Gorgeous scenery, bold and colorful buildings, rich history, appealing and distinct flavors, hands on experiences. I could go on and on about describing Charleston to you, but it’s honestly one of those places you just have to experience for yourself. Whether you have never visited before, you are returning to the Holy City for the 20th time, or you are a local looking for new ways to explore—the scents, tastes, and sights of Charleston, SC are going to blow you away. Added bonus, there’s so much to do that’s family friendly which makes it a perfect destination for your next family adventure! Today I’m sharing 10 Family Friendly Things to Do in Charleston SC.
Disclaimer: If you don’t want to daydream about colorful historic architecture, cobblestone streets, delicious food, a day at the beach, and weeping willow lined parks galore then you probably shouldn’t read this post. 😉
10 Family Friendly Things to Do in Charleston, SC:
1. Visit the beach
There are many wonderful beaches in the Charleston area. Some of our family favorites are Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island.
Isle of Palms County Park is really convenient for families because of the amenities. Finding parking is easy, there is a restroom, showers for washing off sandy kiddos after the beach, changing rooms, and a playground. The only downside is that it typically really busy in the summer months
Sullivan’s Island by far is the least crowded and has really gorgeous views, but parking can be tricky depending on the time of year and there are no restrooms.
Find more information about Isle of Palms County Park HERE.
2. Go under the sea at the Aquarium
Your kids will love seeing sharks, sea turtles, and fish galore in the incredible two-story, 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank. There is so much to explore and learn about at the Aquarium with hands on exhibits and engaging opportunities to explore South Carolina’s native animals and plants. The panoramic waterfront views are a family favorite and typically you can spot dolphins in the Charleston Harbor.
Find more information about the Aquarium HERE.
3. Explore and play at The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry provides a wonderful atmosphere for engaging children in play. Kids of all ages will enjoy the hands-on exhibits that encourage imagination and investigation. The Waterwise interactive is one of our favorite areas because it’s modeled after the Charleston Harbor and kids can navigate their boats under iconic spots like the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge and the Ben Sawyer Bridge. With your admission you have access to the museum all day, so you can easily take a break for lunch and come back if necessary. Or you can also pack a lunch and enjoy it at one of the picnic tables in the garden.
Find more information about The Children’s Museum HERE.
4. Ride the Charleston Water Taxi
This is such a fun way to relax and enjoy the views of the Ravenel Bridge and the Charleston Harbor. Be on the lookout for dolphins! They love to make an appearance alongside the boat.
Find more information about the Charleston Water Taxi HERE.
5. Splash in the fountains at Waterfront Park
In my opinion this is a must see spot in Charleston! If it’s warm out, put your kiddos swimsuits on and they’ll have an absolute blast splashing around in the two fountains. The Iconic Pineapple Fountain is a wonderful spot to snap a family photo. After enjoying the fountains, take a walk on the wide, wooden pier which extends into the Cooper River to spot dolphins and be sure to stop and swing on one of the covered swings. The large grassy area or park benches under the incredible canopy of trees is a wonderful spot to enjoy a picnic.
6. Snap a photo in front of Rainbow Row
No trip to Charleston would be complete without seeing this iconic and colorful spot. In my opinion, it’s one of the happiest spots in Charleston and is a great place to snap a photo of your kids with a colorful background. Aside from the cheerful pops of color, each home has an incredibly rich history and displays quintessential Charleston architecture. Lots to love about Rainbow Row!
7. Encounter history at the Battery + White Point Garden
Located right in the historic district downtown this park is really gorgeous! The old oak trees and gazebo are stunning and the Civil War cannons are neat for kids to explore. There are also several monuments and statues to look at for an extra dose of history.
*TIP: Waterfront Park, The Battery + White Point Garden, & Rainbow Row are right near each other. Depending on the time of day you visit parking can be tricky to find. If you can’t find street parking, I recommend parking in the garage near Waterfront Park and then walking along the water to see the Battery and White Point Gardens (you could even stop by Hazel Parker Playground on the way), swing by Rainbow Row, and then end at Waterfront Park to enjoy the fountains.
8. Experience Charles Towne Landing
Explore this hands-on historic site where a group of English settlers landed in 1670 and established what would become the birthplace of the Carolina colony. Highlights include exploring Charleston’s only 17th-century replica sailing ship, seeing animals at the Animal Forest natural habitat zoo, and enjoying the 80 acres of gardens.
Find more information about Charles Towne Landing HERE.
9. Enjoy a treat on King Street
Some favorites are Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Christophe’s (you MUST try the Almond Croissant), and Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts. Sugar Bakeshop is also a favorite, but it’s a few blocks off of King Street.
10. Burn off some energy at a playground.
While not all of these are in downtown Charleston, here’s some favorites that will not disappoint:
- Hampton Park
- Gadsdenboro Park (Perfect to stop by to play after visiting the Aquarium)
- Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park under the Ravenel Bridge (not to be confused with Waterfront Park. They’re two different spots)
- Alhambra Park
- Hazel Parker Playground
Now that you’ve seen a glimmer of all of the family friendly things to do in Charleston, SC you understand why I warned you in advance that after reading this post you’ll be itching to plan a trip ASAP. You most likely won’t be able to fit all of this into one visit, so pick a couple of things that truly interest your family and have a grand time exploring! No matter what your interests or budget are Charleston truly has something for everyone in your family to enjoy. What interests you the most about visiting the Lowcountry? Happy travel planning!