Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the oldest European settlements in the United States. Today, it's one of the most popular destinations on the East Coast, especially for families traveling with kids.\n\nWhile perhaps most famous for its role in colonial times and the US Civil War, Charleston's attractions aren't limited to its impressive museums and monuments alone. \n\nIts surrounding beaches, islands, and parks all combine to make it an excellent spot for families planning a vacation with children in mind. \n\nRead on to find 20 of the most fun things to do with kids in Charleston, SC!\n\nCharles Towne Landing marks the site where English settlers landed in 1670 to establish the Carolina colony. Hands-on exhibits at the Visitor Center will help you learn about Charleston's colonial past, and a self-led history trail with an audio companion can lead you through the grounds.\n\nKids will love boarding the 17th-century replica ship found here, visiting the bears and bison at the Animal Forest zoo, or finding a path through the historic site's eighty acres of gardens.\n\nThe gnarly, sprawling Angel Oak Tree on St. John's Island is about forty minutes from Downtown Charleston and makes a great day trip on your family vacation. It's the largest oak tree east of the Mississippi River, and estimates of its age range from three hundred to over a thousand years old. \n\nBefore you leave the island, don't forget to commemorate the day. Snapping a group photo beneath its massive canopy is one of the most popular family things to do in Charleston.\n\nIs your family ready for an adventure? If so, booking a day at Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park will challenge your courage and skill, with ropes courses for all ages and experience levels.\n\nFamilies with new or young climbers can enjoy an hour-long introductory course, while older kids and adults can take a crack at their advanced course inspired by American Ninja Warrior.\n\nSince 1989, the Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square has delighted residents and visitors alike. The local art, produce, concessions, and live performances unite people from around the region. \n\nBefore you go, you and your family can check their website to see which produce is in season, what crafts the vendors are selling, and what seasonal festivals might have even more things for kids to do in Charleston, SC.\n\nThis museum's mission is to bring children of all backgrounds together to explore the limits of their imagination together. Here, kids are encouraged to create art, board a pirate ship in costume, and explore bugs, plants, and waterfalls in the garden. \n\nParents will love watching their kids work on the spot to put on a theatrical performance with other children, complete with costumes, dialogue, and action.\n\nAnother short scamper from Downtown Charleston will find your family at Folly Beach County Park. Just a thirty-minute drive away, this Atlantic beach is home to white sands, protected dunes, and Brown Pelican rookeries. \n\nBeach chair and umbrella rentals, lifeguards, restrooms, dressing areas, outdoor showers, and a boardwalk will make this an easy and fun place to spend a day.\n\nJust across the Cooper River from the city's downtown area, Charleston Harbor Marina is a launching point to the open seas. You can book a water taxi to watch dolphins or take a sightseeing cruise through the region's historical and natural wonders.\n\nConfident seafarers can also arrange to captain a yacht on their own, making this one of the most fun things for kids in Charleston, SC, to do with their family.\n\nCharleston is steeped not only in America's colonial history but also in the events of its bloody civil war. \n\nFort Sumter National Monument marks the first battle of this war, where Union troops surrendered the island stronghold after a day and a half of bombardment from the city it was built to protect. \n\nA trip to this famous South Carolina landmark will bring history alive for you and your family.\n\nBook your Fort Sumter National Monument entry tickets.\n\nFor made-in-Charleston goods, there's no better place in town than the Historic Charleston City Market. This market has been around since 1790 and today spans four city blocks, including the impressive Great Hall and several open-air markets.\n\nIn addition to local crafts, you'll find authentic southern cooking and Lowcountry dishes at the market. Bring along your appetites to enjoy shrimp and grits, hushpuppies, and fried green tomatoes.\n\nTaking your family to the Gibbes Museum of Art is to take a journey through four centuries of art and culture in South Carolina and the American South. \n\nThe museum makes for one of the most kid-friendly activities in Charleston, SC, with programs that will teach them to create and talk about art. \n\nWhether they would prefer to observe the masterpieces on display or begin working towards their own, your kids will love this stop on your Charleston family vacation.\n\nFor a place rich with family-friendly outdoor activities, go to James Island County Park. Summer visitors can enjoy miles of trails for hiking and biking before heading to Splash Zone Waterpark to cool off during the summer. \n\nThe park also has fishing, crabbing, a climbing wall, horseshoe pits, and an eighteen-hole disc golf course. If this seems like too much to pack into a single day, you can stay overnight at one of their camping sites or vacation cottages.\n\nJust over twenty miles from Charleston, Kiawah Island offers visitors a surprisingly pristine getaway from the city. The island is home to ten miles of sandy beaches, over one hundred acres of parks, and a thriving population of bobcats. \n\nYou can also rent kayaks, surfboards, and SUP boards to enjoy the ocean or take a family excursion along the island's coastline. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Loggerhead Sea Turtles along the way!\n\nJoe Riley Waterfront Park is perfect for a relaxing stroll along Charleston's historic harbor. Two large fountains offer a break from the heat and are great places for kids to play around, cool down, and get some energy out. \n\nThere are also family-sized swings to be found and many nearby restaurants for lunch or dinner, making this one of the top activities for kids in Charleston, SC.\n\nThis 110-acre estate has been beautifully maintained as a time capsule for both high-society plantation life and America's roots in slavery. \n\nAs you explore the grounds, you'll learn about both the Middleton family who once owned the estate and the hundreds of enslaved people who were forced to work on it. \n\nIt's an important historical landmark in South Carolina for kids and adults alike to understand how such a system was developed.\n\nThis military museum gives visitors the full naval experience, with virtual reality flight simulators and the chance to board both the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier and the USS Clagamore submarine. \n\nFor an unforgettable bonding experience, your family can participate in Operation Overnight aboard the USS Yorktown. Here, you'll learn firsthand what it's like to live and quarter on a US naval vessel out at sea.\n\nIf you're wondering what to do with kids in Charleston to spark their wonder, take them to the North Charleston Fire Museum.\n\nThis unique museum will bring out the kid in everyone, with twenty antique fire trucks on display in a collection dating all the way back to the 1780s. Even more impressive, each apparatus in the museum has been kept in working order. \n\nThe museum also has interactive exhibits that provide visitors with a glimpse into the life of firefighters, showing how firefighting has changed over time.\n\nIt's tough to beat a family visit to the Aquarium, and the South Carolina Aquarium will not disappoint. The state's ocean, wetland, piedmont, and mountain river zones are impressively represented here.\n\nYou'll see not only aquatic life but the land and air creatures that participate in each ecosystem, such as bald eagles and rattlesnakes. \n\nAt the Kids Coast interactive exhibit, your children can learn about aquatic filtration and how the Aquarium mimics the precise habitats of each animal.\n\nThis area gets its name from the artillery once placed along its seafront, but the Battery is far from the grim site its name might imply. \n\nThe weathered coastal seawall is decorated with colorful antebellum mansions, towering palmettos, and a seaside promenade with views of Fort Sumter. It's a perfect place for a morning or evening stroll.\n\nThe Charleston Museum contains a vast array of history. Its permanent exhibits cover Charleston's role in early American wars and the region's natural history, with rotating temporary exhibits to complement them.\n\nThe museum also covers history far beyond the borders of the United States, with artifacts from Ancient Rome and even an ancient Egyptian mummy. \n\nTheir childrens' education programs let kids try on American colonial clothing, learn about Native American culture, and participate in a museum scavenger hunt.\n\nThe pirate's life was far more common in colonial times, but kids can still get a taste of it on a Pirate Adventure Cruise. \n\nThey'll board the Black Ghost Pirate Ship, don an eye patch, and go in search of their old mate Sneaky Pete in the most swashbuckling of kids activities in Charleston, SC. \n\nAlong the hour voyage, they'll sing pirate songs, follow treasure maps up and down the Ashley River, and engage their enemies with water cannons.\n\nCharleston, South Carolina, is a true gem for families looking for a great place to vacation with kids. \n\nEveryone will enjoy the hands-on history, beautiful promenades, eclectic markets, delicious food, and natural wonders of the area. \n\nThis city and its surroundings are waiting for you to come and explore!