Charleston, South Carolina: Top 9 Family Favorites

Tips from a local for visiting Charleston with your kids!

Charleston, South Carolina is known for its rich national history and exquisite natural beauty. Living in Charleston we love to show off our city when friends and family come to visit. Charleston with kids is lots of fun! There’s so many fun things to do in Charleston with kids.

Tips for visiting Charleston South Carolina with kidsHere’s my family’s list of #nottobemissed local Charleston favorites:

Jump on a carriage ride.

I highly recommend a carriage ride through the city.  It’s a fun way to tour the city and soak up Charleston’s culture and history.  Select either a private or group tour.  There are several different companies available down by the Market to choose from.

Charleston local favorite activities for kids
Go Shopping.

Once you get back from the carriage ride you can wander through the old Charleston City Market which is full of shops and vendors selling items from all over.

On Saturdays, the Farmer’s Market in Marion Square is wonderful way to start your day in Charleston.  It’s open Spring through Fall and located right in the heart of the city. This market is home to unbelievable food trucks, local produce, art vendors, live music, jump castles and pony rides for the kids.  After you spend some time eating your way through the market you can take a stroll down King Street which is home to the majority of fine shopping boutiques in the city.

Best of Charleston South Carolina for families
Prepare to get soaked.

End the afternoon with a splash in the famous Pineapple Fountain down by Waterfront Park. This is a must for kids of all ages!  Bring your bathing suits or jump in with your clothes on!

Tips from a local for visiting Charleston SC with kids
Hit the beach.

The Beaches around Charleston are beautiful!  We have 3 main beach areas to choose from.  Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, and Folly Beach.  Isle of Palms is home to the family friendly Dunes West Resort.  There is also a county park with bathroom facilities on Isle of Palms.  Sullivan’s Island is my family’s favorite!  Many locals and tourists enjoy these beaches.

Best of Charleston with kids
Get ready to EAT well.

Several great restaurants are within walking distance to the beach.  For a great burger venture over to Poe’s Tavern, if you are in the mood for great southern BBQ then you will want to eat at Home Team BBQ, Taco Mamacita is another good family spot that we enjoy after a day at the beach.  My absolute favorite spot on Sullivan’s Island is the Obstinate Daughter.  Be sure to make a reservation because the OD has amazing food and ambiance that you won’t want to miss!

Local favorites for visiting Charleston SC with kids
Play at the Children’s Museum.

The Children’s Museum of Charleston is fantastic!  My girls have spent too many hours to count exploring the various rooms of the museum.  It’s great for toddlers and well as older children.  In my opinion, there is something for all kids up to the age of about 10.

See the fishies.

The South Carolina Aquarium is a family favorite and  a wonderful place to spend the morning or afternoon.  There is always a special exhibit going on and numerous shows throughout the day.  Explore Shark Shallows a 20,000 gallon touch tank! While you are there don’t miss a visit to the Sea Turtle hospital.

Best tips for visiting Charleston with kids
Explore a historic old city.

A visit to Charleston will transport you to a time long ago. From the aquarium you can take a ferry over to tour Ft. Sumter where the 1st shots of the Civil War were taken.

Be sure to check out Charles Towne Landing which introduces visitors to the earliest colonial history of Charleston. Families will love touring the Adventure, Charleston’s only 17th-century replica sailing ship. If you can schedule your visit to  see cannons fired (3rd Saturdays and select special events) your kids will love it. While you are there, have the family take a peek at otters, bears, bison and more at the Animal Forest natural habitat zoo.

Next, head over to Wadmalaw Island to checkout The Charleston Tea Plantation the home of American Classic Tea grown in America. Tour the grounds on an educational Trolley Tour that explores the scenic grounds that produce American Classic Tea.

Be sure and pick up some American Tea from the Plantation Gift Shoppe before you head home.

Top Charleston South Carolina Family favorites

Stop to smell the flowers.

No trip to Charleston is complete without a visit to Middleton Place.  This National Historic Landmark is home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens. The Garden Club of America has called the 65 acres “the most important and most interesting garden in America”.  Our family loves to stroll the grounds year-round to see what’s blooming in the historic gardens.

Photo credits:

Rachel Dion
Rachel Dion

Rachel Dion is a former pharmaceutical sales manager who is now a stay at home Mom and Rodan and Fields consultant living in Charleston, SC. She has two daughters ages 7 & 5 who keep her very busy. Rachel traveled extensively in former career and now enjoys frequent vacations with her family. Mexico is their favorite family destination.

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  1. July 27, 2015 / 6:00 pm

    You make Charleston sound HEAVENLY! It’s one East Coat city I haven’t visited before. Must change that!

  2. July 28, 2015 / 5:31 am

    What a great round-up of what to see and do while visiting Charleston. We’ll have to make a stop the next time we visit Florida.

  3. July 28, 2015 / 4:25 pm

    I have always wanted to visit Charleston – since way before we had kids. I never thought of it as a family destination, but I found this quite inspirational. Now I’m desperate to come with the kids too!

  4. July 28, 2015 / 11:56 pm

    I have always wanted to visit Charleston & this post makes me want go there ever so much more!

  5. July 29, 2015 / 9:15 am

    I’m definitely pinning this one! I have wanted to visit Charleston for years and have never gotten there. Next year I hope!

  6. July 30, 2015 / 8:50 am

    We loved the farmers market, too. I think we’ll add Charlestown landing to the list for the next trip.