October 8, 2015
October 7, 2015
Top 10 Family Friendly Things to Experience in
Charleston, South Carolina
Southern charm, delicious meals, great shopping and family friendly attractions make Charleston, South Carolina a nice choice for a multi-generational getaway. Kids will especially enjoy the many candy, cupcake and ice cream shops and everyone will like strolling along King Street and exploring around the City Market area. My mom, daughter and I visited Charleston for four days and we packed a lot into our southern getaway. Read on for my favorite family friendly suggestions.
My daughter is obsessed with dolphins and sea creatures so this waterfront aquarium was a big hit. The exhibits were very well done with several interactive displays, touch tanks and play areas. The floor-to-ceiling fish tanks towered over my daughter who ran from window to window checking out the pretty fish, sharks, turtles and other animals. The Madagascar Journey area was especially fun as children get a passport to stamp as they explore the exhibit. The aquarium is relatively small and easy to navigate in an hour or two making it a great option for families with small kids. Be sure to check out the famed Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge views from the lookout decks.
Little kids really need some unscheduled time to run around on vacation and if the weather isn't cooperating, a children's museum is always a great option. This museum is fairly large (yet uncrowded by New York standards for a rainy day) with several fun, interactive sections (a boat, a science area, a water area, an arts and crafts area, a castle, a mini-supermarket, etc.) to explore. If you ask my daughter, she will probably say this was her favorite part of our trip. Look for BOGO coupons in the visitor's guide before you go.
Sightseeing by sea is a great idea for kids of all ages. We boarded the Carolina Belle for a 90-minute narrated harbor tour which is a good way to get your bearings as you sail by Charleston and famed attractions like Fort Sumter, USS Yorktown and the stately waterfront homes on the Battery. The scenery is stunning but my daughter's favorite part were several dolphin sightings along the way.
The best way to see some of Charleston's charming neighborhoods is by foot but kids often tire of walking so we opted for a horse and carriage tour. Our driver kept us entertained as he pointed out historic sights and described the area's different neighborhoods. The one-hour tour was just long enough without boring the kids who especially enjoyed learning about the horses.
A trip to Charleston is not complete without a visit to the city's famed Pineapple Fountain and Waterfront Park. You'll find several large family sized swings, grassy areas, scenic lookout points, waterfront paths and the gigantic Pineapple Fountain where tourists (and locals) are invited to wade. My daughter jumped right in and had a ball dancing around. If you like to take pictures on vacation, this is an awesome backdrop.
Take in some history at this family friendly spot showcasing various aspects of Charleston's history during the Colonial and Revolutionary eras. Children and adults will enjoy the Provost Dungeon where docents lead you through its eerie confines with entertaining tales of pirates and patriots. My daughter was a little spooked by the dungeon so we spent most of our time upstairs "signing" the Declaration of Independence but older children will love it.
Since my mom is a big foodie, I booked us on a Culinary Tour with Bulldog Tours. While this 2.5 hour tour is not recommended for children under 12, my 5-year old daughter has taken foodie tours in NYC so I figured she'd be ok (I also had crayons and a coloring book just in case). Our guide was super informative and the many shops and restaurants we stopped in were all very accommodating to our group. This was a great way to sample some of the area's famous flavors including: stone ground grits, Charleston Benne Wafers, locally made chocolates, southern pralines, sweet tea, collard greens, Lowcountry barbeque, spices, teas and more. We all had a great time and I highly recommend this if you're a foodie family.
This museum, founded in 1773, is relatively large with a very wide mix of historic artifacts (think Revolutionary and Civil War armory and uniforms, ancient Egypt, Rome and Greek art, dinosaur tracks, slavery badges and more), interactive exhibits, life sized animals and skeletons (and a gigantic whale bone frame) and an engaging kids section. My daughter insisted we all dress up in the hoop dresses and I loved watching her prance around like it was 1800-something. If you've got children in elementary or middle school, this is definitely a great spot to visit.
9) Ride the trolley and pedicabs
Charleston boasts a free downtown trolley service called DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle) which has several routes connecting to most of Charleston’s attractions. This is a great resource for traveling families since adults don't need to deal with directions or parking and kids will love riding the trolly. Once you get your bearings, it is very easy to navigate and I was so surprised by the nice, patient drivers. Another fun way to get around (especially at night) is by pedi-cab. Just have the restaurant call you one and within minutes, your chariot (and warm blanket) will whisk you right up to your hotel's front door. Now that's what I call Southern hospitality!
Eat, eat, eat
Charleston has a wide range of restaurants offering everything from Southern fare and Lowcountry barbecue to high-end dining and dive-diners. We sampled several family-friendly restaurants and I was impressed with their kids menus (featuring Hush Puppies and Charleston history word searches) and staff. Some of my favorites were Magnolias (Southern fare), Peninsula Grill (Fancy with must have Coconut Cake), Virginia's on King (Southern comfort food), Fleet Landing (classic seafood favorites with a view), Fish (innovative, high end seafood) and Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe (casual Southern fare for breakfast and lunch).
What are your favorite family friendly spots to visit in Charleston?
October 5, 2015
October 4, 2015
at 10:37 AM
October 2, 2015
Now that the big kids are back in school, we have a few moments that we can focus on our little ones again! Today, we are talking all things babies and toddlers. Hooray for the babies of the families!
Life for them is all about play, play, & more play. From the moment that sun rises until the moment the sun sets, these little ones are on the go. With all their movement, I am always on the hunt for high quality play clothes that are comfortable and cute. Both Courtney & I have shopped Tea Collection for years and it continually is one of my favorite places to find kids' clothes that will last. One of my favorite picks from Tea Collection's fall clothes is the purple pony dress because Abby is "all about the ponies" right now. I paired it with the simple solid leggings & absolutely love the Chambray Vest that layers over top of it. These clothes are easy to mix and match with other items in her closet & are a great addition to her fall wardrobe.
For boys, Tea Collection has so many great mix and match styles. Their tees and pants are super soft, so baby can look stylish but still stay comfy like a baby should. Tea Collection also has some of the best one piece, romper outfits for babies. I'd like a waffle romper in adult size to wear on chilly fall days! Tommy's favorite, snuggly fall item: Tea's Little Gaucho Geo Hooded Cardigan!
Now we all love playing & chasing our little ones, but even more we all crave "sleepy" time. After our kids play & play & play, it's time for some very important sleep! I absolutely love the pajamas from Tea Collection because they are just super super soft.
With a few cuddles, lots of fun bedtime stories, & of course a little good-night kiss, our little ones are off to dreamland and we can finally sit back and relax. Today, Courtney & I wanted to share some of our fun books for toddlers and for babies. Check out some of our favorite finds below!
15 Favorite Books for Toddlers:
October 1, 2015
If you have kids & don't have one of these, make one. It's super easy, trust me.
What is it? It's what I would call a Busy Box. Get a box. It can be a pretty box or basket like this or it could be one of the many that you get in the mail (please tell me I'm not the only one with loads of empty Amazon boxes). Fill the box with anything & everything that can keep your kids busy.
I just recently made one of these & now we use it daily. I actually filled a basket like this when I was out of town for several days, trying to make sure that my mom always had something to keep the kids busy. Little did I know, I should have made one of these years ago. It has come in handy while making dinner, packing lunches, & even vacuuming. What's in this Busy Box? Below I have several ideas, but keep it simple and easy for kids to do on their own. Also, rotate the items in and out of the box so the kids don't get bored.
The Busy Box Fillers
So if you are looking for something to do on a rainy fall day, this is it. Create a busy box, it will help save your sanity.