16 Fun Things To Do in Charleston With Kids

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A Long Weekend in Charleston Paid for with Points

Parents with young kids will find plenty of things to keep their little ones entertained in Charleston. From museums and historical sites to parks and playgrounds, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. And better yet, you can visit Charleston with points for nearly free! Read all the way to the end for tips on how to visit Charleston with points.

Charleston, South Carolina, is a beautiful and historical city in the southeastern United States that we had the privilege to visit last fall with our kids. The city is steeped with culture and things to do, making it the perfect vacation destination for families. We visited in the fall which meant milder temperatures and better attitudes from our kids who didn’t have to walk around in 90 degree heat!

Rainbow Row homes in Charleston, South Carolina with text overlay that says "16 Fun Things to do in Charleston with Kids"

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1. Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Spark your kids’ imaginations at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. With interactive art, culture, and history exhibits, your kids will learn while they play.

The Art Studio is an excellent place for kids to explore their creativity. They can make their masterpieces with paint, clay, and other materials. Meanwhile, the infant and toddler play space encourages gross motor skills development through play.

This museum is perfect for kids of all ages and will surely be a hit with the whole family.

2. North Charleston Fire Museum

Blending education with fun, the North Charleston Fire Museum is a great place to take your kids. They can learn about fire safety while viewing antique fire trucks and equipment.

Your kids will also be exposed to the rich history of the fire service in Charleston. They can see how firefighters have served the community for generations.

The North Charleston Fire Museum is a great way to teach your kids about fire safety and the critical role firefighters play in our society — while having fun!

3. South Carolina Aquarium

The Charleston Harbor is home to the South Carolina Aquarium. Here, your kids can see all kinds of marine life up close. The waterfront setting makes for a fun and educational experience.

Your kids will be fascinated by the sharks, loggerhead turtles, and stingrays. They can also learn about the importance of conservation at the Aquarium’s Conservation Institute.

Birds such as the Bald Eagle and Brown Pelican are also displayed at the Aquarium. Your kids will be amazed by the variety of wildlife in Charleston.

The South Carolina Aquarium is a must-visit if you have children interested in animals.

4. Angel Oak

Considered one of the oldest trees in America, the Angel Oak is a sight to behold. The massive tree is over 400 years old and provides shade for a park that your kids will love to explore.

The tree is an impressive sight with a staggering height of 6 ft. Your kids will be in awe of the size and majesty of the Angel Oak. It has survived hurricanes, earthquakes, and even the Civil War. The Angel Oak is a true testament to the strength of nature.

5. Visit Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation in South Carolina is a captivating historical site that offers an enriching experience for families with children. Steeped in history, this plantation boasts a stunning avenue of live oak trees, draped in Spanish moss, that provides a picturesque entrance that you may recognize from the movie “The Notebook”. 

Oak tree lined road with family standing in the street looking at camera. Oak trees are covered in spanish moss.

Our kids were fascinated by the preserved antebellum mansion, which offers a glimpse into the past, showcasing the grandeur and lifestyle of the plantation’s former residents. The sprawling grounds also feature beautiful gardens, a butterfly pavilion, and interactive exhibits that snuck in some education without being boring! 

A highlight for kids is the Gullah Cultural Arts Theater, where they can learn about the unique Gullah culture through engaging performances. Boone Hall Plantation’s family-friendly atmosphere, combined with its historical significance, makes it an ideal destination for an educational and enjoyable outing with kids, fostering an appreciation for history, culture, and nature.

Gullah Cultural Arts Theater at Boone Plantation in Charleston, SC. People sitting on wooden benched listening to a speaker in front of brick building.

6. Charleston City Market

Marion Square is located in the historic downtown district of Charleston and is home to the Charleston City Market. This market has been operating since 1989 and is a great place to take your kids.

Marion Square brick building filled with craft vendors and people walking around.

Your kids can see all kinds of fruits and vegetables being sold by local farmers. They can also get to see the artisan crafts that Charlestonians are selling. This is a great place to find a souvenir or eat something delicious!

7. Fort Sumter National Monument

Accessible by just a short ferry ride, Fort Sumter National Monument is a historic site that your kids will love. They can learn about the events that led to the Civil War and see how patriots fought for their beliefs.

Both outdoor and indoor exhibits are available at the monument. Your kids can see artifacts from the Civil War and learn about the people who fought in it.

Guided tours are also available and are a great way to learn about the history of Fort Sumter.

8. The Best Friend Train Museum

The Best Friend of Charleston is a train that served merchants in the city during the 19th century. Today, it is a museum that your kids will enjoy exploring.

Your kids can learn about the history of the train and see how it operates. Other educational activities are available at the museum to bring fun and learning to your kids.

9. Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Situated in Mount Pleasant, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum showcases naval ships from different eras. Your kids can explore the USS Yorktown, a massive aircraft carrier from World War II.

They can also see submarines, destroyers, and cruisers at the museum. If that’s not enough, they can also take a tour of a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships.

Your kids will be fascinated by the Patriots Point Museum.

10. Folly Beach County Park

Just a thirty-minute drive away from downtown Charleston is Folly County Park. A fun day awaits your kids at the beach, where they can swim, sunbathe, and build sandcastles.

There are also beach chairs and umbrellas available, so you can sit back and relax while your kids play. A boardwalk allows you to take a stroll along the beach.

11. Take a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

Taking a horse-drawn carriage tour in Charleston is a total blast, especially when you have your kids with you! The tour guides are like living history books, sharing all sorts of fascinating stories about Charleston’s past. It’s a fun and educational adventure rolled into one.

Brown Horse pulling a carriage. People in the front are petting the horse.

And what makes it even better is that you can book experiences like this within the Chase Travel Portal using points. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the $42 ride will cost you about 3300 Ultimate Rewards points per person. 

Horse pulling a carriage full of people in front of a large white historical home. Price for paying for Carriage ride with Chase points.

12. Charleston Museum

Considered one of the oldest museums in America, the Charleston Museum is a great place to take your kids. They can learn about historical artifacts, see how the city has changed over time, and explore different exhibits.

The museum also offers educational programs for kids designed to be fun and informative.

13. Joe Riley Waterfront Park

An eight-acre park located in downtown Charleston, Joe Riley Waterfront Park is a great place to take your kids. They can play in the fountain, explore the different gardens, and take a walk or bike ride along the river.

The park also has swings which are perfect for younger kids making it a great place for the whole family.

And don’t forget to snap a picture in front of the iconic pineapple fountain!

Family visiting Charleston with kids in front of the pineapple fountain in Joe Riley Waterfront Park.

14. Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park

If you have a kid who loves adventure, you’ll want to take them to Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park. They can zip line, swing on ropes, and climb through different obstacles.

There is also a summer camp program that your kids can participate in. They can make new friends and have a great time while learning about teamwork and leadership.

15. Visit the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon in Charleston, South Carolina, is a historical landmark that promises an enriching experience for families with children. This meticulously preserved colonial-era building stands as a symbol of Charleston’s rich history, and its significance in the American Revolution.

two boys looking at civil war artifacts at the Old Exchange in historic Charleston, SC

This old building is like a time machine to the days of the American Revolution, and it’s loaded with stories. The best part for kids? The Provost Dungeon! It’s a dark and eerie underground chamber that once held prisoners during the Revolutionary War. It’s like stepping into a history book, but way more fun. Plus, there are awesome exhibits and stuff to play with that make history feel like an adventure. So, if you want your kids to get a hands-on history lesson, this place is a must-visit. It’s history class, but without the yawns!

family standing in the Provost brick dungeon.

16. Walk along Rainbow Row

This one is more about a family photo op than anything else, although your kids may still love seeing the vibrant buildings. Plus, Rainbow Row is super close to the waterfront, so you can follow it up with a relaxing walk by the water or a quick visit to the nearby waterfront park. It’s a colorful and kid-friendly adventure that’ll add a splash of fun to your Charleston visit.

Rainbow colored houses with cars parked in front and along the street.

Where To Stay with Points in Charleston, SC

Are you looking for a place to stay with credit card points in Charleston with your kids? We used Chase points transferred to Hyatt for an affordable long weekend at the Hyatt House Charleston.

Hyatt House hotel in Charleston historic district

Hyatt House Charleston/Historic District

Downtown Charleston is the perfect place to stay with your kids, It has an indoor pool, free breakfast, and is located in the heart of the Charleston historic district within walking distance of many of the city’s attractions. Because it is a Hyatt House property, rooms come equipped with kitchenettes and sleep up to 6 people. 

You can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards and transfer them to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio for outstanding value. Standard rates range from $300-$400 a night but with Hyatt points you can book for as low as 12,000 points on off peak nights. 

Price for booking Hyatt House Charleston Historic District with cash or Hyatt points

Booking with points means you won’t be charged a resort fee which is an additional savings on top of the free night award!

Cards to Get for a Free Stay in Charleston

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Best travel card for beginners: Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Since offers change so frequently, visit my Best Offers page for the current welcome offer!
  • $50 hotel credit
  • 5X on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, 3X on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs) and 3X points on dining
  • $95 annual fee

World of Hyatt Credit Card

World of Hyatt credit card points
  • Visit my Best Offers page for the current welcome offer
  • 1 free night each year at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort
  • 9 points total for Hyatt stays – 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member
  • $95 annual fee

Conclusion

Charleston is such a great city for families. There are so many things to do and see, and the hotels are top-notch. And if you have credit card points, it’s an incredibly affordable place to visit!If you’re new to traveling with points be sure to check out my Beginner’s Guide to Traveling for Nearly Free! This hobby has changed our lives and I’d love to help you navigate the world of points and miles.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

16 Fun Things To Do in Charleston with Kids

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Kimberly Shearer Vacation Pointers blog writer

Hi! My name is Kim. I’m the mom of 3 boys, the wife to 1 husband, and the driver of a 2013 Toyota Sienna. I love Jesus and my family, I have an obsession with getting a good deal, and if I had it my way I’d spend every weekend at Disney World trying a new food shaped like a Disney character…

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