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Kid-friendly activities in Charleston

We’re highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Charleston, SC has to offer — complete with art classes, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.

A family looks at a turtle in the aquarium.

Pro tip: An Aquarium membership is the perfect gift for all the hard-to-shop-for folks in your life — it’s a gift that keeps on giving, all year long.

Photo provided by the South Carolina Aquarium

Table of Contents

We’re not kiddin’ around. From major attractions like the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry to outdoor gems like Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark, there’s something in the Holy City for children of all ages. You’ll have no trouble entertaining the youngsters with this list of 30+ kid-friendly activities around the 843.

Charleston Museum Jan 2023

You can’t miss this whale skeleton at the museum.

Photo provided by The Charleston Museum

Educational activities

The Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., Charleston | $6+
Kids can examine fossils, explore historic artifacts, and learn about the Lowcountry’s cultural and natural history. Kids will remember trying on colonial clothing.

McLeod Plantation Historic Site, 325 Country Club Dr., Charleston | $6+

Visit this 37-acre Gullah Geechee heritage site to learn about the lives of those who lived and worked on the site in a way that is accessible for children. Kids will remember learning history while walking this historic site.

Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, 40 Patriots Point Rd., Mt. Pleasant | $23+

Learn about the two forts that stand at the entrance of Charleston Harbor. Hear stories and ask questions about how these places helped build the story of our nation. Kids will remember the ferry ride + the stories told.

History on Horseback, 4280 Ashley River Rd., Charleston | $78

Children eight years and older can experience history on a trail ride. No experience is necessary. Kids will remember learning history atop a horse.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, 40 Patriots Point Rd., Mt Pleasant | $16+

Hands-on history. Climb on board this museum that floats in the Charleston Harbor, where visitors can learn about the World War II aircraft carrier and America’s history. Kids will remember climbing through the USS Yorktown + seeing what life on deck would have been like.

Pirate Ship

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry’s new ceilings + track lighting

Photo by Leigh Webber via Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Indoor adventures

North Charleston Fire Museum, 4975 Centre Pointe Dr., North Charleston | $6

Whether your child is an aspiring firefighter or just looking to explore something new, this museum will captivate them with interactive displays and safety demonstrations. Kids are sure to remember lifting heavy gear.

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, 25 Ann St., Charleston | $13+

Hands-on fun. This museum is where kids will make memories while socializing and learning. Explore the creation station and make art or check out the Boeing BrightLab and work on projects with real tools and materials. Kids will remember climbing on a pirate ship while their imaginations run wild.

Sky Zone, 411 Wando Park Blvd., Mt. Pleasant | $27.99+

Jump around and burn some of that energy at this indoor trampoline park. Kids will remember learning aerial acrobatics.

Summit Adventure Park, 1964 Ashley River Rd., Charleston | $23+

Between dodgeball, soccer, and an arcade zone, there’s something for everyone at Summit Adventure Park. Kids will remember their first slam dunk.

Splash Island Waterpark | Photo by @palmettomermaidmommy

Splash Island Waterpark | Photo by @palmettomermaidmommy

Splash around

MLK, Jr. Pool, 155 Jackson St., Charleston | $1.50+

The year-round pool offers youth summer rates as low as 50 cents. Kids will remember beating the heat.

Splash Island Waterpark, 444 Needlerush Pkwy., Mt. Pleasant | $12.99 general park admission

Kids can splash around sprays, geysers, and raindrop waterfalls, plus slides for the older kids. Kids will remember the 200-ft body flume.

Splash Zone Waterpark, 871 Riverland Dr., Charleston | $17.99 general park admission

The rainforest play structure with slides is a highlight of this park for the smaller kids. Kids will remember the sprays and waterwalls of the 500-ft lazy river.

R.L. Jones Center Pool, 391 Egypt Rd., Mt. Pleasant | $5+

This indoor pool is perfect for rainy days and also offers swim lessons, non-competitive swimming, and water safety classes. Kids will remember learning to swim.

Daniel Island Waterfront Park, 101 River Landing, Charleston | Free

This waterfront park is located just off the Wando River and features a playground, hiking + walking trails along the riverfront, hammocks, and a fishing pier. Kids will remember splashing through the water fountain play area.

folly beach

Life is jolly when you head to Folly. | Photo by CHStoday

Hit the beach

Folly Beach | Free

Frolic at this family-friendly beach and enjoy a picnic lunch, beach games, and boogie boarding. Kids will remember building sand castles and collecting seashells.

Sullivan’s Island | Free

Spend a day in the sun, then grab a bite to eat at Home Team BBQ — known for its award-winning barbecue. Kids will remember dancing to the live music.

Isle of Palms | Free

Pack your sunscreen and explore seven miles of beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Kids will remember splashing in the water + dolphin spotting.

Splash Zone Waterpark | Photo by @charlestoncountyparks

Splash Zone Waterpark | Photo by @charlestoncountyparks

Thrill-seeking fun

Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark, 8888 University Blvd., North Charleston | $24.99

The Big Kahuna wave pool and giant slides will be a surefire draw for the bigger kids while the younger ones can enjoy the Big Splash Tree House. Kids will remember getting splashed by the giant bucket.

Charleston Fun Park, 3255 N. Hwy 17, Mt. Pleasant | $30+

Treat the family to bumper cars, go-karts, and even axe throwing. Kids will remember leaving you in the dust during a race.

Wild Blue Ropes, 1595 Highland Ave. | $21+

Check out this outdoor climbing park serving all skill levels. Kids will remember swinging and claiming their way through the 15-ft high course.

Charleston Zipline Adventures, 1152 Guerins Bridge Rd., Awendaw | $50+

Get ready for some adventure + experience the thrill of several zip line courses and swinging bridges. Kids will remember flying through the Lowcountry at new heights.

Escape 60, 45 Market St., Charleston | $32.99

Choose your escape adventure and start solving clues to break out of your locked room. Kids will remember racing against the clock to solve the riddle with the whole family.

Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

Pet the animals.

Photo provided by Southeastern Wildlife Exposition

Animal encounters

South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston | $25+

This aquarium has more than fish — kids can encounter 5,000+ animals including turtles and bald eagles. Kids will remember feeding animals in the touch tank.

Bee City Zoo, 1066 Holly Ridge Ln., Cottageville | $18

Head to this educational bee farm and interactive zoo. Kids will remember private animal encounters.

Wildlife Center, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, 3550 Ashley River Rd., Charleston | $21+

View rescued and indigenous animals like gray foxes, bobcats, pigs, and peacocks. Kids will remember coming face-to-face with lizards, turtles, and snakes.

The Animal Forest at Charles Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Rd., Charleston | $7+

See animals like otters, bears, and pumas in this 22-acre habitat. Pro tip: Be sure to go early and wear comfortable shoes. Kids will remember learning about unique animals.

With this landscape, we’ll take a walk any day.

Great outdoors

James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Dr., Charleston | $2

Featuring four miles of paved trails and one mile of unpaved trails, this park is perfect for young legs. Kids will remember renting a bike or kayak.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center, 5200 Savannah Hwy., Ravenel | $2

Catch a glimpse of wildlife across more than six miles of natural trails featuring trail-side exhibits. Kids will remember spotting songbirds, otters, and deer.

Charleston Waterfront Park, Vendue Range, Concord St., Charleston | Free

Kick your feet up on the family-sized swing and bring a picnic. Kids will remember splashing in the fountain.

Check out other places to take scenic walks and hikes around the Lowcountry.

Park Circle Reimagined_CHStoday

Fun for all.

Photo provided by the City of North Charleston.

Sensory-friendly playgrounds

Park Circle Playground, Park Circle, North Charleston | Free

Y’all means all. There is so much to explore, check out the world’s largest inclusive playground, the inclusive baseball field, and walking trails. Kids will remember running free in the 55,000-sqft playground.

Central Creek Park, 147 Old Moncks Corner Rd., Goose Creek | Free

This inclusive playground has several play opportunities for all to explore. Kids will remember the “Under the Sea” theme.

Tell us

Tell us how you like to spend time with your children in the 843.

Map it out

Be prepared

Shop some of our favorite kid-friendly essentials to keep the whole family happy, hydrated, and ready to make memories.

  • Owala Kids Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler | This tumbler has a spill-resistant straw (yes, that’s a thing) and is top-rack dishwasher safe.
  • Bentgo Kids 5-Compartment Lunch Box | Pack snacks for kids in a popular Bentgo box that’s BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
  • Nintendo Switch | You just can’t beat a handheld gaming device for keepings kids quiet, happy, and entertained during car rides around town.
  • Hap Tim Travel Backpack | Keep everything in a backpack that’s got good padding on the straps, plenty of compartments, a wide mouth opening, and a rain-resistant exterior.
  • Kids sketch pad | Kids can sketch, take notes, and feel connected to your adventures with a sketchbook meant to inspire creativity.
  • Disposable cameras | Kids will have a ton of fun + stay entertained by taking their own pictures of what they see during your adventures.
  • KeepGoing Travel First Aid Kit for Kids | Be prepared for minor scrapes or bruises that could slow your day down — this kit contains 60 pieces of essential first aid supplies.
  • Sunscreen stick | Have a portable sunscreen stick handy for outdoor adventures.
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