25 Adventures in Charleston, SC for Older Kids

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I wistfully remember storytimes at the library and playdates at the park when my biggest hurdle was enforcing toddlers to share.

Now my days are spent entertaining a 7 and 9 year old and while this list of activities has plenty of gems (ET at the Terrace Theatre and World of Squirrels at the library) here is a listing of places that are perfect for older kids to enjoy the outdoors and learn more about Charleston’s history.

#1. Sewee Education Center
This center educates all about the lowcountry’s ecosystem with some pretty cool taxidermy displays. There’s also trails and red wolf habitats.

#2. Birds of Prey
While up near Awendaw check out this rehabilitation and educational center for the 5 birds of prey. The Vulture Restaurant is pretty neat and no, it’s not for humans!

#3. Awendaw Green Barn Jam
This is going to be the summer we finally make it out to the weekly Wednesday evening jam session, perfect for families.

#4. Hampton Plantation Historic Site
Hiking is one of our favorite things to do with our kids and this trail looks easy and the historic house makes a perfect background for family photos.

#5. Sewee Shell Ring Trail
Beware the mosquitoes but this is my favorite hiking trail to take our kids on. It is a relatively short trail through the woods ending at a boardwalk with historical facts and a pretty neat shell mound dating 4,000 years old.

#6. Awendaw Passage of the Palmetto Trail
Want an adventure outside? Hike the palmetto trail beginning at the Awendaw Creek canoe launch or at Buck Hall Recreation site. We normally begin from the canoe launch and just walk until we get tired and then turn around.

#7. Caw Caw Interpretation Center
If you want to show your kids a gator in the wild, go here. There’s a reason pets aren’t allowed.

#8. Edisto Serpentarium
Have a kid who loves snakes and reptiles? Go here.

#9. Beaufort Drive-In Theatre

#10. Old Santee Canal Park
With Cypress Gardens closed due to the thousand year flood, Old Santee Canal Park might be the closest thing you’ll get to swamp education.

#11. Charleston Tea Plantation
Until I experienced this myself with kids in tow, I would have chalked this place up to a tourist trap. It isn’t. Or at least us locals should go check it out. They have a behind the scenes tour of how tea is produced (from farm to table) and then you get to take a trolley-ride through the tea fields to see how the leaves are harvested. And free tea to sample.

#12. Charles Towne Landing
Pick an overcast cool day and take bikes. If you go on 6/3 or 7/1, make sure to check out the canon shootings.

#13. Zipline
Charleston Zip Line Adventures (Awendaw)
Wild Blue Ropes (James Island)

#14. Rock Climbing

#15. Fort Sumter
We’ve lived in Charleston 15 years and I still haven’t been to where the Civil War began.

#16. Fort Moultrie
Underground bunkers and a replica of a WWII war time office continually amazes my kids.

#17. The Hunley
Only open on the weekends and you need a reservation in advance.

#18. The Charleston Museum
An enormous replica of a whale (that once lived off Charleston’s harbor??), arrowheads, guns…this is right up a boy’s alley. Each Thursday afternoon they offer a Hands on History workshop for kids older than 5.

#19. Mace Brown Museum of Natural History
A hidden gem at the College of Charleston.

#20. Gateway Garden Walk
Connects various churches and graveyards downtown.

#21. The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon
Totally looks like a tourist trap but they offer historical tours and it was the first jail!

#22. Sea Turtle Care Center
When my kids were young they enjoyed seeing the turtles; but are now old enough to actually learn about the turtles.

#23. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
A beautiful place for kids to run around and learn about the SC representative who signed the Constitution.

#24. Morris Island Lighthouse Tour

#25. McLeod Plantation Historic Site
Learn about Gullah culture and the history of a working plantation.

Don’t forget to check out this list of free/minimal cost programs and 63 places off the beaten path in Charleston for more kid friendly activities.

Enjoy your summer!

jessica

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