Activities for Kids and Teens in Charleston

Charleston is full of things to do if you have kids and teens. Please note that the availability of activities may change, so it's always a good idea to check each site for the latest up to date information. Here's a diverse list of activities suitable for different ages:

Children's Museum of the Lowcountry

Ideal for younger kids, this museum features interactive exhibits, play areas, and educational programs.

The hands-on exhibits encourage children to explore, play, and learn and often focus on themes related to science, art, history, and culture. There are usually areas dedicated to artistic expression, allowing kids to engage in creative activities such as drawing, painting, and crafts. These spaces often rotate themes to keep the experience fresh for returning visitors. 

Pirate Ship for Kids

There are Role-Playing and Pretend Play spaces where kids can engage in imaginative play, like pretending to be chefs, doctors, firefighters, or other roles. These areas often include costumes and props to enhance the experience. Some exhibits focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts, providing children with opportunities to explore basic scientific principles through fun and interactive experiments.

The museum typically offers educational programs, workshops, and special events. These may include story time sessions, science demonstrations, and other scheduled activities designed to enhance the learning experience. Birthday Parties and Special Events can be booked with themed decorations, and organized activities for groups. 

The museum experience is often designed to encourage parents and caregivers to actively participate with their children, fostering positive interactions and shared learning experiences. Before planning a visit, it's recommended to check the museum's website or contact them directly for up-to-date information on exhibits, programs, and any guidelines or restrictions that may be in place.

Charleston Waterfront Park

fountain at waterfront park

Charleston Waterfront Park is a popular and picturesque Public Park located in the historic district and is a great place for families to enjoy the outdoors, with spacious lawns, fountains, and walking paths along the waterfront. It's known for its beautiful gardens, and scenic views of the Charleston Harbor. The park is adorned with iconic swinging benches, providing a relaxing and charming place for visitors to sit and enjoy the views of the harbor and the Ravenel Bridge. One of the park's focal points is the Pineapple Fountain, a symbol of hospitality. It's a popular spot for photos, and kids often enjoy playing in the shallow pool surrounding the fountain. The park’s well-maintained walking paths make it a pleasant place for a leisurely stroll, winding through beautifully landscaped areas. The landscaped green spaces and gardens have a variety of plants and flowers creating a tranquil atmosphere. It's a lovely place for picnics, reading, or simply enjoying nature. The park's location along the harbor provides stunning views of the water, boats, and the iconic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. It's a popular spot for watching ships and taking in the scenery.

You may find public art installations and sculptures throughout the park, contributing to the cultural and artistic ambiance. Some areas of the park may include historical markers or information about the significance of the location and its role in Charleston's history.

Charleston Tea Garden

Charleston tea plantation tea leaves

Teens may appreciate a visit to the only tea plantation in North America, where they can learn about tea production and sample various blends. The Charleston Tea Garden is a popular destination for tea enthusiasts. It's the only tea plantation in North America and is known for its beautiful tea fields and educational tours. Visitors can take a guided tour of the tea factory to learn about the tea-making process, from harvesting to packaging. The tours provide insights into the history of tea production and the unique aspects of growing tea in the Lowcountry. Trolley tours take visitors around the expansive tea fields, providing a closer look at the tea plants and the cultivation process. Knowledgeable guides share information about the plantation's history and tea production.

The Charleston Tea Garden offers educational programs and workshops where visitors can delve deeper into the art of tea making, the history of tea, and the unique characteristics of tea plants. The plantation occasionally hosts special events, including tea tastings, themed festivals, and seasonal celebrations. These events may offer unique experiences and opportunities to try different tea varieties. The on-site gift shop typically offers a variety of tea-related products, including various tea blends produced at the plantation, tea ware, and souvenirs. The picturesque surroundings, including the tea fields and the scenic landscape, provide excellent opportunities for photography.

South Carolina Aquarium

Outside of the building of the South Carolina aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium offers a captivating underwater experience with exhibits featuring marine life from the region and beyond. One of the main highlights is the Great Ocean Tank, a massive exhibit that features a variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, and other colorful fish. Visitors can observe these creatures from a large viewing area.

The aquarium is actively involved in sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation. Visitors can learn about the conservation efforts to protect these endangered animals and may have the opportunity to see sea turtles in various stages of recovery. Visitors can explore exhibits that showcase the unique ecosystems of the South Carolina coast, including interactive displays highlighting local flora and fauna. The salt marsh habitat exhibit, features bird species and other wildlife that inhabit these coastal areas.

The aquarium often provides interactive touch tank experiences where visitors can touch and learn about marine creatures like stingrays and horseshoe crabs. Throughout the aquarium, there are interactive displays and educational exhibits that engage visitors of all ages. These may include information about marine biology, conservation efforts, and the importance of protecting aquatic ecosystems. The SC Aquarium offers educational programs and activities for visitors, including school groups.

These programs may cover a range of topics related to marine life, conservation, and environmental awareness. Scheduled animal encounters or feedings provide opportunities for visitors to learn more about specific species and their behaviors often led by knowledgeable aquarium staff. The aquarium gift shop is where visitors can purchase souvenirs, books, and educational materials. There's also a cafe for snacks and meals.

The Gibbes Museum of Art

interior of gibbs art museum charleston south carolina

The Gibbes Museum of Art is a place to engage in art appreciation with exhibits suitable for various age groups. Some programs cater specifically to children and teens. The museum offers art classes and workshops tailored to different age groups. These hands-on experiences allow children to explore their creativity and learn about various art techniques. Family-friendly programs and events are often organized, providing opportunities for parents and children to explore the museum together. These events may include interactive gallery tours, storytelling sessions, and art-making activities. The museum may arrange guided tours for school groups and other organizations designed to be educational and engaging, introducing children to the museum's collections and exhibitions.

During the summer months, the Gibbes Museum offers art-focused camps for children. These camps often involve a combination of gallery exploration and hands-on art projects. Sometimes they have interactive programs like "Art Detectives," where children are given tasks or questions to solve as they explore the gallery. This approach makes the museum visit more interactive and engaging for young visitors. In response to changing circumstances or as part of regular programming, the museum may provide take-home art kits or activity sheets for children. These materials allow kids to continue their art exploration at home.

The museum may host special events, festivals, or family days with additional activities, performances, and interactive installations for children. For older children and teens, the museum may offer programs designed to cater to specific interests and provide a more in-depth exploration of art and culture.

When planning a visit with children, it's a good idea to visit their website and inquire about the current offerings and any age-specific activities that may be available during your visit.

Folly Beach

Close up of a seagull flying in Folly Beach

Enjoy a day at the beach with family-friendly activities, such as swimming, sandcastle building, beach volleyball, and water sports for older teens such as boogie boarding in the ocean waves. Bring beach games like beach volleyball, frisbee, or paddleball for some family fun. Teens and adults can explore the waterways around Folly Beach with kayaking trips. Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is a popular water activity and is generally suitable for teens. Families can explore the natural beauty of Folly Beach with guided eco tours or bird-watching excursions or visit the Morris Island Lighthouse for a bit of history and a scenic view. 

Folly Beach is known for its surfing culture, and there are surf schools that offer lessons for beginners. Fishing charters or pier fishing can be a great way to introduce kids to the world of fishing. Folly Beach also has bike-friendly areas. You can even rent bikes for a fun way to explore the island. You can also learn about the history of Folly Beach and the Charleston area through guided historical tours. Folly Beach has several family-friendly restaurants and ice cream shops where kids can enjoy a treat. And, depending on the time of year, there may be summer camps or day camps available for kids.

Check for any local events or festivals that might be happening during your visit. These can include music festivals, art events, or community gatherings. Before planning your visit, it's a good idea to check with local tourism offices or the Folly Beach website for the most up-to-date information on activities and events.

Children’s Treasure Hunt Tour

Statue in the middle of Whitepoint Gardens

Embark on an adventure through history with the Children's Treasure Hunt Tour at White Point Gardens, Charleston, SC, a delightful escapade designed for kids and their grown-ups. Nestled at the scenic junction of East Battery and Murray Blvd., this interactive journey breathes life into history through engaging, hands-on activities that captivate both young minds and their adults. Over the course of an hour, participants engage in spirited sword drills and craft their very own pirate flags while on a quest for treasure in the expansive and safe playground of White Point Gardens. 

The tour is a treasure trove of fun souvenirs, including swords, treasure chests, maps, balloon parrots, and pirate flags, ensuring a memorable experience for all. Perfectly timed at one hour, it suits the attention spans of young adventurers. The tour is not only fun but educational, offering insights into history and pirate lore that will fascinate attendees of all ages. If you are interested in pirates and history be sure to check out our article “The Pirates That Charleston Encountered”. 

Remember, while kids under 3 join for free, securing a ticket for them ensures they too can partake in the full pirate experience!

Kids can Captain a Ship

Kids play captain

Take a tour of Charleston Harbor with Captain Dave and Carolina Marine Group. Learn about Charleston history as you relax on the water with the refreshments and snacks of your choosing. There is a cooler on board as well as a bathroom making this the perfect option for a fun day with kids of all ages especially if they are tired of walking! Captain Dave is fun and knowledgable about Charleston history and has been know to let young aspiring captains take a turn at the helm. If you lean more towards piracy children must bring their own parrot and eyepatch. There’s a reason Carolina Marine Group has been the winner of the Post and Courier Charleston Choice award for many years running! Book a tour today!

Dolphin jumping out of the water with a sunset in the background

Dolphin Tour

Charleston Port up close from the water

Port and Shipyard Tour

Charleston Fun Park

Close up of colorful golf balls

Charleston Fun Park is an entertainment complex located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, near Charleston. It offers go-karts, mini-golf, mini-bowling, and an arcade, providing a mix of outdoor and indoor entertainment for teens. On the go-kart track, visitors can enjoy racing against friends and family. The miniature golf courses are creatively designed and are suitable for all ages. There is an outdoor Axe Throwing arena for teens 13+ with two pairs of regulation-sized lanes and four regulation targets. “Ride” in a virtual reality roller coaster, and participate in virtual reality gaming in the OMNI Arena. Alone or with friends, there’s nothing like battling robots, zombies, or even each other all while moving freely and at speed on a 360° treadmill. And, enjoy the modern adaptation of the classic family favorite bumper cars. You can even book a birthday party! When planning a visit with children, it's a good idea to inquire about the current offerings and any age-specific activities that may be available during your visit.

Angel Oak Tree

picture of tree angel oak park

Take a trip to see the famous Angel Oak Tree, a historic Southern live oak that is estimated to be around 400-500 years old, located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston. Kids can explore the natural surroundings of Angel Oak Park while on the park’s walking trails, allowing children to appreciate nature.

Families can bring and enjoy a picnic to enjoy a meal in the park. Parents can use the visit as an educational opportunity to teach children about the significance of the Angel Oak Tree, its history, and the importance of preserving such natural landmarks. The Angel Oak Tree provides a picturesque setting to take photographs.

James Island County Park

aerial view of james Island county park playground waterpark

This is a versatile park with playgrounds, splash pads, climbing walls, and a water park and more, providing activities for various age groups. The park has a campground with RV and tent sites, allowing visitors to enjoy a camping experience surrounded by nature. There are miles of scenic biking and hiking trails and fishing is allowed in designated areas within the park in freshwater ponds. The park's natural setting makes it a suitable location for bird watching where enthusiasts can observe a variety of local and migratory bird species. During the warmer months, the Splash Zone Waterpark is open and includes water slides, a lazy river, play structures, and a large family pool. The climbing wall is suitable for climbers of various skill levels. Picnic areas with tables and grills are scattered throughout the park, providing a great setting for families and groups to enjoy outdoor meals. Visitors can rent pedal boats, kayaks, and canoes to explore the park's freshwater lagoons. A disc golf course is available where players can navigate through a course with designated target baskets. And dog owners will be happy to know that James Island County Park has a dog park where visitors can bring their dogs for off-leash play. The dog park is separated into areas for small and large dogs.

The park is known for its annual Festival of Lights during the holiday season, featuring a dazzling display of lights, holiday-themed attractions, and activities. Before planning your visit, make sure to check the official James Island County Park website or contact the park directly for the latest information on activities, operating hours, fees, and any related guidelines.

Charleston Zipline Adventures

A person crossing a hanging rope bridge in the middle of the forest.

Charleston Adventure Forest is set on 10 acres of forest in Awendaw, South Carolina, just 15 miles from Historic Downtown Charleston in the Francis Marion National Forest. The primary attraction is, of course, the ziplining courses, providing participants with an exhilarating and scenic ride through the treetops, making your way through our 7 zip line cables, 3 towers, 3 swinging bridges, and a grande finale zip of 750 feet. Two highly trained and knowledgeable guides lead each canopy tour. Before embarking on the zipline courses, participants will receive thorough safety briefings and equipment demonstrations. 

Before planning your visit to Charleston Zipline Adventures, check their official website or contact them directly to confirm the current offerings, operating hours, pricing, and any specific requirements. Additionally, inquire about any updates or new activities.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

A bridge reflected in the water surrounded by magnolias.

Explore beautiful gardens, nature trails, and a petting zoo at this historic plantation, offering a mix of education and outdoor recreation. The Nature Train Tour provides a guided excursion through the plantation's beautiful landscapes that children enjoy, having the chance to see different parts of the gardens. A Nature Boat Tour allows families to explore the waterways and appreciate the natural environment. Check for boat tour availability during your visit. Before planning your visit to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, it's recommended to check their official website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on child-friendly activities, events, and any specific guidelines for families.

Charleston River Dogs Baseball Game

Attend a minor league baseball game and enjoy the lively atmosphere at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park. The Charleston River Dogs are a Minor League Baseball team based in Charleston, South Carolina. They serve as the Class-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The team plays its home games at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, located in downtown Charleston.

The River Dogs compete in the Low-A East league, providing fans with an opportunity to enjoy professional baseball in a family-friendly atmosphere. The team's affiliation with the Tampa Bay Rays enables fans to witness the development of future Major League Baseball talent. The Charleston River Dogs contribute to the vibrant sports culture of the region, fostering community engagement and providing entertainment for baseball enthusiasts. The team's commitment to delivering an enjoyable and competitive baseball experience makes them a prominent fixture in Charleston's sports scene.

Escape in 60

Escape room family fun

Perfect for teens that enjoy puzzles and challenges, Escape in 60 offers escape room experiences suitable for different skill levels where participants engage in a live-action, immersive puzzle-solving experience. 

In an escape room setting, individuals or groups are "locked" in a themed room and must work together to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and complete tasks within a specified time limit, often 60 minutes. The goal is to "escape" the room before time runs out.

Participants are typically presented with a scenario or storyline that sets the stage for the escape room theme. The rooms are designed with various props, decorations, and hidden elements that contribute to the overall atmosphere. The puzzles can range from logic puzzles and riddles to physical challenges and interactive tasks.

Escape in 60 provides an engaging and challenging experience for friends, family, or colleagues, promoting teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The success of the participants depends on effective communication, collaboration, and the ability to think creatively under pressure. To enjoy Escape in 60, participants need to be observant, think outside the box, and use their collective intelligence to unravel the mysteries within the room. The experience is designed to be thrilling and offers a unique form of entertainment for those seeking interactive and mentally stimulating activities.

Before planning any activities, it's advisable to check the current status, operating hours, and any age restrictions for each venue. Additionally, Charleston regularly hosts events and festivals that may cater to both kids and teens, providing unique and entertaining experiences.

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