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5 Must-Do Activities for Families in Charleston, SC

Hello, I'm AnneMarie
I'm a lifestyle family photographer serving Greater Philadelphia, Delaware, and Maryland. A mother to three children, two goldendoodles, and married for 2 decades.
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Are you looking for a quick getaway with kids? Charleston, SC offers so much history, charm, outdoor adventures, and good eats! I’m going to share our top 5 activities in Charleston, and a few of our favorite spots to grab kid-friendly food.

Earlier this month our family’s flights were cancelled to head out to Denver, CO. With no flights available for days on end, we decided to throw our luggage in the minivan, and start driving South. Charleston, SC was an easy choice for a spontaneous winter getaway! With lovely weather and all that glorious sunshine that we are missing up north in Delaware, tons of photo opportunities and activities for the kids, it’s the perfect destination for a family road trip!

For lodging, we grabbed a cheap off-season Airbnb as our home base in Mount Pleasant, SC, just about 15 minutes outside of the city. It was low-key, and even had a trampoline and tree-swing in the backyard for the kids. A kitchen is always important when traveling with kids so we can save money and prepare our own meals when we are at the home base!

With just 3 short days in Charleston, we packed the days in with lots of exploration around town. These are my top 5 family-friendly activities.

  1. Boat Ride to Fort Sumter


Ferry to Fort Sumter National Park Charleston SC

Ferry to Fort Sumter National Park Charleston SC


Fort Sumter National Park Charleston, SC Destination Family Photographer

Fort Sumter National Park Charleston, SC


Canons at Fort Sumter National Park Destination Family Photographer

This was a highlight of our trip, exploring the location of the first shots of the Civil War, and my kids helping to raise the US flag.


Ferry to Fort Sumter Charleston SC

Working on the Junior Ranger Program kept the kids busy on the windy ride back to Charleston. They learned so much from this tour and it was totally worth the ferry ride cost!

2. Battery Park, Charleston SC

After the boat ride to Fort Sumter, we needed to let the kids get some outdoor playtime and we headed to Battery Park. This is a beautiful area in Charleston right on the water, with loads of old-growth oak trees and Spanish Moss. Makes for a beautiful photo opp! The kids had fun playing around the trees and running around the park.


Battery Park Charleston SC Destination Family Photographer


3. King Street Shopping and Dining

We had some of our favorite food in Charleston at Hero Doughnuts! Walking along King St. was so fun to see many shops and restaurants. We were getting HUNGRY after all this outdoor time and so much walking. The doughnuts at Hero are pillowy, buttery, and fluffy. I’ve never tasted anything like them! Even better was the fried chicken sandwich on their homemade buns with their special Hero sauce. I’m still dreaming about that sandwich! Good thing I grabbed some bottled sauce to bring home that deliciousness with me!


Soft, pillowy doughnuts at Hero Doughnuts in Charleston SC

The most delicious treats ever at Hero Doughnuts, SC

4. Boone Hall Plantation Tour

When I heard that The Notebook was filmed at a plantation just 1 mile away from our Airbnb in Mount Pleasant, SC, I knew we had to check out this place. The entry fee may feel a little pricey, but it was 100 percent worth it for all of us to learn from their wonderful guides and presenters. We learned about the history of plantation and slave life, walked in the original slave quarters, and took a tour of the lovely property. Our kids learned so much about the difficult life for the enslaved people, and the unique Gullah culture of the region. The kids enjoyed climbing a 600-year old oak tree in the backyard of the main home, and we soaked up lots of sunshine and fresh air.



Boone Hall Plantation Mount Pleasant SC Destination Family Photographer

This is the beautiful driveway of the Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, SC.


ancient oak trees with spanish moss Boone Hall Plantation SC

Climbing around this beautiful 600-year old oak tree at Boone Hall Plantation.



Boone Hall Plantation Mt Pleasant SC Slave Quarters

Discovering the Slave Quarters at the Boone Hall Plantation in Mt Pleasant SC.

5. Folly Beach, South Carolina

Our trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the shore, even if the winter weather was still chilly. We had a blast searching for shark teeth and seashells at low tide. The day we were there we didn’t find too many shells, but I have read it’s possible to find many shark teeth at this beach so that’s why we chose it! It was still beautiful and made for wonderful photo opps to visit at low-tide and sunset.


Folly Beach SC Destination Family Photographer



Folly Beach SC

Besides these 5 top activities for families in Charleston, just walking around town and exploring all the historic homes filled our days. Heres a few faves from our in-town adventures!


Charleston SC Historic Homes Destination Photographer

Kid Friendly Dining in Charleston, SC

We had some great meals in town, and I highly recommend checking out these places if you are traveling with kids!

Ru Ru’s Tacos & Tequila (E Bay St)

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (King Street)

OMG Candy Store (King Street)

Hero Doughnuts (Calhoun St)

Mario’s Italian Ristorante – authentic Italian and wood-fired pizzas SO yum! (King St)

If you are traveling to Charleston SC with your family and are looking for a destination family photographer, I’d love to capture your family in this charming city. I specialize in lifestyle family photography wherever you may be traveling with kids.

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