5 Kid-Friendly Activities in Charleston
May 31, 2021
School’s out for the summer, and it’s time for a little family vacay! With plenty of kid-friendly activities to choose from, Charleston is the perfect summertime destination for your next trip with the entire fam. Charleston may be known for its beautiful beaches and delicious food, but don’t miss out on all the fun there is to be had.
1) South Carolina Aquarium
Located in the heart of downtown Charleston at the end of Calhoun Street toward the Cooper River
South Carolina Aquarium’s Website
The South Carolina Aquarium is a great way to spend a hot summer morning or afternoon. Tanks filled with colorful fish, sea turtles, and the occasional scuba diver are sure to entertain both young and old. Learn about hermit crabs, pet stingrays, be mesmerized by jellyfish, and enjoy otters at play. Exhibits include the full spectrum of South Carolina habitat, from the mountain forests to the marshy lowlands. You’ll see wildlife from river to ocean including birds, snakes, alligators, and fish galore. Driving into town? A parking garage is conveniently located on the left side of Calhoun as you approach the aquarium. Just down Concord Street and across the big field at Gadsdenboro Park, there is a large playground that is perfect for little ones.
2) Children’s Museum of The Lowcountry
Close to the Visitor’s Center in downtown Charleston
The Children’s Museum’s Website
The Children’s Museum provides creative play for young children and a nice respite from the heat and humidity on a summer day. They can explore the kids’ garden, enjoy being pirates, and practice shopping in the realistic grocery store sponsored by Publix. Other options include creating an artistic masterpiece, dressing up in the theatre, putting on a puppet show, or challenging themselves in the Boeing Brightlab. $10 tickets won’t break the bank and you can slide around the corner and find Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream a block up King Street.
3) Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum
Located on the Mt. Pleasant side of the Charleston Harbor
Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum’s Website
A modern military history is made awesome by getting to experience the enormity of the aircraft carrier—the USS Yorktown, anchored on the Mt. Pleasant side of the Charleston Harbor. You can board a WWII destroyer and be impressed by the tight quarters of a cold war era submarine. As a bonus, you can hop on the Charleston Harbor Water Taxi by the aquarium in downtown Charleston and ride across the harbor to Patriot’s Point. Enjoy fresh seafood at the Charleston Harbor Fish House after your history tour or walk down to Waterfront Park located underneath the Ravenel Bridge.
4) Charles Towne Landing
Located about 10-15 minutes from downtown Charleston
Charles Towne Landing’s Website
Charles Towne Landing is a state park about 10-15 minutes from downtown Charleston, depending on traffic. The original landing spot for settlers from Europe, the wharf includes a replica 17th century sailing ship that you are free to board. Kids will love the animal forest where you can see wildlife the original settlers would have seen including bison, elk, black bear, puma, otters and more! Bikes are also available for rent to explore the miles of trails. Strollers are available for free if you prefer to walk and enjoy a picnic in the great outdoors.
5) Fort Moultrie
Located on Sullivan’s Island
Ft. Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island is one of our favorite historical sites in the Charleston area. The corny movie in the Visitor’s Center will provide an overview of local history from the fort’s construction before the Revolutionary War through the end of World War II. See Osceola’s gravesite, explore the bunkers, imagine being in the radio room during WWII listening for enemy submarines, and then head out to the most beautiful beach in the area. Make a full day out of your visit to Sullivan’s Island by enjoying lunch at Dunleavy’s Pub—a great spot to enjoy wings or a hot dog and a cool beverage; Mex1 Cantina—the perfect stop for ice-cold margaritas and quesadillas; or, pop into the Co-Op and pick up a sandwich to take out to the beach!
Check out more of our favorite family-friendly activities to enjoy while visiting Charleston, SC:
- James Island County Park
- Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Water Park
- Fire Museum
- Fort Sumter Harbor Tours
- Sunday Brunch Farmers Market
- Downtown Charleston Farmers Market
- Jeremiah Goat Farm on John’s Island
- Charleston Tea Plantation
- The Charleston Museum
- SkyZone Trampoline Park
- Magnolia Plantation + Gardens
- Cypress Gardens
- Charleston Pirate Tours
- Trophy Lakes
- Charleston Riverdogs Baseball
- Stingrays Hockey
- The Center for Birds of Prey
- Frankie’s Fun Park
- Charleston Fun Park
- The Alley Charleston