Travel spots near Charleston (for me + wife + toddler)?
May 29, 2009 8:20 AM   Subscribe

What are some toddler-friendly vacation destinations within a reasonably short distance (by car or plane) from Charleston, SC?

The wife and I are in need of a vacation, but we've never been on one before with our son (16 months). We like museums, zoos, and mountains. He likes zoos, the beach, and running around. We're still debating whether this should be a run-around-and-do-things vacation or a sit-on-the-beach-or-in-a-cabin vacation, so maybe a bit of both would be best. We don't take vacations often (other than a yearly trip back home--Fayetteville, Arkansas--to see family). Previously, we've really enjoyed NYC, London, and Paris, but the lengthy plane ride rules out the last two, and I'm not sure about the former. I hate to burn a question on this, but I'm stumped and open to suggestion. Thanks in advance.
posted by wheat to Travel & Transportation around Charleston, SC (5 answers total)
US Airways flies direct to Bermuda from Charlotte. It's about a 2.5 hour flight, and you can't do much better running around on a beach than you can in Bermuda. Also Dark and Stormys.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:42 AM on May 29, 2009

Atlanta? Chattanooga? both have Aquariums and museums, with lakes for swimming if you need water....
posted by mdiskin at 9:05 AM on May 29, 2009

I have heard Gatlinburg, TN called the "Redneck Vacation Capital of the World" many times, by which I think people mean it has an endless supply of country-themed tourist traps ranging in size from the never-heard-of-before to Dollywood. It also has the splendor of the Great Smokey Mountains immediately available and pretty comfy accomodations if you rent a cabin. Personally, my wife and I have enjoyed both the town and the Park (for different reasons) and will be sad when we're no longer within driving distance.
posted by mrmojoflying at 9:13 AM on May 29, 2009

Forgot to mention that Chattanooga has a Children's museum that our toddler loved as well as the Aquarium. We also rode the "Duck" -- a DUKW amphibious boat that does a quickie tour (not really) of the downtown area and then zooms into the river. You get to help the driver drive the boat and it's very exciting for kids. And there's a free shuttle that zips around downtown (which is mostly flat) and it's very stroller and pedestrian friendly. There's a huge pedestrian bridge across the river, with a carousel & fountains at its base where kids can jump and play. Clumpie's ice cream is just nearby and there's a guy selling shave ice in the shade of the bridge. It's very relaxed and our little fam loved it. Downtown hotels are very reasonable -- there's a Marriott suites near the Aquarium, and we stayed in the Sheraton Read House, a revamped older hotel with the only downtown Starbucks in the lobby and a decent restaurant inside.
posted by mdiskin at 9:35 AM on May 29, 2009

Central Florida.

Easy drive from Charlotte. Go to a beach town first. Maybe St. Augustine, visit the old Spanish fort and the oldest town in America.

Then hit Cape Canaveral. An Amazing place to check out - even better if you can be there for a launch. There are three scheduled launches in June.

Then some time in Orlando. Even at 16 months, there are things that will blow your child away at Disney. The Safari at Animal Kingdom is very good, for example.

You can have some run-around time and some sit-on-the-beach time.
The Sunshine State is a great vacation destination!
posted by Flood at 11:37 AM on May 29, 2009

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