Everyone loves Charleston, South Carolina. Everyone. It’s probably the trendiest town in American right now to visit for shopping and fine dining. Of course, it is a delightful city to visit without your children in tow… but there’s plenty to explore with kids, too. The city is old, with so much history to learn. Bringing the kids can be your excuse to try all of the touristy things. Here’s a Charelston SC vacation itinerary to mix in shopping and dining with learning. Looking for fun things to do with your family in Charleston, South Carolina? This two-day itinerary is sure to keep everyone entertained!
Myrtle Beach to Charleston SC takes about 2 hours, and is a pretty drive on 17. Locals love to stop at the Seewee Outpost for snacks, shopping, and gas!
DAY 1: check out Fort Sumter, check in to the Francis Marion
Book ahead for your vacation to Charleston, SC: make your reservations at the Francis Marion Hotel, at Coast for dinner, and book a Fort Sumter tour
Do: Tour Fort Sumter
- Take the Spirit of the Lowcountry to Fort Sumter, which is about a 30 minute boat ride. Knowledgeable volunteer tour guides keep the ride interesting with stories and history facts. You’re only at Fort Sumter for an hour, which is plenty of time to explore this national monument and museum.
Stay: Charleston SC Downtown Hotel
- Check in to the Francis Marion Hotel, one of the historic hotels of America, located in downtown Charleston on King Street. You’re in walking distance to shopping, dining, the Visitor’s Center, the Aquarium – it’s in a fantastic location. This beautiful hotel opened in 1924 and has beautiful rooms, friendly staff, valet service or a parking deck close by, and a Starbucks downstairs.
Dine: Charleston SC Seafood Restaurant
- Walk to dinner at seafood restaurant Coast Bar & Grille, which is located in a former indigo factory.
- Skip dessert at the restaurant to find a spot on King Street. We walked past Jeni’s because it had a long line, and had cookies at Insomnia.
DAY 2: Explore Charleston, SC by bus and Shem Creek by kayak
Book ahead for your Charleston, SC vacation: you’ll need reservations at 82 Queen, book the kayaks online at Coastal Expeditions
Do: Bus Tour of Historic Charleston
- Head over to the Charleston Visitor’s Center after waking up with Starbucks. The 90 minute bus tour of Charleston is a mix of dad jokes and historical facts – very edu-taining.
- The bus will drop you off at the Charleston City Market for shopping. So many incredible local vendors!!
- Lunch at Shem’s Creek
Do: Kayak Charleston, SC
- Kayak tour of Shem’s Creek: This is not your average kayak tour. Tayt with Coastal Expeditions is incredibly knowledgeable about coastal wildlife and the ecosystem, and can answer all things plough mud and throw out facts about every type of bird that flies by. 10/10 recommend.
- Coastal Expeditions offers a lot of cool excursions – including camping!! – to see SC wildlife including hikes, paddleboard tours, and kayaking other areas
Go: Aquarium in Charleston SC
- Kids love checking out the SC Aquarium, located right on the water in downtown Charleston. Feed the stingrays, pet a starfish, see all of the creatures in the aquariums. With excited kids, the aquarium will take an hour – two hours.
Dine: Dinner Downtown
- You’ll need to make reservations, but dinner at 82 Queen is the perfect Charleston experience – the old home is the coolest setting for dinner, and the Lowcountry cuisine is superb
DAY 3: Brunch + Shopping on King Street
Charleston is known for excellent shopping, and King Street is the place to be.
- Brunch at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit or Virginia’s on King
- Explore all of the major retail brands such as Apple, Sephora, Gucci, Warby Parker, and Anthropologie
- Don’t miss cool local shops including M. Dumas and Sons for men, Grit & Grace Studio, Old Whaling Company, and The Tiny Tassel
- Pick up a pair of Goldbugs at Croghan’s Jewel Box
What to do in Charleston, SC: more ideas
- Check out Patriot’s Point and the USS Yorktown
- Explore the Woodlands Nature Reserve
- Visit the Gibbs Museum of Art
- See live music, show, or theater production at the Galliard Center or Charleston Music Hall
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