From Charleston to Savannah with love…Favorite places to visit with my kid in the Lowcountry

Here are the most surprising places I have found during my travel adventures in South Carolina (all approved by my preschool daughter). Today I’ll go over the Lowcountry: Charleston, Edisto, Beaufort, Hilton Head and Savannah.

The American LaFrance Fire Museum in North Charleston

This place is FUN with capital letters! Best of all its free for kids and only $6 for adults.

Kids get fired up in Charleston!

Drive a real fire truck at the North Charleston Fire Museum


Children can climb-on a real fire truck, go through a full-fledged emergency response, including a simulated street driving, honk horns, talk on the radio and push all sorts of buttons.

You get to see an amazing display of legendary fire engines from the 1700s to modern days.

I loved learning about the fire fighting history and its technological marvels, the fire trivia (i.e. Benjamin Franklin started the first successful fire insurance company in US) and the most devastating fires in the world (from AD 64 in Rome to 1906 in San Francisco).

The museum is open 10AM – 5PM (1PM on Sundays) and is located near the Tanger Outlets.

Charles Towne Landing Historic Park and Animal Fores Zoo

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Charles Towne Landing, the birthplace of America, is a wonderful place filled with educational, recreational and fun things to do for everyone.

Walk the plank at Charles Towne Landing

17th century justice is served

The park is open daily 9AM to 5 PM. Admission is $5 adults, $3 children 6-15 and free for 3 and under.

Start at the Visitors Center to see how life was like in the 1670s for the Lord Proprietors, settlers, native tribes, indentured servants, and slaves.

Visit the Animal Forest zoo home to pumas, bison, alligators, black bears, otters, bobcats, wolves and a variety of birds.

Be a captain aboard Adventure, a life-size 17th century trading ship replica.

Walk, stroll, jog or bike along the marsh or through the 80 acres of magnificent gardens, featuring thousands of azaleas, camellias and centuries old oak trees.

Edisto Island Serpentarium

Gigantic alligators, deadly snakes, funny looking lizards and snappy turtles “with a face only a mother could love”…

Incredible reptiles on Edisto Island near Charleston

Edisto's best buddies

The park features beautiful indoor and outdoor exhibits filled with native species as well as weird reptiles from around the world.

Make sure to attend the live snake education programs (at 11, 1, 3 and 5PM) and the alligator feedings (12 and 4PM).

Some may not have the stomach for it, yet we were thrilled!

Kids really enjoy digging through pre-historic bones from once native saber tooth cats, whales, mammoths and giant bears.

Edisto Island Serpentarium is open May through Labor Day Thursday to Saturdays from 10AM to 6PM (Monday to Saturday in the summer).

Admission is $12.95 adults, $9.95 children (6-12), $5.95 children 4 and 5, free for those 3 and under.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Beautiful 18th century church near CharlestonA deeply moving and inspirational historic site remnant of the 1745 Prince William Parish.

Twice burned, once during Revolutionary War and again during the Civil War March to the Sea and yet still standing…

Amid tragedy there hope and rebirth. The ruins have become a very popular site for outdoor wedding ceremonies and a photographers composition dream.

Mark your calendar! Once a year, on the second Sunday after Easter, the prestigious St. Helena Church holds a public service at the ruins.

The church ruins are located on Old Sheldon Road right off highway 21 between Beaufort and Yemassee.

Hunting Island Lighthouse and State Park – Breath-taking views, romantic beach and lush maritime forest. Hunting Island State Park is the most popular park in South Carolina, and for good reasons.
Best state park in South Carolina The park jewel is South Carolina’s only publicly accessible historic lighthouse. Dating from the 1870s, the Hunting Island Lighthouse shoots 170 feet into the air, rewarding visitors magnificent views of the Lowcountry marshland and the Atlantic Ocean.

Enjoy 5 miles of soft sand beach, a wonderful lagoon home to seahorses and barracuda, thousands of acres of marsh and tidal creek, a fishing pier and some of the state’s most desirable campsites.

Admire up-close loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, pelicans, dolphins and deer, Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and the rare coral snakes.

The loggerhead turtles nest on the island in the summer months.

Park daily admission is $4 adults, $1.5 children age 6-15 and free for children 5 and younger. Lighthouse ticket is an additional $2.

Parris Island Museum near Beaufort

An extraordinary place honoring the US Marines history, life as a recruit, and military accomplishments.

WWII Japanese cannon prize of war

Here I am!

Admire hundreds of unusual weapons and enemy captures from legendary battles, laugh at the “good life as a recruit” posters and learn about the inspiring US Marines history.

Little ones can earn the “Junior Recruit” title by successfully completing the museum exploration challenge.

Admission is free and the museum is open daily from 10AM to 4:30PM. If time permits take the island driving tour.

Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton Head

This place has it all! A rich display of the Lowcountry heritage, an incredible saltmarsh ecosystem, world-class history walks and nature tours

Delicate beauty at Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton Head

and a brilliant Butterfly Pavilion.

Admission to the museum, outside grounds and the butterfly enclosure is free (guided tours range from $5 to $20 per person).

Coastal Discovery Museum is open year around Monday to Saturday from 9AM to 4:30 PM, Sunday 11AM to 3PM.

Here is an overview of the fun things you can do with kids outdoor.


Fort Pulaski National Park near Savannah

A memorable Civil War battle marked the end of masonry fortifications after the “indestructible” Fort Pulaski fell after 30 hours of cannon firings.

Magnificent Civil War reenactments

Fort Pulaski, an incredible Civil War battle and military marvel

Admission is free for kids under 16 and $3 for adults and is good for 6 days. The Fort Pulaski National Monument has a plethora of educational family activities.

Learn about the tragic story of the Immortal 600 Confederate officers, and mind-boggling military strategies and weapons deployed at the time.

Make sure to attend the live musket and cannon fire demonstrations that are held each weekend.

Walk the scenic 0.75 mile Overloook Trail to the Cockspur Island Lighthouse, originally built in 1837. The lighthouse escaped untouched during the 30 hours attack on the Fort despite the fact it was positioned straight in the line of fire!

Life is beautiful in the historic Lowcountry!

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Duke’s World of Energy – where electricity rules and kids love pushing buttons (free educational things to do near Greenville)

Looking for something to do with kids that’s fun, educational, and free while touring beautiful South Carolina Upcountry? Then visit Duke’s World of Energy museum at the Oconee Nuclear Station (relax, it’s very safe…admitted, you are a little bit curious 🙂 ). Take the self-guided tour to learn how electricity is generated using water, coal and uranium. Watch videos to understand the nuclear plant operations and test your knowledge at the computer game stations.

Things to know before you go
1. Kids love pushing (our) buttons! Kids checking out the interactive map Luckily the World of Energy is filled with interactive exhibits and videos all with buttons waiting to be pressed. The most popular one is in the main room: a tridimensional relief map showing Duke’s power plants and key area attractions spread over the region’s lakes and mountains.

2. You’ll get a kick seeing some 1930s small home-appliances invented by Duke Engineers, like the electric toaster and iron machine. Other interesting “artifacts” a 1924 aid-kit and a streetcar conductor’s hat and coin changer.

3. Outside you can enjoy a 0.25 mile nature trail by the lake and a colorful butterfly garden and see the historic marker honoring early settlers and their 1715 expedition to dissuade the Cherokees from joining other tribes in the Yemassee Indian War.

Facts and Trivia
1. Oconee was the first nuclear station designed, built and operated by Duke Energy. Operating since 1973 it has produced more than 500 million megawatt-hours of electricity – first in the country to do so. Oconee has a generating capacity of about 2.6 million kilowatts making it one of the nation’s largest nuclear plants.

2. A single Uranium 235 fuel pallet, less than an inch long, Dance around with the atoms produces the energy equivalent to a ton of coal.

3. The nuclear plant has no airborne emissions like carbon and sulfur dioxide. In fact, the energy generated by the U.S. nuclear plants has prevented emissions equal to that produced by 130 millions cars!

Area Attractions
Free
• Walhalla Fish Hatchery – see the life stages of, feed and even fish three species of trout.
• Centuries old Oconee Historic Station and Hagood Mill.
• History lovers and art collectors go visit Pendleton, “the Charleston of the Upstate” just 30 miles southwest of Greenville (hwy 76 and 28). The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Notable attractions: Farmer’s Hall (oldest continuous operating hall in the country), Hunter’s Store, Ashtabula (1st licensed tavern), Old Stone Church (where Andrew Pickens and Gen. Anderson are buried) and Woodburn (4 story mansion)

• Legendary Isaqueena and Whitewater waterfalls.
• SC Botanical Gardens – country largest collection of nature-based sculptures and hundreds of exotic ornamental plants.

Under $5 admission
Lake Jocassee at Devils Fork State Park – finest fishing place in the Southeast. Swim year around.
• Oconee State Park – a variety of recreational activities and the start of scenic Foothills Trail.

Let the adventure begin at Table Rock State Park! Excellent hiking trails, all year long swimming, rock sliding and fishing.

Where
The World of Energy is located on the beautiful shores of Lake Keowee, near the intersection of Hwy 130 and Hwy 183, about 20 minutes drive from Clemson, Pickens and Walhalla and close to an hour from Greenville. Here is the Google Map. The museum is free to attend and is open daily, M-F 9 AM to 5 PM, weekend noon to 5 PM. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Day. Call 1-800-777-1004 for more info.

Have fun in Carolina God’s Country!

Incredible marsh views from the Hunting Island boardwalk trail (free things to do)

It’s just one mile long and you could finish it in less than 15 minutes. Do yourself a favor and take the time to take it all in. The marshes look spectacular especially late afternoon and right before the sunset. There is an abundance of colors, sounds, smells and wildlife to enjoy: from the little “Samurai crab warriors” and jelly fish stranded in the mud to ospreys, elegant egrets and brown pelicans flying high in the sky.

Bring your fishing gear, the camera, binoculars or just a book. And of course plenty of bug spray and sunscreen…can’t avoid that but is not too bad. This will be the best therapy session you will never had to pay!

The trail is conveniently located less than a mile pass the entrance to the Hunting Island State Park.

Enjoy and always cherish the marshes of the Carolina Lowcountry Sea Islands!

The Edisto Gardens most frequent visitor: Elegant egret walking by the pond video

The most fun thing to do at the Edisto Memorial Gardens (besides smelling the roses) is watching the wild birds roaming the pond by the park entrance. They are very used to humans feeding them and will even pose so you can later show off your awesome wildlife encounters photos (or video as in my case 🙂 )…

Well come check out this wonderful top Southeast family travel destinations that, best of all, is FREE to enjoy! Read more about Edisto Memorial Gardens on my previous post.

Have an awesome family time visiting the South Carolina parks and gardens!

Myrtle Beach Photos of Great Fun in the Sun (Myrtle Beach free things to do)

Cool ocean breeze…white sand tickling your toes…fresh saltwater smell and seagulls flying into the sunset…everybody in the family is in a good mood and willing to goof around (how often does this happen? 🙂 )

Stay at Ocean Creek Resort, an all inclusive and reasonable priced resort; secluded oasis on 57 beautifully landscaped acres and yet close to awesome Barefoot Landing and the Alligator Adventure attractions. It has excellent amenities (pools galore, tennis courts, golf, private beach access, restaurant).

If you’re looking for something to do with your family that’s affordable, educational, memorable and fulfilling then visit Brookgreen Gardens a National Historic Landmark with the world’s most significant collection of outdoor American sculptures and the only accredited zoo on the South Carolina coast.

However if you’re more an adrenaline pumping kind of person then go to Ripley’s Aquarium inside Broadway at the Beach. For about $20 ($10 for kids 6 to 11, and $4 for those 2 to 5) you can say Hello! to 15 foot Sharks pet feisty stingrays, and if you hurry up before the year’s end, can even “shake hands” with Blackbeard, the most ruthless pirate in the Caribbean known to man!

Keep your family happy in Myrtle Beach, a South Carolina’s top family attraction (golf anyone?!)

See the World’s Smallest Police Station in Ridgeway (on your way to Myrtle Beach)

Ridgeway, South Carolina is home to the world’s smallest police station. Originally built as a watering station for horses, it served as Ridgeway’s police station from 1940 to 1990. It’s as big as a toll booth!
Old Police Station in Ridgeway South CarolinaIf you’re lucky (or just plain smart!) to travel on scenic highway 34 on your way to Myrtle Beach make sure to check it out.

In case you are wondering, Ridgeway boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the state and the nation.

Old and new police stations in Ridgeway South Carolina

Don’t feel too bad about the size, the police crew was eventually upgraded to a bigger building, located right beside the old one. It has an extra room. Now that’s a raise 🙂

Travel tip #1: Make sure to go way below the speed limit (25mph) as you’re driving through Ridgeway. You can thank me later.

Eat at Olde Town Hall restaurant in Ridgeway South Carolina
If hungry, go to the Olde Towne Hall (can’t miss it, the big red brick building near the police station). The restaurant is located in the original Town Hall whihc was built in 1904 and it still has some of the jail cells in the back. The food is just good ole country cooking: plenty, juicy, meaty and delicious. The chicken wings are “made in Heaven” and the raw fries will bring you to tears (in case you must share).

Travel tip #2: Keep kids entertained by asking them to guess the numebr of Target trucks that will go by. This works best during dinner time. Believe it or not one dinner during Christmas week we counted 6 in row! Only in South Carolina backcountry in the little town named Ridgeway…the center of discount retailing!

Happy Travelling!