Making Memories: Best Kid Friendly Activities for 2016

With a little bit of planning, your vacation to the Pawleys Island area can be much more than just a trip to the beach. Pull out your cameras as the whole family flies 500 feet over the Atlantic, searches for dolphins, kayaks down winding creeks or learns to surf. And there is nothing like the smile on a child who just caught their first fish or crab. The hardest part will be choosing which photo to frame first!

Photo of a family at the beachFUN ON THE WATER

When your kids have to write next fall’s “summer vacation” essay, they can honestly claim they swam with the fishes and learned to fly. Express Watersports has an extensive menu of the best ways to catch some waves (or some air!). Join skilled captains on a parasailing excursion and see the stunning Atlantic Ocean up to 500 feet in the air. Or show your children a different view of the sea! Scuba lessons are offered by expert teachers to adults and children age 8 and older. Watch dolphins playing and feeding in the wild on the Ocean Sightseeing and Dolphin Watch cruise. The Express Banana Boat lives up to its name – a giant, inflatable banana pulled by a super-fast jet ski; it’s the perfect family activity for a hot summer day! Jet skis, paddleboards and kayaks are also available for rent.

Even the most well behaved kid sometimes wants to act like a pirate! Crazy Sister Marina has one of the most unique, memorable, child-friendly events in the Lowcountry. Aboard the replica pirate ship Sea Gypsy, your brood will embrace their swashbuckling nature and provide you with amazing vacation photos. The event starts with face painting and pirate costumes. Once on board the boat, the crew will find a map to hidden treasure, get a message in a bottle and even battle the evil “Pirate Pete” with real water cannons. Kids as young as 2 are easily entertained. For more modern adventures, Crazy Sister offers parasailing for kids age 5 (or about 45 pounds) and up, jet-ski tours, banana boat rides, private and head boat fishing charters and boat, kayak and paddleboard rentals.

Feed those hungry minds, and venture out on the water! It offers an entirely new perspective of the world. Kayaks can go where no other boat can and are the best way to explore local creeks and rivers. Watch the wonder on your child’s face as she has a close-up encounter with a great blue heron or dolphin! Pawleys Kayaks has everything you need with the guaranteed lowest prices in the area. Clean, premium equipment, including life jackets and paddles, is delivered right to your rental home. Go exploring and bring the camera! This is an adventure your kids will never forget.

For a nature-powered adrenaline rush, Surf the Earth will entertain your kids and get them moving! Aspiring young surfers can learn to hang ten at one of the famous Surf the Earth five-day surfing camps (ages 7-15) or in an affordable private surfing lesson (boards are included). Surf the Earth also offers paddleboarding and kayak tours though the marshes of Pawleys Island and Litchfield. If your family would rather choose its own adventure, rental equipment including surfboards, paddleboards and kayaks is available.

Pawleys Island Beach Service offers kayak, canoe and paddleboard rentals – an adventure waiting for every day of the week! It also rents safe, easy-to-ride beach cruiser bicycles in sizes for every member of the family, so you can all explore the island with the wind in your hair. Jogging strollers, beach chairs and umbrellas are also available for rent. And stop by the retail store for beach games and toys that will keep kids active and spark their imagination!


Boating, fresh air and the possibility of catching dinner! A family fishing trip always becomes a happy memory. It also builds confidence in children and helps them develop a respect for the environment.

Georgetown Charters offers inshore, near shore, offshore, jetty and flats fishing charters for families of all sizes. Captain Matt Wilkinson has the knowledge and equipment to find the best spots possible and 36 years of experience guiding sportsmen young and old. Imagine the proud smile on your child’s face when she catches her own fish! All you have to do is bring a cooler and write your own family fish story.

If any place knows about fishing in the Pawleys area – it’s Pawleys Island Outdoors. They offer just about any kind of fishing charter that interests you, including crabbing trips. The only limit is your imagination! If you have your own gear (or want to buy some) and prefer to explore independently or fish without a guide, Pawley’s Island Outdoors offers johnboat rentals, fishing instruction and is the place to pick up a fishing license. They also have a variety of fishing supplies, including crabbing and shrimping gear.

Back in the day when kids were more “free-range,” one of the favorite activities of island munchkins was crabbing in the local creeks. Parents might faint at the idea of allowing children to go out the door in the morning with nothing but a “Bye Mom” now, but that doesn’t mean little ones can’t experience the thrill of netting their first crab! Pawleys Kayaks rents crab traps and crab line kits (six weighted crab lines with handles, net, bucket and shell gauge) that are just waiting to create your family’s next adventure.

Fishing trips are a great way for parents and children to spend time together, and a beach vacation never seems complete without one. O-Fish-Al Expeditions and Captain Dan Connolly will make your excursion a favorite family memory. Captain Dan knows the ins and outs of every local creek, and he can find the fish! All equipment, bait and licenses are included. You just need to show up ready to have fun.

Older children can get a true back-to-nature experience with kayak fishing! Black River Outdoors Center offers half-day trips that go into shallows where the big fish feed and powerboats can’t go. Experienced guides will lead the adventurous family down hidden saltwater or freshwater creeks with some of the best fishing in the area.

For kayak anglers who know the area and want to venture out on their own, Surf the Earth and Pawleys Kayaks offer fishing kayaks for rent.


Speed down local rivers and explore shallow areas that no other motor-powered boat can go in the area’s only airboat ride. Hop aboard Plantation River Tour’s Waccamaw Cooter airboat for a ride your family will never forget! Airboats are able to access back waters that most boats can’t travel through, allowing you and the kids to get closer to wildlife, such as alligators and ospreys.

No resort beach can parallel the raw beauty of the Carolina Coast. The Sea Shell and Lighthouse Cruise will show your family the area as it looked before development. This three-hour tour takes passengers along the marshes and river to uninhabited North Island. On the way, you might glimpse sea turtles in the water alongside the boat or even an alligator resting on the nearby shore! Once on the island, everyone disembarks to explore the quiet, pristine beach. If you have been disappointed by shell hunting on the public beaches, you won’t be here. Starfish, horseshoe crabs and whelks abound, and the tours are scheduled at the best time to find these treasures.

Get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s smartest, friendliest natives at Blue Wave Adventures. Head out on the open water on Blue Wave’s state-of-the-art watercraft Osprey. An experienced guide will help you spot dolphins, sea turtles, marine birds and other wildlife while offering age-appropriate education. If dolphins approach the boat, the captain will even lower a microphone so that kids can hear their unique language! Tours depart daily from Crazy Sister Marina. Although young children are easily entertained, kids must be able to walk, sit on their own and follow some directions in order to go on the water. If your children are a little older and ready for some independent adventure, try the Pirate Island Kayak Tour, which launches each passenger in their own inflatable kayak for a fully guided paddle trip in the water surrounding an island once used by actual pirates!

Black River Outdoors Center offers a variety of kayak tours. Shadowing the first Lowcountry explorers, you and your family can chart new territory paddling around cypress-tupelo swamps, inland islands, salt marshes and historic harbors. If you are lucky enough to be on vacation during a full moon, the four-hour full moon tour is great for teens and older kids. Youth kayaks are available for children fewer than 5 feet tall, and some tandem kayaks can be equipped with a special seat so that very young kids can ride between two adults.

Remember the day your family took a boat cruise to a remote barrier island, explored, searched for shells and had a delicious picnic lunch? No? Then be sure to make a reservation with Island Picnic Cruise, the newest nature-based tour in town! Dolphins, sea birds and other wildlife are frequently sighted. It’s a wonderful family memory just waiting to happen.


Kids’ minds never go on vacation. In addition to the relaxing fun of the beach, the Pawleys -Island area offers rich history that the whole family will love to explore.

The majestic Kaminski House Museum, built around 1769, provides fascinating insights into antebellum history and life in early Georgetown. Enjoy the entire historic Front Street area of Georgetown while you are there, which has many shops and great restaurants. Georgetown is also home to some entertaining and informative museums, including The Georgetown County Museum, The Rice Museum and The South Carolina Maritime Museum.

Native Americans, George Washington, patriots, plantation workers, Churchill and Wall Street millionaires have all walked in the places seen on a tour of Hobcaw Barony. Kids will love the Discovery Center at the entrance to the property that has exhibits about Hobcaw and the people who have lived there. And tours that access the 16,000-acre property bring history alive by putting little minds and feet right where it happened. See Hobcaw House and seven miles of the original Kings Highway.

Climb aboard the comfortable, spacious Waccamaw Lady for a different view of rice plantation life. Plantation River Tours takes your family along winding waterways that pass by historic rice plantations, plantation houses, slave cabins and trunk gates. The shaded pontoon boat has restrooms and comfortable seating. Tour guides are local historians adept at getting kids excited about the area’s legendary past. Even if your kids claim not to be interested in history, they can’t help being enthralled with the wildlife! Alligators, eagles and ospreys are common sights.


Just because you are a grown-up most of the year doesn’t mean your inner child can’t enjoy your vacation!

Let loose at Wild Water and Wheels, which features acres of adventure. If you feel like making a splash, check out an amazing variety of water slides, including two tube slides, four adrenaline-pumping speed slides and three mat slides. If you’re seeking a thrill, hop on the Free Fall Cliff Dive, a body-only slide where you approach speeds up to 45 miles per hour and end in an almost vertical drop! There is also a wave pool that features eight different wave types up to 4 feet tall. If you and the kids want some slightly slower paced fun, grab a tube and enjoy the Lazy River. There are also plenty of activities without height requirements, including a kiddie pool and two mini water-parks.

Wild Water and Wheels has activities even for the kids who want to stay dry, including a comprehensive go-kart facility, with tracks built for speed as well as for junior and intermediate drivers. The park also has several carnival kiddie rides for kids ages 3-9. Last but not least, the whole family will love an afternoon spent on the mini golf course, cheering each other on through rounds of obstacles and excitement. If you can’t pick what to do, just do it all! Wild Water and Wheels offers comprehensive full-park admission for a day your kids won’t forget.

Waterfalls, ponds, rolling hills and caves! The largest miniature golf course in the Grand Strand has it all. Even the smallest member of the family can get a hole in one at Inlet Adventure Mini Golf. The kids will have a blast, and mom and dad will love that everyone can play all day until 5 p.m. for $5 a person. It’s the perfect family activity. And Sweet Adventures Ice Cream Shop is right next door!

A trip to Inlet Square Mall offers a full day of family fun! The kids will love the Extreme Fun Arcade, or enjoy some friendly family competition at the 16-lane bowling alley. Browse through the stores, but be sure to leave time to stop by Frank Theaters, where you can catch the newest summer blockbusters in 11 auditoriums or refuel with delicious food at the Grille.

Feel like you and the family have done everything before? Bring everyone to Tupelo Bay for a round of Foot Golf – a unique blend of golf and soccer. It’s basically golf, but with a 21-inch cup, shorter holes, a soccer ball and no clubs! Every kid has kicked a soccer ball! And who hasn’t wanted to kick their golf ball now and then? The entire family will have a blast at this exciting new game. The course is only nine holes, and it’s lighted for nighttime play.

Children have loved Frisbees since they first came on the scene in 1957. With a game of Disc Golf at Tupelo Bay, kids, young and old, can put those skills to use!

Tupelo Bay’s Runaway Bay Miniature Golf has two separate 18-hole courses, both jam-packed with beautiful scenery, challenging water and sand obstacles and unique designs. Be sure to bring the kids to the adjacent ice cream parlor afterward for a post-game reward.


It’s not just for dad! Even younger children will enjoy trying their hand at this great sport, and they’ll learn a skill they can enjoy and build on for the rest of their lives. The Pawleys Island area is one of the nation’s premier golf locations. Head to a practice area or make a tee time at one of these great courses:

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