Where to stay in Charleston for families with kids: 6 Best areas

Hi guys, on my website, I already wrote an article about Charleston without a car (I will put the link to it at the end of this article). In today’s article, I will help you to find the best places to stay in Charleston for families with kids.

I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Charleston for families, along with a map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Charleston and recommend the best family-friendly hotels in Charleston for all budgets.

Before going into the main topic of this article, let’s look at some facts about Charleston.

Charleston is a historic city and popular tourist destination located in South Carolina in the southeastern United States. The city is known for its rich history, picturesque architecture, and vibrant culture.

Founded in 1670, Charleston played a significant role in the American Revolution and the Civil War. It was a major port city during the colonial era and served as the starting point for many expeditions, including those of early American settlers and explorers. 

Charleston Historic District is renowned for its well-preserved and charming architecture. The area is characterized by cobblestone streets, historic homes, and antebellum mansions.

Charleston and its surrounding areas are home to numerous plantations that offer a glimpse into the history of Southern plantation life. Boone Hall Plantation, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and Middleton Place are some of the notable plantations to visit.

Charleston’s waterfront areas are beautiful. The city has several beaches nearby, including Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island, which are popular spots for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Located in Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter is a historic fort that played a pivotal role in the start of the American Civil War. Visitors can take boat tours to the fort and learn about its history.

Is Charleston a good place to visit with family?

Yes, Charleston is a fantastic destination for families seeking a blend of history, culture, and charm. Your family can explore historic sites like Fort Sumter, take carriage rides through the historic district, and enjoy interactive museums like the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. 

The city’s vibrant food scene caters to all tastes, and its warm, welcoming atmosphere is perfect for family outings. From relaxing on beautiful beaches to delving into its rich heritage, Charleston promises a memorable family vacation with a touch of Southern hospitality.

Where to stay in Charleston for families with kids?

The best areas to stay in Charleston for families with kids are Downtown Charleston, French Quarter, Mount Pleasant, West Ashley, North Charleston, and Isle of Palms. These areas have a variety of family-friendly accommodations and are popular locations for tourists to stay when visiting Charleston.

Downtown Charleston and the French Quarter are ideal locations for families who want a mix of central locations, history, culture, and family-friendly activities. 

If your family prefers a quieter, more suburban setting, Mount Pleasant or West Ashley could be better options. For a beach-focused trip, consider Isle of Palms.

During my trip to Charleston, I stayed at the Francis Marion Hotel in Historic Center. It is a 4-star hotel centrally located, making it a great base for car-free travelers like me. I was able to explore many of the city’s ionic attractions on foot, public transportation, and guided tours.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Charleston for families. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Charleston for families with kids
Map of the best areas to stay in Charleston for families with kids

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Charleston, especially for families. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Charleston have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

6 Best areas to stay in Charleston with family:

1. Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston  is one of the most popular areas for families with kids. It is the historic heart of the city and is famous for its historical charm and proximity to numerous attractions and restaurants. 

Your family can explore historic attractions such as the Rainbow Row and the Nathaniel Russell House. These sites will offer educational and enjoyable experiences for kids.

There are many family-friendly cultural attractions like the South Carolina Aquarium, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, and the Charleston Museum, all of which offer interactive exhibits for kids.

Marion Square, located in the heart of downtown, often hosts events and festivals. Waterfront Park, featuring fountains and gardens, is another great place for kids to play and enjoy the views of the harbor.

King Street is the main thoroughfare in downtown Charleston and is famous for its shopping and dining options. It’s divided into “Upper King” and “Lower King,” with Upper King known for its boutique shops and Lower King housing a variety of restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques.

There are also many family-friendly restaurants with children’s menus, such as Hyman’s Seafood and Fleet Landing. Be sure to try dishes like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and Charleston red rice.

You can consider taking family-friendly walking tours to explore the city’s history. Ghost tours, carriage tours, and historical walking tours are all available.

Your family can also take boat tours to Fort Sumter and learn about its history. Located in Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter is a historic fort that played a pivotal role in the start of the American Civil War. 

Parking in downtown Charleston can be challenging and expensive. If your accommodation does not offer parking, plan ahead and consider using public transportation or rideshare services.

While downtown Charleston is generally safe, it’s essential to keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

Best places to stay in Downtown Charleston for family with kids:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Bennett Charleston, 5-star family-friendly hotels located on King Street, Historic District, within easy walking distance from major landmarks such as Charleston Museum, South Carolina Aquarium, Cannon Park and Charleston Waterfront Park.
  • Mid-range ($$): Francis Marion Hotel, 4-star popular kid-friendly hotel centrally located in Charleston Historic District, easy walk from the famous Marion Square, College of Charleston, and the Gibbes Museum of Art.
  • Budget ($): Hyatt Place Charleston – Historic District, 3-star hotel, located on King Street downtown Charleston, featuring an outdoor swimming pool, spacious family rooms, and good breakfast.

2. French Quarter

The French Quarter is a charming neighborhood situated in the heart of downtown Charleston. It is a popular area for tourists due to its cobblestone streets, well-preserved architecture, art galleries, and proximity to many attractions. Staying in the French Quarter with kids can be a delightful experience.

The French Quarter offers a range of accommodations, including boutique hotels and charming bed and breakfasts. It’s a good idea to book your hotel in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

The French Quarter is home to some of Charleston’s most iconic historical sites, such as the historic Charleston City Market, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. These sites offer a glimpse into Charleston’s rich history and are suitable for family visits.

The French Quarter is known for its art galleries and is home to the Gibbes Museum of Art, which often features family-friendly exhibitions and programs.

You can consider taking guided Horse-drawn carriage tours, a popular way to explore the French Quarter and downtown Charleston. These tours often provide interesting historical narratives.

Best places to stay in French Quarter with kids:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Spectator Hotel, 4-star family-friendly hotel, conveniently located within easy walking distance from French Quarter, Charleston City Market and Port of Charleston. It is also close to Charleston Waterfront Park and Shops At Charleston Place. 
  • Mid-range ($$): French Quarter Inn, 4-star kid-friendly hotel, situated on Church Street, offering views of Charleston City Market. Easy access to major sights such as Waterfront Park, South Carolina Aquarium, and Liberty Square.
  • Budget ($): Church Street Inn, Ascend Hotel Collection, 3-star kid-friendly accommodation, centrally located in the city center of Charleston, only a few mins from Charleston Pirate Tours.

3. Mount Pleasant 

Mount Pleasant is a great base in Charleston for families with kids looking for a more suburban, quieter place to stay while still being close to the city. It is located just across the Cooper River from downtown Charleston, and offers a more relaxed atmosphere compared to the bustling downtown.

The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is one of the key attractions in Mount Pleasant. Families can tour historic ships, including the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, and learn about naval history.

Shem Creek is a picturesque area known for its waterfront dining and recreational activities. You can take a scenic walk along the boardwalk or enjoy a meal at one of the seafood restaurants.

Mount Pleasant has several family-friendly parks, including Palmetto Islands County Park and Memorial Waterfront Park. These parks offer playgrounds, walking trails, and scenic views of the water, making them great places for kids to play and explore.

Other places of interest in Mount Pleasant are the  Splash Island Waterpark, Fort Sumter National Monument, Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, and the Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens.

Mount Pleasant’s central location also offers easy access to numerous beautiful beaches, including Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. These beaches are great for family outings and water activities.

Best places to stay in Charleston in Mount Pleasant with children:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, 5-star hotel located in Mount Pleasant, offering shuttle buses from/to Downtown Charleston. It has family rooms, private beach, and direct harbor access. Within walking distance from the Cold War Submarine Memorial and USS Yorktown State Park.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Cottages on Charleston Harbor, 4-star beach accommodation located Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, featuring outdoor swimming pool, family rooms, and close to ferry port for  water taxi to Central Charleston.
  • Budget ($): Comfort Inn & Suites Patriots Point, 3-star popular family-friendly hotel located at the entrance of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, offering complimentary breakfast, free coffee, and laundry services.

4. West Ashley

West Ashley is a suburban area located just across the Ashley River from downtown Charleston. It offers a quieter and more residential atmosphere compared to downtown. Staying in West Ashley with kids can be a good option for families looking for a relaxed and budget-friendly environment. 

You can often find more affordable lodging options here compared to downtown Charleston.

While West Ashley is not located in the heart of downtown Charleston, it’s just a short drive away, making it relatively easy to access the city’s attractions. Downtown Charleston is easily reachable via the Ashley River bridges.

West Ashley has several shopping centers, including Citadel Mall and the West Ashley Shoppes, where you can find retail stores, grocery stores, and dining options.

The area has some parks and green spaces where kids can play and families can enjoy the outdoors. West Ashley Park and Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site are both nearby options.

While in the area, you can explore the stately Georgian mansion called Drayton Hall ( only survival plantation house during the American Revolution and Civil War with no damages) and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Best places to stay in Charleston in West Ashley with family:


5. North Charleston

North Charleston is a city located just north of downtown Charleston and is part of the Charleston metropolitan area.  It’s a suburban area with its own amenities and attractions, making it a convenient base for your family’s visit. 

North Charleston offers a wide range of accommodations, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. You can find options to fit different budgets, including family-friendly chain hotels.

North Charleston has its own attractions, including the North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center, which hosts concerts, sports events, and shows. The nearby Tanger Outlets shopping center is popular for shopping.

Families can visit the North Charleston Wannamaker County Park, which offers playgrounds, walking trails, and picnic areas. The Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark within the park can be a hit with kids during the summer months.

North Charleston has a variety of dining options, including restaurants with family-friendly menus. Park Circle and the nearby areas have a growing culinary scene with trendy eateries.

North Charleston is a generally safe area, but like any city, it’s important to take normal precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

Best places to stay in North Charleston with family:


6. Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms is a beautiful barrier island situated just off the coast of Charleston. It’s a popular destination for families, offering a serene beach environment and a variety of outdoor activities. 

The main attraction of Isle of Palms is its pristine sandy beaches. The wide, clean beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, building sandcastles, and playing beach games. Be sure to bring beach gear, towels, and sunscreen.

Families can enjoy various outdoor activities, such as paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, and fishing. You can rent equipment and arrange guided tours on the island.

Isle of Palms County Park offers picnic areas, a playground, and a designated swimming area with lifeguards. It’s a great spot for families to spend the day, and there’s even a dog park if you’re traveling with pets.

Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including dolphins, pelicans, and sea turtles. Turtle nesting season can be an exciting time for kids to witness if you visit during the right season.

While you can drive to downtown Charleston from Isle of Palms, it’s a bit of a journey. Plan your transportation accordingly if you want to explore Charleston’s downtown attractions.

Best places to stay in Isle of Palms with kids:

In conclusion, Downtown Charleston, French Quarter, Mount Pleasant, West Ashley, North Charleston, Isle of Palms are the best places to stay in Charleston with family. These areas provide great choices in kid-friendly accommodations and activities, making them great bases for families visiting Charleston.

If your family doesn’t plan to rent a car, you can check this article: Best areas to stay in Charleston without a car. I also recommend reading this post: 4 safe areas to stay in Charleston for first time.

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas and neighborhoods that you can stay during your family trip to Charleston. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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