Charleston with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

Charleston with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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South Carolina is home to one of the most charming cities in the country -- Charleston. Charleston is a city brimming with excitement and adventure and rich with entertainment and endless fun for the entire family. From aquariums and parks to museums and restaurants, Charleston provides a seemingly infinite list of things to do on a family vacation. Below are some of the best ideas for families visiting Charleston with tweens.


Traveling around Charleston with tweens is best done on a full stomach, so rise early and head to Hominy Grill for some old-fashioned Southern cooking. My niece and I grabbed a bite to eat there. Here, the service is exceptional and the food impeccable. The fried green tomatoes and deep fried cheese grits taste like a mouthful of heaven. My niece chose the country breakfast with bacon, grits and toast, which was adequately priced.

Hominy Grill, 207 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC 29403, 843-937-0930.

Once you've stuffed yourselves full of Southern goodness, head to the South Carolina Aquarium. Though relatively small and a little on the pricey side, the aquarium has plenty of things to do and see, including a two-story tank of sharks, fish and sea turtles, and a marshland exhibit featuring different types of sea birds. Look out for the albino alligator, the otters and a moderately-sized touch tank. The aquarium is definitely worth a visit and, although it will cost you extra, don't miss the 4D movie theatre.

South Carolina Aquarium is open from 9AM-5PM daily from March to August and 9AM-4PM daily from September through February. It is located at 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29401 (843-577-3474). Basic admission to the aquarium costs $17.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors (62+), $10.95 for children aged 2-11 and free for babies under 2.

After your underwater excursion, take a trip on top of the water with a ride on the Fort Sumter Tour. A tour of the historic fort where the Civil War began is a staple on any family vacation in Charleston with tweens, who will love the 30-minute ferry ride out there. Upon arriving at the fort, our tour guide gave a 15-minute narration about the history of the fort and then we were free to roam. My niece and I loved the historical cannons and the informative museum. The thirty-minute boat ride brought a nice breeze and the tour guide's passionate and engaging talk showed that she really knew her history.

The tour departs from Liberty Square but the Fort Sumter Tours and SpiritLine Cruises company is based at 360 Concord Street, Charleston, SC 29401. The telephone number is 843-881-7337 and tickets cost $16 for adults, $14.50 for seniors, $10 for children aged 6-11 and free for children 5 and under. Purchase tickets online ahead of time to guarantee your spot.


Grab a delicious lunch at the Noisy Oyster, which lives up to its name. As long as you don't mind a little noise and a bit of a wait, this kid-friendly eatery is a fun place to take your tweens. In our experience, the open-air booths are refreshing, the service attentive and friendly and the food surprisingly good and fresh. Try the snapper with Carolina rice and coleslaw, or the sesame-encrusted tuna and Jamaican shrimp salad. Your tweens (and their taste buds) will be satisfied!

The Noisy Oyster, 24 N. Market Street, Charleston, SC 29401, 843-723-0044.

Any family vacation in Charleston with tweens should include a stop at the Charleston Waterfront Park on the corner of Vendue Range and Concord Street, a perfect place to take in the historic downtown Charleston in all its beauty. The park itself is eight acres and runs along the Charleston Harbor. The cool ocean breeze along with the water fountains and swinging benches make this park one of the nicest things to do in Charleston, with tweens who still enjoy playing on the swings and in the water. This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather in downtown Charleston.

When you're ready to continue your family vacation in Charleston with tweens, take a carriage ride around the gorgeous city with Classic Carriage Works. The one-hour private or group carriage tours take you on an informative journey with knowledgeable tour guides. The private tour costs $100 for two people and you get a discount if you book online before your trip. Group tour rates are $20 for adults (12 and over) and $12 for children (aged 5-11). Children four and under ride for free, but must sit on an adult's lap.

Classic Carriage Works, 10 Guignard Street, Charleston, SC 29401, 843-853-3747


When it's time for dinner, head towards the water and grab a table at Fleet Landing. This casual seafood restaurant sits right on the water and is housed in a retired naval building. Whether you sit inside or on the deck, you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the water while you dine on fresh seafood and other Lowcountry-inspired dishes. I particularly enjoy the Carolina lump crab cakes.

Reservations are strongly recommended, since Fleet Harbor gets pretty crowded, especially during dinner. The restaurant does have a kid's menu, with all items priced at $5.95 or less.

Fleet Landing Restaurant, 186 Concord Street, Charleston, SC 29401, 843-722-8100.

The perfect ending to your family vacation in Charleston with tweens can be found at Charleston's Candy Kitchen. Located on Market Street, this old-fashioned candy shop offers a variety of delicious desserts. From home-made peanut butter cups and candied apples to mouth-watering fudge, this quaint little candy shop has yummy treats your tweens will love. Check this place out for an after-dinner treat you won't be able to resist.

Charleston's Candy Kitchen, 32 N. Market Street, Charleston, SC 29401, 843-723-4626.

Charleston offers the perfect mix of historical sites, top-notch restaurants and exciting things to do, which makes the city the perfect spot for a family vacation with tweens.

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