The best things to do in Charleston with kids

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Are you ready to embark on the ultimate family adventure in one of the South’s most charming cities? Charleston, South Carolina, is calling. This city isn’t just your run-of-the-mill tourist destination; it’s a vibrant playground of history, culture and, most importantly, FUN. 

Dusk view of a tree-lined street with historic buildings and a church steeple, ideal for things to do in Charleston with kids, lit with streetlights under a colorful sky.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

And hey, here’s the kicker: Charleston isn’t just for the grown-ups. Picture this: palm-lined streets, historic charm and a whole lot of fun waiting around every corner.

In this blog, we’re diving headfirst into the world of family fun in Charleston, where there’s no shortage of activities to entertain the little ones — and the not-so-little ones. If you’re in the South for a good chunk of time, check out the best things to do in Orlando with kids and things to do in St Augustine as well.

Where to stay

Looking for the perfect family getaway in Charleston, SC? You’re in luck. Charleston offers a plethora of kid-friendly accommodations and attractions that cater to families of all sizes.

We’ve got the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, which is basically a paradise for families. You get spacious rooms with killer views of Charleston Harbor, a pool that’s perfect for cannonballs and a special splash zone just for the kiddos. Plus, they’ve got this awesome trolley service that’ll whisk you downtown hassle-free.

Next up on the list is Wild Dunes Resort, located on the dreamy Isle of Palms. This place is like a beachside wonderland for families. You’ve got everything from cozy condos to sprawling beachfront homes, giving you all the space you need. And the best part? There’s loads of fun stuff for the little ones, like pools, tennis courts and cool kids’ programs. And don’t forget about the beach; it’s right there, waiting for epic sandcastle sessions.

Last but not least, we’ve got The Francis Marion Hotel. Nestled in Charleston’s historic district, this place is all about combining classy vibes with family-friendly fun. They roll out the red carpet for the kiddos with special packages just for them. And since it’s smack dab in the middle of all the action, you can easily hit up nearby hotspots like the South Carolina Aquarium or Waterfront Park, perfect for making unforgettable memories with your crew.

A sunset cityscape featuring a bridge over a river leading into a downtown area with modern buildings and a marina full of boats, highlighting things to do in Charleston with kids.
Photo credit: Yayimages.
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Things to do in Charleston with kids

Let’s get down to all the fun things there are to do with kids in Charleston. Don’t fret parents, you’ll enjoy these things too. 

Marvel at Marine Life in the South Carolina Aquarium

Ready to dive deep into an underwater wonderland? Kids are in for a splash-tastic time at the South Carolina Aquarium, where your little explorers can get up close and personal with fascinating marine creatures from the South Carolina coast and beyond. From getting up close and personal with sharks and sea turtles to exploring interactive touch tanks, every corner is an underwater adventure. 

They can marvel at colorful fish, meet playful otters and even catch a live animal encounter. The aquarium’s interactive exhibits will leave your kids in awe. Don’t miss the chance to touch stingrays and horseshoe crabs at the touch tanks, it’s an experience they’ll never forget.

Explore Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum 

Ahoy, mateys. Embark on a thrilling voyage through history at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. Climb aboard the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier and explore the decks where real-life heroes once walked. Kids can play captain, where they will love the chance to sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet and imagine soaring through the skies. With interactive exhibits and awe-inspiring views of Charleston Harbor, this museum is a must-visit for young adventurers with a passion for all things maritime.

Cruise through time by Charleston Carriage Tour

Giddy up, y’all. Experience the charm of Historic Charleston from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. As you clip-clop through the cobblestone streets, your knowledgeable guide will regale you with tales of Charleston’s storied past. Keep your eyes peeled for colorful antebellum homes, hidden gardens and historic landmarks along the way. It’s a leisurely and educational journey that the whole family will enjoy. Experience true Charleston with kids in this activity.

Charleston Pirate Tours

Prepare for an exciting journey through Charleston’s history, where every corner reveals stories of pirates, hidden treasures and daring adventures. Led by energetic guides who spin captivating tales, kids will be captivated by the thrilling exploits of the high seas. But that’s not all. Young adventurers can dress up as pirates with eye patches, bandanas and more, immersing themselves fully in the experience as they explore Charleston’s historic streets. It’s an opportunity for them to channel their inner Jack Sparrow and embark on an unforgettable pirate-themed adventure that will leave them smiling from ear to ear.

Splash and play at Waterfront Park

When the sun is shining, there’s no better place to be than Waterfront Park. Kids will adore Waterfront Park in South Carolina for its playful Pineapple Fountain, where they can splash around and cool off on hot days. The spacious green lawns offer plenty of room for running, picnics and games, while the scenic views of Charleston Harbor provide a picturesque backdrop for family adventures. 

With a fantastic playground featuring swings, slides and climbing structures, along with winding walking paths to explore, Waterfront Park promises endless fun and excitement for kids of all ages. With plenty of space to play and relax, Waterfront Park is the perfect spot for a family outing on a sunny day.

A serene row of large oak trees with sprawling branches, draped with Spanish moss, lining a grassy path offers scenic views and is a perfect spot for family strolls among the top things to do in Charleston with kids.
Photo credit: Yayimages.

Get creative at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry 

Calling all budding artists and scientists. Let your imaginations run wild at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, where hands-on exhibits and interactive activities await. From building towering structures with giant blocks to exploring the wonders of nature in the outdoor play area, there’s no shortage of fun and learning to be had. Exhibits include a medieval castle and a pirate ship. Designed specifically with kids in mind, it’s a place where kids can unleash their creativity and curiosity in a supportive and stimulating environment. Visiting this museum is among the best family activities in Charleston, SC.

Soak up the sun at Isle of Palms 

What’s a trip to Charleston without a day at the beach? Pack your sunscreen and flip-flops, and head to Isle of Palms for a day of sun, sand and surf. Build sandcastles, splash in the waves or simply relax and soak up the coastal breeze. With amenities like restrooms, showers and picnic areas, Isle of Palms has everything you need for a perfect beach day with the family.

Charleston, SC, isn’t just your average destination; it’s a gold mine of family-friendly adventures waiting to be explored. Whether your crew is diving into the mysteries of the deep at the aquarium, setting sail on a historic warship or just kicking back in a local park, there’s a little something for every kiddo and kid-at-heart here. So, grab your gear, rally the troops and brace yourselves for fun things to do in Charleston, SC, where every moment promises thrills and wonder.

Lara is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Personal Trainer. She is also a photographer and recipe developer and has a travel blog, On a Permanent Vacation. Follow for travel guides, RV life and how to live like you’re on vacation permanently.

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