Honestly, I don’t even know where to start… this was seriously one of the BEST vacations that I’ve ever been on. Charleston, South Carolina is insanely charming and it’s making me want to move pretty bad, as in we’ve already contacted some realtors haha! Charleston really made us realize how much we want to live in a walkable city. I loved the history, the green, the beach, it was super family friendly and there was so much to do. Fun little fact that I never knew, Charleston is the #1 wedding destination in the U.S!I never traveled much as a kid and I feel so lucky to take my girls to places like this and to have these amazing experiences.
I started this as one big post but I eventually decided to split it up because there was just waaaaaay too much information that I wanted to share with you guys. So this portion of the post is going to be all things related to visiting Charleston as a family, places to go, food to eat, tours, etc. and then my next post (next week!) will follow up with the best beach info and staying in a home (VRBO or an Air B&B) vs. a hotel.
Best Places to Eat:
I’ll start by saying that we’re not big seafood lovers but if you are, Charleston is the place for you! But if you’re one of those who isn’t, Charleston is one of the biggest foodie cities out there. We tried a few of these places and the ones that we didn’t, I can’t wait to go back and try.
Another Cracked Egg Cafe
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit
Sticky Fingers in Downtown Charleston
Poe’s on Sullivan’s Island
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
Places for next time…
Coconut Joe’s- Isle of Palms
Hen & the Goat- James Island
Home Team BBQ- Sullivan’s Island
Places to Visit:
Boone Hall Plantation:
Ok… let’s just start off saying that this place is stunning. So stunning that parts of The Notebook were filmed here and it totally made me feel like I was in the middle of the most perfect love story ever. We had THE BEST tour guide here! He was so funny and knowledgeable. The house tour was a little on the short side but there is a family that actually lives in the upstairs portion of the house so it’s totally understandable. The grounds were so pretty and one of the most beautiful spots in the whole city is here, the Avenue of Oaks. 200-300 year old live oaks line the entire drive up and it’s seriously breathtaking. There’s also a butterfly conservatory and tractor tours which are perfect to do with kids in tow. Learn more HERE.
Drayton Hall Plantation:
This was Harper’s #1 activity! They put together an architectural scavenger hunt with stickers for the younger kids which totally won her over. The houses built in the early 1700’s and is still standing today! It’s actually the only pre-Revolutionary war home on that river that is still standing. We loved this house tour and the grounds were gorgeous. Learn more HERE.
It’s home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens, so you know going in that it’s going to be gorgeous! We actually didn’t get to go here but some of our family did while we had our family session with Alex Thornton (link to her below). They said it was stunning and absolutely worth seeing. Learn more HERE.
Charleston City Market:
A good stop if you’re wandering through downtown and have a little time to waste. We didn’t find anything special here but it’s a pretty common tourist spot.
Let just say that I don’t think I’ve seen houses prettier than in Charleston. Rainbow Row up by Battery Park is a must see. So many great colors, design elements, landscaping and more. You can’t leave without seeing this part of the city.
This is where you’ll find the pineapple fountain that’s used in so many adds for the city. There’s also a really great splash pad for the kiddos which is great on those hot and humid summer days.
Battery Park (White Garden Park):
This is where we took all of our family photos. So many great oak trees, a gazebo, historical monuments and within walking distance to rainbow row. It’s also a great spot for people watching!
Things to Do:
Old South Carriage Tours in Downtown Charleston:
There are several carriage tour companies in the downtown area but we chose Old South from all of the great reviews we had seen and they definitely lived up to them too! We had a hight school history teacher that was on summer break and he was so funny and informative. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon seeing different parts of the city off the main drag and to hear all the historical things that happened there. About and hour long and so good for toddlers! 100% recommend doing this. Only downside that you should know going in is that you don’t get to pick your tour, it’s completely random. Learn more HERE.
South Carolina Aquarium:
We had a couple of rainy days so on one of them we visited the aquarium. Super cute with a brand new sea turtle recovery center, stingray interactive exhibit and a two story high shark tank. Not huge but you can plan on spending 1-2 hours. Learn more HERE.
Low Country Children’s Museum:
We actually did this museum on the other rainy day that we had. Cute but I love our Phoenix kids museum so much better haha. Great rainy day activity but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to get there if you have good weather. Learn more HERE.
This was on of the girls favorite things that we did, good historical info but also so fun just to hang out on the deck with the fam. We also saw dolphins which was so fun. Totaled about an hour and a half but it seemed like it was way quicker than that. Learn more HERE.
Outfit Details and Links
P.S. Thank you so much to Alex with Alex Thornton Photography. She was seriously the SWEETEST chick ever and I’m sad that we don’t live closer. If you’re ever in Nashville, Charleston or have a destination wedding please make sure to hit her up!