Give Your Family a South Carolina Experience This Holiday Season

By:Kerry Egan

Date:12/11/2014

I've read somewhere that what truly makes us happy isn’t things, but rather experiences.

In South Carolina, we're lucky to have so many wonderful places and activities that families can experience together. So this holiday season, consider giving a South Carolina experience to the children you love. When you give the gift of experiences a family can share together, everyone gets a present.

Here are some ideas:


  1. A membership to a zoo or aquarium. An entire day spent together feeding giraffes or spotting the sharks swimming among thousands of fish in a massive tank is something everyone will remember. But there's something even more wonderful about having a membership to a favorite zoo or aquarium and being able to say to the kids, "Let's just go for an hour after school." A membership lets you and your children go whenever the fancy strikes you. South Carolina is lucky to have some of the best zoos and aquariums in the country, including the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia and the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston. Yearlong family memberships can pay for themselves in just two visits.
  2. Surfing lessons. How many times have you sat on the beach and watched a surfer glide in on a wave, seemingly effortlessly? I've done it at least a thousand times and wished I knew how to do that. Luckily, there are surfing schools right here in South Carolina that can teach you and the whole family, like Folly Beach's Charleston Surf Lessons, Myrtle Beach's Eternal Wave Surf Shop and the iconic Village Surf Shoppe in Garden City Beach, to name just a few. The family that falls off surfboards together stays together, right?
  3. Guided fly fishing. There's just something mesmerizing about fly fishing, and it's something that both children and adults can embrace and master. South Carolina has great fly-fishing rivers. Frank's Fly Arts in Columbia can both teach the family how to fly fish and then take you and your children out for a beautiful day on the river. Once you learn how, you and your children can return again and again to the rivers to spend the day together.
  4. Children's museum membership. Especially if you have very little ones, a membership to one of the six children's museums in South Carolina is the gift you give yourself, too. You could spend hours with your preschoolers exploring and playing. The Children's Museum of the Upstate in Greenville and Columbia’s EdVenture also appeal to school-aged kids, with exhibits that appeal to their growing maturity. Just imagine letting your four-year-old run amok among giant water tables or rooms filled with foam blocks and not having to clean it up! That's a gift for mama, too.
  5. Family getaway in a cabin in one of South Carolina's state parks. I think the state park cabins, some of them built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, are some of the best-kept secrets in the whole state. They're updated with modern kitchens and bathrooms yet still incredibly charming, comfortable and cozy. And they’re located in some of the most beautiful places in the whole world. Renting a cabin for a week or weekend, at the beach or in the mountains, will make memories that last well beyond the newest electronic gadget. The park system also sells a yearly pass that gives you entrance to all of the state’s 47 parks.

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