Things to Do in Charleston With Teens


I didn’t get the privilege of watching the teenager and pre-teen in my house become adolescents. I wasn’t part of their journey from the beginning. My stepdaughter was already 13 when my husband and I married in 2020, and I needed a crash course in teenagers. I was on a mission to find experiences and opportunities to help with connection.

Maybe this is you, or maybe you’re a grandparent or someone hosting out-of-town teenaged guests . . . either way, we’ve got you covered. This list of things to do in Charleston with teens has been fully vetted by the teenagers in our house. I hope this helps you enjoy Charleston with the young adult in your life – and, if you’re lucky, maybe even helps provide an opportunity to sneak in a meaningful conversation.

Things to Do in Charleston With Teens

For the Outdoor Enthusiast

  • Beach:

Spend some time at one of our gorgeous local beaches. Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Kiawah Island are less than an hour from downtown Charleston.

Pack a picnic and beach gear and make a day of it. You can even rent umbrellas and chairs from Folly Beach Chair Company. Alternatively, take a stroll in the early morning or evening and grab breakfast, coffee, or ice cream before or after your visit. My favorite walk is an hour or so before low tide at Kiawah Beachwalker Park. If you head toward the Kiawah River from the beach, you’ll likely get a chance to catch dolphins strand-feeding.

Things to do in Charleston with teens: a family poses together on a beach at sunset, and a teen girl holds a few shark teeth in her hand at the beach.

  • Bike:

Rent bikes at SeaCoast Sports and Outfitters in Freshfields Village (or bring your own and park at Freshfields) to access a paved trail that will get you onto Kiawah Island. Enjoy biking the trails or beach on Kiawah. Grab lunch at the Nest Market and Cafe or the Jasmine Porch.

Other trails our family enjoys include the bike paths at Magnolia Plantation and the West Ashley Greenway, starting at Stony River County Park.

  • Botany Bay:

Visit Botany Bay on Edisto Island for a breathtaking walk on a boneyard beach with access to 4,600 acres of unspoiled coastal wilderness with hiking trails and a historic driving tour. Stop by King’s Farm Market and pick up a key lime pie to-go on your drive home, or grab lunch at Roxbury Mercantile or Edingsville Grocery.

  • Bulls Island Ferry:

For a real adventure, take the Bulls Island Ferry into the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Coastal Expeditions offers a number of specialized tours of the Refuge, providing a wonderful way to explore salt marshes, estuaries, and a pristine barrier island with a breathtaking boneyard beach.

  • Kayak:

Rent kayaks or paddleboards from Charleston Outdoor Adventures, Charleston SUP Safaris, or Coastal Expeditions and explore the beautiful salt marshes of the Lowcountry. If you launch at Shem Creek you could walk the pier and grab a delicious lunch on the water before or after your paddle.

Things to do in Charleston with teens: a family smiles on a kayak, and three kids smile while on a boat.

  • Cypress Gardens:

Take a short drive to Cypress Gardens and spend the day walking the beautiful trails, visiting their swamparium and butterfly gardens, and looking for alligators on a self-guided boat tour through a lowcountry swamp.

  • Angel Oak:

Visit Angel Oak, an awe-inspiring, ancient Southern Live Oak, considered to be the largest east of the Mississippi.

  • Yoga:

Schedule an outdoor yoga session! Visit the Goatery at Kiawah River for yoga with baby goats or contact Serenity Tree Yoga to set up a beach yoga session.

For the History Lover

  • Plantations & Gardens:

Visit one of Charleston’s beautiful plantations and gardens. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens , Middleton Place, and Drayton Hall are neighbors on the Ashley River and within a 10-minute drive of one another.

A family poses together on the bridge at a garden.

Take a drive out to Wadmalaw Island and visit the Charleston Tea Garden. Walk the grounds, tour the factory, and take a trolley ride through 127 acres of tea bushes. Sit in a rocker on their front porch and enjoy free tea samples. Our favorite is Rockville Raspberry. Before heading home, grab lunch at the Hum Grocery in historic Rockville.

  • Tour Downtown:

Take a carriage ride or go on a ghost-walking tour downtown.

  • Hunley Museum:

Visit the Hunley, the first successful combat submarine in the world, which mysteriously disappeared during the Civil War and remained lost at sea for over a century. Museum guests can now view the submarine and learn about the vessel’s storied and fascinating history. After your tour, enjoy a “proper fish and chips” at the CODfather.

  • South of Broad:

Walk or bike South of Broad, making sure to see Rainbow Row and White Point Gardens.

For the Crafty Kid

  • Candle Making:

Spend a couple of hours making a candle where you can curate your own scent at Candlefish on King Street or Palmetto Scent Studio (multiple locations).

Things to do in Charleston with teens: women pose together in a candle-making class, and a family poses together at another candle making class.

  • Pottery Painting:

Paint your own pottery at Pluff Mud Pottery or Palmetto Clayground.

  • Fiber Arts:

Arrange a visit to Pluff Mudd Farm, a fiber arts farm on Wadmalaw Island. The friendly, accommodating owners can curate an experience to your interest – from spinning your own wool to dying linen with indigo.

For the Sports Fan

  • Go to a Game:

Catch a Riverdogs baseball game, a Battery soccer match, a Stringrays hockey game, or cheer on the College of Charleston Cougars in their collegiate events.

Things to do in Charleston with teens: a teen girl and young girl smile together at a baseball game.

  • Golf:

Practice your swing at TopGolf.

  • Bowling:

Go bowling and hit the arcade at Stars and Strikes.

Shop, Stroll, Sip

  • 2nd Sunday on King Street:

Every second Sunday of the month, lower King Street closes to traffic and the shops and vendors bring their wares out to the street. Pedestrians meander lower King among food trucks, musicians, and artisan booths. Lower King is always fun for shopping, but it is especially so on 2nd Sunday.

  • Farmer’s Market:

The Charleston Farmer’s Market that runs on Saturday mornings from April – December is a family favorite. We enjoy getting breakfast or brunch from one of the stands, strolling through booths of local artisan wares, picking up some fresh produce for dinner, and petting all the cute pups. Here’s a list to other great Farmer’s Markets in the area!

  • Coffee Shop:

Sit down for some good coffee and (hopefully!) a conversation at one of these excellent local coffee shops.

  • Charleston City Market:

Stroll through the Charleston City Market to shop for locally made goods.

  • Get a Treat:

For a totally decadent, out-of-this-world treat, visit The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar.

A group of four kids smile together behind four massive milkshake desserts.

Give Back

Some of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had with my children have been through service. Our family prepares and serves dinner downtown to neighbors in need every fourth Sunday of the month alongside the Navigation Center. The impact this work has had on our children and family has been significant and very special.

Here are a few great helping agencies in our community who would love volunteers:

Things to do in Charleston with teens: two teens and a young girl smile behind a counter full of food.I welcome additions to this list and would especially love to hear how you’ve connected to teens in your life! What are other things to do in Charleston with teens?


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