Charleston's Best Hotels for Family-Friendly Accommodations and Amenities

Charleston, South Carolina is a destination with diverse attractions suited to all types of visitors, from couples in search of a romantic venture, to group getaways and family gatherings. Luckily, Charleston is flush with restaurants, museums, and accommodations fit to welcome any guest. When it comes to choosing the ideal Charleston hotel for your family, there are often many factors to consider: Should we stay on the peninsula? Are we within walking distance of the attractions we want to see? What kid-friendly amenities do Charleston hotels typically offer? Will we have access to transportation from our hotel?

Charleston is a small, historical city, with narrow, one-way streets, and many residential areas tucked in between shopping and dining districts. For this reason, driving and parking can be difficult at times. Thankfully, Charleston is one of the most walkable cities in the country! Ditch the rental car, and choose a hotel within walking distance of your favorite Charleston attractions, or one that offers shuttle services or tours, such as Belmond Charleston Place or King Charles Inn.

Lowcountry Charleston is home to breathtaking scenery, both on the peninsula and beyond. When deciding which hotel to book for your family's next Charleston vacation, consider staying at a hotel on the beach, such as the all-inclusive Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms, or the Tides beachfront hotel on Folly Beach. For a private beach and marina minutes from downtown by car or water taxi, book your rooms at the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina.


Looking for a more budget-friendly option for Charleston family accommodations? Check out the Residence Inn Downtown/Riverview. Though this hotel has a Charleston address, it is not actually located downtown, but rather just a few minutes' drive across the Ashley River from the peninsula. Parking here is free, breakfast is included, and there is a daily happy hour with wine and food for guests to enjoy after a day of Charleston explorations. This hotel also boasts a pool for the kids, and is pet-friendly! Note that this hotel runs a complimentary shuttle to and from downtown Charleston every half hour in the late afternoon and evening.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Though it is not located downtown, this Residence Inn does offer free breakfast, a pool, pet friendly policies, and a free shuttle to downtown.

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This hotel is very unique to the area and unique among other Holiday Inns you may have stayed at previously! The Holiday Inn Charleston-Riverview offers exactly what its name implies, and more: stunning, 360 degree views of the Ashley River and downtown Charleston, with breathtaking vistas seen from nearly all rooms, but most especially from the restaurant and bar located on the top floor of this property. Parking is free in an on-site lot, and due to its off-peninsula location in West Ashley, (just a few minutes from downtown), the hotel offers a daily shuttle to and from the historic district until 9:30pm. This Holiday Inn also has a small outdoor pool which is elevated several floors up, with marsh views.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: This off-peninsula hotel is a comfortable, affordable alternative to other luxury properties downtown, and still gives guests stunning views of Charleston.

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The Courtyard Marriott Charleston Waterfront is, as its name implies, facing the Charleston harbor marina and beautiful Ashley River of Charleston's South side. Families will enjoy the gorgeous pool at this hotel, which overlooks the marina, and the affordable breakfast buffet, and free on-site parking. This Courtyard Marriott offers a low-cost shuttle to and from the historic district, as it is located just beyond comfortable walking distance for most visitors. Book the Courtyard Marriott Charleston Waterfront for a family keen on affordable accommodations that still allow for beautiful waterfront views, especially from the Courtyard Marriott's pool overlooking the Charleston marina.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: If you're family is looking to enjoy marina tours and poolside fun in the sun, the Courtyard Marriott Waterfront is an ideal choice.

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Located in Charleston's Historic District, the Embassy Suites Charleston offers guests historic accommodations in what was once the original home of the Citadel Military College. You can't miss the Embassy Suite's fortress-like presence on Meeting Street, next to Marion Square Park, the old Citadel drilling grounds. A more affordable and family friendly alternative to the many luxury hotels on the peninsula, The Embassy Suites is conveniently located just a short walk from King Street shopping and dining, the Children's Museum, and South Carolina Aquarium. Guest ammenities include complimentary WiFi, in-room microwave and mini fridge, and separate living rooms with sleeper sofa. Expert Tip: If you're looking to skip the hotel breakfast: Rue de Jean on John Street, just around the corner, is consistently voted the Best French Restaurant in Charleston, and is famous for its Sunday brunch.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: This beautiful castle hotel is adjacent to Marion Square, where the farmers market is held, as well as popular shopping streets of King and Meeting.

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The Courtyard Marriott Historic District, recently renovated in 2011, is one of the best value priced hotels on the Charleston peninsula. Conveniently located on Calhoun and Meeting streets, the Courtyard Marriott is within walking distance to Marion Square Park, the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry, and the South Carolina Aquarium, making it an ideal choice for vacationing families. An on-site parking lot is available, but spaces are suited for small cars only. WiFi is complimentary, and all facilities are handicap accessible. There are no smoking rooms available, and pets are not allowed. Expert Tip: The experienced concierge staff receives rave reviews from guests, and can help plan fun family itineraries around Charleston.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: This downtown Courtyard Marriott is ideally located for those interested in King Street shopping, the Charleston Farmers Market, and SC Aquarium.

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Recently renovated and rebranded, the now Charlestowne Hotels-operated King Charles Inn could not be located in a more ideal spot for those wishing to explore Charleston by foot. This medium-sized hotel is close to many shops, restaurants, and historical sites, offers free parking, (a rarity in Charleston), and boasts a sizeable outdoor pool elevated one story above street level, and a hot tub for guests. The King Charles Inn also runs a brew pub and cafe called Brew within the property, and hosts an afternoon happy-hour style Welcome Reception for quests with complimentary cheese, crackers, and fruit from 4:30-5:30pm. Book the King Charles Inn for a playful family hotel close to Waterfront and Battery Parks, as well as King Street shopping.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: King Charles Inn is ideally located for explorations on foot. This hotel also boasts an outdoor pool and free parking!

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Belmond Charleston Place
Photo courtesy of Belmond Charleston Place

Belmond Charleston Place, an exemplary luxury property and AAA Four Diamond hotel, maintains true Charleston elegance through exceptional service and elegant accommodations. Award winning restaurants Palmetto Cafe and Charleston Grill, and bar Thoroughbred Club, with its nightly live jazz, are popular with locals and travelers alike. From the moment you enter Charleston Place, the lobby's beautiful marble floors and sweeping double staircase welcome you to some of the finest rooms and suites in Charleston. Shopping in both lobby level wings include such deluxe boutiques as Gucci, St. John, Louis Vuitton, White House Black Market and Tommy Bahama. Other amenities include indoor-outdoor pool, fitness center and state of the art spa. Expert Tip: Request a Club Level Suite, on the top two floors, and take advantage of private concierge service, continental breakfast, evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and more!

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Belmond Charleston place is the top luxury option for families staying in Charleston that seek all-inclusive amenities and an excellent location downtown.

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The Tides Folly Beach is Folly's premier beachfront hotel, newly renovated late 2011, and located just 9 miles from downtown Charleston. Each and every room at Tides is an oceanview room, featuring king or queen bed arrangements and a Juliet balcony. Amenities at the Tides include an oceanfront pool, free WIFI, an outdoor, (and poolside!), bar and lounge, a 24 hour fitness center, ice cream shop, and free parking. Pets are welcome at the Tides with a fee. Blu also offers on-site wedding and event planners, and was a 2012 pick for The Knot Best of Weddings. Blu, one of Charleston's best seafood restaurants, is housed within the Tides hotel property, and is open daily for lunch, dinner, dessert, and catering. Expert Tip: Book a first floor room for a beachfront patio and easy Folly Beach access.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Tides is our top recommendation for Folly Beach accommodations, as it is ideally situated on the beach, and has a pool and full-service restaurant.

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Wild Dunes Resort By Destination Hotels
Photo courtesy of Shem Creek Inn

Wild Dunes is known as one of Charleston's premier resorts, and it is indeed a destination. This family friendly resort offers vacation homes and condo rentals, including two AAA 4 Diamond properties, The Boardwalk Inn and The Village, as well as world-class golf and tennis facilities. The Boardwalk is just 150 yards from the beach, and offers guests pool, beach, court, or golf course-side accommodations. There are guestrooms and suites available at this location, as well as an in-property restaurant, The Sea Island Grill. The Village property also houses The Lettered Olive as part of the Village Plaza, with a salon, grocery, spa, and fitness center. The Village offers 1 to 3 bedroom guestrooms, and is just a short stroll to the beach. Expert Tip: Wild Dunes is the perfect vacation destination for golf lovers! Guests receive priority tee times on the Links Course and Harbor Course!

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Wild Dunes Resort is truly all-inclusive, offering all the amenities and activities your family could possibly enjoy, all on this beachfront property.

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The Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina is more than ideally suited for families traveling with children of all ages. This large resort is situated just across the Ravenel Bridge from downtown Charleston, only a quick car or water taxi ride from the shops, restaurants and sites on peninsula. Book the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina to enjoy the private beach, tiki bar, pool, and marina that are all located on property for hotel guests. This hotel charges a $12 nightly resort fee as well, which covers such amenities as bike rentals and a shuttle that carries visitors downtown and back every two hours.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: This waterfront resort boasts some of the best amenities around, and views of the Ravenel Bridge, Charleston Harbor, and USS Yorktown.

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Meet Clare Sweeney

A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare is always venturing between traveling abroad and her beloved Lowcountry. 

Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days...  More About Clare