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Suggestions for Charleston

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Cullman, Alabama
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Suggestions for Charleston

We are headed to Charleston for the first time for two or three days over labor day and would like to get some suggestions from the forum on things not to miss in the area like Fort Sumpter and the old town market.

We are staying in historic downtown and will have a 10 year old with us and a car. I hear Beaufort and/or Kiawah Island are wonderful places so should we include one of those? Looking for suggestions on pretty much everything: Historic sites, sites with local flavor, good local mid priced restaurants and so forth.

Charleston, South...
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1. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

Question: why are you coming to Charleston? Your interests, not ours, should be important. If I were coming here with a 10 year-old over Labor Day, I would take the child to the beach, to a water park, and to the Children's Museum. I would not make him go to Fort Sumter, and I would not drive him 2 hours to Beaufort or anywhere else. But that's just me.

Guidebooks such as Fodor's and Frommer's might help you.

Beaufort, South...
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2. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

I guess an important question is this... is Charleston just a stop on a longer itinerary or will it be for that short of a time? I would agree with Julie in saying that a day trip to Beaufort (75-90 min away, not necessarily 2 hours) might not be the best idea for a 10 year old, but if you are heading to Savannah on your next stop, then perhaps a day in Beaufort, or more specifically, Hunting Island State Park might be worth your while.

Kiawah Island...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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3. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

Read through the questions in the upper right of this page, you'll get some idea of the "must do's" for Charleston. I agree w/the others, there's no reason to drive to Beaufort when you are only in town for a few days.

As far as Kiawah is concerned, it's a private, gated community, only owners and renters get on the island. There is Beachwalker County Park, that is quite nice, but for your short time, the beaches at Folly or Isle of Palms are about 20 minutes closer...

http://www.ccprc.com/index.aspx?nid=1396

Take a harbor tour or a sail on the Schooner Pride, if you want to get on the water.

Charleston, South...
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4. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

...also, what interests of the 10 year old?

Isle of Palms...
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5. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

Our daughter has enjoyed Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie since she was much younger than 10, as did I at that age, so I wouldn't skip doing one of the forts. I would skip the Children's Museum, though, as it is really geared toward younger kids.

I bet your son would love one of the eco-tours. Barrier Island Eco-Tours (http://nature-tours.com/trips.html) leaves from Isle of Palms Marina and goes to Capers Island, an undeveloped barrier island. Coastal Expeditions (http://www.bullsislandferry.com/) does a tour to Bulls Island, another undelveloped barrier island. The Bulls Island Ferry leaves from Awendaw, which is a a little bit of a longer drive from downtown that IOP.

I'd pass on Kiawah and Beaufort for a short trip like this espcially considering traffic will be heavier than usual because of the holiday weekend.

I also suggest a visit to the SC Aquarium (http://scaquarium.org/).

When you go to the beach, go early (be there by 10) and leave early (3 at the latest) to miss heavy traffic. Getting there early will also be a plus in finding a parking place. Isle of Palms and Folly Beach have county parks with lots & "facilities" (that's about either park offers). You can find free parking along many of the streets on IOP, Folly, and Sullivan's Island - just make sure you pay attention to the signs. On Sullivan's Island (in the area of Station 27 & Station 28), there is a HUGE sandbar that creates a big gully at low tide... almost like swimming in a pool. If you're more into wave action, do Folly or IOP.

I would skip Kiawah and Beaufort on a short trip. Long drive that would most likely be longer with holiday weekend traffic.

You son might also enjoy the Fire Museum (http://www.legacyofheroes.org/), which is in North Charleston.

For more ideas, the Charleston Convention & Visitors Center has a website specifically for family travel...http://www.charlestonfamilyfun.com/. Don't know if you'd have time for the Explorers Club, though.

Hope you guys have fun!

Cullman, Alabama
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6. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

First of all, Charles IS out destination. The fact we have a 10 year old with us is a blessing as he will enjoy everything not just the beach and water park. He loves seeing everything historical and trying new things, going to new places.

We just wanted to get some ideas and IOPNative has an excellent response. That is more in line with what we are looking for but we also would like to take in some courtyard gardens in the historical homes if that is possible.

As for Beaufort, we were just asking IF that is worth doing when you only have 3 days total. Since we do not Golf, didn't know if Kiawah Island was worth seeing or trying to fit in so thank you again IOPNative.

No need to ask all the questions as we are just a family coming to Charleston for the first time for a few days and wanted some ideas as we knew little at the time we posted the question.

Charleston, South...
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7. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

Day 1 – Stop at the Visitors Center (old depot) on Meeting St., between John and Ann Streets. They offer coupons, discounts and know of special events in town. Then go take a carriage ride. They leave from Anson and Market Street area. The route is determined by a lottery system (regulated by the city) but all routes are nice and are very interesting. All the companies are about the same and all the drivers are required to pass a city tour guide exam. Shop in The Market then head over to Waterfront Park (look for dolphin in the water) and stroll down past the Pineapple Fountain to Exchange Street and go up to East Bay Street. Take a left on East Bay Street and stroll past Rainbow Row (on the right) down to The Battery and White Point Gardens. This is where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean. Look out and see Ft. Sumter where the Civil War started. For a historical house tour, go to either the Edmonston-Alston House (on East Bay Street across from The Battery) or the Nathaniel-Russell House (on Church Street). Continue to stroll through the residential area known as South of Broad (SOB). Shop along King Street. Enjoy some of the art galleries.

Day 2 – All the things you missed on day 1 plus Patriots Point and Ft. Sumter.

Day 3 – Middleton Place (plan on ½ day – go early and take a house tour) there is a restaurant and a place to get soup, salads and sandwiches near the parking lot. The Museum Shop is great! Then go see Angel Oak www.angeloaktree.org, tea plantation www.charlestonteaplantation.com, vineyard www.charlestonwine.com (Angel Oak, tea plantation and the vineyard are all near each other on Johns Island)

Ridgewood, New...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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8. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

Most of the historic district is private residential. You will enjoy peeking through the gates into the gardens while you stroll around, but the gardens will not be available for tour ... unless you get to know a resident who invites you inside. ;-)

One historic district garden that is open to tour is the garden at the Calhoun Mansion. The Calhoun Mansion is not my favorite historic home; but, the garden is lovely, and visiting the garden is "free".

Ridgewood, New...
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9. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

Another thought ...

The Charleston Tea Party Walking Tour takes visitors into private gardens belonging to friends of the woman who does the tours and concludes with a tea party at the home of the owner/guide. You might want to check it out ... http://charlestontour.wordpress.com/

Isle of Palms...
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10. Re: Suggestions for Charleston

If you want to visit a plantation, I agree that Middleton Place is the one. In addition to house tour, gardens and nature walk, Middleton has stableyards with living history provided by various artisans like a potter, blacksmith etc. And, of course lots of animals: sheep, water buffalo, peacocks, and such. History & animals - kids love it.