Charleston, South Carolina is easily one of the prettiest and most charming cities in the south! It’s a city that keeps people coming back time and time again because of its history, architecture, good shopping, and great food!
What To Do in Charleston, SC
Whether you’re visiting solo, as a couple, or as a family, there are endless options of things to do in Charleston. Some people go to experience the food and nightlife while others go to soak in the rich heritage of the city. Families go to explore the aquariums, forts and museums, but anyone can enjoy all of its glory!
- Fort Sumter
- Stroll Along the Waterfront or take a dip in one of two fountains at Waterfront Park. This keeps the kids entertained and cool during the hot and humid summer months. There is also a beautiful pier that overlooks the water!
- Magnolia Plantation
- Visit the Angel Oak Tree – The largest living thing east of the Mississippi.
- South Carolina Aquarium
- Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
- Shopping on King Street
- Shopping in the City Market
- Rainbow Row – A row of beautiful historic homes passed in pastels. It looks like a postcard.
- The Battery
- Walk across the Cooper River Bridge
Explore Charleston’s Five Beach Towns
- Isle of Palms
- Folly Beach
- Seabrook Island
- Kiawah Island
- Sullivan’s Island
Take A Day Trip
Another option would be to take a daytrip from Charleston and visit Botany Bay Plantation in Edisto Island.
Charleston, South Carolina is definitely a walking city. Parking is limited and mostly only available for a fee so your best bet is either to stay right in the city or drive in and leave your car in one place for the day!
Best Time of Year to Visit
Spring is typically the best time to visit because you’ll have the best weather for walking around. Summers are sweltering hot and humid, but if you plan to get away to the beach this is the time to do so.
Skip the horse drawn carriage tour. The treatment of the animals is questionable.
Pack your walking shoes and explore the city on foot! There are some great walking tours like the one we did, Free Tours by Foot. You’ll learn that Charleston dates back to the late 1600′s and has survived the American Revolution and the Civil War as well as countless major fires. The guides are trained, knowledgeable experts that love to share their beautiful city with you!
Botany Bay Plantation
Botany Bay Beach is an unspoiled hidden gem! It’s truly a unique place that is bejeweled with seashells and hauntingly beautiful driftwood trees! You can learn more about the history of it here.
Know Before You Go
You may be wondering if dogs are allowed on Botany Bay Beach and the answer is NO!
There is NO shelling allowed. If you break the rules and try and take a piece of this paradise home you may face fines of up to $417.
It’s a great day trip from Charleston, SC!
Picture this: a long stretch of sparkling white sand, water as blue as you can ever dream it to be, palm trees swaying in the back yards of million dollar homes, lush and tropical foliage everywhere, and two of the most pictured islands (The Mokulua Islands) off of the Oahu coast. It sounds amazing, right?! It is!
The Mokulua Islands are about a mile off of the shore of Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach. The other island that looks like a pancake is called Flat Island. On your tour you can paddle to both of them. I say both because you can only go on the shore of one of the Mokulua Islands, the other is off limits. A protective barrier reef is between the shoreline and the islands which allows for easier paddling to the islands and if you’re lucky, like we were, you may even see some sea turtles swimming around you!
How it All Began
Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks is a little shop in a strip plaza that offers kayak rentals, SUP rentals, guided tours and more. We arrived at the shop and rented two tandem kayaks to venture out to Flat Island and The Mokulua Islands on our own. We got a map and had to watch a short video on safety, but it was quick and painless and the staff is really helpful. The shop is located a couple blocks from the beach so the friendly guys at the shop loaded our kayaks on a cart and we were on our way!
It takes a little bit of time to walk the kayaks to the beach and get them in the water. The most difficult part will be dragging the kayaks through the sand to actually get them in the water.
Before you leave make sure you have everything you need: a dry bag, back rests, life vests, sunglasses, sunscreen, and your cooler.
Tip: Notice the cooler? We picked it up from Walmart at the beginning of our vacation. We love to keep cold drinks in the car when we’re exploring! The morning of our kayaking adventure we picked up some snacks, lunch, and drinks and had an awesome picnic on the Mokuluas!
Kayaking to Flat Island
This is the first destination you’ll reach. It’s a strait shot out from Kailua Beach Park. You’ll want to land just past the sand bar where the bird sanctuary sign is. Birds nest on this island so you must stay within the roped areas.
Tip: Bring water shoes, the rocks are rough on your feet when you’re exploring the island.
Kayaking to Mokulua Island
There are two Mokulua Islands, but as I mentioned, you can only land on the one on the left when viewing it from the beach. From Flat Island it takes about an hour and a half to get to Mokulua Island. You’ll go over beautiful coral reefs and might even see a honu (sea turtle)!
The closer we got to Mokulua the larger the waves got. I think the most difficult part was riding the waves into the beach. As a rule, when kayaking in ocean waves, you want to keep your kayak perpendicual to the waves. If you’re parallel to the waves you are more likely to get flipped over. It’s easier said then done, but we were beginners at this time and managed just fine!
Once we were on the island we got out our picnic lunch. We found a great little spot and ate and then the kids enjoyed swimming around in the beautiful crystal clear water!
Know Before You Go:
- You can not get a permit to go on the islands on Sundays.
- You don’t need to be super fit to kayak, but you do need to be in relatively good shape and able to swim.
- Wear Sunscreen.
- Bring Sunglasses.
- Wear a Hat.
- Wear your bathing suit.
- Bring a waterproof camera! All of the photos above were taken with my Canon Powershot D20. I believe there is a newer model of this camera!
There are no words for how beautiful this chapel is! It sits atop of Standing Stone Mountain and offers breathtaking views as far as your eye can see! It also marries more than 100 couples per year, wow!
If you’re visiting Dupont State Forest it’s only a short drive away. It is located at the YMCA Camp Greenville in Cleveland, SC.
Epcot may not be the first park you think of when you’re planning your trip to Disney, but it should definitely be on your list! Although it doesn’t have the big roller coasters that are so attractive at the other parks, it has something that the other parks do not….Worldly Experience! Out of all the other theme parks we’ve been to, Epcot does the best job of sharing these other countries with you in a way that keeps both adults and kids engaged! Does it have the same ‘magic’ that Magic Kingdom does, no, but it has many other reasons to fall in love with it all the same!
Visiting Hawaii (Oahu) with Kids – Hilton Hawaiian Village
Choosing the right area to stay in can be a tough decision. Between the famous North Shore and Turtle Bay area, the beautiful and peaceful Ko’Olina area on the Leeward Coast, the breathtakingly stunning Kailua area on the Windward Coast, or the infamous Waikiki Beach area in Southern Oahu the choices are endless.
After hours of searching hotels and trying to decide the best fit for our family we decided to stay in Waikiki Beach -a bustling beach city full of life! We chose Hilton Hawaiian Village because of it’s sprawling grounds, multiple pools, lagoon, and wide beautiful stretch of beach. It’s also within walking distance to shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Did you Know: The North Shore is an infamous spot that attracts surfers from around the world, but those big waves do not happen in the summertime. They are in the winter months (November-February). Summer waves are gentle making it a perfect spot for beginners.
Campfire Lodgings Mountaintop Camping – Asheville, NC
Located just minutes from downtown Asheville, NC, Campfire Lodgings was a perfect place for our first trip in the new travel trailer! It offeres paved back-in sites with full hookups and each site has a grill and picnic table. The premium sites have a million dollar view (pictured above) and the other sites are just a short walk from the open common area so everyone can enjoy it.
Kayaking with Dolphins in Hilton Head
Who: Spencer, Myself, and our two girls.
What: Kayaking the pristine waterways and inlets of Hilton Head Island.
When/Where: First thing in the morning on Broad Creek.
Why: Our goal was to see dolphins in their natural habitats. Mission accomplished!
If you are looking for a fun and active way to get on the water and see dolphins in their natural habitat in Hilton Head consider renting kayaks and paddling the calm inlets of the island! We chose Kayak Hilton Head and renting two tandem kayaks for two hours. This gave us more than enough time to explore the waterways and see a lot of gentle, slow moving dolphins right next to our kayaks!