The past few months and the circumstances we are in right now have forced us to be creative. We are moms, we are great at this stuff, we can think of things to do on a whim, change plans, make things fun, and make the best of situations.
Before this pandemic, I was quick to plan a trampoline park day or a day out at the movies. It was fun, it was relaxing for mom and it was a way to do something without actually doing anything.
And then, BOOM!
Like all the games falling down from the top of the closet on your head… the pandemic hit. Everything closed and our “mom lives” completely changed. As moms, we had to find something else to do to entertain the kids. Sure, like every other mom, I turned on the TV more than I ever have, turned eating banana bread and cookies into an art class and gained 10 pounds, doing everything I could to survive.
Discovering South Carolina
A great way to discover more about South Carolina, learn history, and see the most beautiful places is to go to South Carolina State Parks. There are a whopping 47 State Parks that are all different, all have something new to see, and are all exciting for both kids and adults.
And if you really want to get your kids excited and have something to work towards… They earn a FREE ULTIMATE OUTSIDER t-Shirt when they visit all 47 of the parks.
We went to our first park, picked up a couple of guides and the kids take them to get stamped each time we go to a new park. It has now been a fun new adventure to pick out where we go and work towards a goal.
Ways to get your kids involved and make it fun:
- Get them their own guide so they can look through the book and pick new places.
- Download the Geocaching app and when you are at different state parks, you can look for hidden treasures. This has been the highlight of some of our park trips.
- Let your kids pick the next place. They can look in the book and see what each park provides. (Ex. camping, hiking, golfing, fishing, etc).
- Save the SC State Parks Scavenger Hunt Picture (below) and tag @thecharlesonmoms and @farindoran when you find everything so we can give you a shout-out and make it fun!
- Plan a picnic while you are there so you can take a break, snack, and talk about what you saw.
- Stop at the different learning plaques that are usually in each park and read them allowed together. Learn new facts together.
- Go into the visitor center at each park and look around. There are free brochures, different learning experiences, and something different at each one.
- Have your children journal each park trip. They can gather leaves, cut things from brochures, and draw pictures to remember their day.
- Give your kids a camera or your phone when they want to take pictures and they can make a picture journal for a park. Kids love having that control and taking pictures!
Some of our favorite parks so far
Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site (1500 Old Towne Rd, Charleston, SC 29407)
A large, sprawling greenspace covering over 80 acres, this site is where English settlers landed in 1670. This piece of history is just minutes from downtown with lots of history of how early life in South Carolina was right off of the Ashley River. From touring the Common House and boarding the Adventure Ship to trying to find our first geocache, our whole family loved our afternoon here. Our two little ones rode their bikes all throughout the day on the trails and a bike rental program is available to those who want to see even more, but can’t walk the entire six miles of total walkways and trails.
Another fun thing to check out while you are there is the Animal Forest, a zoo, where we saw otters, bison, and a puma to name a few. But watch out above as there are some of the biggest spiders that I have seen spinning extensive webs in between the trees.
Kids’ most favorite thing: Watching the otters play with each other while getting cooled off with the mister.
Myrtle Beach State Park (4401 S Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29575)
Along the southernmost stretch of the Grand Strand coastline in Horry County, Myrtle Beach State Park sits nestled among the oceanfront maritime forest. With one mile of undeveloped beach along the busy shoreline, the park offers guests camping, trails, fishing, and sunbathing. The pier stretching into the Atlantic Ocean provides great views of the beach along with fisherman trying their luck to catch the big one. From flounder, king mackerel, whiting, trout, spots, Spanish mackerel, drum, blues, and crabs – there are plenty of fish in the sea!
This is a great all-day park because you can beach it, you can walk trails, and there is a nature center with a special trail on the way. You get a great mix of both the woods and the beach.
Kids’ most favorite thing: Seeing someone catch a shark and feeding a shark from a fisherman’s fish that they had filleted. We also learned about some local animals and we are still talking about it.
Our family has learned something new and interesting at each park. I am being the mom that makes the kids read the plaques, go inside, find something new, and discover new things. It has been a learning experience for both the kids and me. I am grateful to live in such a beautiful place that has so much outdoor beauty and history.
Our family’s goal is to get to all the parks and earn our free shirt! To do this, we are using the State Parks as our pit stop on a long trip outside of the state. Anytime we take a long drive, we look at the State Park map to see what parks are close and where we can visit that we haven’t been. It is a great way to break up the trip, get the kids and dogs outside, and get in a little learning before a trip.