It's just a fact: Traveling with children is just a little bit harder than traveling without them. Not less fun, of course, but more complicated because you need to take the various needs of your little people into account when planning a vacation. And one of those basic needs, for many kids, is to jump and run and swing and just play.
Most any parent knows exactly what happens when even the best-behaved children have ants in their pants and no way to get rid of them. A delicious meal at an award-winning Charleston restaurant, or a horse-drawn carriage tour through the peninsula, or even an afternoon at a kid-friendly attraction like the South Carolina Aquarium, can be challenging with a toddler or school-aged child who just needs to get their sillies out.
But never fear: public playgrounds to the rescue.
Even just a half an hour at a playground can make all the difference for a family traveling with children. It gives kids a chance to expend some energy, parents a chance to sit down, and families a chance to relax for a little while without worrying about where they need to be next, or whether they'll get to their reservation in time. Building in some playground time to you itinerary can be the best thing you do for your Charleston vacation.
Before you say that you have no idea where to find a playground in a new city, keep reading. We have found three playgrounds that are fun, safe and located in all the right places.
So do yourself a favor, traveling moms and dads. Plan to visit the playground, along with the shopping and eating and history and architecture in Charleston. It might not be the most remarkable part of your vacation, but take it from us: It will make your Charleston vacation better for you and your children.
Hazel Parker Playground
70 E. Bay St.
This is probably the most important playground to know about. It's smack in the middle of one of the most historic and beautiful (and very popular with visitors) sections of Charleston. Nestled on East Bay Street just between Rainbow Row and the Battery, it's almost guaranteed that first-time visitors to Charleston will find themselves walking past this park. You wouldn't necessarily know it was there, though, because the playground is hidden behind a community house and basketball courts. But for families touring Charleston, it could not be any more centrally located.
38 Elizabeth St.
Visitors' first stop in Charleston should be the Charleston Visitors Center on Meeting Street. It's a beautiful place filled with enormously helpful people and all the information you need to make your visit the best it can be. Just one block away are the shops and restaurants and hipster charm of upper King Street. But before you head over to that world of gourmet ice cream sandwiches and high-end hat shops, families' second stop should be Tiedemann Park. It's just around the block, but in the other direction, from the Visitors Center. It's small, but it is the perfect place to let kids burn off some energy before you sit down in one of Charleston's restaurants or stroll through its historic streets.
309 Concord St.
Another key location for families, sunny Gadsdenboro Park is just down the street from the South Carolina Aquarium, one of the most popular (and deservedly so) spots for families visiting the Holy City. Little ones might need to let loose for while after oh-so-gently petting baby alligators and touching slimy rays in the touch tanks. Get your wild ya-yas out after a day in one of the finest aquariums in the world.