10 Best Things to do La Fortuna Costa Rica


Best Things to do La Fortuna Costa Rica

From hiking through the lush rainforest laced with the most stunning waterfalls to relaxing in natural hot springs to watching a sloth slowly crawl through the treetops, this guide covers all the best things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, including a number of hidden gems.  La Fortuna was our home base for 10 days to explore the Arenal Volcano and surrounding area in Costa Rica.  We’ve done the research for you and have compiled this guide of the best things to do in/around the La Fortuna area based on our personal experience.  We still dream about our time in La Fortuna, Costa Rica and cannot wait to visit again.  Read on for our full guide on the 10 best things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

FYI: We took this trip when our daughter was 2 years old and our son was 6 months old.  For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts.


# 1 Best Thing to do La Fortuna: Explore Mistico Hanging Bridges Park

Best Things to do La Fortuna Costa Rica

Our #1 best thing to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica recommendation is to visit Mistico Hanging Bridges Park. The hanging bridges at this park are so cool! They take you into and above the rainforest canopy.  The Self-Guided Hanging Bridges tour is about a 2 mile loop path with 400 feet of elevation gain.  On this tour, you’ll cross 15 bridges (6 of them being hanging bridges that go straight into the rainforest canopy). We really enjoyed our time immersed in the rainforest here. 

Although these bridges may look a bit scary, there are attendants at each bridge that only allow so many people on them at one time and we never felt unsafe on them.  These attendants will take some awesome pictures for you on the bridges too (if you ask)!  And even though it seemed busy when we arrived in the parking lot at the park, the trail here is one-way so it felt like there were only a handful of other people on the path during our visit.

Cost: $28/person, Open 6a-4:30p daily, 25 minutes from La Fortuna Area

Mistico Hanging Bridges Park

#2 Best Thing to do La Fortuna: Hike in Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

Another one of the best things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica is to hike around the Arenal Volcano (one of the country’s 5 active volcanoes that last erupted in 2010).  Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal offers some of the most picturesque spots to hike around the Arenal Volcano.  The lush rainforest hikes, wildlife viewing opportunities and views of the Arenal Volcano here will not disappoint you.  At the park, there are two entrances (right across the street from one another).  See map below for a visual of the different entrances and hiking trails.

Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal Map

Combine Las Heliconias, Las Coladas and El Ceibo Trails

The main entrance is right off the paved main road and leads to three ‘different’ hiking trails. However, you can easily combine all 3 of these trails for a 4.5 mile round trip hike (what we recommend doing).  To start this hike, park in the parking lot right after the main gate and start hiking on the Las Heliconias trail that takes you through a pretty bamboo forest. This short trail quickly joins the Las Coladas trail.  The Las Coladas trail will then take you to a stunning viewpoint of the Arenal Volcano. You also can walk onto the lava fields on some offshoots from the Las Coladas trail if you want to explore the volcanic rock.   

On your way back from this lookout point of the Arenal Volcano on the Las Coladas trail, be sure to head back on the El Ceibo trail. This trail leads you on an offshoot loop to a giant 400 year old Ceiba tree.  The path will then loop you back to the Las Coladas/Las Heliconias trail that you can hike all the way back to the first parking lot.  Our favorite part of this hike was the lush rainforest on the El Ceibo trail.  Beyond the highlight of the GIANT Ceiba tree, there were so many other unique and tall trees in the rainforest along this path.  We also saw a ton of different butterflies and small lizards while on this trail.  

Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

Bumpy Ride to access other Entrance of Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

The other entrance to the park is right across the street from the first off the main road.  However, it is a bumpy 2 km drive down a stone/dirt road.  This was the worst road we drove on in Costa Rica.  The trails at this entrance were well maintained and enjoyable.  However, it took us over 20 mins to drive 2 km in our rental SUV and if you are leary of driving on rough roads, avoid this entrance.  Also, if you’re short on time, stick to the trails at the main gate. 

This side of the park offers two trails that you can hike in a loop for an almost 2 mile round trip hike.  Los Miradores leads to the shores of Lake Arenal and affords you a stunning view of the volcano.  The other trail here, El Tororoi, is a loop offshoot from the main trail with some neat bridges and thick rainforest.  On these trails we saw a lot of Coatimundi (a cross between monkey and raccoon) which was the highlight of hiking on this side of the park for us.  

Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

We found the trails at both entrances to be very serene. We only saw a handful of people on all the trails we hiked here (even at the main gate).   

Cost: $15/adult, $5/child, good for both entrances, can buy tickets at entrance onsite 

Many Private Trails to View Arenal Volcano

Note: There are many private hiking trails around the Arenal Volcano as well that are not technically in the National Park and it can be a bit confusing.  Most have a relatively small admission fee that is comparable in price to entering the National Park.  Arenal 1968 Trail is one of the most popular private trails and starts right beside the entrance to the National Park.  We mainly stuck to the National Park (as US National Park geeks) for hiking around the Arenal Volcano but were told by locals that the experience on these private trails is comparable to the hikes in the National Park. 


#3 Hike to Waterfall/Rio Celeste in Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio

Rio Celeste in Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio

Our next top recommendation on what to do near La Fortuna, Costa Rica is to visit Rio Celeste in Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio. This is the iconic bright blue river and waterfall that has water unlike any other water we have ever seen (introduction picture on this post).  The Mysteries of Tenorio Trail here is about 3 miles round trip with 650 feet of elevation and is the only way to see this river and waterfall.  First, you will hike to just above the waterfall.  Then you will take an offshoot staircase trail down to the waterfall.  It is incredibly beautiful here! 

Once you’ve taken in all the beauty, head back up the stairs and continue on the trail to the end where you can see the transition from normal water to the bright blue water in Rio Celeste.  This bright blue is due to the increased acidity at this point in the river making aluminosilicate present into a larger particle size. This particle changes light reflection creating an optical illusion of the blue color (yay science!). If you prefer the more poetic reason for the blue colors, the indigenous peoples believed the river was blue due to God using the river to wash his paintbrush when he was painting the sky.

Magical Hike and Waterfall

The hike here through the rainforest to this waterfall is magical.  Despite pouring rain almost the entire time we hiked here, we had one of the most memorable and fun hikes we have completed as a family.  We saw a ton of unique birds and several snakes. Fun (maybe more important) fact–the smaller snakes are actually more dangerous because they don’t know how to control their venom and are usually more aggressive.  This park is about a 1.5 hour drive from the Arenal area through the countryside. 

Cost: $12/adult, IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot buy tickets onsite (unlike Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal) and need to purchase a timed entrance prior to arrival (or upon arrival if you have wifi/service and there are still openings).  This timed entry system helps keep the trail from getting congested. We are glad this system was in place because the trail had other people on it but the number of people was not overwhelming. 

Stranger Shout Out

Note of Appreciation: HUGE Shoutout to the local who (out of the pure kindness of his heart) gave us nice adjustable rain ponchos to put on/over our kids on our hike here.  This man went to his car and got these ponchos for us (without us asking) after he heard we had forgotten our kids’ rain gear at our Airbnb (1.5 hours away so if we went back we would miss our timed entrance) and that the local shops did not have any ponchos for sale that would work for our kids.  This man was an angel and these ponchos kept our kids happy (by keeping their bodies dry) during this entire hike.  Without him, we may not have completed the hike and wouldn’t have our treasured memories from completing it.  We hope he reads this blog post and knows we will be sure to pass on his kindness!


# 4 Hike to Catarata del Toro Waterfall

Best Things to do La Fortuna Costa Rica

Catarata del Toro, one of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica, is located in the middle of Costa Rica on an ecological reserve on private property.  This ecological reserve is home to one of the most green, lush rainforests and several other waterfalls as well.  To view this waterfall, you’ll hike down approximately ¾ of a mile, into a volcanic crater, to the base of the 300 foot waterfall.  The cliffs around the waterfall are streaked with vibrant red and orange as well as surrounded by bright green ferns. It looks like something straight out of the show Lost.  This waterfall is 1.5 hours from La Fortuna.  The drive here is a bit windy but nothing out of the ordinary for Costa Rica roads and, unlike some other Costa Rican roads, the road is well-paved. 

Cost: Catarata Del Toro $14 (combine with Blue Falls entrance for $25/person)


#5 Best Thing to do La Fortuna: Hike to the Blue Falls 

Best Things to do La Fortuna Costa Rica

Although most people visit this area mainly to see Catarata del Toro waterfall, do not miss visiting the other Blue Falls just down the road as this was one of our favorite hikes and things we did in Costa Rica.  Coming from the La Fortuna area, less than a quarter mile down the road from the entrance to Catarata del Toro (where you pay for admission) is the trailhead to hike to the Blue Falls.  There are several waterfalls you can hike to from the Blue Falls trailhead (some closed during our visit though due to trail erosion).  We hiked to two of the waterfall areas, Tepezquintle (1 waterfall here) and Las Gemelas (2 waterfalls at this spot), and were completely blown away with their beauty. 

Fairytale Worthy Waterfalls

Hiking to these waterfalls was nothing short of magical.  With intermittent rain that day, there was a  mystical fog in the air that added to the allure of the lush moss covered rainforest and stunningly beautiful blue waterfalls here.  We were the only people at each waterfall area and actually had ‘hiking attendants’ help us access each. To reach both waterfall areas, you have to cross a river and the trail is not necessarily easy to follow from there. It was awesome to have someone help guide us through these areas that truly felt untouched.  We’ve never experienced another hike quite like this (despite all our hiking experiences all over the world) and loved it.  

Our favorite waterfall and associated hike at the Blue Falls area was Tepezquintle. Words cannot justly describe the beauty here (although we attempted above). The round-trip hike to both of these waterfalls/areas combined was about 3 miles. Both waterfalls are accessed from the main trail to the right of the initial trailhead. This trail also leads to Poza Azul, part of the Blue Falls area where you can swim. The water tends to be rather cold here though so if you’re planning on swimming here, be prepared for a chilly dip. 

Blue Falls

Logistics of Hiking Catarata del Toro and the Blue Falls

The hikes to the Blue Falls are a bit more tricky then Catarata del Toro hike as that is mainly on well maintained stairs whereas Blue Falls is more of a traditional hike with some rivers/rocks to cross. That being said though, since there were ‘hiking attendants’ at the Blue Falls, we had no issue accessing them. 

If it is a clear day, we would recommend hiking to the Blue Falls area first and then to Catarata del Toro. However, if the day is questionable on the ability to see Catarata del Toro due to fog or rain, be sure to hike there first if the area is clear. Sometimes it can get so foggy in the volcanic crater that you cannot see the Catarata del Toro waterfall very well. We visited on a rainy and foggy day but happened to hike down to Catarata del Toro when it was clear. However, by the time we got back to the top of the crater, it was too foggy to see Catarata del Toro again. mSo if you have clear skies, hike there first to ensure you can see Catarata del Toro.  

Cost:  Blue Falls $17/adult, Catarata Del Toro $14, Both $25


#6 Best Thing to do La Fortuna: Sloth Watching Tour 

Sloths in La Fortuna Costa Rica

Another top activity to do in the La Fortuna area is to go on a guided sloth tour.  Seeing a sloth in the wild was something on our Costa Rica bucket list.  However, seeing them on your own in the wild is almost impossible as they are masters at camouflage and also tend to curl up into a ball in the trees making them even harder to see.  We are sure there were sloths in the trees while we were hiking through other parts of the rainforest Costa Rica on our own but only with the help of the guide were we able to see them.  

We went on a hike with a guide from the small local family business of the Las Mariolas Trails.  On this tour, besides seeing five different sloths (including a mama and her baby), we saw many different birds, several snakes, several lizards and the elusive yet stunning red dart frog. The highlight of our time here was seeing a mama sloth climbing along a tree with her baby on her belly. The guides on our tour were very knowledgeable and so skilled at seeing different animals.  They also brought a telescope with them that allowed you to see a lot of the animals close up.  

 Las Mariolas Trails

At the end of this tour, we also got to make (and eat) traditional handmade tortillas and hand press/juice (and drink) sugar cane with the family.  This family treated our kids like family, and we would highly recommend this tour for some awesome wildlife viewing opportunities and welcoming company.  Las Mariolas offers public tours (up to 10 people) or private tours (great option with unpredictable littles, inquire with company on dates/times/cost).

Public tour cost: $32/adult, baby/toddler free 


#7 Take a Cooking Class 

Cooking Class La Fortuna

Another best thing to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica is to take a cooking class with a local family.  This was definitely one of our favorite things we did in Costa Rica!  The food was amazing (more delicious than words can describe) and we really enjoyed the company of the family. Most of the ingredients you use to cook your meal are right from the family’s farm and you actually go pick most of them fresh from the garden that evening. The couple items they do not grow/raise themselves, they get from the neighbors farm. We really felt like part of the family for an evening and got so much local insight from the two sons who taught the class. 

The day we took the cooking class, it was just our family, which was extremely nice given that we have two little unpredictable children. An added bonus is that before you leave, they’ll take you on a little tour of the garden area at night, and will show you lots of different, colorful frogs. This was super neat! We highly recommend this class! 

Cost: $80/adult, baby/toddler free


#8 Best Thing to do La Fortuna: Visit a Hot Springs

Our next best thing to do in La Fortuna recommendation is to visit a natural hot spring.  Natural hot springs are very prevalent throughout the La Fortuna area.  There are many large and extravagant resorts in the area that offer you an expensive yet luxurious hot springs experience. We would love to spend a day at one of these more fancy resorts if the littles were not with us.

Hot Springs La Fortuna

If opting for a more local, inexpensive and low-key hot spring experience like us (with our littles), go to Relax Termalitas Hot Springs. Here there are several nice pools and even a large slide leading into one of the hot spring pools (that our toddler LOVED watching us go on). This place also had a very local feel. We are quite certain we were the only non-locals there. Many people were cooking out and making the most of using the covered picnic areas surrounding the pools

Cost: $10/adult or child, baby/toddler free 


#9 Arenal Observatory Lodge 

Our next top thing to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica recommendation is to visit the Arenal Observatory Lodge. This is an off-the-beaten path rainforest area to explore that was recommended to us by a local as their favorite thing to do in the area.  Also, on a clear day, the lodge has stunning views of the volcano from the restaurant.  We really enjoyed the hiking here as it felt very serene.   There were several waterfalls we hiked to see. 

The most unique thing about this area was the colorful eucalyptus trees along the trails.  These colorful eucalyptus trees almost look fake with the streaks of different colors and glossy appearance of them.  They are also huge! Watching them sway in the wind was mesmerizing. There are about 6 miles worth of trails to hike at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.  We recommend hiking to the three waterfalls here and then getting lunch at the restaurant (if it is a clear day).

Cost: $16/adult, baby/toddler free


#10 Don Olivo Chocolate Tour

Don Olivo Chocolate Tour

This Chocolate Tour through a locals ‘backyard’ is fun way to learn more about local fruits and the chocolate making process.  Come hungry because you’ll get a lot of samples of fruit/juices, chocolate and coffee.  They have tours at 8a, 10a, 1p and 3p.  We recommend the 8a tour for the least amount of people on the tour and use it as a light breakfast.  We took a tour similar to this when we lived in Belize (where we met) and this experience had us reminiscing of our time living there. 

Cost: $25/adult, kids free


Bonus: Enjoy Local Restaurants 

There are all sorts of yummy restaurants in the La Fortuna area. Three of our favorites were Selva Rustica, Tierra Mia and Travesia. Each of them had very yummy food for a reasonable price.  The staff at each was very accommodating to our two young children as well.  Special shout out to the waitress at Tierra Mia who gave our daughter to coloring/sticker books that she clearly bought and brought herself. Her kindness to our daughter warmed our hearts! 


General La Fortuna Costa Rica Tips

Flying/Driving/Navigation

  • Fly into whichever international airport, Liberia or San Jose, that is less expensive. Both are about the same distance from the La Fortuna area. You will need to rent a car to then drive to the La Fortuna area. Beware, the drive from either spot is VERY windy and you may get motion sick.  See our How to Prevent Motion Sickness While Traveling and Flying post for more tips on combating this. 
  • We highly recommend driving to La Fortuna during the day, as it is rather scary to drive at night with the windiness of the road and steep drop offs. In general, only plan to drive any sort of distance during the day while in Costa Rica. 
  • For navigation, we were told the App Waze is much better than Google maps by many other travelers. However, we used Google maps the entire time we were in Costa Rica and did not have any issues. We used the offline Google maps and did not have a data plan in Costa Rica. 

Where to Stay Near La Fortuna

  • We stayed in Agua Azul, which is about 10 minutes outside of downtown La Fortuna.  We stayed on a farm where we had acres and acres of beautiful gardens and farmland to ourselves while staying in a private small home. We highly recommend scoping out Airbnb and looking at all the different unique stays offered in the general area. We also highly encourage you to stay outside of downtown La Fortuna, somewhere a bit more remote, for a more serene experience.  Downtown La Fortuna is actually rather touristy and built up.  The park in downtown La Fortuna is nice and downtown La Fortuna is where we got groceries, browsed local bookstores and had some yummy meals. Beyond that though, we do not recommend spending an extensive amount of time in downtown La Fortuna. 

Miscellaneous Tips

  • This is not an exact conversion, but the easiest way to get an approximation of how much something costs in Costa Rican colones in USD is to move the decimal point 3 spots and then double that amount. So if something cost 500 Costa Rican colones, it cost approximately $1 USD. Likewise, if something costs 8000 Costa Rican colones, it costs $16 USD. Note that conversion rates may change over time.
  • WhatsApp is an awesome way to communicate/inquire with a lot of different businesses in Costa Rica.

We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to La Fortuna, Costa Rica.  Anything you’d add to our best things to do La Fortuna post? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment! Please also see our 5 Best Activities in La Fortuna, Costa Rica with a Baby and/or Toddler & Top 5 Best Hikes La Fortuna, Costa Rica articles for more information on La Fortuna.

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Top 5 Best Hikes La Fortuna, Costa Rica


Best Hikes La Fortuna Costa Rica

The La Fortuna area offers countless lush rainforest hikes.  These hikes lead to stunning waterfalls and volcano views. They also offer many wildlife viewing opportunities.  While visiting La Fortuna, Costa Rica for 10 days, we hiked everyday and explored as many different trails here as possible.  After completing so many hikes in the La Fortuna area, we’ve complied a top 5 best hikes near La Fortuna, Costa Rica list. Read on for a full breakdown of our favorite hikes in the La Fortuna area.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


#1 Waterfall/Rio Celeste in Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio

Our #1 best hike recommendation near La Fortuna, Costa Rica is Rio Celeste (first picture of this post). This hike located in Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio is famous for its iconic bright blue river and waterfall that has water unlike any other water we have ever seen.  The Mysteries of Tenorio Trail here is about 3 miles round trip with 650 feet of elevation. Hiking the trail is the only way to see this river and waterfall.  First, you will hike to just above the waterfall.  Then you will take an offshoot staircase down to the base of the waterfall.  It is incredibly beautiful here! 

Once you’ve taken in all the beauty of the waterfall, head back up the stairs and continue on the trail to the end where you can see the transition from normal water to the bright blue water in Rio Celeste. This bright blue is due to the increased acidity at this point in the river making aluminosilicate present into a larger particle size. This particle changes light reflection creating an optical illusion of the blue color (yay science!). If you prefer the more poetic reason for the blue colors, the indigenous peoples believed the river was blue due to God using the river to wash his paintbrush when he was painting the sky.

Magical Rainforest and Waterfall Hike

The hike here through the rainforest to this waterfall is magical.  Despite pouring rain almost the entire time we hiked here, we had one of the most memorable and fun hikes we have completed as a family.  We saw a ton of unique birds and several snakes (fun (maybe more important) fact: the smaller snakes are actually more dangerous because they don’t know how to control their venom and are usually more aggressive).  This park is about a 1.5 hour drive from the Arenal area through the countryside. 

Cost: $12/adult, IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot buy tickets onsite (unlike Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal) and need to purchase a timed entrance prior to arrival (or upon arrival if you have wifi/service and there are still openings).  This timed entry system helps keep the trail from getting congested. We are glad this system was in place because the trail had other people on it but the number of people was not overwhelming. 

Shout Out to a Stranger

Note of Appreciation: HUGE Shoutout to the local who (out of the pure kindness of his heart) gave us nice adjustable rain ponchos to put on/over our kids for our hike here.  This man went to his car and got these ponchos for us (without us asking) after he heard we had forgotten our kids’ rain gear at our Airbnb (1.5 hours away and would miss our timed entrance if we went back to get) and learned that the local shops did not have any ponchos for sale that would work for our kids.  These ponchos kept our kids happy (by keeping their bodies dry) during this entire hike.  Without this kind stranger, we may not have completed the hike and wouldn’t have our treasured memories from completing it.  We hope he reads this blog post and knows we will be sure to pass on his kindness!


#2 Best Hike near La Fortuna: Mistico Hanging Bridges Park

Best Hikes La Fortuna Costa Rica

Next on our list of best hikes near La Fortuna Costa Rica is Mistico Hanging Bridges.  The hanging bridges on the trail here are so cool as they take you into and above the rainforest canopy.  We really enjoyed our time immersed in the rainforest at this park.  The Self Guided Hanging Bridges tour is about a 2 mile loop path with 400 feet of elevation gain.  On this tour, you’ll cross 15 bridges (6 of them being hanging bridges that go straight into the rainforest canopy). We really enjoyed our time immersed in the rainforest here. 

Although the bridges may look a bit scary, we never felt unsafe or scared on them. There are attendants at each bridge that only allow so many people on the bridges at one time so they never get too wobbly.  These attendants will also take some awesome pictures for your family on the bridges (if you ask)! And even though it seemed busy when we arrived in the parking lot of this park, the trail here is one-way and it felt like there were only a handful of other people on the path during our visit. 

Cost: $28/person, Open 6a-4:30p daily, 25 minutes from La Fortuna Area


#3 Best Hike near La Fortuna: Catarata del Toro Waterfall

Best Hikes La Fortuna Costa Rica

Our next top hike recommendation near La Fortuna Costa Rica is Catarata del Toro.  This waterfall is one of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica and is located in the middle of Costa Rica on an ecological reserve that is on private property.  This ecological reserve is home to a green, lush rainforest and several other smaller waterfalls as well.  To view this waterfall, you’ll hike down approximately ¾ of a mile, into a volcanic crater, to the base of the 300 foot waterfall.  The cliffs around the waterfall are streaked with vibrant red and orange as well as surrounded by bright green ferns. It looks like something straight out of the show Lost.  This waterfall is 1.5 hours from La Fortuna.  The drive here is a bit windy but nothing out of the ordinary for Costa Rica roads and, unlike some other Costa Rican roads, the road is well-paved. 

Cost: Catarata Del Toro $14 (combine with Blue Falls entrance for $25/person)


Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 8+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


#4 Best Hike near La Fortuna: Blue Falls

Best Hikes La Fortuna Costa Rica

Our next best hike near La Fortuna Costa Rica is Blue Falls.  Although most people visit this area mainly to see the Catarata del Toro waterfall, do not miss visiting the other Blue Falls just down the road as this hike also makes our top hikes near La Fortuna Costa Rica list.  Coming from the La Fortuna area, less than a quarter mile down the road from the entrance to Catarata del Toro (where you pay for admission) is the trailhead to hike to the Blue Falls.  There are several waterfalls you can hike to from the Blue Falls trailhead (some were closed during our visit though due to trail erosion).  We hiked to two of the waterfall areas, Tepezquintle (1 waterfall here) and Las Gemelas (2 waterfalls at this spot), and were completely blown away with their beauty.  

Fairytale Worthy Waterfalls

Hiking to these waterfalls was nothing short of magical.  With intermittent rain that day, there was a  mystical fog in the air that added to the allure of the lush moss covered rainforest and stunningly beautiful blue waterfalls.  We were the only people at each waterfall area and actually had ‘hiking attendants’ help us access each. To reach both waterfall areas, you have to cross a river and the trail is not necessarily easy to follow from there. It was awesome to have someone help guide us through these areas that truly felt untouched.  We’ve never experienced another hike quite like this (despite all our hiking experiences all over the world) and loved it.  

Best Hikes La Fortuna Costa Rica

Our favorite waterfall and associated hike at the Blue Falls area was Tepezquintle. Words cannot justly describe the beauty here (although we attempted above). The round-trip hike to both of these waterfalls/areas combined was about 3 miles. Both waterfalls are accessed from the main trail to the right of the initial trailhead. This trail also leads to Poza Azul, part of the Blue Falls area where you can swim. The water tends to be rather cold here though so if you’re planning on swimming, be prepared for a chilly dip. 

Logistics of Hiking Catarata del Toro and the Blue Falls

The hikes to the Blue Falls are a bit more challenging than the Catarata del Toro hike.  The Catarata del Toro trail is mainly on well maintained stairs whereas Blue Falls is more of a traditional hike with some rivers/rocks to cross. That being said though, since there were ‘hiking attendants’ at the Blue Falls to assist if needed, we had no issue accessing them. 

If it is a clear day, we would recommend hiking to the Blue Falls area first and then to Catarata del Toro. However, if the day is questionable on the ability to see Catarata del Toro due to fog or rain, be sure to hike there first if the area is clear. Sometimes it can get so foggy in the volcanic crater that you cannot see the Catarata del Toro waterfall very well. We visited on a rainy and foggy day but happened to hike down to Catarata del Toro when it was clear. However, by the time we got back to the top of the crater, it was too foggy to see Catarata del Toro again. So if you have clear skies, hike there first to ensure you can see Catarata del Toro.  

Cost:  Blue Falls $17/adult, Catarata Del Toro $14, Both $25


#5 Best Hike near La Fortuna: Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

Our next best La Fortuna hike recommendation is to hike in Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal. This park offers some of the most picturesque spots to hike around the Arenal Volcano.  The lush rainforest hikes, wildlife viewing opportunities and views of the Arenal Volcano here will not disappoint you.  At the park, there are two entrances (right across the street from one another).  See map here for a visual of the different entrances and hiking trails. 

Combine Las Heliconias, Las Coladas and El Ceibo Trails

The main entrance is right off the paved main road and leads to three ‘different’ hiking trails.  However, you can easily combine all 3 of these trails for a 4.5 mile round trip hike (what we recommend doing).  To start this hike, park in the parking lot to the left after the main gate and start hiking on the Las Heliconias trail that takes you through a pretty bamboo forest. This short trail quickly joins the Las Coladas trail.  The Las Coladas trail will then take you to a stunning viewpoint of the Arenal Volcano. You also can walk onto the lava fields on some offshoots from the Las Coladas trail if you want to explore the volcanic rock.   

On your way back from this lookout point of the Arenal Volcano on the Las Coladas trail, be sure to head back on the El Ceibo trail. This trail leads you on an offshoot loop to a giant 400 year old Ceiba tree.  The path will then loop you back to the La Coladas/Las Heliconias trail that you can hike all the way back to the first parking lot.  Our favorite part of this hike was the lush rainforest on the El Ceibo trail.  Beyond the highlight of the GIANT Ceiba tree, there were so many other unique and tall trees in the rainforest along this path.  We also saw a ton of different butterflies and small lizards while on this trail.  

Bumpy Ride to access other Entrance of Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal

The other entrance to the park is right across the street from the first off the main road.  However, it is a bumpy 2 km drive down a stone/dirt road.  This was the worst road we drove on in Costa Rica.  The trails at this entrance were well maintained and enjoyable.  However, it took us over 20 mins to drive 2 km in our rental SUV, and if you are leary of driving on rough roads, avoid this entrance.  Also, if you’re short on time, stick to the trails at the main gate. 

This side of the park offers two trails that you can hike in a loop for an almost 2 mile round trip hike.  Los Miradores leads to the shores of Lake Arenal and affords you a stunning view of the volcano.  The other trail here, El Tororoi, is a loop offshoot from the main trail with some neat bridges and thick rainforest trails.  On these trails we saw a lot of Coatimundi (a cross between monkey and raccoon) which was the highlight of hiking on this side of the park for us.  

We found the trails at both entrances to be very serene. We only saw a handful of people on all the trails we hiked here (even at the main gate).   

Cost: $15/adult, $5/child, good for both entrances, can buy tickets at entrance onsite 


Many Private Trails Create Confusion

Note: There are many private hiking trails around the Arenal Volcano as well that are not technically in the National Park. It can be a bit confusing to determine what trails to hike.  Most areas have a relatively small admission fee that is comparable in price to entering the National Park.  Arenal 1968 Trail is one of the most popular private trails and starts right beside the entrance to the National Park.  We mainly stuck to the National Park (as US National Park geeks) for hiking around the Arenal Volcano but were told by locals that the experience on these private trails is comparable to the hikes in the National Park. 


Bonus Best Hike near La Fortuna: Arenal Observatory 

Our next top hike near La Fortuna Costa Rica recommendation is to hike at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. This is an off-the-beaten path rainforest area to explore that was recommended to us by a local as their favorite thing to do in the area.  We really enjoyed the hiking here as it felt very serene.   There were several waterfalls we hiked to see but the most unique thing about this area was the colorful eucalyptus trees along the trails.  These colorful eucalyptus trees almost look fake with the streaks of different colors and glossy appearance.  They are also huge!  Watching them sway in the wind was mesmerizing. 

There are about 6 miles worth of trails to hike at the Arenal Observatory Lodge.  We recommend hiking to the three waterfalls and then getting lunch at the restaurant (if it is a clear day). Beyond hiking, on a clear day, the lodge here also has stunning views of the Arenal Volcano from the restaurant.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your hiking in/around La Fortuna.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment! Please also read our 5 Best Activities in La Fortuna, Costa Rica with a Baby and/or Toddler & 10 Best Things to do La Fortuna, Costa Rica articles for more La Fortuna information.

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5 Best Activities La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler


La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

La Fortuna, Costa Rica is a lovely place to visit with your baby and/or toddler.  The plentiful outdoor activities, ample wildlife viewing opportunities and family oriented culture all make La Fortuna, Costa Rica an ideal place to take a trip as a family.  We had a magical time exploring the La Fortuna area with our baby (6 months old) and toddler (2 years old) for 10 days.  During this time, we gained a lot of insight on traveling in/around this area with our two littles.  Read on for our best things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica with a baby or toddler guide. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

FYI: We took this trip when our daughter was 2 years old and our son was 6 months old.  For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts.


#1 Best Activity La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler: Take a Hike

Hiking is really the best way to get out with your baby and/or toddler and explore the beautiful rainforest and waterfalls that Costa Rica has to offer.  This is particularly a great way to explore with your baby and/or toddler because, generally, hiking allows you almost complete time independence and to move at whatever pace you need.  

La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

Some of our favorite baby and toddler friendly hikes:

  1. Mysteries of Tenorio Trail (to Waterfall/Rio Celeste) in Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio (3 miles roundtrip, 650 feet of elevation gain, out & back)
  2. Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal (4.5 mile, minimal elevation, loop) 
  3. Catarata del Toro Waterfall (1.5 miles, steep elevation (300 steps), out & back) 
  4. Blue Falls (varies, our route was 3 miles, moderate to steep elevation gain, out & back) 
  5. Arenal Observatory Lodge (varies) 

For a full breakdown on each of these hikes, please see our Top 5 Best Hikes La Fortuna, Costa Rica and 10 Best Things to do La Fortuna, Costa Rica guide that goes into detail about each.  

Be Prepared for the Rain

La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

Note:  When hiking in the rainforest, it may rain at any time (it’s called a rainforest for a reason).  Be prepared with your own rain gear as well as rain gear for your baby/toddler.  We highly recommend this baby rain suit.  We have used a 12 month size on our kids from 6 months to 20 months (very adjustable).  

Cost: Varies at each trail, $25/adult (or less), baby/toddler $5 (or less) or free 


#2 Best Activity La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler: Mistico Hanging Bridges

Another best activity in La Fortuna with a baby and/or toddler is to visit Mistico Hanging Bridges Park.  The hanging bridges here are magical as they take you into and above the rainforest canopy.  The Self-Guided Hanging Bridges tour is a 2 mile loop path with 400 feet of elevation gain. On this tour, you’ll cross 15 bridges (6 of them being hanging bridges that go straight into the rainforest canopy). We really enjoyed our time immersed in the rainforest here. 

La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

The trails here are very well maintained and your toddler will be able to walk for a large majority of the trails (leading up to/away from the hanging bridges).  However, we would highly recommend babywearing your baby and using a backpack carrier for your toddler while crossing the hanging bridges as they are a bit wobbly (not unsafe just wobbly).  Although the bridges may look a bit scary, we never felt unsafe or scared on them. There are attendants at each bridge that only allow so many people on the bridges at one time so they never get too wobbly.  These attendants will also take some awesome pictures for your family on the bridges (if you ask)! And even though it seemed busy when we arrived in the parking lot of this park, the trail here is one-way and it felt like there were only a handful of other people on the path during our visit. 

Cost: $28/person, Open 6a-4:30p daily, 25 minutes from La Fortuna Area 


#3 Best Activity La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler: Sloth Watching

If seeing wildlife, particularly a sloth, while in Costa Rica is on your Costa Rica bucket list, we highly recommend going on a sloth watching tour. This will be a great experience for your baby or toddler too as they will be able to see more wildlife than they would notice on their own.  Seeing a sloth on your own in the wild is almost impossible as sloths are master camouflage experts. They tend to curl up into a ball in the trees making them even harder to see.  

We went on a hike with a guide from the small local family business of the Las Mariolas Trails.  On this tour, besides seeing five different sloths (including a mama and her baby), we saw many different birds, several snakes, several lizards and the elusive yet stunning red dart frog.  The highlight of our time here was seeing a mama sloth climbing along a tree with her baby on her belly. The guides on our tour were very knowledgeable and so skilled at seeing different animals.  They also brought a telescope with them that allowed you to see a lot of the animals close up.  

At the end of this tour, we got to make (and eat) traditional handmade tortillas and hand press/juice sugar cane with the family.  This family treated our kids like their own family members. We would highly recommend this tour for some awesome wildlife viewing opportunities and welcoming company. Las Mariolas offers public tours (up to 10 people) or private tours (great option with unpredictable littles, inquire with company on dates/times/cost).

Public tour: $32/adult, baby/toddler free 


#4 Take a Cooking Class

Another great thing to do in La Fortuna with a baby and/or toddler is to take a cooking class with a local family.  This was definitely one of our favorite things we did in Costa Rica!  The food was amazing (more delicious than words can describe) and we really enjoyed the company of the family.  Most of the ingredients you use to cook your meal are right from the family’s farm. You actually go and pick most of them fresh from the garden that evening (our toddler helped with this). 

We really felt like part of the family and got so much local insight from the two sons who taught the class.  The day we took the cooking class, it was just our family of 4, which was extremely nice given our two unpredictable children.  An added bonus to this cooking class is that before you leave, they’ll take you on a little tour of the garden area at night, and will show you lots of different and very colorful frogs. This was super neat and our toddler could not get enough of seeing these frogs.  We highly recommend this class! 

Cost: $80/adult, baby/toddler free 


#5 Explore Downtown Parks in La Fortuna

Another great activity to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica with a baby and/or toddler is to explore the parks downtown.  In downtown La Fortuna, Parque de La Fortuna is the main park in the center of the city.  Our toddler really enjoyed walking around the flower lined paths here and spent quite a bit of time playing around the fountain in the center of the park.  On a clear day, you’ll have views of Arenal Volcano from this park as well. 

There is also a really nice outdoor children’s playground across the street located in the middle of a shopping center.  This park is not something you would stumble upon unless you are walking through the city center. It just looks like a walkway in between the shopping center until you get into it.  This playground has something for all ages (trampolines, slides, climbing gyms, play houses, etc.) and we spent a good hour here while our toddler played.  We were also able to put a blanket down for our son to do some tummy time.  

Beyond these parks, we do not recommend spending a lot of time downtown with your baby or toddler as it is congested and a bit too touristy.  However, we did really enjoy eating at Tierra Mia in downtown La Fortuna (within walking distance from both parks). The staff there was very kind to our kids and even brought our toddler some stickers/coloring books that they had clearly bought themselves.  If you are looking to spend more time near downtown, you can hike to the La Fortuna Waterfall too, which is only 10 minutes outside of the city center.  You cannot swim at the base of this waterfall but can swim in the river next to it.  Beware that you have to climb down (and back up) 500 steps to reach it.  

Cost: Free to walk around/explore La Fortuna parks, $18/adult at La Fortuna Waterfall, baby/toddler free 


Bonus Best Activity La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler: Visit Low-Key Local Hot Springs

Our bonus recommendation of what to do in La Fortuna with a baby and/or toddler is to visit a natural hot spring.  Natural hot springs are very prevalent throughout the La Fortuna area.  There are many large and extravagant resorts in the area that offer you an expensive yet luxurious hot springs experience.  However, with littles, we recommend a low-key and local hot spring experience at Relax Termalitas Hot Springs.

Located here are several nice pools (both hot and cool) and even a large slide leading into one of the hot spring pools (that our toddler LOVED watching us go on). This place also had a very local feel, and we are quite certain we were the only non-locals there.  Many people were cooking out and making the most of using the covered picnic areas surrounding the poolsYou’ll have complete time independence here.  And if your littles are not having it, you are out less than $10/person (whereas most other hot springs cost $50 or more per person).  

Cost: $10/adult, baby/toddler free 


General La Fortuna with a Baby and/or Toddler Tips

  • Babywear almost everywhere.  Most paths and activities are not stroller friendly other than walking around downtown La Fortuna. 
  • If there are particular dry snacks your baby/toddler likes and you have room in your luggage, bring them.  Food options were pretty limited in La Fortuna at the grocery store.  In hindsight, we wish we would have brought some crackers and pretzels with us for our toddler because we could not find any there. 
  • Bring diapers if possible.  You can buy them at the grocery store but they are much more expensive than in the US. 

We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to La Fortuna with your baby and/or toddler.  Anything you’d add to our best things to do La Fortuna post? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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Savannah with a Baby or Toddler 


Savannah is a magical place to visit with your baby or toddler.  With streets lined with large live oak trees covered in pretty Spanish moss as well as historic antebellum homes, Savannah, Georgia’s picturesque charm is in no short supply.  To make the most of our time in this delightful Southern city with our baby (4 months old) and toddler (2 years old), we sought insight about visiting with little kids from as many local parents and fellow parent travelers as possible.  We loved exploring Savannah with our kids and know our ‘Savannah with a Baby or Toddler’ guide below will help you enjoy your time here with your baby and/or toddler too.    

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

FYI This post is written based on a trip taken in early December when the temperature was between 55-75 degrees fahrenheit. We took this trip when our daughter was 2 years old and our son was 4 months old.  For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts. 


Wormsloe State Historic Site

Our first ‘Savannah with a baby or toddler’ recommendation is to visit the Wormsloe State Historic Site.  This is a really beautiful place for the whole family to visit!  The stunning entrance lined with over 400 live oak trees covered with Spanish moss makes for a magical drive into this old plantation site. After driving down live oak avenue, be sure to stop in the visitors center and go to the museum to see a video that outlines the history of Wormsloe. 

Once on the grounds, explore the old house ruins, gravesite, docks (be sure to listen for the pistol shrimp here) and living history camps.  During our visit, the living history camp area was holding a Christmas special where a reenactment of a Christmas celebration typical of the colonial time was being held.  Our toddler really enjoyed this (the Christmas caroling in particular) and was even able to write a letter to Santa here.   

Savannah with a Baby or Toddler

Note, if not baby wearing (easiest option), a jogging stroller is preferred here.  We were able to navigate the trails with our non-jogging stroller (aka our airport stroller) but a jogging stroller would be greatly preferred with the many roots on the paths (especially if you decide to hike the extended 2.5 mile wooded path).  We recommend this structured backpack carrier for your toddler and Ergobaby carrier for your baby if wearing your kids.  For more detailed review on these, see our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Cost: Adults $11.25, Seniors $8.50, Children ages 6-17 $5.00, Children under 6 $2.50.  This historic site is about 15 minutes outside of downtown but definitely worth the drive.


Forsyth Park & Brunch at Collins Quarters

Savannah with a Baby or Toddler

Our next ‘Savannah with a baby or toddler’ recommendation is to visit Forsyth park.  This is a pretty large green space best known for its large fountain and sidewalks lined with beautiful live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss.  The homes around the park are stunning (and large!) as well.  We loved strolling through the park here to see the trees and then around the perimeter to see the adjacent mansion homes.  Our toddler’s favorite spot unsurprisingly was the extensive playground in the park. 

To make the most of your visit to Forsyth park, visit on a Saturday morning to enjoy the farmer’s market and then get brunch at Collins Quarter right off the main square in the park.  We loved being able to dine right in the park and the food here was really delicious too.  Collins Quarter tends to have a wait (a sign of tasty food) but you can walk around the park or have your kids play at the playground (directly next to the restaurant) as you wait.  We saw many babies and toddlers eating Brunch here on a Saturday so you will likely be in good company with your baby and toddler. 


Savannah with a Baby or Toddler: Visit Tybee Island

Our next, and one of our favorite, ‘Savannah with a baby or toddler’ recommendations is to visit Tybee Island.  We loved our visit here!  Even though we were visiting in winter and it was far too chilly to swim, our toddler loved searching for shells, watching the waves crash on the shore and playing in the sand. If you plan to walk along the beach here, either plan to let your toddler run or baby wear.  There are plenty of playgrounds throughout the island as well.  

Savannah with a Baby or Toddler

We liked that Tybee Island felt more laid back and was much less crowded than downtown Savannah.  Tybee Island is about 20 minutes outside of Savannah and is connected to the mainland by a bridge.  Stop in at the visitors center on your way onto the Island to pick up a map and get insight on any special happenings that day. 


Savannah with a Baby or Toddler: Visit the Squares

Another favorite ‘Savannah with a baby or toddler’ recommendation is to visit all or some of the 22 squares located in the heart of the city.  These squares are essentially small parks with paths surrounded by stunning live oak trees and different monuments.  Each is slightly different yet all are very picturesque.  They were originally developed to act as a public space for people to gather and build community in the different neighborhoods of Savannah.  

Our favorite square was Chippewa Square.  This square was made famous in the Forrest Gump movie for the ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ scene.  The paths at these squares are wide leaving plenty of room for a stroller or toddler to run.  Again, a jogging stroller would be preferred to explore the streets of Savannah as the sidewalks are a bit rough but we were able to navigate them with our non-jogging stroller carefully. 

Tip: To explore these squares, park near Independent Presbyterian Church (207 Bull St Savannah Georgia 31401). Per our local Airbnb host (and we concur), this is one of the best and easiest spots to find parking.  


Savannah with a Baby or Toddler: Dine at a Causal Local Restaurant 

Savannah with a Baby or Toddler

The food scene is huge in Savannah and there are so many scrumptious restaurants here.   We tried a new place each day and were not disappointed with any of the places we ate.  Some of our favorite places to eat in Savannah with a baby or toddler included Collins Quarter (discussed with Forsyth park recommendation), Starland Yard (casual, different food trucks and yard games, pictured here) and Foxy Loxy (casual tacos/cafe with bookstore).  Each of these places had a casual atmosphere and room either at the restaurant or nearby for our toddler to play/run. They were also all budget friendly.  


Savannah with a Baby or Toddler: Get Coffee/Tea at a Local Shop

Beyond a hopping food scene in Savannah, the coffee shop scene is also grand.  We loved checking out different coffee shops.  There seems to be a cute coffee shop on almost every corner of this city!  One of our favorites included Bitty & Beau’s Coffee (employees with special needs). The staff was so kind here to our toddler and baby! 


Savannah with a Baby or Toddler: Visit Bonaventure Cemetery

Another one of our ‘Savannah with a baby or toddler’ recommendations is to visit Bonaventure Cemetery.  This is an interesting cemetery to walk or drive around because of the VERY large and elaborate gravestones here. This cemetery was made famous in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  We drove around here while our baby and toddler napped in the car. However, you could easily push a stroller or baby wear around the grounds. You can spend as little or as much time as you want here.  If driving, 30 minutes is more than enough time here.  


Savannah with a Baby or Toddler: Oatland Island Wildlife Center

Our next ‘Savannah with a baby or toddler’ recommendation is to visit the Oatland Island Wildlife Center. This is such a fun Savannah activity, especially if you have kids!  Here you walk on an about 2 mile wooded path, stopping at different native animal exhibits along the way.  This was a fun way to get outside, get some movement and see a lot of different animals. 
Our toddler loved seeing the armadillo and cougar here particularly.  We were easily able to navigate the paths here with our non-jogging stroller yet a jogging stroller would be prepared to go over some roots on the trails.  

Cost: $5 adults, $3 kids 4+ years, Free less than 4 years

A hiking (and cost) free alternative to the Oatland Island Wildlife Center is visiting the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge located northwest of downtown Savannah.  This 3 mile drive allows you to experience some wildlife of Savannah from the comfort and safety of your car.  This is a great alternative for anyone not up for walking at the Oatland Island Wildlife Center.  


Savannah with a Baby or Toddler: Eat/Shop at City Market

Savannah with a Baby or Toddler

This pedestrian shopping street is a fun place to get something to eat and do some shopping in Savannah with your baby and/or toddler. This is an especially great activity with a toddler because you do not have to worry about cars.  As far a food, be sure to get a $4 giant slice of pizza to-go from Vinnie Van Go-Go’s.  In the words of our toddler, ‘it’s a BIG piece of pizza.’  During our visit, the City Market was decorated for Christmas with holiday special events going on that our toddler loved. 


Walk River Street and/or Boughton Street

If you are interested in shopping in Savannah, these streets have you covered with many unique local shops and boutiques.  The river walk also has some street performers in addition to shops.  We honestly found the hoopla to be a bit much down here but our toddler loved it. If you are already downtown, these streets are worth a visit. Important note–we found many of the shops and intermittent cobblestones on these streets hard to navigate with a non-jogging double stroller but baby wearing it would be no problem.  


Savannah with a Baby or Toddler: Savannah Children’s Museum

Savannah Children’s Museum is an awesome museum for littles.  It is entirely outdoors and has over a dozen exhibits that your little will love.  There is not much for a baby here but your toddler will be in heaven and we loved that it was outside. It is important to note that the Savannah Children’s Museum is only open Wednesday-Sunday. 


What to do Savannah  with a baby or toddler FAQs


Where to Stay Near Savannah? 

We found this Charming Savannah Airbnb to be the perfect place to stay as a family of four.  The location, spacious layout, modern updates and charming touches make this home the perfect Southern escape for anyone visiting Savannah, especially with a baby or toddler.  Read our Where to Stay Near Savannah, Georgia guide for more information on why we loved this place. 

Is Savannah stroller friendly?  

It completely depends on where you are and what you are doing.  That being said, we brought our stroller pretty much everywhere we visited in Savannah and were able to manage using it everywhere we went.  Some places it was easier for us than others.  See our guide above for specific recommendations at each place.  Leave us a comment or send us a DM if you have a specific question about using a non-jogging stroller versus jogging stroller versus baby wearing at any place mentioned here.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Savannah with a baby or toddler.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Where to Stay Near Savannah, Georgia 


Where to Stay Near Savannah, Georgia 

When recently planning a trip to Savannah, Georgia, we were looking for the perfect place to stay as a family of four.  We were delighted once we found this Charming Savannah Airbnb.  The location, spacious layout, modern updates and charming touches make this home the perfect Southern escape for anyone visiting Savannah. Read on for a breakdown of why we found this Airbnb the best place to stay near Savannah, Georgia. 

Fantastic Central Location

The biggest reason we recommend this Airbnb as the place to stay near Savannah, Georgia is the location.  The location of this Airbnb makes it so easy and convenient to visit all the top spots in the Savannah area. Driving, you are about 15 minutes from downtown, 10 minutes from the Wormsloe Historic Site, 15 minutes from Tybee Island, 10 minutes from Oatland Island Wildlife Center and 5 minutes from Bonaventure Cemetery.   Further, the quiet neighborhood this Airbnb is located in is a relaxing contrast to the hubbub of downtown Savannah. The location of this Airbnb really could not be any better!   

Spacious and Family Friendly 

Where to Stay Near Savannah, Georgia 

This Airbnb is so spacious. With three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large open concept living room/kitchen area, you will not feel cramped at all.  As a family of four, we had plenty of space to spread out and make ourselves at home.  Further, this Airbnb is very family friendly.  There is a pack n play available to use and the large living area was a great place for our toddler to play.  The washer/dryer here also comes in clutch when traveling with two littles. 

Modern updates and charming touches

Where to Stay Near Savannah, Georgia 

This home was originally built in 1901 yet is nearly completely updated on the inside.  These modern updates make the home so functional.  Nonetheless, this home still has its original hardwood floors (how cool!) and other charming touches including the front porch, record player and retro blue fridge that make the Airbnb feel steeped in history.  The charm yet function of this home makes it so comfortable and welcoming. 

Helpful Host

Kendall is a fantastic host.  He was so great at communicating as well as answering any and all questions we had before and during our stay. He really helped us make the most of our time in Savannah through giving us local tips/insight (some that you will find in our What to do Savannah, Georgia guide).  Kendall is available for any questions yet allows you your space. 

Southern Hospitality 

Beyond being helpful, another example of the hospitality of your host is that there is a basket with new complementary toiletries for you to take/use in case you forgot something.  This was perfect and so helpful when we realized we forgot to pack toothpaste late at night.  Further, Kendall was able to accommodate us with an early check in and late check out that gave us more time to explore the area.  He even let us know when the Airbnb was ready sooner than expected so we were able to head to the Airbnb directly from the airport.  He really went above and beyond! 

Near Wilmington River

This Airbnb is less than a half a mile from the Wilmington River.  The riverfront here is a really peaceful and scenic spot to go for a morning run/walk.  To get to the riverfront (where there is a sidewalk to run/walk on) from the Airbnb, head southeast from the property by first turning right then taking the first left and then keeping straight until you hit River Drive/ the riverfront. 

Other Properties Near by/ On-site

Where to Stay Near Savannah, Georgia 

Further, if this Charming Savannah Airbnb is booked or a bit bigger than what you need, check one of the other listings right on site/next door. There is a studio cottage, Enchanting Cottage Airbnb, directly behind this home as well as a suite on the upper level of the house, Farmchic Suite Airbnb, on the southwest side of this property.  We had the opportunity to tour each of the other Airbnbs.  Both are of the same high quality as the one we stayed in.  They have modern updates yet are charming, comfortable and well equipped with everything you need. 

The studio would be perfect if it was just the two of us visiting.  The upper suite could have been a nice alternative to staying in the home for our family. Another great idea for optimizing these spaces, if traveling with a group, is for different parties of the group to stay in each one of the Airbnbs. This way each party has their own space yet are all right next door/on the same property as each other.

We hope this guide helps you plan where to stay near Savannah, Georgia.  We can’t wait to visit again.  Visit Kendall’s Airbnb listings to check availability and book your stay.  Let us know if you have any questions! 


Planning a trip to Savannah? See our What to do Savannah, Georgia and Savannah with a Baby or Toddler posts for more tips on visiting Savannah, Georgia.


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

What to do in Savannah, Georgia Guide


What to do in Savannah Guide

With large live oak trees covered in elegant Spanish moss and historic antebellum homes lining the streets, Savannah, Georgia’s picturesque charm is in no short supply.  To make the most of our time in this delightful Southern city, we sought insight from as many locals and fellow travelers as possible on the best things to do here.  We loved exploring Savannah and know our ‘What to do Savannah’ guide below will help you enjoy your time there as well.  

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


FYI This post is written based on a trip taken in early December when the temperature was between 55-75 degrees fahrenheit. We took this trip when our daughter was 2 years old and our son was 4 months old.  For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Savannah with a Baby or Toddler, Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts. 


What to do Savannah: Walking/Biking Tour

Our top ‘What to do Savannah’ recommendation is to take one of these walking or biking tours.  Ideally take one of these the first day you arrive in Savannah so you can get a lay of the land.  Taking a small group tour with a knowledgeable guide will help you learn so much about the city and what you want to do in Savannah the rest of your trip.  A guided tour is one of our favorite ways to start to explore a new city!  If you are unable to commit to a specific time for a tour, consider one of these self-guided tours you can purchase and take whenever works for you. 


What to do Savannah: Wormsloe State Historic Site

Our next ‘what to do Savannah’ recommendation is to visit the Wormsloe State Historic Site.  This is a really beautiful place!  The stunning entrance lined with over 400 live oak trees (yes, live oak is a type of tree, but they are also living) covered with Spanish moss makes for a magical drive into this old plantation site.  After driving down live oak avenue, be sure to stop in the visitors center and go to the museum to see a video that outlines the history of Wormsloe. 

What to do in Savannah

Once on the grounds, explore the old house ruins, gravesite, docks (be sure to listen for the pistol shrimp here) and living history camps.  During our visit, the living history camp area was holding a Christmas special where a reenactment of a Christmas celebration typical of the time was being performed.  There is also an extended 2.5 mile nature trail here you can walk on and we saw quite a few locals walking their dogs on this trail in the morning.  This historic site is about 15 minutes outside of downtown. 

Cost: Adults $11.25, Seniors $8.50, Children ages 6-17 $5.00, Children under 6 $2.50


What to do Savannah: Forsyth Park and Brunch at Collins Quarters

What to do in Savannah

Forsyth park is a large green space located on your way into downtown.  It’s best known for its large fountain and sidewalks lined with beautiful live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss.  The homes around the park are really stunning (and large!) as well, exemplifying Southern architecture.  We loved strolling through the park here to see the trees and around the perimeter to see the adjacent mansion homes.  Our daughter’s favorite spot was (of course) the extensive playground located here. 

To make the most of your visit to Forsyth park, visit on a Saturday morning to enjoy the farmer’s market and then get brunch at Collins Quarter right off the main square in the park.  We loved being able to dine right in the park and the food here was quite delicious too.  Collins Quarter tends to have a long wait (a sign of tasty food) but you can walk around the park or have your kids play at the playground (directly next to the restaurant) as you wait. 


What to do Savannah: Visit Tybee Island

Our next, and one of our favorite, ‘what to do Savannah’ recommendations is to visit Tybee Island. We loved our visit here!  Even though we were visiting in winter and it was far too cold to swim, our daughter loved searching for shells, watching the waves crash on the shore and playing in the sand.  There is also a lighthouse (with associated museum) you can pay to explore — the grounds date back to the early 1700s. 

Tybee Island

The downtown area of Tybee Island is very cute with many local shops and restaurants.   We liked that Tybee Island felt more laid back and was much less crowded than downtown Savannah (note we were visiting in off-season).  Tybee Island is about 20 minutes outside of Savannah and is connected to the mainland by a bridge.  Stop in at the visitors center on your way onto the island to pick up a map and get insight into any special happenings that day. 


What to do Savannah: Visit the Squares

What to do in Savannah

Savannah is well known for the 22 squares located in the heart of the city.  These squares are essentially small parks with paths containing different monuments and surrounded by stunning live oak trees.  Each is slightly different yet all are very picturesque.  They were originally developed to act as a public space for people to gather and build community in the different neighborhoods of Savannah.  Our favorite square was Chippewa Square.  This square was made famous in the Forrest Gump movie for the ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ scene.

Tip: To explore these squares, park near Independent Presbyterian Church (207 Bull St Savannah Georgia 31401). Per our local Airbnb host (and we concur), this is one of the best and easiest spots to find parking.  


What to do Savannah: Dine at a Local Restaurant 

The food scene is huge in Savannah and there are so many scrumptious restaurants to try.  We tried a new place each day and were not disappointed with any of the places we ate at while visiting Savannah.  Some of our favorites included Collins Quarter (discussed with Forsyth park recommendation), Starland Yard (different food trucks and yard games, pictured here) and Foxy Loxy (casual tacos/cafe with bookstore). 


What to do Savannah: Get Coffee/Tea at a Local Coffee Shop

Beyond a hopping food scene in Savannah, the coffee shop scene is also grand.  We loved checking out different coffee shops.  There seems to be a cute coffee shop on almost every corner of this city! Some of our favorites included Bitty & Beau’s Coffee (employs persons with special needs) and Foxy Loxy (cafe that also serves tacos and partners with a book store next door). 


What to do Savannah:  Visit Bonaventure Cemetery

What to do in Savannah

Another one of our ‘what to do Savannah’ recommendations is to visit Bonaventure Cemetery.  This is an interesting cemetery to walk or drive around because of the VERY large and elaborate gravestones here. This cemetery was made famous in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  We drove around here while our baby and toddler napped in the car. You can spend as little or as much time as you want here.  If driving, 30 minutes is more than enough time here.  


What to do Savannah:  Oatland Island Wildlife Center

Visiting the Oatland Island Wildlife Center is such a fun Savannah activity, especially if you have kids.  Here, you walk on an about 2 mile wooded path, stopping at different native animal exhibits along the way.  This was a fun way to get outside, get some movement and see a lot of different animals.  Our daughter particularly loved seeing the armadillo and cougar here.  

Cost: $5 adults, $3 kids 4+ years, Free less than 4 years

A hiking (and cost) free alternative to the Oatland Island Wildlife Center is visiting the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge located northwest of downtown Savannah.  This 3 mile drive allows you to experience some wildlife of Savannah from the comfort and safety of your car.  This is a great alternative for anyone not up for walking at the Oatland Island Wildlife Center.  


What to do Savannah: Eat/Shop at City Market

This pedestrian shopping street is a fun place to get something to eat and do some shopping. Be sure to get a $4 giant (and we mean GIANT) slice of pizza to go from Vinnie Van Go-Go’s.  The Georgia Tasting Room is another popular spot in the city market where you can get a drink to go.  During our visit, the City Market was decorated for Christmas with weekend special holiday events going on. 


What to do Savannah:  Walk River Street and/or Boughton Street

If you are interested in shopping in Savannah, these streets have you covered with many unique local shops and boutiques.  The river walk also has some street performers to entertain you during your walk.  We honestly found the hoopla to be a bit much down here but if you are already downtown, these streets are worth a visit. 

Note: We found many of the shops and cobblestones hard to navigate with a double stroller but baby wearing it would be no problem.  


Savannah FAQs

Where to Stay Near Savannah? 

This Charming Savannah Airbnb was the perfect place to stay as a family of four.  The location, spacious layout, modern updates and charming touches make this home the perfect Southern escape for anyone visiting Savannah. Read our Where to Stay Near Savannah, Georgia guide for more information on why we loved this place. 

What is the best time of year to visit Savannah?  

Anytime of year really is a good time to visit Savannah!  Spring and fall you will typically get the best weather. The summer will be quite warm and winter a bit cold.  However, we visited in early December and loved it. Coming from the Midwest, the high 50s to low 70s weather we had was fantastic.  Also, with it being off season, we had many popular attractions in Savannah nearly to ourselves.  Further, nearly everywhere was decorated for Christmas (with many special holiday programs going on), making the city extra magical.   


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Savannah.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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 Where to Stay near Charleston, South Carolina 


Where to Stay near Charleston, South Carolina

While recently planning a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, we are so glad to find this Park Circle Cottage Airbnb to stay at while exploring the area.  The central location, family friendly amenities, modern updates and helpful host make this Airbnb the perfect place for a family to stay when visiting the Charleston area. Here is a full rundown of why we found this Airbnb to be the perfect spot for our family to stay near Charleston.

Central Convenient Location

The location of this Airbnb in North Charleston is ideal for outings to downtown as well as other attractions in the surrounding the area.  By car, you are about 15 minutes from downtown and less than 30 minutes from the Magnolia Plantation as well as the Cypress Gardens.  You are also only about 15 minutes away from Sullivan’s Island.  Staying a little bit outside of downtown Charleston makes it much more convenient to see the other highlights in the area surrounding the city.  Also, the quiet neighborhood this home is located in is a nice contrast from the busyness of downtown Charleston.

Family Friendly

Where to Stay near Charleston, South Carolina

This Airbnb is very family friendly. There is a highchair and pack n play for your use during your stay as well as some toys. It was so helpful to be able to pull out some toys and books (new to our toddler) when we arrived after a long day of travel. With these, she was able to independently play while we settled ourselves.  Further, the two bedrooms allowed us to have both kids sleep in different rooms and made it much easier for our toddler/baby (and us!) to sleep.  The clean modern updates made the home very functional as well.

Large Backyard with Established Trees

The backyard at this Airbnb is really a highlight. There are some very large established shade trees in the backyard, some lights along the fence line and a fire pit.  Even though we were visiting in the chilly start of December, we were able to take our toddler outside to run around.  It was nice to have such a large enclosed private area. 

Near Downtown North Charleston & Park Circle Playground

This Airbnb is also conveniently located less than a half a mile from downtown North Charleston. Downtown North Charleston is nothing short of adorable with many cute local shops/restaurants.  You could definitely spend an afternoon exploring here itself.  Also, it is really nice to have options for dining out/takeout so close by. Further, there is the largest playground we have ever seen in our entire lives (pictures do not do it justice) less than a half mile from the Airbnb in Park Circle. This brand new playground is nothing short of a dream come true for a kid. Honestly, our 2 year old is happy with a basic swing and slide but this would be a huge highlight for any kid who is 3 years or older. 

Helpful Host

Nicholas was a very helpful host before and during our stay. He was quick to answer any and all questions we had and was able to provide us with some local insights/tips. When we were looking for a good seafood restaurant downtown, he was quick to give us a delicious local recommendation. He is great at communicating yet allows you your space/privacy when visiting.

Where to Stay near Charleston, South Carolina

We hope this guide helps you plan where to stay near Charleston, South Carolina. We can’t wait to visit again.  Visit the Park Circle Cottage Airbnb listing to check availability and book your stay.  Let us know if you have any questions! 


Planning a trip to Charleston? See our What to do Charleston, South Carolina and Charleston with a Baby or Toddler guides for more helpful information on visiting this area.


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And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Charleston, South Carolina with a Baby or Toddler 


Charleston with a Baby or Toddler 

Charleston, South Carolina is a fun and charming place to visit with your baby or toddler. After recently visiting this city and the surrounding area with our four-month-old and new two-year-old, we wanted to share our insights on visiting the Charleston area with a baby or toddler.  Prior to visiting Charleston, we compiled tips and recommendations from countless local parents and seasoned traveling parents. Further, during our visit, we gained a lot of insight as to the best way to get around with your baby or toddler and what to do/not do with them here.  Read on for all of our Charleston with a baby or toddler insights. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

FYI We took this trip when our daughter was 2 years old and our son was 4 months old.  For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts. 


Visit Rainbow Row and the Waterfront

Charleston with a Baby or Toddler

The Rainbow Row houses located in the heart of downtown are iconic and one of the most recognized spots in Charleston. These historic homes are beautiful and well preserved. If you take a guided tour of the city, you are sure to pass by them. To buy one would cost you a very pretty penny and it is neat just to see them from the outside. Our toddler really liked seeing the ‘colorful houses’ and asked to go back to see them several times throughout our time in Charleston. After you visit the houses on Rainbow Row, be sure to head down to the waterfront. There is a cool pineapple fountain down there as well as a nice path along the water. The waterfront is particularly pretty during golden hour/sunset so if you can, visit then! 

Parent Tip: Navigating downtown is easy enough with a stroller. There was very minimal cobblestone that we encountered. However, the sidewalks were not in the best of shape and a jogging stroller would have been preferred over the non-jogging stroller we had. However, we were able to do it. You also could easily baby wear to avoid the stroller hassle.

Charleston with a Baby or Toddler

Charleston with a Baby or Toddler: Visit City Market

Charleston City Market is a neat outdoor shopping market. Here, you can buy many unique handmade items including toys, clothing and souvenirs. In particular, you can get the popular souvenir sweetgrass baskets, originally used on local plantations to separate rice seeds, made by one of the 50 local Gullah artists at the market. This market is open daily from 930a-530p.  We were visiting during Christmas time and the market was festively decorated for the season. 


Charleston with a Baby or Toddler: Cypress Gardens

If you have seen the famous movie ‘The Notebook’, you’ll certainly recognize the setting at Cypress Gardens. This is where the famous rowboat scene (“I wrote to you everyday for a year!”) was filmed.  Here, you can paddle around the same water where Allie and Noah paddled (included with your admission). On the day we visited, we were the only boat out on the swamp at the time. We saw several turtles while out which our toddler LOVED. Beyond paddling around the swamp, you can go for a hike around the water as well as visit an aquarium and enclosed butterfly exhibit. Both were also big toddler highlights!  Further, there is a large playground here near the entrance. We were impressed by the amount of activities included to do here for a relatively small admission fee.  We could have easily spent almost a full day exploring with our baby and toddler. 

Charleston with a Baby or Toddler

Cost: $10/adult, $5 dollars/child, Free less than 6 years old

Tip: Arrive early. We were visiting during the off-season (on a more chilly than normal day). We were only one of five cars in the parking lot and we were told this is a very atypical experience here. Typically, there are hundreds of cars and there is even an overflow parking lot.  On a normal day, you would have to wait to use one of the paddle boats.  To avoid long lines, get to the gardens early and/or visit during off-season.  

Parent Tip: Cypress Gardens are very easy to navigate with a stroller. There are some roots in the path that would make a jogging stroller more ideal than a non-jogging stroller, but we were able to navigate the paths with our non-jogging stroller. If you plan on going on some of the paths further back on the property through the woods, you will need to baby wear as those are not stroller accessible at all. Otherwise, everywhere else throughout the property is stroller friendly.


Charleston with a Baby or Toddler: Magnolia Plantation

Charleston with a Baby or Toddler

Magnolia Plantation is an impressive plantation with almost 3 miles of trails/gardens you can explore. Walking through these trails makes for a peaceful morning or afternoon stroll. There is a short guided tour included with your admission that takes you to where the slaves, who worked on the plantation, were housed. This is a good way to get a little bit of history about the plantation. 

Petting Zoo Included in Admission

There is also a small petting zoo you can visit (included with your admission). This was certainly the highlight of our visit here for our toddler. There were deer, goats and chickens roaming freely throughout the petting zoo and she thought this was very cool.

Further, you can tour the home and take a train ride throughout the plantation but both of these things are not included with your general admission ticket and cost extra.  This is a neat place to see but, in our opinion, it is a bit overpriced considering you have to pay extra for most of the tours or building visits. You get so much more at the Cypress Gardens for a third of the cost. So if you only have time for Cypress Gardens, or the Magnolia Plantation, be sure to go to the Cypress Gardens.

Cost: $29 per adult, $15 per 6-12 years, $3 per 5 or younger

Parent Tip: The paths here, in general, are very stroller friendly.  A jogging stroller is preferred to a non-jogging stroller, but we were able to navigate the paths with a non-jogging stroller. There were a couple paths we did avoid due to large roots, but they were nothing that a good jogging stroller wouldn’t be able to handle. For the most flexibility hiking around the grounds, baby wear here.


Try out a Local Restaurant

Charleston has a hopping food scene. There are so many unique local restaurants! You really can get any type of food your heart desires.  We loved the Southern comfort food and seafood.  A couple places we really enjoyed included Charleston Crab House and Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit


Visit Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island is located about 15 to 20 minutes outside of downtown Charleston. This island is a laid-back escape from the hoopla of downtown. The beach is very pretty here and the homes on the island are absolutely gorgeous. We loved just looking at the different homes on the island and even though it was chilly during our visit, our daughter loved watching the waves crash at the shoreline as well as collecting shells. The vibe on the island was very chill and it felt very local. We really enjoyed chatting with several locals we met during our time on the island.   

Delicious Food & Ice Cream

Beyond the beach, we really enjoyed dining at Sullivan’s Fish Camp. The food here was probably the best food we had on our trip. There is also a cute ice cream shop, Republic Ice Cream, right downtown with homemade ice cream that you will not want to miss. The ice cream was delicious and the staff was so kind to our kids.   

Toddler Park

Further, there are also several parks on the island. We were particularly pleased because we were able to find a park that seemed to be geared towards toddlers, J. Marshall Stith Park, right outside of the main strip of downtown. 

Parent Tip: On the beach, if you plan on walking along it for a distance, you’ll need to baby wear to travel over sand.  Otherwise, the downtown area and streets are very stroller friendly. We recommend this structured backpack carrier for your toddler and Ergobaby carrier for your baby if wearing your kids.  For more on these, see our How to Hike with a Baby post. 


Where to stay near Charleston with a baby/toddler?

We highly recommend staying at the Park Circle Cottage Airbnb while exploring the Charleston area.  The location, family friendly amenities and host make this Airbnb the perfect place for anyone with a baby or toddler to stay when visiting the Charleston area. See our Where to Stay Near Charleston, South Carolina post for a full rundown of why we found this Airbnb to be the perfect spot for our family to stay near Charleston, South Carolina.


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Charleston with a baby or toddler.  Anything you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

What to do Charleston, South Carolina 


What to do Charleston South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina is a truly charming southern city.  From strolling through the colorful colonial houses downtown to hiking around a plantation to paddling through the picturesque Cypress Gardens, you’ll have plenty to do and see while visiting Charleston.  We really enjoyed our time exploring Charleston. This ‘What to do Charleston South Carolina’ guide, compiled from tips and recommendations from our personal experience as well as from countless locals and seasoned travelers, will help you enjoy your time there as well.  Read on for all of our best ‘What to do Charleston, South Carolina’ tips. 


Take a Guided Tour of Downtown

Our top ‘What to do Charleston’ recommendation is to take a guided tour upon arrival, whether that be a walking tour or horse drawn carriage tour.  A guided tour is a great way to get a lay of the land in any new city.  Ideally, take this tour the first day you arrive so that you have your bearings and can figure out what you might want to do for the rest of the trip.  Further, on one of these tours, you will be able to gain insight from your local guide. They will likely make you attune to something you otherwise would not have known about.


Visit Rainbow Row and the Waterfront

The Rainbow Row houses located in the heart of downtown are iconic and one of the most recognized spots in Charleston.  These homes are beautiful and well preserved. If you take a guided tour of the city, you are sure to pass by them. To buy one would cost you a very pretty penny and it is neat just to see them from the outside. Our daughter really liked seeing the ‘colorful houses’ and asked to go back to see them several times throughout our time in Charleston.

After you visit the houses on Rainbow Row, be sure to head down to the waterfront. There is a cool pineapple fountain down there as well as a nice path along the water. The waterfront is particularly pretty during golden hour/sunset so if you can, visit then! 


Visit City Market

This outdoor shopping market is really neat. Here, you can buy many unique handmade items including toys, clothing and souvenirs. In particular, you can get the popular souvenir sweetgrass baskets, originally used on local plantations to separate rice seeds, made by one of the 50 local Gullah artists at the market. This market is open daily from 930a-530p.  We were visiting during Christmas time and the market was festively decorated for the season. 


Cypress Gardens

If you have seen the famous movie ‘The Notebook’, you’ll certainly recognize the setting at Cypress Gardens. This is where the famous rowboat scene (“I wrote to you everyday for a year!”) was filmed.  Here, you can paddle around the same swamp where Allie and Noah paddled (included with your admission). On the day we visited, we were the only boat out on the swamp at the time, and we saw several turtles while out on the swamp. Beyond paddling around the swamp, you can go for a hike around the swamp as well as visit an aquarium and enclosed butterfly exhibit. There is also a large playground to keep children entertained. For a relatively small admission fee, there really is a lot to do here. We could have easily spent almost a full day here exploring. 

Cost: $10/adult, $5 dollars/child, Free less than 6 years old

Tip: Arrive early. We were visiting during the off-season (on a more chilly than normal day). We were only one of five cars in the parking lot and were told this is a very atypical experience here. Typically, there are hundreds of cars, and there is even an overflow parking lot.  On a normal day, you would have to wait to use one of the paddle boats.  To avoid long lines, get there early and visit during off-season.  


Magnolia Plantation

This is an impressive plantation with almost 3 miles of trails/gardens you can walk on. Walking through these trails makes for a peaceful morning or afternoon stroll. There is also a short guided tour (included with your admission) that takes you to where the slaves, who worked on the plantation, were housed. This is a good way to get a little bit of history about the plantation.

There is also a small petting zoo you can visit (included with your admission). This was certainly the highlight for our toddler. There are deer, goats and chickens roaming freely throughout the petting zoo, and she thought this was very cool.

Further, you can tour the home and take a train ride throughout the plantation. However, neither of these things are not included with your general admission ticket and cost extra.  This is a neat place to see but, in our opinion, it is a bit overpriced. You get so much more at the Cypress Gardens for a third of the cost. So if you only have time for Cypress Gardens, or the Magnolia Plantation, be sure to go to the Cypress Gardens.

Cost: $29 per adult, $15 per 6-12 years, $3 per 5 or younger


Try out a Local Restaurant

Charleston has a really hopping food scene. There are so many unique local restaurants! You really can get any type of food your heart desires.  We loved the southern comfort food and seafood.  A couple places we really enjoyed included Charleston Crab House and Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit


Visit Sullivan Island

Sullivan Island is located about 15 to 20 minutes outside of downtown Charleston. This island is a laid-back escape from the hoopla of downtown. The beach is very pretty and the homes on the island are absolutely gorgeous. We loved just looking at the different homes on the island and even though it was chilly during our visit, our daughter loved watching the waves crash at the shoreline as well as collecting shells. The vibe on the island was very chill, and it felt very local. We really enjoyed chatting with several locals we met during our time on the island.  

Beyond the beach, we really enjoyed dining at Sullivan’s Fish Camp. The food here was probably the best food we had on our trip. There is also a cute ice cream shop, Republic Ice Cream, right downtown with homemade ice cream that you will not want to miss. The ice cream was delicious and the staff was so kind to our kids.   Further, there are also several parks on the island. We were particularly pleased because we were able to find a park that seemed to be geared towards toddlers, J. Marshall Stith Park, right outside of the main strip of downtown.  See our Charleston with a Baby or Toddler guide for more Charleston baby and toddler tips.


Where to stay near Charleston, South Carolina

We highly recommend staying at the Park Circle Cottage Airbnb while exploring the Charleston area.  The location, family friendly amenities and host make this Airbnb the perfect place for anyone to stay when visiting the Charleston area. See our Where to Stay Near Charleston, South Carolina post for a full rundown of why we found this Airbnb to be the perfect spot for our family to stay near Charleston, South Carolina.


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Charleston.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Tushbaby Hip Carrier Review


After having our son and realizing he needed to be held almost constantly to stay content, while also caring for a toddler, I knew I needed to try out the Tushbaby Hip Carrier.  This ergonomically designed hip carrier makes holding your baby easier, which is huge when your baby wants to be held all the time and is literally getting heavier each day.  Now that I’ve had a chance to use the hip carrier for several months, I only wish I would have tried it out sooner and used it when our now toddler daughter was a baby.  This carrier has been a game changer when it comes to not only traveling but also on neighborhood walks and while bouncing/walking our baby around to sleep.  It has also come in handy with our toddler.  Read my review of the Tushbaby Hip Carrier below and see why I think you’d love it too.

Tushbaby Hip Carrier Review

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you! As media, we were gifted our Tushbaby carrier. All opinions are entirely our own.


Nurse/Feed Anywhere with the Tushbaby

Nursing is where the Tushbaby has proven to be most helpful while traveling and on the go.  It acts as a portable nursing pillow that makes nursing anywhere (standing or sitting) SO much easier.  Normally when nursing on the go, my back is killing me and it feels awkward to hold the baby to nurse standing.  However, with the Tushbaby, feeding him while standing is no longer such an inconvenience.  Traveling, I used to bring a nursing pillow to nurse on the plane and at the accommodations of our destination but with the Tushbaby, there is no longer any need for that.  Further, the Tushbaby is actually much more practical to use on the go, completely eliminating the need to bring a nursing pillow traveling. 

Tushbaby Hip Carrier Review: Hold Baby More Easily On The Go

Our son loves being held and really is only content when being held most of the time.  When I would try to go on double stroller walks with my 2 year old, 3 month old and dog by myself, I would often have to pick my son up and cradle hold him in my arms to comfort him, while pushing the giant double stroller and holding onto the dog’s leash.  If I’m painting the picture realistically, this is rather chaotic and despite considering myself to be in pretty good physical shape, my arms, shoulders and back get tired very quickly doing this, making these walks hard to finish.  However, once I got the Tushbaby Hip Carrier, it was much easier to hold my baby, push the stroller and hold the dog’s leash.  I now bring the Tushbaby on all our walks, regardless if another adult is with me to help because if my son does need to be picked up, it is SO much easier to carry him with the Tushbaby. 

Similarly, when we are traveling, particularly at the airport with our double stroller, our baby often wants to be picked up and cradled or outward-facing carried around instead of riding in the stroller.  The Tushbaby makes carrying him, while also managing our toddler and luggage, much easier.  

The Tushbaby is preferable to a more structured front carrier as it allows you to cradle hold your baby more easily, which is exactly what my son wants in many of these situations. Additionally, it is much easier to put him down quickly or hand off to my husband when he is not strapped into a carrier.

Note though that we do not use the Tushbaby hiking as we do not find it useful in that situation. See our How to Hike with a Baby guide for our hiking carrier recommendations.

Travel and Day to Day Carrying Made Easier

I originally wanted to try this carrier out because I thought it would be great for traveling.  And, as mentioned above, it has been great too!  However, I’ve learned I use it more often day to day than I ever imagined.  As outlined above, it has been great on walks but also has been great when walking/bouncing my baby to sleep.  Sometimes our son only soothes to sleep through walking around bouncing.  When this happens, I clip on the Tushbaby and cradle carry him while walking around with ease to soothe him to sleep.  The ergonomic seat and belt evenly distribute my baby’s weight and take the stress off my arms, shoulders and back when I need to do this. 

Tushbaby Hip Carrier Review: Can Use with Toddler

As our son continues to grow, we will continue to be able to use it for him as you can use it from ages 0-3 and up to 45 lbs.  I have also found the Tushbaby to be very handy when my 2 year old daughter wants to walk on an outing but then gets tired and wants to be held.  She prefers this to a traditional carrier that straps her in as she is able to go up and down much easier.  Between my two littles, one of them always seems to be on the Tushbaby. 

Tushbaby Hip Carrier Review: Great Storage

Moreover, the Tushbaby makes it easy to carry other essentials, such as diapers in the storage beneath the seat.  I have found this feature extra handy when traveling.  The side pocket is also perfect to secure a cellphone and easy to access. It’s somewhat like a fanny pack that also allows you to carry your baby/toddler with ease. Further, it folds up and stores away easily. 

The Tushbaby has been a game changer with traveling and everyday life with our second born.  I wish I would have tried this sooner and used it when our toddler was a baby.  I understand the hype around it and recommend it to any new or expecting parent.  If you want to get your own, use the code ALWAYSHAVEATRIPPLANNED for 15% off your order today. 

I hope this review helps you decide if the Tushbaby is right for you.  I’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment! -Natalie


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