Charleston was such a fun to place to visit as a family! We found it very easy to navigate and filled with lots of history and architecture for us, activities for Leo, and absolutely incredible food the whole family loved. Did you know? Charleston has the most James Beard award nominees of any city in the U.S.!
We road tripped and Charleston was our second stop, after Asheville, and before Savannah.
We opted to stay in an Airbnb two blocks off King Street so that we could park our car, spread out, and enjoy a second bedroom rather than cramping in a hotel room. We found the rates to be very reasonable (especially given that it was Christmas! However, book in advance!)
Charleston Travel Guide with Kids
What to DO:
King street is the main street for all your shopping and dining, as well as the big hotels downtown. We started each day walking from our airbnb to king street and down toward the action.
-Waterfront Park and Battery Park
Waterfront Park is also walkable from downtown and King Street and is a great place to read, relax, picnic, or run around. The pier looks across the water, showcases the bridge, and even has lovely porch swings to sit and relax to take it all in. From here, you can follow the park path and pass the pineapple fountain along your way to Battery Park (an easy, leisurely walk to do with the family.) You’ll see tons of the southern charm and historical homes of the area along the way.
Rainbow row is a prime photo op. If you’re walking from Waterfront Park to Battery Park, you can see it along the way!
Charleston’s City Market is outside (a covered shed) that spans 4 city blocks. It is open every day of the year except Christmas, and is a fun spot to shop for handmade goods and various vendor trinkets. On either side of the market are plenty of shops and restaurants.
-Explore Charleston’s neighborhoods through an iconic Front Door Scavenger Hunt!
One of my favorite things we did while in Charleston was walk around the different neighborhoods in search of the best front doors and porches in the city. They are truly incredible and are often featured in magazines and instagram. (Did you know? Painting your front door red used to signify that your mortgage was paid off and was a sign of class, something several southern cities adapted.)
What to EAT:
There’s no shortage of great food in Charleston! Here were some of our favorites:
Located in a renovated historic plantation style home, Poogan’s Porch is a great spot for brunch or lunch. Try their famous chicken & waffles and hot chicken sandwich!
Husk is an upscale eatery located just down the street from Poogan’s Porch. If you’re looking for a fancy dinner with an always rotating menu, this is it! Also located in a renovated historic plantation style home.
5 Church is, you guessed it, an old renovated church turned restaurant! The structure is truly amazing. We came here for Christmas brunch (and Cody took advantage of the all you can eat snow crab claws…5 plates later!) It is located next to City Market.
–Darling Oyster Bar
Famous Oyster Bar located right on King Street in the middle of all the action.
–Pizzeria di Giovanni
If you’re looking for a quick meal, these slices are HUGE and delicious. Located right by City Market.
We LOVED the bbq here. Everything was so incredible and its a great spot for the family.
–Market Pavilion Hotel Rooftop Bar
This rooftop was incredible for drinks and appetizers and overlooked the city (near the end of City Market) and was a great place to watch the sunset over the charleston bridge. Small pool, lots of tables and bar area, and heaters for chilly nights.
Day Trips from Charleston:
If you’re staying in Charleston for several days, there are a number of fun day trip ideas to check out with the family.
Just 25 miles south of Charleston, Kiawah has great golfing, a great beach walk, and a preppy shopping and dining center. We ate at La Tela Pizzeria and shared the prosicutto di parma pizza-amazing!
–Charleston Sweet Tea Plantation
The plantation offers a tour and tastings of the only tea made right here in the States.
Just over the charleston bridge, Sullivan’s island has a strip of great restaurants and bars, and a great boardwalk that leads to the beach. This was a very fun day trip in December, but would be even better when its warmer out!
Have you been to Charleston? I’d love to hear your favorite spots and eats.