Charleston, SC is one of the most beloved cities in the Southeast. Charleston has plenty of beautiful historic homes and museums to visit along with many wonderful restaurants and boutique shops. Did you also know that there are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Charleston? Many kid-friendly Charleston attractions can be found downtown or just right outside of Charleston. Below are some of the top things to do with kids in Charleston.
James Island County Park
James Island County Park is one of the largest parks in the Charleston area at 643 square feet. Visiting the park is fun for the whole family with plenty of opportunities to explore the natural beauty of Charleston while enjoying time outdoors. One of the best Charleston attractions for families and a popular place for both tourists and locals is the Splash Zone. Located inside the park, the Splash Zone is a seasonal family water attraction in Charleston complete with slides, a lazy river and a pool. There is a fun Caribbean play structure and waterfall along with concessions to get drinks and snacks making it a perfect family-friendly destination on a hot Charleston summer day. Other recreation inside the park includes plenty of picnic areas, trails for riding a bike or walking, a volleyball court, horsehoe pit and a climbing wall. The park has events going on all year round so check with the staff at Andrew Pinckney Inn to find out how to obtain more information.
Known as America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens, Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark. There are 65 acres of beautiful blooms and tranquil bodies of water. You can enjoy Middleton Place by taking a guided tour through the gardens or you can enjoy the outdoors at your leisure. The Middleton Place has been meticulously restored and visitors can tour the museum to learn about the role the Middleton’s played in American history. The Middleton Place also has a Stableyard where kids can see water buffalo, sheet, goats, hogs and more animals that have been at the Middleton Place for over two centuries. A neat thing to see is the Middleton Place staff who are dressed up as carpenters, weavers and potters and perform live demonstrations of the skills practiced by artisan slaves from the 18th and 19th century.
South Carolina Aquarium
One of the most popular family-friendly Charleston attractions is the South Carolina Aquarium. The aquarium showcases aquatic life native to South Carolina such as loggerhead turtles, stingrays, sharks, otters and alligators. There are plenty of opportunities for kids of all ages the ability to see animals up close (and sometimes hands-on) while also providing them with education on aquatic life and conservation. There is a 4-D theater that shows educational and fun short documentaries plus there are often many events and activities just for kids.
Childrens Museum of the Lowcountry
The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry (CML) is a non-profit organization that offers interactive and fun exhibits where children can learn while playing. Fun exhibits include a replica pirate ship, an area with kids can race boats down rapids and an exhibit where kids can find gems under a waterfall. The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry inspires creativity and teaches kids to explore the world around them. The exhibits are unique to Charleston and SC such as exhibits where they can learn about the history of Charleston.
The Center for Birds and Prey at the Avian Conservation Center
The Avian Conservation Center has over 100 birds from over 40 species from all over the world. Located on 150-acres, the center is dedicated to the study and preservation of birds in addition to providing education on environmental issues and conservation initiatives. This unique Charleston attraction for kids allows kids to get to see birds up close and personal, sometimes even hands-on. Kids especially enjoy the flying demonstrations of species such as hawks, falcons, eagles and owls.
Charles Towne Landing
South Carolina’s original birthplace, Charles Towne Landing is a favorite family-friendly Charleston attraction. Children can experience many fun and educational outdoor attractions like Animal Forest, a 22-acre zoo that is home to animals like pumas, bison, black bears and alligators. Another favorite is The Adventure, an attraction that features a life-size reproduction of a typical trading ship from the 17th century and where kids can learn about what it was like to be a sailor in colonial times.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Founded in 1676, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is one of Charleston’s best attractions for kids. The beautiful and meticulously landscaped gardens are something that adults will enjoy but there are plenty of things to do with the kids. A petting zoo is one of the most popular places for kids to visit inside the gardens. At the zoo, kids can get up close with animals like donkeys, mini horses, sheeps and see beautiful peacocks. Some of the animals they can even pet or feed! Another fun area to take the kids is an area where they can dig for fossils. There is also a garden maze that is fun to try to navigate through for people of all ages! The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens offer a boat cruise through the pristine marshes where kids can view wildlife and may even see an alligator! Other family-friendly things to do at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens include taking a stroll around the lake to the Wildlife Observation Tower where you will get amazing views or take a ride on the Nature Train, a tram tour of the plantation’s wetlands, lakes, forests and marshes.
Guests of Andrew Pinckney often enjoy a day at Folly Beach. Located just minutes away from downtown Charleston, this charming island town is a great way to relax with the whole family. Many of our guests enjoy staying at our downtown Charleston hotel so they can be close to all downtown Charleston offers but like to spend at least one day of their Charleston vacation at the beach. This way, your family gets the best of both downtown and the beach!
There are plenty of other family-friendly Charleston attractions and activities than just those we have listed. Kids love to take horse carriage tours and there is even a princess horse carriage tour for little girls! Other family-friendly Charleston attractions include ghosts tours, the USS Yorktown and Fort Sumter. No matter what kid-friendly Charleston attraction you choose, your family is sure to have a fun and memorable vacation in Charleston! Contact our boutique Charleston hotel today for more information or click here to book your reservation.