do a private tour?
No problem! We offer private tours for all group sizes. If you have a group of four or less and would like to do a private tour, check out our "Daytime Private Carriage Tour (~4 Seated guests)" or our "Evening Private Carriage Tour (~4 Seated Guests)" by following the links to the left of the page!
What is a wagonette carriage?
The wagonette is a little bit larger than our 4 person carriage and holds 5 to 8 seated guests.
What happens if it rains?
Unless we consider conditions to be dangerous, we give tours in the rain. The wagonette is a covered carriage, but please keep in mind that this is an outdoor activity and even when the carriages are covered, if it rains you will get wet. Please dress appropriately!
What is the Palmetto Guarantee?
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with your Palmetto experience, your fare will be cheerfully refunded. That's the Palmetto Guarantee!
When do tours run?
In general, the first tour is at 9am and the last one is around 5pm, however, these times vary based on the time of the year and are determined by the City of Charleston. Please check the specific schedule for the days you are interested in to find out the available tour times.
How is the tour route chosen and what are the possible routes I will take?
The city is divided into five different zones. After the tour leaves the barn, the carriage makes its first stop at the city gate, where carriages are randomly assigned to one of the five zones. All of the zones cover historically significant areas in Charleston, including churches, museums, and residential areas. All tours are fully narrated. The routes are not scripted and each tour guide gives a unique and personalized tour.
Where should I park?
We have a parking lot located directly in front of the Red Barn, just steps away. You will receive up to 4 hours of free parking at our lot with your advance purchase. That's 2 more hours than our walk-up customers receive! Please note that parking can be tight and we encourage people to carpool.
Are there public restrooms available?
Yes, we have 2 restrooms in our barn. There will be no opportunity to stop to use the restroom during the one-hour tour.
Is getting into the carriage difficult? What if I'm in a wheelchair?
Getting into the carriage requires walking up several steps. Therefore, it may be difficult for someone in a wheelchair to board the carriage. However, please note that we will do everything we can to offer assistance in helping someone to their seat.
When should I arrive for my carriage tour?
The time slot you have selected for your private carriage tour is the time your carriage is scheduled to leave the Red Barn. Please arrive at the barn 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time.
Where does the carriage ride end?
All carriage tours begin and end at the Red Barn.
Can I bring food and drinks aboard the carriage?
You may bring food and drink on the carriage. We have a shop in the barn where drinks and snacks are available for purchase with credit cards or cash. Alcohol is not allowed on the carriage.
Can I bring personal items with me onto the carriage? How much room is there?
Items such as purses, backpacks, or small shopping bags will fit on the floor by your feet or in your lap. Larger items, such as umbrellas, wheelchairs, crutches, scooters, bikes, or strollers will not fit on the carriage. We have ample storage space in the barn to leave these larger items during the tour. However, please note this is not a secured storage location, so it's best not to leave valuables here.
Can I bring a pet with me on the carriage?
Service animals and small, well behaved pets are able to sit on the floor of the carriage. Pets must remain leashed and under the control of their owners at all times.
Is the ride safe?
Yes! Carriage tours are a safe way to enjoy the city at a slower pace than by bus or car. Our animals are trained to work in a city environment and are comfortable working here.
What kind of animals do you use?
We use single mules or horses on our smaller carriages which are used for private tours, and mule teams on our larger carriages used for public tours.
If the animals are sweating, is that bad?
No, that's actually good! Sweating is the animal's way of cooling itself. We add a Vitamin E supplement to the animals' feed to promote sweating and also add electrolytes to their feed to replace necessary elements lost through sweating. Additionally, you'll notice plenty of fans around the barn, including a misting fan that sprays a fine mist over the animals to keep them cool.
Does it ever get too hot for the animals to work?
Yes. When the temperature reaches 98 degrees or the heat index reaches 125 degrees, we stop our carriage tours. Each animal has its temperature checked after every tour, and if an animal's temperature ever exceeds 103 degrees it is pulled from service. Charleston is the only city in the world where the animals' temperatures are individually monitored.
What other animals are in the barn?
The barn is also home to chickens, goats, a miniature horse, and a miniature donkey. Our miniature animals go the the farm for some rest and relaxation on a rotational basis. Feel free to interact with our animals as you wait for your tour to depart.
Can I book a carriage as part of my wedding?
Sure! There's nothing more romantic than including a carriage in your wedding plans. Palmetto Carriage Works has beautiful private carriages available for wedding transportation from area churches, reception halls, and hotels. To inquire about a wedding package, please click on the "Contact Palmetto" link and let us know what you have in mind.
Can I do a custom tour with a private carriage?
You may choose to board the carriage at our Red Barn or arrangements can be made to pick you up at your hotel. We also specialize in group transportation and can take you to your restaurant of choice and give you a tour along the way. Whatever your needs may be, we can fashion a carriage experience to fit them. Please click on the "Contact Palmetto" link to inquire further.
Are gift certificates available for the carriage tours?
Yes, gift certificates are available for purchase and are the perfect present for a birthday, honeymoon, anniversary, special getaway package or any other occasion. To purchase a gift certificate please click on the "Gift Certificates: Purchase" link in the box above.
Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
Tours take place rain or shine and may be delayed in extreme heat.
These tours run regardless of weather conditions. In the rare case where we are forced to cancel the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule to another time (subject to availability). Also note for the safety of the animals, tours may be delayed during extremely hot temperatures to allow animals additional rest time or suspended if the temperature or heat index reaches an unsafe level.
This is a private tour for 5 to 8 passengers.
These wagonettes have a limited capacity and can hold private groups of 5 seated passengers (ages 2 and up), and you are welcome to add up to 3 additional passengers (ages 2 and up) for a total of 8 paid-for passengers. We also allow up to 2 free children under the age of 2 years old who can be seated on an adult's lap.
What the carriage tour in Charleston is today began with Palmetto Carriage Works. In business since 1971 and family owned and operated, the Doyle family, together with a dedicated team of employees, has fine-tuned every aspect of carriage tours. Over half the employees have more than ten years experience in the carriage business so customers can rest assured knowing that they are getting the best product on the market from the most experienced staff.
In addition to the knowledgeable and professional employees, the animals at Palmetto Carriage Works are specifically trained and well equipped to handle carriage tours in the city. With over 40 horses andmules, Palmetto Carriage Works takes pride in its excellent animal care record. Animals receive ample pasture time throughout the year in addition to working downtown. Our farrier has over 35 years experience shoeing animals and examines them once a week, and animals are seen by a veterinarian twice a year for regular checkups.
The popularity of the tour has grown out of the Red Barn. The quality and longevity of the staff, the remarkable record of animal care, and the thousands of satisfied customers all stand testament to an outstanding product; a product that we stand behind 100% - providing customers with the greatest carriage experience in the city.
"After we tried every carriage company in town, Palmetto stood out for its guides' wit and historic accuracy."
-Southern Living Magazine
"Not the automatic monologue you might expect, but the serious historical commentary he clearly felt his city deserved."
-London Daily Telegraph