My Kids’ Charleston Bucket List

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We found out recently that we would be moving out of state before the end of the year. My husband and I are used to moving around, I bounced around a lot in my early 20s after leaving school and my husband joined the Marines at 18 so we’re familiar with uprooting everything to go to a new location.

But Charleston has been the place that we’ve been the longest.

It’s the place my daughter remembers the most, and the only place my son has ever known. Usually, moving is just all excitement for us as we hit the road for a new adventure, but this time it’s more bittersweet. Our family became whole in Charleston, so it will always hold a special place in our hearts. 

Because it is so special to us I wanted to make a bucket list of all the things I wanted to do and see before we left. We’ve lived here for almost seven years but there’s still so much I never did, simply because I kind of thought we’d always be here. So I made my list and looked at it. It had a lot of Charleston’s best on it; Rainbow Row, Fort Sumpter, The Charleston Tea Garden. But then I realized, this should be more about my kids, and the things they want to do, and getting to see the things that they’ll miss one more time before we go. I scrapped my list and asked them what they would want to do for the next few weeks and here’s what they came up with.

A Charleston bucket list (created by kids)

    1. Go to Folly Beach.
      My kids in their natural habitat, swimming at the beach.

      Folly Beach has always been their favorite. And they don’t care what the weather is, I’ve watched my daughter run out into the ocean in a hoodie and winter boots on, just having the time of her life.

    2. Finish the long hike at Cypress Gardens and take a boat ride in the swamp.
      Enjoying nature at Cypress Gardens

      The first time we visited Cypress Gardens was during the summer. It was hot and humid and so a long hike through the swamp was just not on the agenda that day. Cypress Gardens is still one of their go tos for the weekends if we ask what they want to do though. The playground is fun, parking is easy, and we get to explore nature for the day.

    3. Go visit U.S.S Yorktown. We have actually been here a few times. Usually when family is visiting, but the kids always love it. Walking around an aircraft carrier and getting to see how it is to live on a ship fascinates them. Everything feels humongous and minuscule at the same time. 
    4. Go to The Festival of Lights.  We don’t have a lot of long-standing traditions in our family, but The Festival of Lights is the one thing we have done every year since we moved here. It doesn’t matter that the lights are the same, or that some years it’s so warm we just walk around a holiday festival in t-shirts. In our family, Christmas doesn’t start until we drive out to James Island to drive through the lights and ride the carousel.
    5. Visit the Aquarium.
      The Big tank at the aquarium

      The aquarium has been a special spot for my kids for a long time. During the summer when it’s too hot to be outside we would go visit the fish and the touch tank. And we would make sure to say goodbye to all the sea turtles before leaving. 

    6. Play at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. The first day we moved here, I was alone with Alice while my husband was working and we sat in a half-unpacked house. I took her to the Children’s Museum and we never looked back. It’s such a great place to go if you want to entertain kids for the day. The rooms are always changing so there’s always something new to explore. We’ll be sad to have to leave it behind.
    7. Eat at Jackrabbit Filly.
      outside of our favorite restaurant.

      I’ve mentioned this place so many times, there’s no doubt that I love it. When restaurants were only doing carry out we ordered from them once a week, not just to support our local restaurant workers, but because they are so good! My kids have only been inside once right when they first opened, but my daughter asked if we could go back one more time and eat inside so she can sit by the yellow rabbit wallpaper again. 

    8. Breakfast at the Waffle House. Not going to lie, I laughed a little when Atticus asked me to put this on the list. For some reason, Waffle House is the most magical place to him. And since it is a southern thing, and I know they won’t have any 1000 miles north in our new home, I’m definitely going to make sure we get some greasy hash browns and waffles before we move.
    9. Boone Hall Plantation. I will admit, I’ve never been to Boone Hall until it was put on our list. It’s not that I didn’t think it would be fun, but it just seemed so touristy to me I never felt the need to go. I’m happy we did though. In October we went to the pumpkin patch. The kids were so excited the entire time, we went on a tractor ride, and played on playgrounds, and fed a camel, and finally picked out two pumpkins so big the kids couldn’t even lift them. It’s a great memory that I hope they’ll think about after we’re gone. 
  1. I have never been one to be attached to a house or a city. I’m much more of someone who thinks of home as where my family and loved ones are, but Charleston has definitely become a part of us in a way that I don’t think we’ll ever forget. And even though I’m very excited to start the next chapter, I sure will miss Charleston.

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