The Palmetto State is all about tradition, charm and its proud Southern roots. South Carolina's location along the Atlantic Coast has made it a popular travel destination for those looking for some beach fun in the sun, combined with a little Southern hospitality. For those traveling with kids, South Carolina's beach areas, as well as its notable cities, provide visitors with a wide variety of activities to ensure that the whole family has a blast.
The Great Outdoors
South Carolina is known for its family-friendly beaches, including Myrtle Beach (VisitMyrtleBeach.com), a very popular vacation destination for travelers from all over the country. You and your family can relax anywhere along the 60-mile stretch of sand, rent kayaks, take a wild inflatable banana boat ride or do a dolphin-watching tour. If you are looking for a more rugged outdoor experience, head to the 1,000-acre Chimney Rock State Park (ChimneyRockPark.com), where the whole family can go hiking and exploring. It even includes a hiking trail specifically for kids, the Great Woodland Adventure Trail, which has 12 interactive discovery stations along the way where kids can learn about the forest and the animals that call the park home.
Myrtle Beach is home to the Children's Museum of South Carolina (CMSCKids.org), which has several interactive exhibits where kids can experiment, pretend and learn through play. Exhibits include a plants discovery lab, where kids learn about how plants grow, and an exhibit focusing on the state of South Carolina, including its history, native plants and animals. The EdVenture Museum (EdVenture.org) in Columbia is the biggest children's museum, providing over 350 interactive activities just for kids. Highlights of the museum include the 40-foot high EDDIE exhibit, dubbed "the world's largest child." Kids can explore the inside of EDDIE from head to toe, including his heart and brain. Other notable exhibits include the "Home Safe Home" 4-D movie experience, teaching kids about how to stay safe around the house and "World of Work," where kids can pretend to be firefighters or farmers and even get to vote in an election.
Amusement and Entertainment Centers
The Family Kingdom (FamilyKingdomFun.com) amusement park offers oceanfront entertainment for the kids in Myrtle Beach. It includes traditional amusement park rides like its classic wooden roller coaster, Swamp Fox. It also includes a separate water park, Splashes, which has moderate and high-speed water slides, a lazy river and a children's splash area with mini waterfalls and interactive water play features. Frankie's Fun Park (FrankiesFunPark.com), which has locations in Columbia, Charleston and Greenville, offers both outdoor and indoor family-friendly attractions. These include go-kart courses, miniature golf, laser tag, bumper boats and several amusement park rides such as the stomach-dropping Drop Zone, which lifts you high in the air and quickly plunges you back down to earth.
The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (Riverbanks.org) in Columbia houses over 2,000 animals from all over the world and provides opportunities for kids to interact with some of them. Its Discovery Day and Behind-The-Scenes Adventure tours allow kids to get up-close and personal with reptiles, birds, big cats and sea life. The South Carolina Aquarium (SCAquarium.org) in Charleston features a 4-D movie where kids get to experience an underwater sea life adventure, as well as a touch tank with sea stars, horseshoe crabs and sea urchin that kids can pick up and study up-close. For kids who love reptiles, Alligator Adventures (AlligatorAdventure.com) in North Myrtle Beach is home to one of the world's largest crocodiles, several albino alligators and a host of other exotic animals such as bats, gigantic pythons and endangered Siberian tigers.
- Lonely Planet: Introducting South Carolina
- Visit Myrtle Beach: Beach Activities
- Chimney Rock: Great Woodland Adventure
- Children's Museum of South Carolina: Exhibits at CMSC
- EdVenture: EDDIE
- Family Kingdom: Seaside Amusement Park
- HiddenVacations.com: Frankie's Fun Park
- Riverbanks Zoo and Garden: Zooventure Programs
- South Carolina Aquarium: Exhibits
- Alligator Adventure: Animals
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images