Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

UPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in Charleston

When I moved to Charleston, the second thing I did was Google 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 was 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 kids as they grow 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. We do hikes with the littles in baby carriers or all-terrain strollers, but we also do many “child-led,” walks, where they are able to hike on their own two feet and at their own pace,  giving them the opportunity to connect with nature and explore on their own terms.  Hike it Baby has been a great way for us to meet other families, and my children and I have both made life-long friends. All family members are welcome and the number one rule is “No hiker left behind.”

I have scouted out most of the trails in the Lowcountry, but there are still 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!

UPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in CharlestonRosenbrock 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!

UPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in CharlestonOld Santee Canal, Moncks Corner

Cost: $3 per person , under 6 and pass holders free 

Restrooms: Bathroom at trailhead, no amenities on trail

Stroller Access: Some trails are not stroller friendly, but the boardwalk loop is all-wheels accessible

Located in Moncks Corner, Old Santee Canal Park is a hidden gem of the Lowcountry. With its boardwalks winding through marsh and swamplands, there are many opportunities to view wildlife. This is also one of the few trails I have encountered in the area where you can explore hills!  The hills may seem small, but it is a huge deal to little ones! With over 4 miles of trails to explore, there is something for everyone.  There is also a small museum to visit after your hike.

Laurel Hill County Park, Mount Pleasant

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 Caw Interpretive CenterUPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in Charleston, Ravenel – 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!

UPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in CharlestonAudubon 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. 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!

UPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in CharlestonPalmetto 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!

UPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in CharlestonWannamaker 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!

Charlestowne Landing State Park, CharlestonUPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in Charleston

Cost: $10 per adult, $6.50 Senior, $6 youth age 6-15, 5 and under and pass holders free

Restrooms: Restrooms with changing table available at park center

Stroller Access: Yes

Charlestowne Landing is a family favorite! In addition to scenic river views, you can also explore a historical ship and visit the animal forest. They also have organized educational activities for young children throughout the week. With paved paths throughout this is a great location for all ages and is very accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.

Colonial Dorchester State Park, Summerville

Cost: $2 per adult, under 15 are free

Restrooms: One restroom on site

Stroller Access: All-terrain only

Colonial Dorchester is one of my favorite sites for new walkers. With wide trails, open meadows, and interesting structures to explore throughout, it is a great place to hike with toddlers. Additionally, with the parking situated at park center, you are never too far from home base. For older children, this park is an active geocache site as well!

We are always on the lookout for new trails! Feel free to share your favorite trails in the comments. Happy Hiking!


About the Author

UPDATED! Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails in CharlestonNicholl Summers is a former sales executive turned stay-at-home mom to two boys ages 3 years and 6 months. 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 teaches yoga and 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.

, , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.