Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in Charleston

When I moved to Charleston last fall, the second thing I did was look for hiking trails so I could go hiking with my son!  The first, of course, was finding a good local coffee shop, because I am a mom and my son is almost two, so COFFEE. Seriously, though, finding kid-friendly hiking trails was near the top of my priorities list, even before unpacking.

I grew up in Alaska, which means I spent a lot of time running around in the woods. A love of nature is something I hope to instill in my son as he grows up, but hiking is also a phenomenal way to burn off tons of toddler energy. The fact that we hike so often is part passion and part necessity. I hike with the local Hike it Baby group about 3 to 4 times per week. Sometimes I hike with my son in a baby carrier or all-terrain stroller, but we also do many “toddler-led,” walks, where he is able to hike on his own two feet and at his own pace, which gives him the opportunity to connect with nature and explore on his own terms.

I have scouted out many trails all over the Lowcountry, but there are still many others on my list of trails yet to be explored. With that said, this is a list of some of my favorite trails for children to walk on their own two feet, right here in the Charleston area!

Rosenbrock TrailRosenbrock Park Trail, Summerville- Trailhead on Highway 61 at Bacon’s Bridge

Cost: FREE

Restrooms: Outhouse at trailhead, no amenities on trail

Stroller Access: All-terrain stroller only

Located at the corner of Bacon’s Bridge Road and Highway 61 in Summerville, Rosenbrock Park Trail is nature’s playground! With several small hills that children can traverse as well as vines and roots to duck under and over, this trail is so much fun for little legs!

 

Laurel HillLaurel Hill County Park, Mount Pleasant- 1251 Park West Blvd., inside Park West Rec. Complex

Cost: $1 per person, free for Gold Pass Holders and children under 2. Cash or check only.

Restrooms: Restroom with changing table available near trail head but no amenities on trail

Stroller Access: All-terrain only

Nestled in the back corner of the Mt. Pleasant Park West Recreation Center, Laurel Hill County Park has scenic hiking trails, wide gravel paths, a historic oak allée and open fields that are perfect for running off energy. There is also a lake where children may spot frogs, turtles and other wildlife.

Caw CawCaw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenell – 5200 Savannah Highway

Cost: $2 per person, free for Gold Pass Holders and children under 2

Restrooms: Restroom with changing table available at trail head, no amenities on trail

Stroller Access: All-terrain only

Just a short drive outside of the Charleston area, this is a great place to get your children excited about  nature! There are over six miles of trails with trail-side exhibits and interpretive plaques that provide insight into the flora and fauna found in the area.  There are also several exhibits indoors that children love. From the scale model of a rice field irrigation system that floods with the push of a button; to blind boxes where children can explore sensory items from the natural environment, Caw Caw Interpretive Center engages children of all ages!

BiedlerAudubon Francis Beidler Forest, Harleyville-  336 Sanctuary Road

Cost: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors & Audubon Members, $5 Children, under age 6 free

Restrooms: Restrooms available at the trail head, no amenities on trail

Stroller Access: Yes

Exploring the Audubon Francis Beidler Forest is like entering another world. The 1.75 mile boardwalk through the cypress forest allows you to explore depths of the swamp that would otherwise be inaccessible. The entire walkway is stroller friendly, and the railings allow even the youngest walkers to check out the sights without the worry that they will wonder too far away. Be sure to pick up the free guide book and look for the corresponding plaques along the railings. There is also a free app for iPhone that you can download in advance that is prefect for engaging older children. On your way back to the nature center make sure to stop by the large Cypress tree that you can climb inside! That is definitely my son’s favorite part! There is so much to see here, time management is a must. I recommend using a stroller or carrier for younger children until you reach the lake, and then allow them to explore and set the pace on the way back. That way you will be sure to see it all!

Palmetto IslandPalmetto Islands County Park, Mount Pleasant- 444 Needlerush Pkwy

Cost: $2 per person, free for Gold Pass Holders and children under 2

Restrooms: Restrooms with changing table available throughout the park

Stroller Access: Yes

With something new around every corner, Palmetto Island County Park is great for little wanderers with a budding sense of adventure. Take a walk out to Nature Island, walk along the paved nature path, run through the open meadow, duck through the thickets and climb the observation tower! If that isn’t enough to exhaust your little ones, take them over to the Big Toy Lot to get out whatever excitement and energy remains!

Wannamaker2Wannamaker County Park, North Charleston- 8888 University Blvd

Cost: $2 per person, free for Gold Pass Holders and children under 2

Restrooms: Restrooms with changing table available throughout the park

Stroller Access: Yes

Wannamaker County Park has several trails, all of which are accessible by jogging stroller. There is also a one-mile paved loop that allows for strollers of any type. If you have child walkers, try venturing outside of the paved loop for a closer look at the swamps, trees and wildlife. This is a great park to let the children lead the way since you are never too far from the main park.

James Island County Park, James Island- 871 Riverland Dr

Cost: $2 per person, free for Gold Pass Holders and children under 2

Restrooms: Restrooms with changing table available throughout the park

Stroller Access: Yes

James Island County Park is another park that is very accessible. With several loops to choose from, you can create your own route between 1 and 6 miles in length.  Print the park map off of the county park website and let your child do the navigating! With color coded trails and markers, as well as easily identifiable landmarks, this is a great way to engage children of all ages. Some of the trails do cross over the streets, so make sure children know to stop if they wander ahead. Make sure to visit the fishing dock and check out the lake if you want to see birds, turtles and other wildlife!

We are always on the lookout for new trails! Feel free to share your favorite trails in the comments. Maybe we will see you and your family on the trail with Hike it Baby Charleston in the future. Happy Hiking!


Photo Credit: Tiffani Hunter Photography

Photo Credit: Tiffani Hunter Photography

Nicholl Summers is a former sales executive turned stay-at-home mom to one exuberant two year old boy. Nicholl grew up in Alaska but has lived all over the U.S. Her family loved visiting the Charleston area and finally put down roots here when her husband completed his service with the Navy. Nicholl also volunteers with Hike it Baby Charleston. Hike it Baby helps inspire families to spend more time outside with their little ones while connecting with nature, exploring the city and building a support network within the community. Find out more at www.hikeitbaby.com and join the adventure at www.facebook.com/hikeitbabycharleston.

, , , , , ,

One Response to Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in Charleston

  1. Ken Carman April 7, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    Roxbury Park, you have to go there.
    http://Www.roxburypark.org