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Best Things to do in Charleston, SC for Families

Anyone looking for things to do in Charleston, SC, is bound to find something that appeals. This coastal city has history, architecture, gardens, cultural events, culinary greats, and is close to beaches, natural beauty, and some stunning golf courses. To focus our efforts though, this particular round-up considers the best things to do in Charleston, SC for families.

In thinking about what to do in Charleston SC in 2020, it makes sense to focus primarily on outdoor activities. After all, the country is still looking to maintain social distance, whether traveling or in the cities we call home.

You might get the kids involved in Charleston SC points of interest by taking a trip to Fort Sumter National Monument. You can tour the island fort where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Check out the canons, walk the battlement, after enjoying the 30-minute ferry ride to the Fort.

The Charleston City Market is another top item on the Charleston things-to-do list. A hub of activity in the city since 1804, the city market is where you can purchase items from local entrepreneurs alongside traditional sweetgrass baskets and certified authentic Made in Charleston items.

Enjoy views of the harbor and take a family photo at the Pineapple fountain of Waterfront Park. You can walk the Battery and tour the historic homes in this neighborhood too.

Or get a different angle on the city from the two-mile bike/pedestrian lane on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Charleston to Mount Pleasant.

On Saturdays from April through November your family can also visit the Charleston Farmers Market. Along with the fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and other yummy foods, there’s often live music and the green space gives young ones room to run around.

Patriots Point is also often found on any list of Charleston SC things to do. Located across Charleston Harbor, Patriots Point is where you’ll find the U.S.S. Yorktown aircraft carrier and other retired naval warships. Kids can even climb aboard a fighter plane and experience a flight simulator.

The Charleston Riverdogs play in a stadium near the Citadel. If the family gets restless watching the hometown A-ball team, affiliated with the New York Yankees, there’s a green space overlooking the Ashley River. After Saturday home games, kids can run the bases.

Certainly, one of the best things to do in Charleston, SC, is to participate in Spoleto. This annual festival of the arts is held in late Spring and the reason many people visit Charleston, SC. You’ll want to check out a calendar of events for the international offerings that might appeal to families. At the same time check out Piccolo Spoleto for a wide variety of family-focused concerts, films, readings, arts and craft shows.

Fun Things to do in Charleston SC Indoors

Of course, there are many things to do in Charleston that will get you out of the sun or any inclement weather. Some Charleston SC attractions to visit include:

  • Charleston Museum — there’s a permanent Kidstory exhibit offering hands-on art and a pint-sized replica of a historic home
  • Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon — explore the building, including the dungeon, where pirates and Revolutionary War prisoners were held
  • South Carolina Aquarium — the touch tank is sure to appeal to kiddos. There’s also a Lego Alive section with brick recreations of aquatic creatures
  • Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry — invites kids to get involved in imaginative play and get hands-on in the art studio or water lab
  • Dock Street Theater — the home base of Charleston Stage offers kid-friendly productions in a historic venue in the French Quarter

Activities Around Charleston

There are also many things to do in Charleston’s surrounding areas. Charleston is on the water, but for a beach experience, you’ll want to drive to nearby public beaches. The closest are on Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. Kiawah is about 10 minutes further away unless you’re already living in Nexton, but you’ll get to enjoy a more pristine natural setting.

Families can also get out on board a schooner or other boat cruising the Charleston Harbor. You can hear about the area’s pirate lore, Revolutionary War history, and maybe see some dolphins while you’re out on the water. Nature and wildlife tours will show you oyster beds, wading birds, and turtles and may even let you fish or crab off the side of the boat.

For a taste of a different part of Charleston’s heritage, you might visit nearby Middleton Place. This 18th-century rice plantation is a historical landmark. There are 65 acres of America’s oldest landscaped gardens to explore as well as a museum and stable yards.

Meanwhile, the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens lets you and the family tour a tranquil, large-scale Romantic garden. Flowers are the only reason to go. There’s also a petting zoo and the nature tram of the plantation’s wetlands, lakes, forests, and marshes may give you a chance to glimpse an alligator or egret.

You might also take a day trip to Summerville. This burgeoning town has a quaint square and shops to visit. You can also treat the family to ice cream floats from the oldest pharmacy in South Carolina, Guerin’s.

Charleston has been voted America’s No. 1 Small City for nine years running. No wonder are regularly moving to the area. With so many things to do in Charleston, SC you can live here and always find new activities for your family to enjoy.

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