My husband’s family is from Charleston, SC so we’ve visited the area many times with our children and have explored many of the fun family-friendly activities. There are a lot of historical places to visit in Charleston, but I will admit that for small children some of them might not be ideal. However, Charleston does have some fun spots that are accommodating to toddlers, preschoolers and young children.
The South Carolina Aquarium is home to more than ten thousand plants and animals, including a 385,000 US gallons Great Ocean Tank, which is the deepest tank in North America. The Aquarium also features a Touch Tank, where visitors may touch horseshoe crabs, stingrays, and other marine animals. There are so many great exhibits and animals at the aquarium, it is a must-see attraction in Charleston.
Location: 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., building closes at 5 p.m.
Cost: $29.95 Adult 13+
$22.95 Child 3-12
Charleston has 3 great beaches within a short drive of downtown. We are partial to Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms which are north of Charleston and Folly beach which is south. Charleston gets pretty hot during the summer months so spending the day at the beach is very refreshing.
Charleston is rich in American history and one of the best ways for kids to experience the history is to tour the 2 forts, Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter. Both parks are part of the National Parks Service.
Location: 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island, SC
Hours: Open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $3.00 Adults (16 and older)
Free Children (15 and younger)
Location: 340 Concord Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Hours: Open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
*Only Accessible by Boat. Learn more about booking your tour and boat fees at Fort Sumter Tours.
$14 Children (4-11)
Charleston and the surround areas like Mount Pleasant has several fun playgrounds and parks that kids will love. We are particularly fond of Alhambra playground because of the great shade and view of the water. The Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park is located under the Ravenel Bridge, offers views of the Charleston Harbor and 1,250-foot-long pier. Also check out Smythe Park on Daniel Island, Palmetto Islands County Park and Tiedemann Playground.
There are many fishing charters in the Charleston area. You can also fish from the Mount Pleasant Pier or any public fishing piers. I would recommend Lighter Breeze Charters for inshore family fishing trips.
The Charleston Water Taxi is a great way to see some of the Charleston sights from the water and you might even see some dolphins. Travel with a view and without the traffic from the Charleston Maritime Center to Patriots Point. No reservations needed.
The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is a great place to take your little ones when they need a place to freely play and just be a kid. The Museum has nine hands-on attractions including an Art Room, Fire Truck, Garden and Publix Market. Your kids will spend hours playing at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry.
Location: 25 Ann Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Hours: Mon: Closed
Tue to Sat: 9am – 5pm
Sun: 12pm – 5pm
Cost: Free for children under 12-months-old, $10 for SC Residents and $12 for non-SC Residents
Waterfront Park offers long riverfront walking paths, a pier with family size swings, the famous palmetto tree fountain and plenty of shade, benches and places to enjoy the waterfront. Children love to play in the fountains so make sure you bring a towel for them to dry off with after they’ve cooled off in the fountain.
The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center houses the largest collection of fully restored American LaFrance fire apparatus in the county. Explore the collection of nineteen antique fire trucks includes a hand operated fire pump and two horse-drawn steam engines. Kids of all ages will love the interactive exhibits.
Location: 4975 Centre Pointe Dr North Charleston, SC 29418
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Adult Admission – $6.00
Children 12 and Under – Free*
(*with accompaning Adult)
Charles Towne Landing introduces visitors to the earliest colonial history of Charleston. Guests can step aboard and tour the Adventure, Charleston’s only 17th-century replica sailing ship, see cannons fired, or take a peek at otters, bears, bison and more at the Animal Forest natural habitat zoo.
Location: Hours: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., daily
Cost: $10/adult; $6.50/S.C. Senior; $6/youth age 6-15; Free for children 5 and younger.
This hands-on-history lesson lets you explore:
- USS YORKTOWN Aircraft Carrier
- USS LAFFEY Destroyer
- USS CLAMAGORE Submarine
- 3 Acre Vietnam Experience
- Medal of Honor Museum
- 28 Historic Aircraft
Location:Hours: 9:00 am – 6:30 pm, daily
Cost: Adults (12+) – $24, Seniors -$19, Children (6-11) – 16, Children Under 6 – Free
Charleston Pirate Tours and Children’s Tours offer a fun way to explore the history of Charleston.
All pirate tours include admission to the Powder Magazine Museum, a National Historic Landmark and one of the oldest buildings in Charleston.
Cost: Prices Start at $12,Children under 3 are Free