Charleston Gullah Tour

The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo, and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. Many came from the rice-growing region of West Africa. The nature of their enslavement on isolated island and coastal plantations created a unique culture with deep African retentions that are clearly visible in the Gullah Geechee people’s distinctive arts, crafts, foodways, music, and language.

Explore the beautiful scenery, rich in history, inspiration, passion, and home to a diverse ecological system found only on the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor stretching the coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida . Experience their unity, love, culture, heritage, and joy on one of these incredible Gullah Heritage Tour Packages available exclusively through MARS.

3 Days /2 Nights

Group size

Tour Inclusions: 2 nights’ accommodation; 2 breakfasts; 1 lunch; 1 dinner; admissions, entrance, and guide fees as stated in the itinerary, including taxes, and gratuity, except gratuity for guide fees is not included on adult tours unless otherwise requested.
  • Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride Tour
  • Old Slave Mart Museum
  • Guided Gullah Tour of Charleston
  • Workshop Presentation: 5 Senses of Gullah
  • Carolina Gold Tour at McLeod Plantation
  • NEW International African American Museum
  • Live Narration Cruise - City Tour

Sample Itinerary:
Day 1 - Historic Charleston & Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour  
  • Arrive in Charleston, SC and enjoy lunch on own and free time to stretch your legs in the Historic Area and City Market, spanning four blocks and home to more than 300 vibrant entrepreneurs. Sweet grass basket weavers can be seen in every building, along with local artists, jewelry, tapestry, souvenirs, church dolls, Afghans, rugs, rice, beans & sauces, local candies, cookies, and much more.
  • Enjoy a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride Tour through Historic Charleston and to the Old Slave Mart Museum. Explore the Old Slave Mart Museum, the first African American slave museum. It is often staffed by individuals who can trace their history to Charleston slaves. Many people don’t realize that at one point during slavery as many as 35-40% of slave entered the United States through Charleston. In addition to the staff, the building evokes an eerie feeling of days gone by.
  • Enjoy dinner on own and free time to explore in Downtown Historic Charleston where everything from the cobblestones to the iron gates has a story to tell and the locals pride themselves on showcasing these historic sites. As for dining options, many come to Charleston with one thing on their mind: food. The best grits you'll ever have, prepared in ways you never imagined, festive dockside oyster roasts, high-end Charleston restaurants, outdoor cafés, or fresh from the dock seafood. Charleston has it all!
  • Check-in to your local area hotel. (Meals: None)
Day 2 - Gullah Tour of Charleston
  • Enjoy breakfast at your hotel this morning prior to embarking on a GUIDED Gullah Tour of Charleston. Gullah is the language spoken by the Lowcountry's first black inhabitants. The language and culture still thrive today in and around the Charleston/Beaufort, South Carolina region. Explore the places, history, and stories relevant to the rich and varied contributions made by Black Charlestonians.
  • Experience a Workshop Presentation by a Native Gullah Sweetgrass Basket Weaver where you’ll learn about “The Five Senses of Gullah”. #1 Touch: Rice; “Carolina Gold”; a product so sought after in the 18th and much of the 19th century, it made Charleston one of the richest cities in the US and was built by slaves who carved the rice fields out of cypress and gumtree swamps filled with alligators, snakes, and disease-carrying mosquitoes. Your fingers will feel the leaf of the state tree, the Cabbage Palm, which will be used to create your very own Palmetto Rose to take home with you. #2 Hear: Your speaker explains the art of sweetgrass weaving and its history by way of West African slaves brought to America to work on plantations. West Africa resembles South Carolina in climate, landscape, and rice production. This basketry uses a type of marsh grass known as bulrush to create beautiful and unique works of art. #3 See: Beautiful, one of a kind sweetgrass baskets, carefully hand-crafted over a period of many days, and each one completely unique unto itself. #4 Smell: The sweetgrass baskets and the traditional Gullah foods as we enjoy our Gullah Experience. #5 Taste: Enjoy a Gullah Soul Food Luncheon included from authentic traditional Gullah recipes and learn about the African influences on today’s foods.
  • Spend the afternoon exploring McLeod Plantation, built on the riches of sea island cotton - and on the backs of the enslaved people whose work & culture are embedded in the Lowcountry’s very foundation. Experience the Carolina Gold Tour at McLeod Plantation and explore former rice fields and walk through the various steps required for the cultivation of rice using reproduction artifacts.
  • Arrive and enjoy dinner, included, at a local crab house. Family owned and operated for over 27 years in the heart of the Historic District with rooftop views of the Charleston City Market. Arrive back at the hotel and enjoy a free evening. (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 3 - NEW International African American Museum & Farewell Cruise
  • Enjoy breakfast at your hotel prior to checking out and exploring the NEW International African American Museum. Opening in early 2022, the IAAM is a museum of African American history being built in Charleston, South Carolina, on the site of Gadsden's Wharf, the disembarkation point of up to 40% of all American slaves, once stood. The Museum will explore cultures and knowledge systems retained and adapted by Africans in the Americas, and the diverse journeys and achievements of these individuals and their descendants in South Carolina, the United States, and throughout the African Diaspora.
  • Enjoy lunch on own in the City Market area. From authentic Lowcountry dishes, like shrimp & grits, to sophisticated interpretations of Southern fare, such as bourbon-glazed shrimp with lobster hushpuppies, the Charleston City Market's Great Hall and surrounding neighborhood offer a range of excellent restaurants.
  • Arrive and board your Live Narration Cruise by a Certified City Tour Guide. Learn fascinating historically accurate Charleston history while you cruise the gentle waves of her harbor. Knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides are certified by the City of Charleston and enjoy interacting with guests. You will see notable American landmarks, such as Fort Sumter, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, The Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney, and other sites from the past and present. Dock and depart for home. (Meals: B)

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