Things to Do in Charleston SC with Kids: Top Family-Friendly Activities

Charleston, South Carolina, is a city where history and charm fuse to create an ideal vacation spot for families. Picturesque cobblestone streets, an array of majestic antebellum houses, and a rich tableau of historical landmarks make it a vibrant educational playground. For children, Charleston’s historical tours offer a window into America’s past, while the coastal city’s surrounding natural beauty invites exploration and adventure.

There’s no shortage of things to do in Charleston with kids that cater to a variety of interests. When it’s time to stretch their legs, families can choose from a plethora of outdoor activities. Meanwhile, museums and interactive educational attractions provide an enriching experience that’s as entertaining as it is instructive. The city also offers a colorful selection of entertainment options, from seasonal festivals to family-friendly performances that ensure every moment of your visit is packed with enjoyment.

Key Takeaways

  • Charleston is a prime destination for family-friendly historical tours.
  • The city offers a wide range of outdoor and wildlife exploration activities.
  • Educational and entertainment options abound for a well-rounded visit.

Historical Tours

Charleston, SC, enchants visitors with its rich history and captivating tours that are perfect for family outings. Engage with the storied past of this historic city through interactive and educational experiences that are enjoyable for both kids and adults.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

At the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, families can explore maritime history aboard the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. This museum offers a hands-on encounter with naval warfare history and aeronautics, bringing heroic tales to life amid the warships and planes.

Fort Sumter National Monument

Accessed by a scenic boat ride, the Fort Sumter National Monument presents a monumental piece of America’s Civil War history. Once there, families can wander through the ruins and learn the pivotal role the fort played, with park rangers providing insightful narratives of the first shots fired in the conflict.

Historic Charleston City Market

The Historic Charleston City Market is a cultural gem where families can witness the vibrant local artisan scene. Here, one can meander through the stalls showcasing traditional crafts, sweetgrass baskets, and Southern delicacies, enveloped in the ambience of a market that has served Charleston for centuries.

Nature and Wildlife

Charleston, SC, offers an array of outdoor activities that cater to nature enthusiasts and animal-loving families. These destinations provide educational and engaging experiences in diverse natural settings.

South Carolina Aquarium

At the South Carolina Aquarium, families can explore aquatic habitats filled with over 5,000 animals. It features interactive exhibits and daily programs, making it an exciting place for children of all ages.

Angel Oak Tree

The Angel Oak Tree stands as a magnificent testament to natural history. Estimated to be around 400-500 years old, this sprawling live oak is a breathtaking sight and an iconic spot for photos.

Charleston Waterfront Park

Charleston Waterfront Park is a well-loved area that provides picturesque views of Charleston Harbor. Children can play in the fountains, watch ships sail by, and enjoy the green space. This park is a serene location to experience Charleston’s natural coastal beauty.

Cultural Experiences

Charleston, South Carolina is steeped in history, and its cultural institutions offer enriching experiences for children. They can explore interactive exhibits, learn about local history, and even participate in hands-on art activities.

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

At the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, kids are encouraged to touch, play, and explore in the museum’s eight interactive exhibits. From a medieval castle to an art room, the museum presents imaginative settings where children’s creativity can soar.

Charleston Museum

As America’s first museum, the Charleston Museum offers a deep dive into the Lowcountry’s natural and cultural history. Exhibits showcase everything from historic textiles to fossil collections, making for an engaging experience that connects children with the past.

Gibbes Museum of Art

The Gibbes Museum of Art inspires young visitors with its dynamic art collections and exhibitions. The museum also provides educational programs and studio classes that give children a chance to appreciate and create art reflective of the rich Southern heritage.

Outdoor Activities

Charleston, SC offers a variety of engaging outdoor activities perfect for families. From scenic beaches to interactive parks and historical gardens, there’s no shortage of fresh-air adventures to keep children entertained and active.

Folly Beach

Folly Beach, renowned for its wide beaches and energetic atmosphere, is ideal for families looking to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf. Here, children can build sandcastles, search for seashells, or even take beginner surf lessons to catch their first waves.

James Island County Park

At James Island County Park, visitors can indulge in an array of outdoor recreational activities. The park offers a large playground, climbing wall, and a waterpark with slides and a lazy river, providing a fun-filled day for kids of all ages.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens beckons families with its lush, historic gardens and the Audubon Swamp Garden, a blackwater cypress and tupelo swamp, teeming with wildlife. They can explore nature trails, take a guided boat tour, or simply enjoy the beauty of one of America’s oldest plantations.

Educational Activities

Charleston, SC provides a wealth of educational experiences that allow children to engage with history in a hands-on manner. The city’s rich past is showcased through various well-preserved sites, museums, and tours, giving families the opportunity to learn while having fun.

Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

At the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, children can step back in time to the American Revolution. Visitors can explore original colonial dungeons, where pirates and patriots were once held, offering a tangible connection to the 18th century.

Aiken-Rhett House

The Aiken-Rhett House, maintained much as it was in the 1850s, provides a unique glimpse into antebellum life. The preserved slave quarters offer a poignant and educational experience, delving into the African American history that shaped Charleston and the nation.

Old Slave Mart Museum

Charleston’s Old Slave Mart Museum stands as a sobering reminder of the city’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. The museum’s exhibits focus on the history of the slave trade and the impact on enslaved Africans, providing an essential educational narrative on this period of American history.

Entertainment and Recreation

Charleston, South Carolina offers a variety of entertainment and recreational activities that are perfect for families with children. These destinations provide engaging, fun, and sometimes educational experiences that are sure to create lasting memories.

North Charleston Fire Museum

The North Charleston Fire Museum is revered for its modern and interactive exhibits that keep children captivated. They can learn about fire safety through a variety of engaging activities, interact with antique fire trucks, and even dress up as firefighters, making it an informative yet thrilling outing.

Frankie’s Fun Park

Frankie’s Fun Park is a hub of excitement with activities to suit all ages. Here, families can enjoy everything from arcade games and go-karts to bumper boats and mini-golf. It’s an ideal spot for those looking to share laughs and high-energy fun.

Charleston Fun Park

For a mix of indoor and outdoor fun, Charleston Fun Park invites families to try their hand at mini-golf courses with a local twist, or to challenge each other in the arcade. This park also includes a climbing wall and bumper cars, providing diverse entertainment options for hours of enjoyment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Charleston, SC offers a diverse array of activities suitable for families, ranging from free outings to educational experiences that cater to the curiosity of young minds. Whether indoors or outside, parents will find a variety of options to entertain their kids in Charleston.

What are the best family-friendly activities in Charleston, SC for the weekend?

Families visiting Charleston, SC, can enjoy the Historic Horse & Carriage Tour to explore the city’s rich past or set sail on a scenic boat cruise around Charleston Harbor.

Where can children participate in free activities in Charleston, SC?

Children can engage in a range of free activities, such as exploring the outdoor wonders at the numerous parks and playgrounds, or visiting the beach.

Can you recommend educational experiences for children in Charleston, SC?

Yes, the Fort Sumter National Monument provides an excellent educational experience where children can learn about American history firsthand.

What indoor activities are available for children in Charleston, SC?

On rainy days or when escaping the heat, families can visit the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry or the fascinating North Charleston Fire Museum.

Are there any child-friendly attractions in North Charleston, SC?

North Charleston, SC is home to the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, where kids can explore historic ships and submarines.

What dining options are available for families with children in Charleston, SC?

Charleston, SC caters to families with its assortment of casual dining spots and kid-friendly eateries offering a variety of cuisines to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.

Terrain Trends is your go-to source for information on all things destinations. Be sure to check out our list of other top destinations in South Carolina for when you plan your journey.