Choose from 29 Fun Things to Do in South Carolina
Waterfront porch swings, a giant pineapple fountain, and grassy areas perfect for lazing the day away make Waterfront Park feel like Charleston’s personal backyard. Watch the boats float by on the river, snap photos, and enjoy the park’s family-friendly amenities—they keep this park a favorite hangout spot for locals and visitors alike.
For an afternoon picnic or fun with the kids, Waterfront Park is an excellent choice. The 12-acre (4.9-hectare) park is a favorite for its wide-open spaces, neat walking trails, and fantastic views of the Ashley River from Vendue Wharf. The park also has two fountains: one giant pineapple fountain that’s perfect for taking photos, and one smaller splash zone that’s a hit with kids who want to cool off.
Many Charleston walking and carriage tours pass by the park, but because of its central location, Waterfront Park is an easy add-on to your independent sightseeing itinerary too.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Charleston Waterfront Park is a lovely spot for all visitors to Charleston, especially families with children.
- There isn’t much shade at the park, so be sure to bring sun protection.
- Tote swimsuits and towels to make the most of the splash zone.
- Public restrooms are available within walking distance of the park.
- The park is accessible to wheelchair users and strollers.
How to Get There
Waterfront Park is located on the eastern edge of the Charleston peninsula, at the end of Concord Street. There is street and lot parking nearby, and the park is also a stop on the free downtown DASH shuttle’s green line.
When to Get There
The always-popular Waterfront Park is free and open to the public year-round. Check the weather before you visit to ensure that you can make the most of your time there. If you’re interested in taking photos, consider going at sunset and staying until the fountain lights turn on—it’s worth the wait.
Waterfront Park Tours
If you want to visit Waterfront Park without spending a valuable chunk of your vacation time, consider going on a guided tour. Get an overview of the park’s highlights, snap a photo, and then move on to the city’s bigger-name attractions nearby like the Battery, Rainbow Row, and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.
- Ripley’s aquarium is a must-see for families with kids.
- Tickets are good all day, so you can come and go at your leisure.
- The aquarium is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, which are both available to rent at guest services.
- The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon are a must for first-time visitors to Charleston, especially history buffs.
- Plan to spend roughly an hour exploring the sight.
- Children under the age of 6 are free, and there are discounts for seniors, teachers, students, and military.
- The Old Exchange is accessible to wheelchair users.
- Rainbow Row is a must-see for architecture lovers and first-time visitors.
- Don’t forget your camera; Rainbow Row make for one of Charleston’s best photo ops.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes, especially if you’re visiting as part of a walking tour.
- Guided tours that stop at Rainbow Row last anywhere from 80 minutes to three hours, depending which you’ve chosen.
- The market is a must for foodies and first-time visitors to Charleston.
- There are two cafés inside the market and many more in the surrounding streets.
- Dress for the weather to fully enjoy the indoor and outdoor market areas.
- The market is accessible to wheelchair users and strollers.
- This site is a must-see for history buffs.
- Give yourself a minimum of two hours (and as much as a full day) to tour the estate.
- The gardens are mostly wheelchair accessible, and the site offers handicapped parking and restrooms. The House Museum is not handicapped accessible.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and appropriate clothing for outdoor conditions.
- The Charleston Museum is a must for history buffs, and the kid-friendly exhibits make it popular with families.
- Plan to spend two to three hours exploring the museum.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible. The historic houses offer photographic tours for those who are unable to climb stairs.
- Compact strollers are allowed in the museum and the first floor of the historic houses.
- The Magnolia Plantation is a must-see for history buffs and plant and flower fans.
- Plan to spend a few hours here, with around 45 minutes dedicated to touring the historic gardens.
- While much of the grounds are wheelchair-accessible, the home tour is not.
- Tours often include air-conditioned round-trip transportation from Charleston.
- One ticket allows for access to most of the sights. Tours are available at additional cost.
- The Aiken-Rhett House is a must-see for history buffs.
- Combined tickets are available for the Aiken-Rhett House and the Nathaniel Russell House Museum.
- Self-guided audio tours are available.
- The house is only partially wheelchair-accessible, as visitors are required to climb up and down stairs to tour the entire estate.
- Allow 90 minutes to two hours for house tours.
- Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum is a must for history buffs, especially those interested in the military and WWII. This kid-friendly venue is a hit with families, too.
- Plan to spend roughly four hours exploring the museum.
- A lunch café and snack shack are available on-site.
- Self-guided audio tours are available for an additional fee.
- The USS Yorktown is the museum’s only wheelchair-accessible vessel.
- Children 3 and under are free.
- Child rate applies for children 11 and under.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible.
- Discounts are available for groups of 15 people or more and nonprofit groups.
- The Joseph Manigault House is a must-see for history buffs and those interested in antebellum architecture.
- Flash photography and the use of cell phones are not allowed within the historic house.
- The house is not wheelchair accessible.
- The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is a lovely sight for all visitors to Charleston, especially those particularly interested in bridges and engineering.
- A long and steady incline makes this walk a good workout.
- Dress in layers—it’s windy at the top of the bridge.
- Bring snacks, water, and sun protection if you plan to walk the whole bridge. There are no amenities along the way.
- Though technically wheelchair and stroller friendly, they’re not recommended.