What to do in Charleston, SC with kids? (Perfect for a rainy day!)

Ravenel Bridge in Charleston SC

Jōy-ist Lifestyle adventures with Alan & Jack

Whether you’re a local or you’re visiting on family vacation, it’s likely that you’re wondering what to do in Charleston, SC with kids. Finding something to do with kids anywhere can be a major dilemma. Finding an indoor activity when the weather is chilly, rainy, or just plain too hot out in Charleston can be an even bigger dilemma. 

Ravenel Bridge in Charleston SC
Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, SC. Photo by Chucktown Art.

Here’s our tried and tested itinerary for a fun day (mostly indoors) with kids in Charleston, SC:

Best donuts in Charleston

(Because why not start the day out with kids on a sugar rush in Charleston, SC)

Start the day with some of the best donuts in Charleston, SC. What kid doesn’t love donuts? While there is no shortage of donut shops around Charleston, we wanted to try Fractured Prune Doughnuts in Mount Pleasant, SC. Coming from West Ashley, it was just a short drive over the Ravenel Bridge. Plus, the kids love going over the bridge  — such a sight to see!

Fractured Prune did not disappoint. They bake warm made to order donuts with plenty of options for endless flavor combinations. The concept is similar to Duck Donuts, but they are more competitive on price. They have crafted flavor combinations on the menu in case you’re indecisive like me. I ordered the Blueberry Hill (blueberry glaze + powdered sugar) and the Bacon Bomb (maple glaze drizzle + sweet cinnamon sugar + crispy bacon). Alan & Jack each ordered one chocolate glaze with confetti sprinkles, and one vanilla glaze with confetti sprinkles. The flavors were delicious, although I may have left in a sugar coma!

South Carolina Aquarium

(Perfect with an annual membership…eliminate the long-term guesswork of what to do in Charleston, SC with kids!)

The South Carolina Aquarium is a favorite in our house. Alan & Jack love hopping from exhibit to exhibit. My favorite exhibits are the hands-on exhibits where they can pet stingrays, hold sea urchins, and see starfish up close. I also especially love the shark tank room. The lights are dim and mostly light by the light of the aquarium tanks, and they have relaxing ambient music playing softly overhead. If I didn’t have the kids with me, it’s highly likely I could sit and meditate in that room for hours! 

The South Carolina Aquarium can be a pretty spendy indoor option if you’re not an annual member. Tickets are $29.95 per adult and $22.95 for children ages 3-12.  A family membership is $189, which includes 2 adults and all children. If you have family visiting frequently, it is worthwhile to pay a little extra for the ‘family plus pass’, which is $239 and includes 2 guest privileges per day. There is a South Carolina Aquarium discount for active, retired, and veteran military with valid photo & military ID card.

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina

(Great for dining out in Charleston, SC with kids!)

Mex 1 Charleston has to be one of my favorite restaurants in town. If I’m being honest, it is also one of the best kid friendly restaurants in Charleston. The kids menu offers a plain cheese quesadilla, a chick-a-dilla (melted jack cheese with cantina chicken), a rice bowl, nachos, or a taco. Jack gets the plain cheese quesadilla and loves it every time. 

There are several things on the menu that I personally enjoy, some of my favorites are the cantina chicken taco, charred cali-flower taco (this one is even better served on a bed of lettuce), grilled mahi taco, the cilantro lime chicken quesadilla, the cantina salad, and of course the queso. Mex 1’s queso comes with pickled jalapeños mixed in. Pro tip is to ask for the jalapeños on the side — this way the kids can enjoy heat-free queso and I still get my jalapeño fix. Did I mention that the margaritas at Mex 1 Charleston are phenomenal? 

Last but not least, Mex 1 sells King of Pops popsicles. The kids LOVE these. We didn’t get any on this particular trip, but have had them many times. I figured we had enough sugar for the day at Fractured Prune. J

Outslide In

(Just when you thought we were out of fun things to do with kids in Charleston, SC)…

We concluded our trip at Outslide In, one of the best indoor kid activities in Charleston, SC. Outslide In is located in the Citadel Mall in West Ashley. They offer imagination play activities for younger children (although my seven year old still loves the pretend play area!). Kids can pretend to be a firefighter, a veterinarian, a chef, or even take a trip to the grocery store. The main attraction is the large indoor playground. The playground is adult friendly too! I have been down the slides many times with my kids, and I’ve also used the opportunity to take advantage of the WIFI and get some work done or read a book while they play. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, and is perfect if you’re looking for rainy day activities in Charleston.

Our day was so full that the boys started to get a little tired and cranky at the end. I’d say it was all worth it. I honestly can’t wait until our next day on the town! We’ll create an entirely different ‘Charleston, SC with kids’ itinerary, and I’ll be sure to report back. 😉

Watch how we spent Valentine’s Day 2020 indoors (mostly) around Charleston — VIDEO.

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