Charleston SC Family Fun Activities
Whether you’re visiting Charleston with toddlers or teens, families will find plenty to keep them busy. Explore the natural beauty of the South Carolina coast, immerse yourself in Charleston history or just hit the beach. Charleston SC family fun activities are fun for all ages.
The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is suitable for ages 3 months to 12 years. Young visitors will be thoroughly entertained by the variety of exhibits, including water stations with boats and bridges, an arts and crafts center, a medieval castle, a pirate ship for climbing and grocery store with pint-sized shopping carts. Ad-mission is free for 1 year and younger and there’s a specific play area for toddlers. 25 Ann St., Charleston | explorecml.org 843-853-8962 (closed Mondays)
At the South Carolina Aquarium, journey from South Carolina’s mountains to the sea, exploring native animals and plants in a variety of exhibits of birds, plants, rep-tiles and plenty of sea creatures from turtles to otters. Check out the new Shark Shallows exhibit where visitors can touch bonnet-head sharks, stingrays and southern stingrays in a 20,000-gallon touch tank overlooking the Charleston harbor. 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston | scaquarium.org | 843-720-1990
It’s tough to beat the appeal of fire trucks. The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center houses the largest collection of professionally restored American LaFrance fire apparatus in the country, including 18 restored vehicles and one-of-a-kind firefighting artifacts. The center also has interactive exhibits featuring real smoke, hands-on displays, children’s play area complete with fireman’s pole and a fire truck simulator. 4975 Centre Pointe Drive, North Charleston | legacyofheroes.org | 843-740-5550
Engage the kids in a hands-on history lesson at Patriots Point. This museum is home to the USS Yorktown, the 10th aircraft carrier to serve in the U.S. Navy in the 1940s. Tour the ship and take in the beau-tiful views of Charleston from the flight deck. The Congressional Medal of Honor Museum is located aboard the USS York-town, and the newer Vietnam Experience Exhibit also is located on the property. Open daily; parking is $5 per vehicle. 40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant | patriotspoint.org
The Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site has plenty of open space where children can run and explore. Kids (and adults) will love the Animal Forest, a natural habitat zoo with bison, puma, black bear and a variety of birds. With 7 miles of nature trails for walking and biking, the littlest legs will be ready for an afternoon nap. Don’t miss The Adventure, a replica trading vessel docked at the park, to learn about life on the water. And the park hosts regular history demonstrations and 17th-century cannon firing demonstrations. Free admission for children 5 and younger. 1500 Old Towne Road, Charleston | charlestownelanding.travel | 843-852-4200
Get wet and wild at one of the three Charleston County Waterparks. Located within select county parks in North Charleston, Mount Pleasant and James Island, it’s the perfect way to cool off during the hot summer days. Head to the website for directions and hours for each waterpark.
With the promise of searching for shells and sharks’ teeth, kids will be eager to explore local waterways and barrier islands during an eco-tour. Along the way, they can learn about the Lowcountry’s salt marshes and barrier islands and the natural plants and wildlife in those areas. For fam-ilies who love the water, try kayak tours, canoeing or stand-up paddle boarding in Shem Creek – a popular dolphin play-ground. Adventurous types might want to check out flyboarding or parasailing. Or simply relax with a dolphin cruise or sunset cruise in the Charleston harbor. Checkout our boat and water tours page for additional options.
It’s the jungle gym of your youth taken to a whole new level. Stretching 35 feet off the ground, this intricately designed series of rope walkways and climbing structures allow you to channel your inner Spiderman as you navigate the 72 different obstacles at Wild Blue Ropes. Open daily through the summer; reservations encouraged. 1595 Highland Ave., Charleston | wildblueropes.com | 843-502-4066
Charleston Zip Line Adventures in Mount Pleasant offers high-flying fun with their zip line canopy tour, kids zipline and climbing wall. Their canopy tour starts from a 65 foot tower through the trees on 7 zip line cables between tree platforms, 3 swinging bridges, and a grande finale zip of 750 feet. Each tour is led by two highly trained guides. 1152 Guerins Bridge Rd., Awendaw | 843-928-3947
Decades of growing strife between North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. Visit the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center (340 Concord St.) and then take a boat to the fort itself to explore the grounds and artifacts. Book boat tours at fortsumtertours.com; boats depart both from the education center and Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. A new sunset tour is available every Friday evening through October. 843-883-3123 | nps.gov/fosu (Note: there is no elevator service at Fort Sumter)
Older children and teenagers will love being spooked by Charleston’s haunted history on a Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tour. Visit one of the city’s oldest graveyards after dark, learning about the famous folks buried there. Tours are offered daily at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; reservations encouraged. Bulldog Tours, 18 Anson St. in Charleston | 843-722-8687 | bulldogtours.com (Note: tours may not be suitable for young children)