With six kids, most of our vacations are enjoyed as family road trips because we know that driving to our destination and having our own car while we are there is a significant cost saving over flying and renting a car. We are always looking for a fantastic location where we can enjoy the sun, the surf, and awesome activities- so we were thrilled to discover Seabrook Island, SC!
Located about an hour southwest of the historic city of Charleston, Seabrook Island is a private gated community of homes and condos located on a barrier island that is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Edisto River and Bohicket Creek. But what really sets Seabrook Island apart from other coastal destinations is its array of amenities that appeal to families with children of all ages.
We visited during the off-season over the Christmas holidays, joining up with our extended family for a multi-generational vacation. We rented a large 3 bedroom condo overlooking the water that had room for 10 people and also accommodated our dog, Bentley. (We found our rental through Sweetgrass Properties).
And yes- we celebrated Christmas morning while on our vacation, which meant bringing all of the gifts with us (hidden of course!), and even setting up a small pre-lit tree so that it truly felt like Christmas! Certainly trying to pull off Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas morning festivities and Christmas dinner while away from home is a feat in itself- but one we felt was worth the extra effort!
Seabrook Island Water Activities
Seabrook Island provides so many ways to enjoy the water, which had a gentle and smooth surf during our visit. We loved walking along the beach (where you could walk for miles!) and watching the dolphins jump and feed just a few yards away from us! If you are lucky- you might catch them “strand feeding” where a group of dolphins herds a school of fish or shrimp onto the beach and then beach themselves to feed! (We caught a slight version of this, but this video (not mine) captures strand feeding on Seabrook Island perfectly!)
Of course, kids will love to swim in the ocean or in one of the beautiful outdoor pools at the Seabrook Island Beach Club when the weather is warmer.
You can also rent paddleboards (Water Dog Paddle Company at Bohicket Marina) or kayaks (Seacoast Sports at Freshfield's Village)- just be sure that you understand the rules of where you can store your equipment overnight (our condo required that we store our equipment in our car when not in use).
Seabrook Island Amenities
One of the reasons that we chose Seabrook Island for our vacation, was the amenities they offer that appealed to all age groups- including my teens- even during the off-season. We brought along 4 bikes because there are bike routes throughout the island.
By the second day we were comfortable allowing our kids to ride together without an adult anywhere on the island, including up to Bohicket Marina to get ice cream at The Ice Cream Boat. They loved riding their bikes past the equestrian center (where you can rent horses for both trail and beach rides) and along the roads where they could look out over the marshes and lakes and see seabirds (and once they even spotted an alligator!). My kids thoroughly enjoyed their freedom to explore on this trip!
The older teens and adults loved the access to the Lake House fitness facilities. (Note: our condo did not come with access rights- we had to pay an additional fee for access plus a daily fee to use the facilities- but they were so outstanding that we felt it was well worth it!)
My husband and son also enjoyed the golf course and driving range. Tennis and basketball courts were also available as well as several nature and fitness trails. Truly- there was no reason ever to be indoors “bored” here!
Local Dining and Shopping at Bohicket Marina and Freshfield's Village
Just outside of the Seabrook Island community are two unique shopping and dining areas. On the right side (as you approach the island) you'll find the laid back Bohicket Marina with several restaurants, small shops, and boat slips and charters. We had both dinner and lunch at Red's Icehouse during our stay (don't miss Monday's “all you can eat crab legs”!) which truly had the best crab cakes I've ever had!
And just around the round-about before you enter Seabrook Island, you'll find Freshfield's Village- an upscale shopping and dining area. If you are renting a home or condo- you'll want to stop by Harris Teeter's to load up on groceries (such a great way to stretch your vacation budget!). They have a fantastic prepared foods section as well.
We enjoyed lunches at Vincent's Soda Fountain (pictured above) which had great burgers and amazing malted milkshakes. We had pizza and pasta at La Tela Pizzeria, and we ate a great dinner one night at King Street Grille. My kids all loved wandering in /out of the shops and boutiques which had a nice mix of clothing, sporting goods, and even some souvenirs. (They had no problem spending their Christmas cash!)
Don't Miss Spending the Day in Charleston!
There is so much to do- and it is just so relaxing to be at Seabrook Island that it would be very tempting to not leave during your entire stay! But that would be a shame- because Charleston is such a beautiful city and so much fun to explore with kids!
We started our day in Charleston with a horse-drawn carriage ride with Palmetto Carriages. They were careful to explain how well they treat their horses and the measures the city of Charleston has taken to ensure that all horses used by carriage companies are healthy and never overworked, and how carriages are allocated to different sections of the historic city throughout the day so that no one area becomes over-run with carriages.
Our driver gave us a fascinating and thorough tour of the city and provided many stories about the history of the area. The one hour tour was the perfect length- my kids found it be interesting and entertaining while the adults soaked up the sights of the beautiful streets and historic homes.
After enjoying lunch at Hanks Seafood– we walked across the street to City Market where we spent about an hour shopping for products made by local artisans- I picked up a cute apron, a hand-crafted cross-body handbag, my daughters each purchased a ring, my Mom bought some gifts to bring back to friends- it was all wonderful and reasonably priced. I wanted to buy a sweetgrass basket (something the market is known for)… but the prices were not-so-reasonable (to me at least), so I passed on them.
Overall we loved our vacation on Seabrook Island and definitely would recommend it to others!
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