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Charleston is known for award-winning hotels, grand antebellum mansions, and prominent cuisine, but take the tykes with you to this Southern gem and you’ll see the destination from a completely new perspective. First stop: visit the wharf where English settlers landed in 1670 at Charles Towne Landing. The 80-acre state park explores what life was like at the time of settlement with a reproduction period sailing vessel, a garden that recreates the first harvest, and a natural habitat zoo populated by indigenous animals. At the South Carolina Aquarium, families can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sea Turtle Hospital to learn how compassionate staff members are nursing the turtles back to healthy lives. Next stop: the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, where the little ones can climb to the top of a medieval castle, take the helm of a Lowcountry pirate ship, or create a masterpiece in the museum’s Art Center. More of our favorite family-friendly locales include Audubon’s Francis Beidler Forest, Boone Hall Plantation, Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Charleston Tea Plantation, Cypress Gardens, Escape in 60, Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumter National Monument, Friends of the Hunley, Gibbes Museum of Art, James Island County Park, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Middleton Place, North Charleston Fire Museum, Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, Palmetto Islands County Park, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, The Charleston Museum, The Alley and Time Traveler Escape Games.

Charleston is one big playground, waiting to be explored. Go on; adventure awaits!