If you're looking for ideas away from the big oceanfront resorts for your family vacation, there are plenty of places in South Carolina to keep the kids entertained.
Ramp up the excitement during the summer with a day trip to Carowinds. The 400-acre (and growing) amusement park straddles the South Carolina-North Carolina border, and features more than 50 rides and attractions, including 13 roller coasters. If you think you can handle a 325-foot drop and speeds up to 95 mph, test your wits on the Fury 325. When the ride opened in the summer of 2015, it was the world’s largest and fastest giga coaster. Youngsters who aren’t brave or big enough to take on these heights will find plenty of entertainment at Planet Snoopy, the Carowinds children’s area.
Be sure to pack a bathing suit on your trip to Carowinds, as the admission price includes a pass to Boomerang Bay, the onsite water park. Plenty of water slides, two wave pools, a lazy river, toddler play area and more comprise the park’s 20 acres. Of course, if you’re looking for someplace smaller to cool off, there are fun water parks sprinkled all across the state. The Orangeburg County Aquatic Park and Simpsonville’s Discovery Island both feature water slides, a lazy river, large play areas and splash pads suitable for all ages.
The Edisto Island Serpentarium offers an entirely different type of excitement for adventurous families. The large indoor/outdoor exhibit offers visitors a chance to see hundreds of snakes, including anacondas and boa constrictors, in two large pits filled with trees and ponds. Dozens of varieties of alligators, snakes and turtles are also on display, and visitors may even have an opportunity to interact with some of the wildlife during educational programs.
Plan a small-town seaside getaway in Georgetown. Spend a day checking out the restaurants and small shops along the historic waterfront in one of South Carolina’s oldest towns. The Rice Museum, easily spotted and known to locals as “the big town clock,” features artifacts from the area’s once booming rice industry, and the nearby South Carolina Maritime Museum is also worth a visit. In the evening enjoy some of Georgetown’s most famous haunted places and ghost stories on a walking ghost tour.
Don’t forget there are also 47 state parks throughout South Carolina with endless opportunities for a family-friendly excursion, even if you’re not an overnight guest. During day hours, South Carolina’s state parks offer interpretive programming for children and adults of all ages, kayak and canoe rentals, nature trails, waterfall hikes, fishing and swimming opportunities, special events and more.