10 Family-Friendly Ways to Have Fun 

In case you didn't know, body builders create perfectly formed mini-body builders when they make babies. It's just one of those science facts. Buff babies are great fun, too, because you can take them on roller coasters way before other kids. Buff or not, your kids may enjoy the following locations and activities, with one festival starting this very weekend.

Charleston Carifest 2016

To celebrate and preserve Caribbean culture, the annual Charleston Carifest showcases art, culture, and education, starting on Thurs. June 23. The festival will feature events like a symposium, a parade down King Street, a Caribbean church service at Grace United Methodist Church, and a festival village in Brittlebank Park. On Sat. June 25, the festival village will host performances from reggae artists, including Charleston's own Dubplates, from 5-11 p.m. Each year's fest has a new theme, and this year's will focus on indentured heritage, a history of labor that started in 1835 when a large number of European indentured servants traveled to Jamaica for work.

S.C. Aquarium

Kids and adults alike can explore the S.C. Aquarium in search of their favorite aquatic creatures. The aquarium offers a variety of exhibits, including Shark Shallows, Mountain Forest, Coastal Plain, Saltmarsh Aviary, and Touch Tank. There are also plenty of daily programs, along with special events, held each summer to enhance your experience, such as the Fourth of July celebration, Sea Stars and Stripes. For even more unique opportunities offered by the aquarium, become a member and open the door to a number of events and experiences like the Capers Island Overnight Kayak and Hiking Expedition, movie nights, and Discovery Trawls.

Cast-Off Fishing Tournaments

For a day of family fun outdoors, both kids and adults are welcome to enter one of this summer's Charleston County Parks cast-off fishing tournaments. If fishing isn't your thing, but a day on the pier sounds serene, spectators are welcome as well. Tournaments include a variety of age groups and fun prizes for winners. Don't forget your coolers and beach chairs, which are welcome on both Folly and Mt. Pleasant piers. The next tourney will be held on Sat. June 25 from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Folly pier.

Tides Summer Movies

Every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on Folly Beach, families are invited to bring their beach chairs and blankets for movies under the stars and on top of the sand in front of the Tides hotel. Guests can look forward to flicks like Frozen, Shark Tale, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the classic Jaws, which we assume won't make you want to jump right in the ocean upon viewing. Movies are weather permitting and run every week until mid-September.

Charleston RiverDogs

If you love Charleston, baseball, or both, come out this summer to support the Charleston RiverDogs. You can literally bring the whole family on Mondays with the RiverDogs Dog Days games — that's right four-legged friends are invited to every Monday night home game. Parents looking to wind down after a long day may enjoy Take Me Out Tuesdays, which feature two for $20 ticket deals, and Thirsty Thursdays, where beers are only a buck. Friday night games feature a fireworks show, and Sunday games are Kid's Club days where kids under 12 eat for free, and their driving-age parents score free parking.

Charleston County Waterparks

Sometimes when you want to cool off, you don't want to go through the sandy hassle of trekking to the beach. That's where Charleston County's three waterparks — Wannamaker County Park's Whirlin' Waters, James Island County Park's Splash Zone, and Palmetto Islands County Park's Splash Island — come in handy. Open every day from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., these parks all offer concessions, lockers, lounge chairs, and shower facilities. Your kiddos will be safe under the watchful eyes of trained lifeguards, and you can kick back and relax.

Charleston County Main Library

There are 18 public libraries in the Charleston area, and each one offers its own set of free (and fun) summer activities. The main library, located in the heart of downtown Charleston, hosts loads of events throughout the summer, from board game get-togethers — check out the upcoming one on Sun. June 26 from 2-6 p.m. — to children's choirs and kids' movies.

Folly Family Fun Night

Now through Aug. 2, families can head to Folly River Park for Family Fun Night every Tuesday from 5-7 p.m., a brand spankin' new series of free summer events. Guests can look forward to performances from the Charleston Performing Arts Center and the Charleston Mermaids belly dancers, along with interactive fun from Dragonfly Kids Yoga. Vendors include Sweet Lulu's Bakery, Kool Katz Italian Ice, Mardi Gras Snowballs of the Lowcountry, and more.

Redux Contemporary Art Studio

Redux is a cool place to visit — free art exhibitions are fun for the whole family — but it's also the location of some pretty neat kids' art classes. Two new programs start on Mon. June 27, Art Throughout History with Chambers Austelle, and The Fish Unit, with Russ Bratcher. The week-long camps cost $150 for non-members, and include lots of hands-on action, with Jackson Pollock-like drip paintings in Austelle's class, and linoleum carving in Bratcher's class. Head online for more details on these programs and others.

Awendaw Activities

Ever played disc golf? It's kinda like golf ... but with a disc. We know, that really cleared things up. Head North up Route 17 to play some disc golf in Sewee Outpost's forest, where guests can play all day for five bucks. After hitting the 18 holes, stick around for an Awendaw Green Barn Jam. Held every Wednesday night from 6-10 p.m., this year-round concert series is BYOB and pet and kid-friendly. And like that golf game — it only costs a Lincoln.

Summer Guide 2016

  • Our most muscle-bound Summer Guide ever

    Pumped Up
  • Seven music festivals you can drive to

    Unfortunately, Bonnaroo, the South's largest and most well-known music festival, has already ended. But who needs it anyway? Bonnaroo isn't the only festival the South has to offer, and, as this list shows, it's not even the best. Check out these upcoming music festivals to get your sonic fix while staying south of the Mason-Dixon this summer.
  • Seven spots to take fido

    Summer is the perfect time to bond with your dog. Let's face it, it's nearly impossible to leave your pal at home when he's giving you sad looks through the window as you walk away. Luckily, there are plenty of pup-friendly spots in the Charleston area where you can grab a bite and a brew and relax with your best friend. You can even socialize with some humans if you want.
  • One way to have your best beach day on Folly

    You can have a great day on any Charleston beach — make sure to check out IOP and Sullivan's, too — but we have a soft spot for Folly. It may be the surfers scanning the Washout for waves, or it could be the always-smiling faces greeting us at Bert's Market.
  • Eight Fourth of July celebrations

    There are few things more American than hulky men and women tanned to a glistening glow. Don't take our word for it, just close your eyes and imagine our body builders bathed in the light of a fireworks show. Then head to these area July 4th shindigs, dinners, and throwdowns.
  • Four beach games for everyone

    There's a happy medium between extreme water sports and ocean-side lounging: easy, breezy beach games. The following games are body builder approved. And most only require one hand, so the other can be sipping a cool beverage*. Match point, eh?
  • Six ways to get wet this summer

    While kicking back with a solid beach read (check page 28 for our 2016 selections) is our favorite way to enjoy the beach, sometimes we get to itchin' for more action. The following sports range from the extreme to the easy-going, so even if you haven't been hitting the gym as much as our body-building pals, you can still have a good time.
  • Six opportunities to give back

    It's summertime, and that means it's time to get outside, get active, and start working on your tan. But you don't have to sit on the beach all summer to get that bronze complexion. Put yourself to work and give back to your community with these six outdoor volunteer opportunities.
  • Six Charleston hot dog joints

    Nothing says summer like a good old-fashioned hot dog. The most unpretentious of cookout staples, the hot dog is best served with whatever topping you think it deserves. And the greatest dogs of all? You'll find those at a number of local hot dog joints, from Summerville to Mt. Pleasant. Hot diggity.
  • Five tips for no cook chefs

    It's hot in Charleston. There's no way around the weather, but there just might be a way to skip the brutal heat associated with cooking in the summertime.
  • Six beach worthy reads

    The Lowcountry is known for its beaches and bars, and we're sure you know that there's another B on that list too — books. With several prolific authors located right here in Charleston, we've got a wide array of novels to choose from, and you can bet your bottom (sand) dollar that they're the kind you want to read while lounging in a beach chair. Here are some books we think are just peachy, from near and far.
  • Six bars on top of the world

    There aren't many tall buildings in Charleston, but it seems like all of those that do exist are topped with bars. Because who doesn't get excited about a rooftop bar? In the spirit of full disclosure, some of these bars will cost you a pretty penny per drink. So save them for a night when you really want to treat yo'self, or, if you're a high roller, feel free to make yourself a regular.
  • Eight soothing summer sips and tips

    Here at the City Paper, we like to drink alcohol. Beer, wine, cocktails — you name it, we want it. When it gets this hot out, though, we aren't always sure what drink of choice to turn to.
  • Six ways to sweat

    It's hard to exercise in the heat, plain and simple. That's why we've rounded up a list of indoor workout studios that range from fun to fancy (hello espresso maker). Body builders hit the gym every day, and you may want to, too, after seeing what these places have in store.
  • Five places to buy a swimsuit

    Body Builders, by the very nature of their buff physicality, have the beach bods of the gods. And we say that not just because it rhymes, but because it's totally true. If you want to be like them, hit the weights, down your protein shakes, and visit the following Charleston shops.


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