Charleston is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with an incredible restaurant scene, gorgeously well-preserved architecture and a story behind every corner. It’s romantic, it’s breathtaking, it’s charming. It’s also a great place to go on vacation with teenagers.
While teenagers might not be all that interested in lovely architecture and fine wines, Charleston is packed with great activities that will let families have a ton of fun together. Here are just a few suggestions for your next Charleston trip with teenagers.
Imagine an activity that requires the whole family to work together, lets you explore historic Charleston AND lets teenagers stare at their phones? Sounds like a beautiful dream, but it’s a real thing: Urban Adventure Quest. It’s a scavenger hunt that’s played on your cell phones and has your entire group running all over the city in a race to find the answers to the clues that pop up on your phone. It's a terrific way to see Charleston and have a lot of fun doing it.
At the Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theatre, teens and parents don’t have to just watch the play unfold. Instead, they can be part of it. Volunteer actors from the audience are given scripts and become a central, and hilarious, part of the performance.
Right smack in the middle of the historic and tourist district, Escape in 60 is a wildly fun and challenging way for a family to spend the afternoon locked away. You have one hour to solve a series of puzzles from a room full of clues. In one scenario, you have to escape from Blackbeard. In another, you’re in the midst of a jailbreak. Once you’ve figured out all the puzzles, you’ll literally discover the key to freedom, allowing you to escape. But you only have 60 minutes to do it.
Teenagers seem to love horror movies, so how about some real ghosts? In a city as old as Charleston, there are bound to be some hauntings, right? In fact, Charleston is home to one of the most haunted places in the world. And you and your kids can tour it, at night, with just a lantern to light the way. Bulldog Tours’ Haunted Jail Tour takes into visitors into the Old City Jail, and infamous and awful 19th century prison. There’s no way to avoid the utterly spooky feeling of the place. Other ghost and graveyard tours abound in Charleston. Check out Bulldog Tours or Tour Charleston for other terrifying options.
A charming street lined with shops, from funky to designer, and cool little restaurants, King Street in historic Charleston is the perfect place to spend the day shopping with your teenager.
On James Island, families can dangle dozens of feet in the air as they overcome their fear and step out into the air with just a rope beneath their feet. Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park offers three stories of obstacles sure to challenge even the most adventure-seeking teenager, all while keeping everyone safely harnessed in. And ever had the desire to leap off a platform 40 feet in the air? You can do that, too. In fact, we’d recommend it.
Isle of Palms, just a few miles north of Charleston, has one of the most beautiful public beaches in America. And no worries if you weren’t able to pack an umbrella and beach chairs on the plane. You can rent them at Isle of Palms County Park, right in the beach. They’ll even set up them up for you. Then head over to Sullivan’s Island, just the next island over, for a dinner on Middle Street. A dozen great restaurants spill onto the street with outdoor seating and a super laid-back, beachy feel. Your teenager just might be impressed with how hip it feels. Maybe.
Charleston is a port city, shaped by trade and surrounded by beautiful beaches and lovely islands. Spend the day exploring this other side of Charleston—the seaside. Coastal Expeditions offers 3 hour kayaking tours that take you down Shem Creek, past the remains of Charleston’s fishing fleet, out to Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary, and to the most beautiful view of Charleston there is.