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Seven Kid-Friendly Things To Do In Charleston PullOverAndLetMeOut
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Anna Marie

Seven kid-friendly things to do in Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina is a historic city filled with kid-friendly attractions and things to do!
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Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

Considering a family vacation to Charleston?

There’s so much to do in Charleston, you’re likely to have a tough time deciding where to go first.  This gorgeous coastal town offers unlimited possibilities for family fun, certain to keep young ones entertained.

Here are seven fantastic options that will keep parents and young travelers happy.

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1. Fort Sumter

Flag flying over Fort Sumter, SC
Fort Sumter in the Charleston harbor

Catch the boat and take the journey across the bustling Charleston Harbor to Fort Sumter.

Kids will enjoy the journey as much as the experience of visiting the historic fort. While at the fort, listen to park rangers tell the history of this important location that played a role in both the American Revolution and the Civil War.  It’s also a wonderful spot for exploring.

If you’re not really into history, this may not be your cup of tea, but the boat ride and the fort are pretty cool.  If you are a history buff, just being in such a significant historic location is awe-inspiring.

Wear comfortable shoes, bring a water bottle and sunblock, and allow a few hours to take this tour.

people getting off a boat called Spirit of the Lowcountry in Charleston
Spirit of the Lowcountry is a family-friendly cruise to Fort Sumter

2. The Aquarium

Exterior of the South Carolina Aquarium
The South Carolina Aquarium offers hands-on fun and learning.

Kids love the South Carolina Aquarium.  Located in Liberty Square, this is an exciting, interactive, fun-spot. Young visitors will enjoy hands-on experiences like touching starfish, sea urchins, stingrays, and sharks – perfect for tactile learners.  They can take a trip through Madagascar, visit with lemurs, and get their passports stamped!

The museum also features a sea turtle hospital and multiple 4D movies which can be viewed when you purchase an upgraded admission ticket. This is a family-friendly adventure the kids will remember for years to come.

Kid looking up close at the lemurs
Kids love getting up close to the lemurs.

3. Charleston City Market

Exterior of the City Market in Charleston SC
City Market established in 1807

If the young ones are up for a little bit of walking, the City Market is perfect. Established in 1807, the market is Charleston’s #1 most visited attraction.  Visitors can stroll through the open-air market, watch sweet grass baskets being made, see unique items artisans and vendors are selling, and visit the many shops along the way. The market is a great place to find the ideal souvenir or to enjoy the local cuisine.

Sweet grass baskets for sale in Charleston, SC
Kids will be fascinated watching the artisans creating sweetgrass baskets at the City Market.
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To become a certified tour guide in Charleston, each applicant must pass a written exam consisting of 200 questions and must pass with a 70% or above score.

4. Carriage Rides

two mules pulling a carriage down the street in Charleston
Carter and Cash the mules travel the streets of Charleston

By far, the most fun way to get around Charleston is a carriage ride.  You can make a reservation ahead of time, or take a chance and go on down to the City Market where the tours commence.

The tours are tightly regulated by the city and the animals are well-cared for.  Details such as where the tours go, how often the horses or mules get a break, and even clean-up is structured to assure the city’s animals and humans are content.

The guides are experts on the city and its history.  In fact, our tour guide had just completed her master’s degree at the College of Charleston.  The tours are a fun way to learn and kids will come away with interesting facts they can impress their friends with. Facts like, what’s the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery?  A graveyard is beside a church, a cemetery isn’t.

Arrive early for your tour and meet the mules or horses who will be pulling the carriage. Our carriage was powered by Carter and Cash.

Mules eating
Arrive early so the kids can meet the mules.

5. Patriots Point

Patriots Point sits across the harbor at Mt. Pleasant.  This is South Carolina’s number 1 heritage attraction, the home of the USS Yorktown, and the fourth largest naval museum in the country.  It’s also a fantastic location for youngsters to have fun and learn.

Patriots Point has 29 aircraft on display from conflicts from WWII to present-day operations. Aviation enthusiasts will have a blast aboard this aircraft carrier museum.   Speaking of museums, Patriots Point is home to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and their official Medal of Honor Museum.  In addition to the aircraft and the museums, Patriots Point boasts one of the largest education and overnight camping programs in the nation.

With so much to do, you’ll want to plan ahead and make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to spend exploring this popular destination. Click here to learn more about Patriots Point.

USS Yorktown battleship
The USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

6. Charleston Restaurants

Charleston is renowned for its culinary scene and there are plenty of places that cater to younger appetites.  Depending upon the age and what you’re looking for, you can find something to accommodate the crowd.  From haute cuisine to a more familiar chain-style experience, there are literally hundreds of restaurantsin Charleston to select from.

That being said, know your crowd, your budget, and call ahead to make sure you won’t have too long of a wait.  We found a fun outdoor play area to pass some time before our meal at Bubba Gump’s down at the City Market.

Bubba Gump bucket
Kids enjoy the outdoor play area at Bubba Gump

7. Charleston Beaches

If the heat and humidity have you looking for a way to cool off, there are several beaches close at hand. Folly BeachIsle of PalmsSullivan’s IslandKiawah Island, and Seabrook Island are all within a short distance of historic Charleston.  Spend a day or an afternoon at one of these pristine beaches along the Atlantic.

If you’re interested in leaving the sandy beaches and hitting the water, there are dolphin tours, kayak tours, and sunset tours, and many other water tours to choose from.

Charleston waterfront homes
Charleston's waterfront and nearby beaches appeal to kids of all ages

More fun things to do in Charleston

Whatever your children enjoy doing on vacation, you’re sure to find something to appeal to young travelers while visiting Charleston.  When I asked my son what his favorite thing about Charleston was, he said, “Being able to walk to just about everything.”

I agree!  Charleston offers plenty of variety and it’s a  family and foot-friendly city.

More Charleston stories you’ll enjoy reading:
Discover Patriots Point and ‘Walk in the Steps of Heroes”
The Angel Oak Tree Near Charleston; a Free Lowcountry Favorite

Mother and son taking a selfie at Fort Sumter
Charleston is mom-tested and kid-approved!

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