Travel by Car: Charleston, S.C.
This Southern city's rich history, elegant architecture and coastal landscapes draw nearly 5 million visitors each year, according to Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Clippity-clop down cobblestones streets on a carriage ride offered by one of the many tour businesses to learn about the city's history and culture. You'll pass breathtaking antebellum mansions, historic churches and enchanting side streets.
Explore the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon where George Washington was entertained and American patriots and pirates were imprisoned. A period-costumed guide leads small groups on a 30-minute tour through the dungeon.
Visit the South Carolina Aquarium on historic Charleston Harbor, home to loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, great blue herons, jellyfish and sharks. The aquarium's largest exhibit, The Great Ocean Tank, extends from the first to the third floor.
Stroll through the Historic Charleston City Market, where individual vendors sell products in open-aired buildings. Browse art, clothing, food products and sweet-grass creations.
Grab a swing and enjoy the view from Waterfront Park. Walk to the end of the pier to take in the shores of the Cooper River. On hot days, kids can play under the streaming water at Splash Fountain.
Just a few blocks south of Waterfront Park you'll find Hazel Parker Playground, which offers a fenced area for little ones and an open area for older kids.
Go on a treetop adventure at Wild Blue Ropes, Charleston's first open-air ropes course where families can challenge their athletic abilities, enjoy the outdoors and have fun. Once the family is tired from a day of activity, hop on a pedicab rickshaw for an exhilarating ride back to your accommodations.For more ideas, go to charlestoncvb.com.
Road trip bonus: A trip to Charleston means access to historic attractions, as well as three great nearby beach towns. To break up your trip to the Lowcountry, take a short drive off Interstate 26 to explore Cypress Garden Ruins in Monck's Corner. It's a 170-acre preserve and garden that served as a location for many movies, including "The Patriot," starring Mel Gibson. It's a gorgeous place to take a stroll, so don't forget your camera.