Georgetown With Kids (South Carolina): 10 Fabulous Things to Do
Georgetown, South Carolina, sometimes referred to as “Little Charleston”, is a small town located between the popular beach destination Myrtle Beach and the Holy City (Charleston), making it the perfect day trip from either. The small town is rich in history and has plenty of fun activities that are perfect for families visiting Georgetown with kids.
Its smaller size means that many of the main attractions are close together, making the town very walkable and accessible. The free public parking lots found near Historic downtown also contribute to the ease of access in Georgetown.
Georgetown was founded in 1729 and would become a key location for many Native American tribes and played a role in the Civil War because of its strategic location. The town also played a major role in the Rice Industry in the US. Today, Georgetown is a popular (but very overlooked) destination for its small-town charm, history filled attractions, quaint shops, and small cafes.
Top Things to Do in Georgetown With Kids
Stroll the Georgetown Historic District
The National Register of Historic Places listed Downtown Georgetown is one of the best places to see the historic buildings, quaint shops, and delicious dining options. Front Street is Georgetown’s main street running parallel to the Georgetown harbor containing many historically significant buildings. It is a great place to combine a day of sightseeing with a delicious meal or searching for a unique and locally made gift to take home with you.
Many of Georgetown’s main attractions can be found strung along Front Street in the historic downtown, making it one of the best places to visit in Georgetown with kids. The Rice Museum, South Carolina Maritime Museum, and the Georgetown County Museum are all found along Front Street. For a little bit of a different view, you can also access the Harbor Walk from Front Street for views of the boat filled harbor.
Perhaps the most notable Georgetown structure, the picturesque Georgetown Town Clock, can be viewed while strolling the historic street marking the lot where the town market has been held in one form or another since 1788. The area, although the actual structure has been rebuilt due to natural disaster, has served as a key location in the town’s history, as the location of the signing of surrender papers by confederate soldiers during the Civil War, a jail, town hall, and the location of slave auctions.
Visit a Historic Plantation: Hobcaw Barony
If you want to step back into time and walk the grounds of historic Southern plantations, Hobcaw Barony must be on your itinerary! Hobcaw Barony is a 16,000-acre piece of land that became a barony in 1718 (colonial land grant). The area was divided into plantations and would play a big role in the town’s history with the rice industry. Today the land is a privately owned research reserve, but is open for tours.
Hobcaw is protected and undeveloped, offering visitors the chance to see the ecosystems of South Carolina in their natural state. You can choose from the Discover Hobcaw tour, extended tour, villages tour, North Inlet boat tour, or a 3-mile hike along Hobcaw Beach.
The Discover Hobcaw tour is a great introduction tour that will take you through the natural landscape of Hobcaw, to many of the main building structures including a former slave village, and will teach you about the native wildlife. The extended tour will allow you more time at the stops to explore and includes a stop at the North inlet marsh.
The North Inlet boat tour will take you out along the creeks and islands of the area to Pumpkinseed Island and Muddy Bay. If you are interested in seeing the villages where the plantation owners once housed their slaves, the villages tour is the option for you, taking you to the remnants of four villages. Whichever option you choose, you can expect to have a blast and learn about Georgetown’s history in the process!
Enjoy the Harborwalk
Who doesn’t love a serene, peaceful stroll along water’s edge? When visiting Georgetown with kids, the Harbor Walk is the place to do just that! The boardwalk lining the Georgetown harbor extends about four blocks, hidden behind the Georgetown Historic Downtown Front Street. The harbor is full of both private boats and working fishing boats, making for a great picture.
Along the Harborwalk you will find many local dining options with waterfront seating. Combining a visit to the Harborwalk with nearby Front Street will also give you access to the many local specialty and souvenir shops, enough to keep you busy for the evening! While strolling the boardwalk keep your eye out below for the chance to see an alligator swimming by, which are known to frequent the area.
The best time to enjoy the Harborwalk is in the evening when the sun is starting to set. As you walk you will notice the waters resting in the harbor gaining an orangish-red hue as the sun starts to sink below the skyline.
Visit the Gullah Museum
The Gullah Museum is a fun way to learn about the history of this group of people. Although not a large museum, the Gullah Museum brings the history of the Gullah people who once inhabited the area to life through colorful quilts that are sure to catch the eyes of adults and kids alike!
Other than the quilts, you can also find artifacts from the Gullah people and exhibits outlining their history, history of being enslaved, and their role in the rice industry of Georgetown. The owner is often times found telling stories of the Gullah people and sharing his extensive knowledge of the culture with visitors, so if you are looking to learn more this is the place to go!
Georgetown with Kids: Enjoy a Shelling and Lighthouse Cruise with Rover Boat Tours
Do your kids love going seashell hunting? When visiting a beach destination, it is not uncommon to stroll the beach looking for colorful and unique shells to bring home as a reminder of your trip. What could make a seashell hunting adventure even more exciting? The chance to sail to a secluded barrier island where you are likely to find huge shells, run into a new creature or two, and stroll sand bars as you hunt for shells.
Rover Boat Tours offers a Shelling and Lighthouse Cruise that will give you the opportunity to do just that! The 4-hour boat tour leaves from Georgetown, takes you past the historic Georgetown Lighthouse, and lands at North Island, a barrier island at the edge of the Winyah Bay, where you can disembark and wander the shoreline. During low tide (tours are scheduled around low tide) you will be able to wander out into the bay and search for large seashells where the waves break. But don’t worry if you have young children-there are plenty of seashells scattered across the shoreline to find.
While cruising through the bay be sure to keep your eyes open for dolphins, bald eagles, alligator, sturgeon, and more! The remnants of the Union flagship USS Harvest Moon, a Civil War ship that crashed, are another site you will be treated to as you cruise along. Onboard the ship there are also seashells and the exoskeleton of a horseshoe crab for you to view and admire.
Learn About Georgetown’s History at the Rice Museum
The Rice Museum, located in the Front Street Business District of Georgetown in the Old Market Building, is the perfect way to learn about the town’s history and significance in the growing of rice and its contribution to the development of the area. The Rice Museum includes a second building, the Kaminski Hardware Building, directly across the street.
The museums exhibits outline the history of Georgetown’s role in the rice industry told through dioramas, paintings, maps, and artifacts. If you are an art lover, be sure to also visit the Prevost Gallery in the Kaminski Hardware Building, which hosts temporary and changing art shows. The Kaminski Hardware Building also houses the Maritime Museum Gallery and the museum’s gift shop.
The museum is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 4pm, with tours every hour (on the quarter hour).
Georgetown With Kids: Spend the Afternoon Relaxing at the Park
While historical tours and museums are great, when you have little ones in tow you will want to find an opportunity to just let them run! In Georgetown, East Bay Park and Morgan Park may be the solution! The two parks are adjacent to each other, overlooking the Sampit River and Winyah Bay, with plenty of room to stretch your legs, making it one of best stops in Georgetown with kids.
Morgan Park is great for short hiking trails and views of the river and bay. The most notable trail of the park is the 0.5-mile round trip trail that takes you up close to the bay. The walk is easy with well-maintained paths and a short boardwalk. Don’t forget to pack your lunch for a relaxing picnic in Morgan Park.
Right next door to Morgan Park you will come across East Bay Park, Georgetown’s largest park. With more amenities than Morgan Park, visitors can enjoy short trails, ball fields, tennis courts, and a disc golf course. The park also has some great water views overlooking the Great Pee Dee and Sampit Rvers. If you like to keep up your workout routine while on vacation, you can find outdoor fitness stations in the park to keep your muscles working! The kids will love the large playground found in the park.
Hop Aboard a Lowcountry Plantation River Tour
A Lowcountry Plantation River Tour will take you along the Pee Dee Lowcountry past Plantation mansions, old slave cabins, abandoned rice fields, and the beautiful natural landscape of South Carolina. As you go the guide will tell stories about the plantation homes you pass and the history of the families that once lived on them.
Along the way you will also hear stories about Native Americans and see where they once lived and traded with settlers. A fun activity for the kids while enjoying the Lowcountry Plantation River Tour is birdwatching! Frequently seen in the area are ospreys and bald eagles. The plantation river tour is family friendly on a comfortable pontoon boat with working restrooms, making it one of the best things to do in Georgetown SC with kids.
Another great boat tour option by Lowcountry Tours is their sunset eco tour. Cruise the waters of Winyah Bay while enjoying complimentary soft drinks, fruit, cheese, and for the adults a refreshing glass of wine (don’t forget your ID!). Keep your eye out for bald eagles and other bird species flying above and dolphins swimming below. But the best part is your chance to catch a glimpse of a South Carolina sunset.
Enjoy a Tram Ride with Swamp Fox Tours
Hop aboard and enjoy a tram ride with Swamp Fox Tours, a historical tour through Georgetown with fun filled stories of the town’s past. Leaving from Bienvenue Home Gifts & Home Decor, the blue and white tram pulled by a jeep will take you through Georgetown’s historic, Oak Tree lined streets.
The tour guide will keep you entertained as you pass by historic buildings, outlining the history of the town over the past 300 years. Tours run six days a week (Monday through Saturday), beginning at 10am and running every hour until 4pm.
Georgetown With Kids: Visit the Hopsewee Plantation
The Hopsewee Plantation reflects the long history of Georgetown with the rice industry and plantations. One of the most stunning and picturesque aspects of this plantation is the two-mile-long entrance lined with moss-draped oaks and sycamores.
The Hopsewee Plantation was built in 1740 and served as a major player in South Carolina’s rice industry. Interesting fact: The plantation was the birthplace of Thomas Lynch Jr., one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Visiting the Hopsewee Plantation includes a guided tour, offered every hour from 10am to 3pm Tuesday through Saturday. The tour will take you inside the main plantation home and two original slave cabins.
Another option is the Gullah tour, a tour that focuses on the history of the slaves that once lived on the plantation. On Thursdays you can take part in a sweetgrass basketmaking class to learn about the long tradition and to make one of your own! Depending on when you visit, you may be able to join in on one of their special events, like a Civil War reenactment! For the kids, check out one of their children’s programs, which vary depending on when you are vvisiting.
After you build up an appetite touring the plantation head to the River Oak Cottage Tea Room, which has been named one of the best tea rooms in the state. Here you will find a full lunch menu featuring traditional Lowcountry dishes, tasty treats, and of course try a taste of their English tea.
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