Unique Experiences for Families in Charleston, SC
History runs deep in Charleston, South Carolina, and if you’re visiting this gorgeous city with small children, you’ll want to strike a balance between historical attractions and activities that the kiddos will love. We are here to help you plan a unique getaway!
Three BabyQuip Quality Providers have come together to give you a rundown of the best things for families to see and do in the Charleston area. The list below is compiled of not-so-touristy activities that will keep adults and children entertained. You’ll enjoy getting a sense of what the local families do by embarking on the suggestions below.
Exclusive Water Activities
When we say ‘water’, we’re not talking about typical water activities like pools and water parks. We want you to take an adventure that you’ll be talking about for years to come. Charleston has 90 miles of pristine coastline, inlets and rivers which makes for unique water themed experiences that don’t actually require getting wet!
It’s going to be a seriously memorable day going crabbing on the waters of Charleston. Penelopy Hayes, BabyQuip QP and mama of three, highly recommends Casual Crabbing with Tia for an up close and personal adventure with blue crabs. You can catch and release, or keep ‘em and eat ‘em. Tia will keep you thoroughly entertained with her local knowledge. She provides the gear and bait so all you have to do is show up! Charters last 2.5 hours and can accommodate up to eight guests.
Cynthia is a mom of three grown children residing in the beautiful town of Mount Pleasant. She likes Captain Dan’s Water Tours best, but says, “There are many privately operated harbor tours available, which is nice for families to book and get a one-on-one experience. The length of the tours can be a couple of hours or an all day adventure. It’s a great opportunity to see Charleston’s coastal beauty and wildlife. It’s not unusual for dolphins to swim right up alongside a boat and the kids really like that!”
Island & Park Adventures
Did you know Charleston county has over 120 public parks intertwined in and among 13 unique islands? That’s a lot of places to choose from and some are better for the kiddos than others. Our local experts give a summary of the islands and parks that are a must. Kids can burn off some much needed energy and parents can relax in the coastal island breeze.
Charleston County Park System
Nicole is an avid beach-goer and loves when families choose Charleston for vacation. She highly recommends James Island County Park for any family traveling with small kids. It boasts, “a great playground, a climbing wall (tallest one in SC!), tons of trails, covered picnic facilities, a dog park, a splash pad and lots of other activities. There are numerous events throughout the year that are well worth attending. It’s a beautiful place! In fact, all of the Charleston County Park system is great. Each park has its own unique features. I can’t say enough about it. I especially like James Island County Park because I live near it, but all of them are great.”
Pirates Cove Playground
Kids love Pirates Cove Playground, on Folly Beach. Nicole says the park is easily located at East Erie Avenue and 5th Street East. Little ones can become pirates for the day as they play aboard a wooden pirate ship playground. If you’re looking to brush up on your tennis skills, there are newly refurbished tennis courts as well. The park is free to the public and open during daylight hours. Once you’re done swashbuckling, you can walk a quick three blocks to the beach!
Wave Watch Playground
Wave Watch Playground at West Cooper and 5th Street West is also on Folly Beach. It’s great for kids of all ages. There are shaded areas for parents to hang out while the kids play along with a picnic area and bathrooms. The park is open during daylight hours, is free and is an easy one block from the beach.
Best Beach Community in Charleston
“Sullivan’s Island is a quaint beach community across Breach Inlet from the Isle of Palms.” Cynthia says. “It’s sort of a best kept secret for visitors with some really good restaurants, an amazing park on Middle Street for the kids and Fort Sumter, which is right on the beach and costs next to nothing to walk around and explore. If you’re visiting during the early summer months, Sullivan’s Isl has a farmer’s market as well.”
Unique Outdoor Experiences
For a truly unique activity, add one of the experiences below to your Charleston itinerary. From eating to exploring, these are all around great adventures for kids.
Blue Pearl Farms
To give your little ones an adventure that includes a healthy snack, Cynthia recommends Blue Pearl Farms. The farm is just North of Mount Pleasant in the town of McClellanville and offers a pick-your-own blueberries experience. Little ones will love stuffing their mouths with nutritious deliciousness that they get to grab fresh from the fruitful bushes! Local honey is also harvested on-site and can be purchased at the market. Don’t forget your phone—you’ll want to capture the happy messy faces. (If your travels land you in Charleston around the end of June don’t miss the Blueberry festival.)
Charles Towne Landing
Nicole simply states that Charles Towne Landing is a “Great place!” It’s located on the mainland and is, “Very historic with lots to look at, but the grounds themselves without all the history are beautiful.” It’s no wonder as the park is part of the Beautiful Places Alliance! She adds, “There is also a mini zoo (they call it an Animal Park)—the only one in Charleston. It’s a really beautiful place that shows off the Lowcountry very well. It’s off the beaten path a bit, but not super far out of downtown, and inexpensive. There is lots of room for little people to run around and is free for children five and under.”
The Angel Oak
If you’re looking to be awestruck head to Johns Island to see The Angel Oak. While it is a tourist attraction, it’s an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Charleston, South Carolina. There is much debate about the tree’s age but experts think it’s likely somewhere between 400-500 years old. As the largest tree east of the Mississippi River, the branches span 187 feet providing 17,200 square feet of shade! To preserve the tree as best as possible, climbing the tree is prohibited, so pack a lunch and your camera for some great photo ops and a one-of-a-kind picnic experience.
Don’t forget that our local experts are fully equipped to provide you with all the baby gear rentals you need to make your travels to Charleston easier and less stressful.
Jennifer is the marketing manager at BabyQuip. She is constantly trying to reinvent awesomeness through written copy, visual appeal, social media content and custom ads.