Let’s face it. Finding a vacation spot that’s ideal for both parents and children isn’t an easy task. Be that as it may, Charleston, South Carolina has a lot going on for all ages to enjoy together. Activities include lots of interesting history, yummy food, beautiful beaches, gardens, and access to wildlife.
Again, it goes without saying that Charleston is world-renowned for its friendly and hospitable people.
To help you enjoy what Charleston has to offer our team here at Leasing & Management has compiled a list of the top 15 things to do with the family in Charleston, SC.
1. Isle of Palms
Isle of Palms is a city in South Carolina, that is well-known for its beaches backed by condos and eateries. It is located on the slender barrier island of the same name. The great wide beaches are an ideal spot for a day spent outside playing in the sand and ocean.
The magnificent stretch of Isle of Palms’ beach is both fun and eye-catching. After the beachcombing and sunbathing, you can take the kids to nearby Charleston. It is only a half an hour drive away and is packed with interesting things.
Charleston is filled with landmarks, historic sites, golf courses, shopping districts, and family attractions. You can go to the shopping and entertainment complex, Fountain Walk, or even The South Carolina Aquarium.
2. Charleston City Market
The Charleston City Market is free to stroll through. It was established in the 1790s and stretches four city blocks from the East Bay Street to the architectural-significant Market Hall. It’s utterly fascinating and its architectural design has earned it the ‘National Historic Landmark’ title. You can find anything you can think of, from sweetgrass baskets to toys, jewelry and any sort of Charleston-related knickknack.
Although some items might cost an arm and a leg, window shopping is totally free. For lunch, the surrounding neighborhood offers a range of excellent restaurants, including the Caviar & Bananas, Peninsula Grill, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, and Hank’s Seafood Restaurant.
3. The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage the potential of young children. Admission, however, isn’t free for non-CML members, and you’re required to pay a small fee of $12. It is an ideal location to take a breather while walking around the historic district.
The staff is super helpful and friendly, making this stop a must, especially if you have children aged 10 or younger.
Hungry? The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry offers a variety of snacks to satisfy those mid-morning- and afternoon cravings.
Outstanding examples of plantations include Middleton Place, Drayton Hall, and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Each of these boasts its own particular claim to historic fame. If you are looking for a calm activity to do with the kids in Charleston, this is a good choice.
Construction of Drayton Hall began sometime in 1738. While it has never had any meaningful ‘updates” since it was constructed it still gives you an unparalleled feel for the era and a fantastic feel for the architecture. It is also the only historical building left standing in the entire Charleston area.
Middleton Place is located about half an hour from the town. It is unique in the sense that it still has many of Charleston’s antiques still intact, including antique items owned by Arthur Middleton. Besides antiques, other things to see include artisans like Blacksmiths and heritage breeds of livestock.
Last but not the least is Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. This place lays claim to have the most beautiful gardens in Charleston. Unlike the previous two gardens, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is still owned and operated by direct descents of the first Drayton in Carolina.
5. Shem Creek Inn
This is certain to be a hit with the adults and has enough to keep the young ones entertained too. The Shem Creek Inn is a dockside hideaway where beer koozies and oyster roasts reign supreme. It is a casual, low-key, good-natured Charleston’s backyard paradise located just minutes from downtown.
The place offers anything from fried seafood and ice-cold buckets of beer to paddle boarding. Stop here to grab some fresh seafood in a casual waterfront setting while the children have some fun catching sights of dolphins.
6. Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter is a sea fort in Charleston, South Carolina, notably known for the battles that occurred during the American Civil War. It is operated by the National Park Service and is open for public tours as part of the Fort Sumter National Monument. Since it is surrounded by water, the only way to get there is via a cool boat ride.
Exploration of the entire Fort takes approximately an hour and is a great family activity in Charleston.
7. South Carolina Aquarium
The Aquarium is a total must see kids attraction in Charleston. It is located directly on the beautiful Charleston harbor. The aquarium opened its doors on May 19, 2000. It is home to no less than ten thousand plants and animals including great blue herons, alligators, loggerhead sea turtles and so many more.
In addition to its educational mission, the South Carolina Aquarium also provides a behind the scenes tour of the Sea Turtle Hospital. This hospital helps nurture injured or stranded sea turtles back to health. The rehabilitated turtles are then allowed back into the ocean once they have healed.
8. White Point Garden
Your kids will certainly love running around under the large oak trees draped with Spanish moss, cannonballing into leaf piles, picking up fallen azaleas, and chasing squirrels. The White Point Garden is a 5.7-acre public park and is located at the tip of Charleston’s peninsula.
It is boarded by South Battery (to the north), King St. (to the west), Murray Blvd. (to the south), and East Battery (to the East). It has been a repository of memorials and relics for more than a century and is characterized by its military theme.
9. Poe’s Tavern
Poe’s Tavern is named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe who not only had a liking for dark storytelling but also for his love of good food and drinks. The place is notoriously popular for serving delicious food, such as fresh burgers and fries, inspired salads, and yummy fish tacos in a laid-back oceanfront environment.
Vickery’s is casual and relaxed, has reasonably priced food, and is totally low-key. The view from this joint is amazing too. They have the best Bloody Mary’s in town and there’re almost always dolphins to watch.
It is located on Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant and is one of the best kid-friendly restaurants in Charleston, SC. It is also a great venue for hosting large parties. Popular delicacies include wings and bourbon butter shrimp, large salads, chicken breast sandwich, and mouthwatering Southern fried chicken.
11. Charleston Ghost Tours
If you want to give your kids a fun scare, check out the Charleston Ghost Tours. The tours are conducted by several different companies. They include Bulldog Tours, Traditional Ghost Tours, Ashley on the Cooper, Walks in History, Tour Charleston, LLC, and Walks of Charleston.
In addition to the tours, there’re also tours for paranormal investigation. These explore haunted areas with the use of technical equipment, such as audio devices and infrared cameras. Unlike the ghost tours, paranormal investigations are only offered by one company – Bulldog Tours.
The tours are worth every dime for true paranormal enthusiasts. However, they aren’t recommended for the faint hearted!
12. North Charleston Fire Museum
Also referred to the “Fire Truck Museum,” the North Charleston Fire Museum teaches the history of firefighting. It also has access to features a collection of antique firefighting vehicles. If you read enough history books, you’ll discover that this was important, as the port city seemed to disappear under a blanket of fire every few decades.
North Charleston Fire Museum was established in 2007. It is located minutes from Charleston International Airport and is next to the Tanger Outlet Mall. A sense of heritage and history is felt once one enters the building, which resembles a classic firehouse.
13. Charleston Museum
The Charleston Museum is one of the oldest museums in the United States. Its collection is highly regarded and includes two historic Charleston houses, decorative arts, natural history, and historic artifacts.
The two historic houses are the Heyward-Washington House and the Joseph Manigault House. Entering both the two houses and seeing the fascinating collection of artifacts will cost you $26.
14. Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
Built between 1767 and 1771, the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon is a historic building at East Bay and Broad Streets in Charleston, South Carolina. It once served as a facility for prisoners of war during the American Revolutionary War then operated by the British forces.
What child doesn’t find pirates and ghosts fascinating? The Old Exchange Building has professional storytellers to share the frightening stories of those who passed through the building. There’s also a freakish dungeon, where you and your kids may get spooked by a ‘ghostly feeling’. In fact, you might even see one.
15. Blackbeard’s Cove
Blackbeard’s Cove, aka Charleston Fun Park, is the only place you’ll get to play putt-putt or mini golf. It is a great place to keep kids entertained. Activities include indoor games, a go-cart track, and two 18-hole miniature golf courses. At any given time, you’ll find hordes of kids and their parents enjoying themselves.