Family vacations in South Carolina can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on pre-trip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about South Carolina family vacations.
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden provides visitors with the rare opportunity to see animals and flora from around the world. Whether exploring the African Plains or Lemur Island or taking a stroll through the Shade Garden, families will be transported to faraway places to learn about animals native to those areas and various environments in which plants thrive.
Address: 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210
Hours: Daily park hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Extended spring/summer weekend hours: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays (effective April 2 - Oct. 9, 2011) Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Special closings may be announced.
Price: Adults, $11.75; children (3-12 years), $9.25; children (2 and under), free; military (with military ID), $10.75; senior citizens (ages 62 and up), $10.75
South of the Border
Entertaining families for more than 60 years, South of the Border bills itself as "America’s favorite highway oasis & gateway to the southeast." Visitors can choose to explore the Reptile Lagoon, an observation tower, two mini golf courses, the arcade, or a host of other attractions.
Address: 3346 Highway 301 North, Dillon, SC 29547
Hours: Some part of South of the Border is always open. The Reptile Lagoon is open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m.to 8 p.m.
Price: Free to enter the park; approximately $8 for a pass to ride attractions
Harbour Town is the home of the Harbour Town Lighthouse and Museum, wonderful shopping and water activities. The Harbour Town Lighthouse and Museum provides visitors with an amazing panoramic view of Hilton Head Island. Additionally, patrons can tour the museum to learn more about the history and culture of the area. The museum's collection houses items dating back to the Civil War.
Address: 149 Lighthouse Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Hours: Open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fort Sumter National Monument
The national monument at Fort Sumter marks the location where the Civil War began in 1861. Families will be able to experience an important part of American history, while children 12 and under can participate in the Junior Ranger Program.
Address: Fort Sumter Visitor Center, Liberty Square, 340 Concord St., Charleston, SC 29401
Phone: 843-882-3123 ext. 23
Hours: Fort Sumter is open year round except for New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours of operation are: Jan. 2 - Feb. 29, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; March 1 - March 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; March 15 - Aug. 20, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 21 - Aug. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Labor Day weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun), 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Labor Day - Nov. 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Dec. 1 - 24, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Dec. 26 - 31, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: There is no fee for those arriving by private boat. For those arriving by ferry, the Fort Sumter tour rates: Adults, $17; seniors, $15; children (6-11), $10; infants (5 & under), free
The Charleston Museum
Commonly regarded as America's first museum, The Charleston Museum was founded in 1773 when South Carolina was still a colony. Through interesting exhibits that document the history and culture of Charleston and the surrounding area, a visit to this museum allows patrons to immerse themselves in the days of old.
Address: 360 Meeting St., Charleston, SC 29403
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve afternoon and Christmas Day.
Price: Adults, $10; children (3-12), $5; children under 3, free
Designed for visitors age 12 and under, EdVenture has more than 350 hands-on exhibits to teach and entertain. At 40 feet tall, EDDIE is large enough for adults and children to explore - they can "climb his vertebrae to his brain, crawl through his heart, bounce around inside his stomach and slide out his intestines." There are also opportunities to create crafts and learn through play.
Address: 211 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays from Labor Day through Memorial Day except for winter and spring breaks and all federal holidays.
Price: Children and adults, $9.50; seniors (62+), $8.50; military (with ID), $8.50; members, free; children under 1, free
Myrtle Beach, SC
Offering so much more than sand and water, Myrtle Beach, SC is a family vacation destination that has something for everyone. Amazing live shows, multitudes of mini-golf courses, shopping and exciting excursions create a vacation that families won't soon forget.
Address: Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
What's your favorite vacation spot in South Carolina?
Mid photo: horaceko; Flickr
Check out more FAMILY TRAVEL GUIDES.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more