Charleston: Free & Low-Cost Events for Families

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What’s better than summer fun? Summer fun on the cheap! We’re compiling a list of free and low-cost summertime events perfect for visitors or families looking to entertain the kiddos until school’s back in session.

We’d love to add your free and low-cost events to our list! Email us at or post your event to our newly designed calendar.

1. Movie Nights

Spread out on a blanket and enjoy a family flick under the stars at one of the local movie nights. Wannamaker Movie Night is July 11, Aug. 8 and Sept. 12 at Wannamaker County Park in North Charleston. Admission is free with regular park admission ($1/person).

Starlight Cinema at Freshfields Village on Kiawah Island plays movies on the green at 8:30 p.m. each Wednesday through Sept. 2. Free admission. Movies in the Park with Cinebarre is at Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant. Movies begin at sunset (about 9 p.m.) each Friday night in August. Free admission and parking.

The Town of Summerville is hosting free movies on the football field at Gahagan Park. Movies begin at 8:30 p.m. on July 31, Aug. 7 and Aug. 14.

2. A Day at the Beach

Spend the day soaking up the sun at the beach. Visit one of Charleston’s local beaches – Isle of Palms, Kiawah, Sullivan’s Island or Folly – to splash in the waves and walk the beach collecting shells to take back home. Review our Charleston Area Beach Guide.

3. Ready to Readstack of books

The Charleston County Public Library offers a host of free activities for kids, including crafts, storytelling, puppet shows, movies and more. Many events are part of the summer reading program; check the schedule and locations at

4. Play at the Park

Splash in fountains at Waterfront Park. This city park on the Charleston harbor has fountains perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. Explore Charleston’s other parks – all 120 parks and green spaces in the city. View a full Park Directory on the Charleston Parks Conservancy’s website.

5. Splash Day

Get wet and wild at Splash Day on July 15 at Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant. Kids can play on the giant water inflatables while cooling off in a fire department spray down. Special area for ages 6 and under. Free admission and parking.

Charleston RiverDogs
photo/Charleston RiverDogs

6. Charleston RiverDogs Game

Take the kids out to the ballgame and enjoy a night at Joe Riley Stadium on the Ashley River. Watch the Charleston RiverDogs and enjoy some serious ballpark grub. Tickets start at $15.

7. Save on Children’s Museum

On a hot day, cool at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. And use our coupon to save $5 off admission. The museum has a kid-sized grocery store, arts and crafts room, pirate ship and castle for pretend play.

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Charleston FAQ's

Choosing a hotel and where to stay in Charleston all depends on your budget and goals. Do you want to stay Downtown, at the beach or in the outer areas such as North Charleston where you have to drive to get everywhere? For more help on deciding:

Charleston has 3 main public beaches which are: Folly, Isle of Palms and Sullivans. Each beach has it’s own atmosphere. The most common beach that people visit is Folly Beach and then Isle of Palms followed by Sullivans Island. For more info on Charleston’s beaches visit:

Charleston, SC is full of historical things to do. Everything from museums, to public sites and free landmark sites such as Rainbow Row and the Battery can be seen. For more info on Charleston’s top historical sites visit:

There are many things that will keep the kids and family entertained and educated in Charleston. There are historic sites such as Fort Sumter, a Children’s Museum, Aquarium and the USS Yorktown…a WWII era aircraft carrier you can tour. For more info visit:

There’s so many  things you could do in Charleston it can be overwhelming. We recommend that first time visitors, checkout the ultimate first-time visitor guide here:

Spring in Charleston, SC is an amazing time of year to visit. The flowers are blooming and the weather is mild and sunny. For more info, check-out our spring guide to Charleston here:

Summer in Charleston is a great time to visit. There’s plenty of things to keep you busy and visiting the beach will probably….or should be on your short-list. Also water-based activities and tours are popular. Checkout this summer guide to Charleston for more info: 

Our 10 Favorite Summer Activities in Charleston

Fall is one of the best times to visit. The weather cools down a bit and the skies are typically blue and clear. In addition there are many great events, festivals and the large crowds of summer have gone back to school or work. For more info on visiting in the fall, checkout this article:

There are so many great things to do that it’s difficult to narrow the list down. This article does a great job with figuring out the must do things to do in Charleston

7 Can’t Miss Reasons to Visit Charleston, SC Now

The consensus is a minimum of 3-days is needed to settle in and experience Charleston. For instance, many people take 2 days exploring downtown and another day visiting sites outside of downtown such as the plantations, Angel Oak Tree or beaches. Checkout this page for a list of tours and attractions: 

Charleston’s Top Tours & Attractions | Things to do

Downtown Charleston was made for walking and for sure one of the best way to soak up and experience the history first-hand. This article goes over getting around Charleston with and without a car as well: 

Getting Around Charleston, SC

We’re of course partial to Charleston, but here’s the truth. There are many similarities however there are some differences in our opinion: 

  • Both cities are historic and beautiful. 
  • Both cities are extremely walkable. Savannah, with it’s park-like squares maybe more walkable than Charleston. 
  • Charleston has a more established and food scene with many more options. 
  • Charleston has better hotels and shopping.
  • Both cities have equally good tours.
  • Charleston has better beach options. Savannah has Tybee which is great, however it’s 1 beach vibe versus Charleston which has 3 beaches with different vibes. Checkout this Charleston beach guide article:
  • In Savannah you can walk with alcoholic beverages on the street. This is not allowed in Charleston. This can be good or bad depending on your stance. 
  • Savannah is more affordable.
  • TourPass offers all-inclusive passes in both cities:

There are always great and world-class events happening in Charleston. For a calendar of events and things to do in Charleston, checkout our online calendar of events:

Of course there are free money-saving coupons that you can use. Visit the coupons page for a bunch of ways to save:

Charleston has some fantastic can’t miss tours such as Fort Sumter, carriage, ghost, harbor, historic and culinary tours. For a full list with more info visit:

Checkout the Charleston Relocation Guide page which will guide you during your move:

Additional Places to Explore

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