Similar to Boston in terms of its quaint vibes due to the historic landmarks, we can say Charleston is more reserved than Boston. Many people perceive Charleston as a city lost in time with a touch of modernism. However, that doesn’t mean your teens can’t have fun in this picturesque city of Charleston. Instead, teens in Charleston have much fun as those in the bigger city. You just have to take a step closer to the door to discover what Charleston has to offer!
1. SUP in Charleston
Being the biggest city on the South Caroline coast, making Charleston has the best beaches for water activities in and around the city. Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) makes walking on the water possible—wait, what? Yes, your restless teens will be pumped even before setting their foot on the paddle.
SUP can be seen as a full-body low-impact workout in a relaxed manner that will help you and your teens with balance. According to psychologist researchers, once you find your balance on the paddle, means you have mastered the “flow” state of mind in which you can now challenge yourself to a more advanced movement, such as a Zen meditation on the paddle.
Find a trustworthy SUP paddle board tour like Charleston SUP Safaris to accompany your family to Charleston’s best beaches. Its Charleston SUP Safaris Summer Camp is an ideal place for your teens to master their SUP techniques.
2. Have Your Family Teamwork Tested with the Urban Adventure Quest
Teens anywhere love fun challenges. This time, all kinds of excitement your teens can imagine are packed into one activity. Explore Charleston and set your strategies to win the quests and reveal some hints while demanding your teens to pay attention to their phones at the same time—what else can you ask? Even the Urban Adventure Quest is not especially established in Charleston, but the vibe you will get in playing the scavenger hunt in Charleston is like no other!
Your teens will learn about teamwork, problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, and competitiveness. Also, by having them done in a historical setting of Charleston, your teens will learn about architectural and historical treasures. Parents will love this too—I mean, where was the last time you have to walk and run all over a city to solve some given hints?
3. Escape Adventures in 60 Minutes
Another team-building experience for your teens in Charleston. Located in downtown Charleston, Escape in 60 has four escape rooms in which each of them has quests and puzzles to solve for you to escape each room in less than 60 minutes! First things first, your teens get to choose the escape adventure and will be told the scenario to give them the context.
A bit different from the Urban Adventure Quest, the escape rooms of Escape in 60 will involve your teens being locked in a room to solve the problems that require teamwork and demand quick responses as they will be given only 60 minutes maximum to find the exit doors. Parents are also welcome to join with their teens and surely will benefit from the out-of-the-box perspectives by helping the teens decode the quests.
4. Take the “Off the Beaten Path” and Be Trapped in Time Capsule
Relive the history in the rich-culture city of Charleston by exploring the “off the beaten path” on foot. Your teens will enjoy some good walks in the beautiful bushy turns that they can find everywhere along the walk, completely relaxing and boosting their energy levels especially if your teens are used to being in hustle and bustle situations.
What is more interesting is the fact that the walking tours cover enchanting secret alleys and passages that will lead you to beautiful historical sites. The most favorite routes include Longitude Lane, Philadelphia Alley, Gateway Walk, Zig-Zag Alley, and Stoll’s Alley.
5. Charleston Pirate Tours Guided by The Pirates
It is a valuable experience and later will be an amazing memory to get to know deeper about the pirate history in Charleston. Teens in Charleston will soon realize that what they learned through history books at school was just a tip of an iceberg. Teens may know that pirates once sieged the Charleston port and the city, but it is a whole different story when it is told by the pirate-alike figure himself in a storytelling style that engages the audience.
The Charleston Pirate Tours can also be perceived as the alternative to ghost tours in a way that the guide directly uses some entertaining equipment as if you are in the pirate setting in a daytime. This gives you and your teens a chance to learn about history with touches of humor and adventure.
6. Shopping and Strolling Around King Street
Named as one of the most visually pleasing streets in Charleston, you and your teenager can easily spot quirky shops and vibrant historical buildings that turn heads on King Street. A walker paradise, King Street connects the uptown and Charleston Harbor and is divided into three big sections with their specialty, namely Upper King which is widely known for its Design District, Middle King has its Fashion District, and Lower King where the Antique District is located.
Whether you are locals or visitors, you will love having an easy afternoon walk with your lovely teens on the pedestrian-friendly sidewalks whilst choosing which spot to swing by, talking, and taking some photos with your teens.
7. Paddle through Shem Creek and Appreciate the Wildlife Along the Way
If your teens find SUP a little bit boring as they should master it individually, encourage them to go on a kayak ride in Shem Creek with you and other family members. Exploring Charleston should include its port area where you can find beautiful beaches and smaller islands along the line, thus, ask your teens to get out on the water through a kayak trip. Kayaking helps refreshingly increase muscle and core strength and can be done in a small group.
Book the tour in advance and make sure everything would be covered for you—gear, instruction, tour guide, and tax. One of the things your teens will cherish most will be the moment they witness a group of dolphins or other sea creatures swim up next to them—or manatees if they are lucky enough. As to support the sustainability of the coastal environment, another tour service, like Coastal Expeditions, encourages you to contribute to local causes such as South Carolina Coastal Bird Conservation.
8. A Family Weekend Getaway on Isle of Palms
Isle of Palms, or what teens in Charleston call IOP, situated around 12 miles from the Holy City of Charleston, is a barrier island that houses a high-end resort community and is perfect for a weekend getaway. IOP offers plenty of laid-back but exciting activities to keep your teens busy and happy, like beach fun, golf, volleyball, surfing, live entertainment at the Windjammer, or even Front Beach Fest and Music in the Park which features good food and good music. As for us, parents, it is more than okay to take some time to unwind in the privacy of your rented cottage.
9. Introductory Ecotourism Tours for Teens
Teens in Charleston are mostly aware of the city’s wildlife-rich environment and the vast natural resources. However, it is also essential for your teens to experience ecotourism in the city of Charleston, so they will not only gain an understanding of nature conservation and management but also the financial benefit of ecotourism for the local community and how it impacts the whole of Charleston’s tourism industry.
As for the start, we suggest you browse and carefully look at the naturalist-guided Barrier Island Eco Tours outdoor tours which are exciting not only for teens but for all ages. Charleston Sunset Dolphin Tour, Capers Island Wildlife Exploration, or Blue Crabbing Excursion? You choose!
10. Climbing Wall at the James Island County Park
Generally speaking, teens in Charleston love James Island County Park for some reasons. First, the 643-acre area hosts many exhilarating activities like camping, unrestricted ocean fishing, a dog park, and a Splash Zone waterpark, to name a few. Second, it is named one of Charleston’s best parks. Third, have we mentioned the James Island County Park Festival of Lights where you can see sparkling lights lining the walking and driving paths? Yet, it is still more than that.
We’d like to highlight South Carolina’s highest outdoor climbing wall with 14 top ropes that are suitable for all skill levels. Climbing challenges your teens’ physical and mental strength as well as boosts their confidence as it teaches them persistence in a fun way. Your teens can decide the techniques they want to try, rope climbing or bouldering. If you want a little of exercise and to strengthen the family bond, opt for the bouldering technique.
11. Learn About Charleston’s History in Colonial Way through Carriage Tours
Experience a mixture of knowledge about Charleston’s history, humor, and tragic stories by taking a carriage ride tour, all carriage companies in Charleston offer highly knowledgeable guides and trained horses and mules. If your teens are not into history lessons through walking tours, try this one. This mode of travel is even older than the city itself, thus you and your teens can feel a nostalgic feeling flowing through the carriage whilst learning about the city.
However, you can’t choose the route you want to go in for the tours, it’s fully controlled by the City of Charleston separates the city into four historic districts and the route would be picked for you randomly. Minutes before your departure, the City of Charleston would determine which route is assigned to you at that time through a bingo ball, thus, safe to say that every carriage ride is unique since you can’t choose the guide and route.
12. Let’s Thrift for a Cause!
Inspired by those fine antique dealers on King Street, your teens might be more interested in thrifting. Let your teens know the benefits of thrifting such as reducing waste and pollution—good for the environment!, unleashing their creative potential, and even better if it is for a good cause like Children’s Cancer Society Thrift Shop, Animal Helpers ReTAIL, and Closet Case Thrift Store. As parents, you can also use this chance to keep your home clutter-free creatively, be it by donating some unused stuff or upcycling used furniture for your living room.
13. Fun and Educative Activities at South Carolina Aquarium
Your teens still can’t enough of the swimming dolphins and manatees they encountered during their water activities? Go straight to the South Carolina Aquarium to see various animals even from far-flung corners of South Carolina—from its highest mountain peak to the deepest ocean floor!
A public aquarium offers a range of activities, what makes the South Carolina Aquarium different is their accessible K-12 curriculum that can be utilized in the classroom, teachers and parents will highly appreciate these materials! Also, don’t forget to check their educative Teen Programs that your teens can join and are good resources to get them ready for the job market; for instance High School Intern Program, Teen Science Café, and Job Shadow Program.
14. Swamp Life at Cypress Gardens
Stay up close with nature which is just under an hour’s drive from Charleston. Relaxing and peaceful Cypress Gardens will let you and your teens see some beautiful flowers blooming and slowly paddle the swamp boat through the calm waters that allow your teens to gain a hands-on understanding of swamp life and wildflowers.
Note that on sunny days, a chance to witness swimming alligators is even bigger, so definitely a trip to reinforce your teen’s science classes at school. The garden also can host educational programs for school or campus field trips. We, parents can find spots where some of our favorite movies took place.
15. Tours of Historic Plantations
Some amazing plantations have shaped Charleston’s history over the past centuries. However, teens in Charleston must also be informed about the tragic story of plantation slavery to get the real capture of what lies beneath the tranquil vibes of the plantations like Magnolia Plantation, Middleton Place, and McLeod Plantation Historic Site.
If your teens are easily bored and want to have other unique activities or features, opt for Boone Hall Plantation to delve into African American group of Gullah culture and try their tractor tour. Another option will be Drayton Hall in which your teens can have a good walk by the Ashley River. For a relatively new plantation, go visit Charleston Tea Garden the only tea garden in North America that grows its own American Classic Tea.
16. Bike Rides Across the Ravenel Bridge
Who doesn’t know the Ravenel Bridge? Teens in Charleston are very familiar with the bridge that is regarded as one of the must-see landmarks in Charleston—as it is North America’s longest cable-stayed bridge, but the feeling they will get is very different when you go across the majestic architecture of the Ravenel Bridge by bike.
This can be your way to promote the urban cycling lifestyle to your teens and at the same time enjoy picturesque sceneries along the way from a slower perspective, not to mention the given low landscape of Charleston and the dedicated bike lanes that present a good start for your teens to start the healthy lifestyle.
17. Haunted Bar Crawl and Tarot Reading
If your teens are into supernatural things, they are lucky they are in Charleston! The Holy City is famous for its 350 years of ghostly tales and graveyard stories. The backward is your teens may perceive other ghost tours are too ordinary. Thus, give them a little spark to it by joining the ghost tour with a tarot reading service in which your teens can enjoy their preferred beverages at a bar while being told by the guide about Charleston’s infamous horror stories to give them the context and visit a graveyard afterward.
Here, your teens can learn how to mark spirits and ghosts, before heading to another bar for a tarot reading session. If you want, you can accompany your teens to ensure they drink responsibly and learn some horror tales deeper at the same time.
18. Charleston Farmers Market to Support Local Growers
Learning about a variety of fruits and vegetables might no longer be your teens’ cup of tea, they don’t need any lectures on this topic anymore. So, you may need other reasons to lure them to go to Charleston Farmers Market. First, your teens can stroll through arts and crafts booths. Second, they can comprehend the concept of farm-to-table by signing themselves up as a volunteer. Third, at the farmers market, teens can acquire a set of entrepreneurial skills from the local farmers and crafters so they will be highly inspired to become teenage entrepreneurs. Parents can use this opportunity to meet old friends, shop, and to know what’s new in the city.
19. Foodventure and Quality Time at Charleston’s Hip Eateries
In this digital era, teens everywhere like to know how to build hype for something they discover on social media, this is one of the reasons why teens love challenges and novelty. Let them gain some likes on their posts by accompanying them to some hip eateries in Charleston. You can spend hours having a quality time with your teens while observing their world, even better if the restaurants have outstanding interior décor that is worth posting.
You can suggest Felix Cocktails et Cuisine to get a glimpse of being a Parisienne for a few hours, The Palmetto Café which depict the epitome of modern and traditional, and Citrus Club where you and your teens will appreciate the views at the tallest Charleston’s rooftop bar, or Gnome Café for healthier options. Parents, you must be present in the world of teens to understand them.
20. Eat, Drink, Bowl at the Alley
A one-stop entertainment hub that is great for hanging out with the whole family and friends! The Alley offers spacious rooms, delicious meals, and the proclaimed coolest bowling alleys. This is also the right moment to ask your teens to bring some friends to the Alley with you and your chance to have fun with the retro video games that evoke nostalgic feelings. Plus, if you end up falling for this place, you can plan your next corporate party to be held at the Alley.
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What to do with a teenager in Charleston SC?
Shop, beach, sport, basically any fun activities that lead them to learn about Charleston’s history and rich natural environment.
How can I have fun with my teenager?
By presenting in their world. Observe their favorite pastime and give your full support and facilities. If possible, join in the journey as well.
How do you help a bored teenager?
Let them take the lead. Chances are, your teens have already done some research once you told them where to go. You can give them full control by letting them be your very own guide on the tour.
What should a 16-year-old do when bored?
Be flexible and give them some free time, be it alone or with their friends. Lower your expectation, especially when on vacation. Remember that not everything always goes the way we planned.
What can my teenager do this summer?
Take a golf course, enjoy live entertainments at the beachfront, learn how to surf. Basically, to have fun in the sun and live an island life. After all, they have survived gloomy and draining wintertime.