Earlier this spring, my girlfriends and I planned an epic weekend in Charleston. It included indulging in all of the eats and drinks the city had to offer. As moms vacationing without kids, we intentionally selected places we probably wouldn’t bring our children. It got me thinking about how different a trip to Charleston would look WITH littles in tow.
After living here for a year, I’m excited to condense some of our favorite family activities into a four day itinerary for your family.
Family-Friendly Activities for a Weekend in Charleston
Before your arrival, I would recommend booking an Airbnb so your family will be able to sprawl out and relax. Most Airbnbs in Charleston are located in the same general area of the city, due to short-term rental regulations, so I wouldn’t spend too much time mulling over the exact downtown location. Just know this: if you’re staying in the downtown rental area, you’ll be very centrally located to all the city and surrounding areas have to offer. Pro Tip: If you are traveling with young children, be sure to look for a property with amenities that make travel easier, like a pack and play and a high chair.
Thursday — Get Settled
You’ll probably arrive before you’re able to check into your Airbnb. While you should certainly request an early check-in, just know there is plenty to do beforehand if it’s not a possibility.
EAT– Huriyali – Enjoy delicious acai bowls and healthy smoothies in their beautiful backyard garden oasis.
EXPLORE – Hampton Park – From lush landscaping to a pond with ducks and a playground, your family will have a lovely time exploring.
EXPLORE a plantation or gardens: Once you’ve checked into your Airbnb, you might consider checking out one of the many beautiful gardens or historic plantations. Here are a few options to consider: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Cypress Gardens, Boone Hall, or Middleton Place.
EAT – If you want to stay close, Edmund’s Oast Brewery or Edmund’s Oast Restaurant are great choices. They have delicious beers and tasty foods. The brewery has a large outdoor turf for your children to run around – bring a ball and some bubbles! The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor dining space that is extremely kid-friendly. If you’re willing to drive about 10 minutes, Holy City is another fabulous option. It’s a brewery with a HUGE outdoor space for your children to run wild.
Friday – Mt. Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island
EAT – Vintage Coffee – This is the cutest spot for grabbing coffee and breakfast. (Note: they also have a pizza place on-site called Coastal Crust and an ice cream camper called Coastal Creamery). Before your food comes out, your kids can play on an old vintage truck turned into a playground.
EXPLORE – If you’re looking to spend time outdoors and let your kids play, Alhambra Playground and Pitt Street Bridge are two of my favorites for kiddos. Located in the historic Old Village, you’ll be wowed by beauty. Alhambra is an expansive playground and Pitt Street Bridge is fantastic for scooters, walking, or fishing. Looking for something educational instead? Consider Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. There will be no shortage of learning!
EAT – Pick up sandwiches at the Co-Op (ya know, maybe consider some frose…) to take to the beach.
EXPLORE – Sullivan’s Island has so many different entry points. Station 28.5 is our favorite but consider 18 instead if you have a wagon or stroller. Pro Tip: Read up on the beaches before you go.
EAT – If you stay long enough, you may work up an appetite for an early dinner. Obstinate Daughter has kid-friendly outdoor seating and is so delicious.
EXPLORE – Ready to get in one last thing before the kids go to bed? Consider walking the bridge (park at Memorial Riverfront Park) or taking the water taxi at sunset before you head back downtown.
Saturday – Downtown Sightseeing
EAT – It’s picnic time! What better way to relax than a picnic at White Point Gardens?
EXPLORE – From White Point Gardens, continue on to The Battery, Joe Riley Waterfront Park, Rainbow Row, and more just by walking around.
Sunday – Folly Beach
EAT – Daps – Before heading to Folly, fill your bellies with the most delicious breakfast. My husband and I make jokes that we should offer a money back guarantee to people with how much we rave about this place. We love their breakfast sandwiches and pancakes.
EXPLORE – Folly Beach County Park has restrooms and showers, making it a very family-friendly option.
EXPLORE – The Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve is fantastic for exploring with your kiddos. Pro Tip: Download a tides app and go at low tide.
EAT – If you happen to stay at Folly all day, Rita’s Seaside Grille is a delicious restaurant with a funky vibe, just like Folly. We enjoy sitting outside and soaking up live music on the days they have it.
Not into the beach? Check out some of these other fantastic waterparks and splash pads.