Day Trips Nearby Florence
Florence, South Carolina is really close to a lot of major cities, like Columbia (our capital), Myrtle Beach, Charlotte and Charleston.
Columbia, SCCapital of South Carolina and only 1 hour drive from Florence!
As the capital of South Carolina, Columbia has a cozy downtown area and is a great college town with a lot of neat shops and restaurants. Only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Florence, this is a great day trip to take to seek out wonderful restaurants and visit kid-friendly museums.
Suggested Family-Friendly Activities in Columbia, SC
- Edventure Children's Museum It's a very large museum made just for kids! This is no ordinary Children's museum. If you get an annual membership from Edventure, it included unlimited entry to this main Columbia location, the smaller Hartsville location and the smaller Myrtle Beach location too. Admission for children under 2 is always free. (http://www.edventure.org)
- Riverbanks Zoo & Garden (also known as 'Columbia Zoo') With seasonal events like Boo at the Zoo and Lights before Christmas, family visits here at Riverbanks Zoo are super special. They also have a large kid-centered water park in the gardens! The animals all look very happy and are well taken care of. Waterpark in the gardens is free with your zoo tickets. Free entry for babies under 2 years old.(https://www.riverbanks.org)
- Dine in downtown Columbia - With many great Southern restaurants like Blue Marlin in downtown or a unique ethnic restaurant like Menkoi Ramen house, you can treat your family's tastebuds to many options the capital offers.
- Attend a major fair or festival. Check the City of Columbia's calendar for upcoming fairs and festivals happening in Columbia throughout the year. The biggest fair here is the South Carolina State Fair, which takes place every year in October and brings Carolinians from all over!
- Shop at Columbiana Centre At the Columbiana Centre, they have a lot of stores that Florence doesn't have and also an indoor playground that is free for little kids to play near the JCPenney department store. Portraits at the JCPenney Portraits center inside the department store here are professional and affordable so take advantage of it and knock out some Christmas portraits out of the way while you're doing some shopping. Address: 100 Columbiana Cir, Columbia, SC 29212
Myrtle Beach, SCPopular East Coast Beach and only 1.5 hours drive from Florence!
Myrtle Beach Hotels
About Myrtle Beach:
Myrtle Beach has dozens and dozens of amazing seafood buffets!
As one of the most famous beaches on the East Coast, Florence is lucky that it is only an hour and 15 minute drive away to reach a large seafood buffet. During the most busiest seasons, it can get very crowded and traffic can be jam packed. I recommend going to Myrtle Beach when the spring breakers and the college kids are just returning back to school from summer break, while the weather is still nice and warm. If you like the big commotions, do come during their high seasons!
Suggested Family-Friendly Activities in Myrtle Beach, SC
- Myrtle Beach boardwalk Right along the beach is Myrtle Beach's large boardwalk that has many shops and restaurants that you can visit on foot! They also have a big ferris wheel that you can't miss and other attractions for the whole family!
- Go to Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. About a couple miles from the boardwalk is Broadway at the Beach, which is large shopping complex with a lot of attractions, rides, restaurants and bars. You will never run out of things to do here. You can also have the kids feed the fishes along their bridges over water. You can also enjoy fireworks in the evenings there during the summer months! Check out the Broadway at the Beach fireworks schedule.
- Ripley's Aquarium Located at Broadway at the Beach is Ripley's Aquarium, which is a great and popular place to visit in Myrtle Beach. They have special seasonal events year round and sometimes offer special rates. Every Veteran's Day, they usually offer free admission to all active and retired military personnel with proof of military ID; and extend discounts to their family members. Babies under 2 years old always gets free admission. Address: 1110 Celebrity Cir, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
- Play mini-golf! There are so many mini golf courses (putt putt) in Myrtle Beach and some are even free at resorts during your stay! Make sure to check out what kind of amenities the hotel you're planning to stay at will have. Lazy pools and mini golf are both great amenities that you can find at many hotels and resort in Myrtle Beach.
- Dunes Village Resort (resort with indoor waterpark!) Dunes Village Resort has the only indoor waterpark in all of Myrtle Beach! Those staying at Dunes Village Resort are allowed unlimited usage of their waterpark during their stay. They have two towers and each tower has their own water park! We've stayed at Dunes Village Resort a few times and we really enjoyed all of our vacations here. The little ones can enjoy the 1 foot deep kiddie pool that's made just for toddlers in the water park area. Besides the water park, they also have an outdoor playground area for the kids right in front of the beach and many resort activities for the whole family. The view from their restaurant is spectacular. Dunes Village Resort is usually sold out during the popular summer months so you would need to plan months in advance to secure a room.
- Play at the beach, of course! With famous warm waters during the hot season, Myrtle Beach is a great place to let your kids get their feet wet and play some frisbee on the sand. Relax on the beach with some sandwiches and soak in the sun! I recommend buying a beach tent to give the kids some shade when they need a sun break.
Charlotte, NC & Charleston, SC
These famous cities are just 2 hours drive from Florence!
We'd sometimes fly out of Charlotte or Charleston to travel to another major city, versus flying from Florence's small airport. We would often save money this way. The amount of travel time (including layovers and driving time) seems to be about the same, if not faster. Florence only flies to Charlotte and then from Charlotte is where we get to fly elsewhere. We're fortunate that both Charlotte and Charleston are only 2 hours and a half drive away from Florence.
With Carowinds theme park, a lot of events year round and so many different types of restaurants, Charlotte is a fun city to visit and still a very family-friendly town.
Suggested Family-Friendly Activities in Charlotte, NC
- Discovery Place, Charlotte's Children's Museum This is the best children's museum in the Carolinas! With a lot of fun science and interactive activities, it's fun for both kids and adults. It's multi-story with an aquarium area as well. Always free for kids under 2. Address: 301 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Great Wolf Lodge Concord. Famous for their indoor waterparks, the Great Wolf Lodge was made to cater towards kids. They have really expensive rates but their amenities are amazing and every Great Wolf Lodge offers many resort activities for the whole family. See pictures and info on Great Wolf Lodge Concord.
- Watch the Carolina Panther's play at the Bank of America Stadium. Located in downtown Charlotte, you can enjoy a football game at this stadium conveniently near many hotels. If your kids are big NFL fans, this can be a really special treat for them.
- NASCAR Hall of Fame Address: 400 E M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28202
- Super G International Market Address: 7323 East Independence Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28227. Super G International Market in Charlotte sells all sorts of ingredients from around the world. You can find any spice and vegetable here that you normally won't find at a market in Florence. They also have a bakery and a Korean restaurant inside. Check out Honey Buns; they sell very unique and fresh Asian pastries! This market is made for the adventurous tastebuds.
- Carowinds Theme Park With dozens of rides and a waterpark, this all inclusive theme park is perfect for any family. For the little ones, they have a Snoopy-themed area with a playground for the toddlers to roam around! Get the Carowinds preschool free pass for preschool aged 3 -5 years old! Sign this up online. You won't have to pay for your 3-5 year olds if you sign up for the online preschool pass. Their large waterpark area is only open in the summer time and included with your admission ticket! Babies who are 2 years old and under get admitted for free!
- Sea Life Aquarium Charlotte-Concord This aquarium is also affiliated with LEGOLAND, so what makes this aquarium different from all the others is it was made with kids in mind. Babies who are 2 years old and under come for free! Address: 8111 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027
Charleston is a much more sophisticated destination and we only go there on super special occasions because hotel stays can be pricey. Take a sailing trip while you're there. It's the quintessential thing to do and you can enjoy the beauty of Charleston from the perspective of looking at the historic place from the ocean.
Suggested Family-Friendly activities in Charleston, SC
- Children's Museum of the Lowcountry - It is $2 cheaper for SC residents and free for babies 12 months old and younger. (http://explorecml.org)
- Patriots Point - Take a tour on the boats and aircrafts that the military used in wartime. (http://www.patriotspoint.org)
- Folly Beach Fishing Pier - It is the second longest pier on the East Coast and has spectacular views.
- North Charleston Wannamaker County Park - Play at the playground or pedal on boats at North Charleston Wannamaker County Park. They also have a seasonal waterpark that's open during the summer months. (http://www.ccprc.com)
- South Carolina Aquarium -Children 2 years old and under are free.(http://www.scaquarium.org)