Family Vacations to Charleston, South Carolina

Historic houses in Charleston, South Carolina
Historic houses in Charleston, South Carolina (Visions of America/Getty)

Charleston Family Travel Tips

Charleston is not only the best-mannered city in America but also one of the oldest. Founded as Charles Towne in 1670, it was one of the ten largest cities in the United States up until 1840. At just under 120,000 residents, its growth hasn’t kept pace with many of the other large U.S. cities, but every year its population swells by nearly four million as tourists arrive to take advantage of Charleston’s history, dining, shopping, cultural attractions, and genteel southern charm.

Charleston’s rich, extensive history is a huge draw for tourists. The entire downtown is designated as a National Historic Landmark and the city focuses its attention on preserving its stately architecture. An array of historic tours are available including the Classic Carriage Tours, the Slavery and Freedom walk, and the Pirates and Buccaneers tour.

Head to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens for a stroll through the U.S.’s oldest public garden as well as the plantation on its grounds, still owned by the same family after more than three centuries. Then visit the Charleston Museum to learn even more about the area’s natural, political, and social history; the museum pays special attention to children’s exhibits and activities.

The city’s waterfront is not only a major part of its history, but also is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the sea breeze with a view of the water and bridge beyond. Charleston Waterfront Park offers a perfect place to enjoy the harbor: There is a 500-foot pier, wooden swings and benches, grassy areas for picnicking, and a fountain where children can play. You can learn more about the region’s aquatic life from the 60 exhibits at the South Carolina Aquarium. For an even more exciting way to experience the waterfront, take a wet and wild ride in the Thriller Charleston High-Speed Boat Tour.


Published: 24 Mar 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Charleston

$320
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#1
French Quarter Inn
$279-$529
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#2
The Harbour View Inn
$285-$650
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#3
Belmond Charleston Place
$259-$379
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#4
Market Pavilion Hotel

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