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!

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 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.


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!

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!

Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park


Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park

While planning our recent trip to Acadia National Park, we are so glad we found the Getaway Cabin in Ellsworth.  This cozy cabin tucked away in the woods was the perfect place to stay while exploring Acadia National Park for the week.  The cabin truly felt like home to us and had everything we needed.  Here is a breakdown of why we found the Getaway Cabin to be the perfect place to stay near Acadia National Park.  

Perfect House in the Woods

This cabin was exactly the cozy forest escape we were looking to stay at during our trip to Acadia. With a stunning enclosed patio in the trees, you literally feel like you are in the woods while cozied up next to the fireplace.  We loved spending our morning on this patio drinking coffee and tea while our babies played and we watched the leaves fall (we were visiting late Autumn).  Relaxing on this patio truly was restorative. 

Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park

Beautiful Outdoor Area

Beyond the stunning wood nestled patio, the very private backyard was a really nice place to relax and walk around. We enjoyed sitting in the backyard in the afternoons while our toddler played in the leaves.  She also really enjoyed finding all the different cute frog, rabbit and turtle figures throughout the yard.  Our daughter had to say hi to each one every time we went outside. Further, there is a fire pit in the yard with plenty of seating around it, perfect for a family bonfire and some s’mores. 

Family Friendly 

The Getaway Cabin is SO family friendly.  This was our first ‘big’ trip as a family of 4.  The cabin truly had everything we needed for our 3 month old (including a baby bath, changing table, tummy time blankets, etc.) and 2 year old (including toys, coloring supplies, fun hooded towel, bath toys, etc.).  The cabin also has TWO pack n plays which was HUGE for us.  We did not have to worry about packing and transporting a pack n play for either of our kids which allowed us to travel lighter. 

When we arrived after a long travel day with our two littles, it was so comforting to arrive at a place where we did not have to worry about having everything the kids needed. Some other notable amenities are a washer/dryer (very helpful with two messy little ones) and a full kitchen (very nice to be able to prepare most meals ourselves). 

Close to Activities yet Tucked Away from Hustle and Bustle

The cabin is nestled in the woods outside of the downtown area of Ellsworth and is about 35 minutes outside of Acadia National Park.  We liked being a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the National Park as it is quieter and more relaxing.  With the pretty views on the way into Mount Desert and Acadia National Park from the cabin, this drive went by fast everyday.  Also, being outside of Bar Harbor made accessing different parts of the park easier as many of the roads in Acadia are one-way.  Further, even though the cabin is tucked away in the woods, you are conveniently less than 5 minutes from local Ellsworth restaurants, unique shops (very cute downtown area), gas stations and supermarkets. 

Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park

Fantastic Hosts

Joy and Dave truly went above and beyond.  They made sure we had everything we needed during our stay.  And we mean EVERYTHING.  All supplies were fully stocked (laundry detergent, toilet paper, ample clean towels, etc).   They also seemed to anticipate our needs more than we even did.  We had forgotten our daughter’s toothbrush and toothpaste at home and when we arrived, without telling Joy or Dave, there was a new fun kids toothbrush and new kids toothpaste for us to use.  Also, when we had an issue with our car, Joy was quick to find us a place (on a Sunday) to help us take care of it.  And those are just a couple examples. We cannot say enough nice things about them.  We’ve stayed at over 30 Airbnbs and these are by far the best hosts we have ever had. 

We hope this guide helps you plan where to stay near Acadia National Park.   We can’t wait to visit again.  Visit the Getaway Cabin Airbnb listing to check availability and book your stay.  Joy, one of the hosts, is a great resource while visiting the area and during your stay as well.  She is a fantastic host, always available for questions and will go the extra mile to make sure you have everything you need. 


Planning a trip to Acadia National Park? See our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park and our Top 5 What to do Acadia National Park posts for more helpful information on visiting Acadia.


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 Acadia National Park: Top 5


What to do Acadia National Park

Nestled into the northeast coast of Maine, Acadia National Park is home to majestic forests, tranquil ponds, stunning mountains and scenic coastline.  Acadia is also home to over 40 species of animals (including moose, black bears and coyotes) and is the only National Park in New England.  We loved our time in Acadia National Park (and the surrounding area) and would rank Acadia in our top 5 favorite National Parks.  After spending a week in the park, here are our Top 5 What to Do Acadia National Park recommendations. 

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!

Note: This post is written off a trip taken late October when fall colors were near peak. Also, see our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park and our Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park posts for more helpful information on visiting Acadia.


#1 What to do Acadia National Park: Hike

What to do Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park has so many unique and picturesque hiking trails.  From easy flat wooded and coastline walks to more challenging cliff exposed summit climbs (that utilize metal rungs and ladders), there really is a hiking trail to suit everyone’s hiking abilities in Acadia.  

Further, many of the hiking trails in Acadia National Park intersect and there are many different ways to hike to the same spot.  We loved the ‘choose your own route’ hiking options in Acadia.  These allow you to optimize your time in the park and see many more trails through hiking loop routes rather than exclusive out and back trails.  These build your own options also allow you to opt in or out of more technically challenging paths (ladders, metal rungs, rock scrambling, etc) while still getting to the same summit.  

We spent a week hiking in Acadia National Park and hiked as many of the trails as possible.  See our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park post for more information on all our favorite hikes in the park. Here is a quick rundown of some of the trails in the park. 

  • Best Family Hikes 
    • Jordan Pond
    • Ocean Path
    • Jessup Trail
  • Best Thrill Seeker Hikes
    • Jordan Cliffs Trail
    • Precipice Trail
    • Beehive Trail
  • Best Moderate Hikes
    • South Bubble Trail
    • Beech Cliffs Loop Trail
    • Gorham Mountain

#2 What to do Acadia National Park: Visit Jordan Pond

We loved the Jordan Pond area. Jordan Pond itself is stunning (first picture in post) and you can see some other stunning views from hikes that start here too. You can hike the flat trail around the lake or one of the more challenging hikes for some stunning elevated views of the pond (above).  Further, you can stop in the Pond House, which has been around since the 1890s, for some tasty popovers (puffy bread) and tea after your hike. 

What to do Acadia National Park

See our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park for more on hiking Jordan Cliffs, South Bubble and Jordan Pond.

Tip: Arrive Early for Parking During High Season

We were told by many other travelers that parking is a bit of a mess here during busy season and to arrive as early as possible to get parking. We had no issues parking at the Jordan Pond House during our visit but we were visiting after peak season.


#3: Visit Echo Lake Area

What to do Acadia National Park

The Echo Lake area is somewhat of a hidden gem in the park as it is on the less busy side of the park but has equally pretty views. When we visited, we only saw less than 5 other cars in the parking lot. The beach here was so serene and one of our favorite hikes up Beech cliff was here too. 

See our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park for more on hiking Beech Cliff, Beech Cliff Loop and Canada Cliffs


#4 What to do Acadia National Park: Visit the Oceanarium 

We had one rainy day when we were in Acadia, and we were actually glad we did because we probably would have not come here had we not had a rainy day. The Oceanarium was really cool!  It is located about 10 minutes outside the park entrance along Highway 3 in Mount Desert on your way into the park.  Here, we got to see several naturally uniquely colored lobsters including a very rare blue lobster, tangerine lobster and a half blue/half red lobster. Our daughter also got to touch starfish and sea cucumbers in a touch tank here which she thought was pretty neat. Further, there was a replica lobster boat our daughter enjoyed playing on. Definitely do this if you have littles. And even if you don’t have littles, Sam and I learned a lot about lobsters and enjoyed visiting here too. 


#5 What to do Acadia National Park: Eat a Lobster Roll 

These are so yummy! Lobster rolls consist of rich lobster dressed with a butter or mayonnaise based sauce inside a hot-dog style bun, served hot or cold.  They are pricey but get at least one while you are here. We had a fun experience at Downeast Lobster (a bit North of the park) where we actually got to hold our Lobster before it was cooked. There are many places to try out different style rolls in the greater Acadia area. In our opinion, the Lobster rolls are much tastier than the plain lobster itself (and a lot less work to eat). 


Honorable What to do Acadia National Park Mentions

  1. Bike Carriage Roads–The carriage roads were built by John D. Rockfeller Jr. in the early 1900s as a way to travel the valleys and mountains of Acadia on motor-free byways via horse and carriage. The roads give different expansive and close-up views throughout the park.  If we did not have two very little travelers in tow, we would have biked these roads. 
  2. Visit Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse–This is a very pretty and picturesque spot (picture above). We’d recommend coming here to watch the sunrise or sunset on the rocks (Note: not safe for young children though).  Otherwise, there is not much to do here other than view the lighthouse.
  3. Lobster Boat Tour–For a classic Maine activity, take the Lulu Lobster Boat.  This is the only lobster boat tour in Bar Harbor. 
  4. Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain–Seeing sunrise at Cadillac Mountain is a classic Acadia activity.  It is very popular as it is one of the first spots in the US to see the sunrise and you can drive here.  This is a great option to get panoramic and high up coastline views without hiking.  We honestly think you get better views hiking throughout the park though and would skip this one if you are able to hike.  Important note, you typically need to make a reservation for this prior to visit (we did not need these as we were visiting after October 15th).  Check recreation.gov for the most uptodate information on need for reservations. 

Acadia National Park FAQs

Where to stay near Acadia National Park? 

We LOVED our stay at the Getaway Cabin a bit outside of Acadia in Ellsworth.  This cozy cabin nestled in the woods was the perfect escape and place to relax after days spent exploring the park.  This cabin truly felt like home.  For more on our stay, see our Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park post. 

Best time to visit Acadia National Park?

If able, visit Acadia during fall colors as it’s stunning and less busy than the summer season.  We visited about a week after ‘typical’ peak fall colors and loved how we had most of the trails to ourselves (other than around the very popular Beehive/Sand Beach).  At this time, we did not need reservations for Cadillac Mountain sunrise either.  Although fall timeframe would always be our first choice, you really cannot go wrong visiting Acadia during any season.

How does Acadia compare to other National Parks? 

Acadia is the only National Park in New England.  It is unique in that it has coastline, ponds, forests and mountains all within one park.  This is also the only National Park where we have ever used metal rungs and ladders on our hikes.   We loved our time in Acadia (and the surrounding area) and think it is a gem.  We’d rank Acadia in our top 5 favorite National Parks.

Planning a trip to Acadia? Please see our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park and our Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park posts for more helpful information on visiting the park.


We hope this guide helps you plan what to do in Acadia National Park.  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!

Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park


Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park has so many unique and picturesque hiking trails. We are so glad we had the opportunity to hike so many of the trails here to determine our best hikes in Acadia National Park list.  From easy flat wooded and coastline walks to more challenging cliff exposed summit climbs (that utilize metal rungs and ladders), there really is a hiking trail to suit everyone’s hiking abilities in Acadia. 

Further, many of the hiking trails in Acadia National Park intersect and there are many different ways to hike to the same spot.  We loved the ‘choose your own route’ hiking options in Acadia.  These allow you to optimize your time in the park and see many more trails through hiking loop routes rather than exclusive out and back trails.  These build your own options also allow you to opt in or out of more technically challenging paths (ladders, metal rungs, rock scrambling, etc) while still getting to the same summit. 

We spent a week hiking in Acadia National Park and after hiking many of the trails, here is our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park list. 

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!


Note: This post is written off a trip taken late October when fall colors were near peak. Also, see our Top 5 What to do Acadia National Park and our Where to Stay Near Acadia National Park posts for more helpful information on visiting Acadia.


#1 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park: Jordan Cliffs, South Bubble & Jordan Pond Loop

This was our favorite hike in the park and wins the spot as #1 for the Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park.  The variety we saw on this loop trail made it stand out from the others.  We started this hike midmorning at the Jordan Pond House with stunning lighting and stillness over Jordan Pond at the beginning of the trail at this time (see picture above). 

We then headed clockwise to the Jordan Cliffs Trail (view shown in first picture in post) and hiked along the exposed cliffs overlooking the pond.  The Jordan Cliffs Trail was unique in that it not only had cliff exposure but also had metal rungs and challenging rock scrambles.  This route was a bit more challenging than we anticipated and we had to hike it very slowly but felt safe doing so. 

You then will turn and hike on the Bubbles Divide Trail to hike up to the South Bubble.  The views to the north (see picture below) and over Jordan Pond are really stunning, some of our favorites from the trip.  Then you head back to the Jordan Pond House on the flat Jordan Pond Path.  

Logistics: 4.8 Miles, 1200 feet of elevation gain, loop

All Trails Jordan Cliffs, South Bubble and Jordan Pond Loop Map

Hike Spring Trail from Jordan Pond House → Jordan Cliffs Trail → Bubbles Divide Trail → South Bubble Trail → Jordan Pond Path to Jordan Pond House

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Tip: Hike Jordan Cliffs, South Bubble and Jordan Pond Loop Clockwise 

The Jordan Cliffs Trail has some particularly challenging rock scrambles and metal rungs to hike.  These are much easier to conquer clockwise (up) than counterclockwise (down).  We were advised by park rangers and other hikers to not attempt the route counterclockwise (down) and are glad we listened. 

This trail was harder than we anticipated but we were able to safely hike it slowly.  However, if you are new to hiking, hesitant with baby wearing or afraid of heights, we would not recommend the Jordan Cliffs Trail to you.  Instead, you may prefer to hike the easier flat and not technically challenging Jordan Pond Trail to the Bubbles Divide Trail.  You will not get the stunning cliff views of the Jordan Cliffs Trail but will still get some really nice elevated views of Jordan Pond from the South Bubble.  This hike reminded us of hiking around Devil’s Lake with slightly more cliff exposure. 

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Tip: Eat Popovers at Jordan Pond House After Hiking 

The perfect treat after your hike! Popovers are a large fluffy bread that are in the shape of a large muffin but very airy and not sweet. Our best comparison is a creme puff without the creme.  They are served with butter and jam.  Afternoon tea and popovers were the perfect treat after a long hike on a chilly fall day.  The Jordan Pond House has been serving popovers and tea since the 1890s. 


#2 Best Hikes in Acadia: Beech Cliff Ladder, Beech Cliff Loop & Canada Cliff 

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

This hike nearly ties with the first as our favorite hike in Acadia. It is a great bang for your buck hike as you get stunning lake and coastline views (that are especially colorful in fall) relatively quickly.  This hike has a little bit of everything when it comes to reaching the summit–exposed cliff walks, ladders, metal rungs and rock scrambles.  However, that being said, we did not find this hike technically challenging. 

Tip: Hike Beech Cliff Trail and Canada Cliffs Loop Counterclockwise

We highly recommend hiking this trail counterclockwise so that you climb up the ladders rather than down them.  Here you first hike up the Beech Cliff Trail to the Beech Cliff Summit.  This is the only part of the hike that involves any metal rungs or ladders. Then, after reaching the top of the Beech Cliff Trail, be sure to turn to the right and continue onto the short Beech Cliff Loop offshoot (easy to miss).  The views on the Beech Cliff Loop are truly the highlight of this trail.  After walking on the stunning Beech Cliff Loop, you will head along the exposed cliffs before making your descent slowly back through the woods on the Canada Cliffs Trail. 

Logistics: 2.2 Miles, 500 feet elevation gain, loop

All Trails Beech Cliff and Canada Cliff Loop Map, Add short Beech Cliff Loop at Summit not on map

Hike Beech Cliff Ladder Trail from Echo Lake Beach Entrance→ Beech Cliff Loop (be sure to add this as the views here are the highlight of the hike) → Canada Cliff Trail 

Tip: If looking to escape crowds, hike Beech Cliff and visit Echo Lake

We saw less than 5 cars in the parking lot here (Echo Lake) on our weekday fall hike.  We encountered less people here than on any of our other hikes.  This area of the park was so peaceful and serene.  Echo lake is so pretty too! However, it may be more busy during warm summer months with people swimming at the beach.


#3 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park: Beehive/Bowl/Gorham

The Beehive is probably the most well-known and popular trail in Acadia. It has many steep cliff exposures and ladders, making it a unique challenge. Also, it is only 1.5 miles round trip if hiked alone.  It further offers impressive views of the coastline and foliage, especially in the fall, at the summit. 

Note: Two Ways to Reach the Beehive Summit

You start this trail (as a loop like we did or as a stand alone hike) at the Sand Beach parking lot.  There are two ways to hike to the Beehive Summit. One on a shorter more technically challenging path and one on a longer but less technically demanding path. Since we were both baby/toddler wearing, we opted for the longer, less technically challenging route. This route is nicknamed the ‘back door to Beehive’ which is very fitting. On this route, you pass by a pretty lake, the Bowl. You do retrace your steps coming back on the Bowl Trail before meeting up with Gorham Mountain Trail (or getting back to the parking lot if hiking as stand alone trail)

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path to Finish Loop

Gorham Mountain (above view) also offers very pretty views over the coast as well as panoramic views further into the park at the summit. We only saw two other people at the summit of Gorham whereas we saw dozens at the summit of the Beehive, so this was a nice retreat from the people. After hiking to the Gorham Summit, you head back down to meet up with the Ocean Path. Once on the Ocean Path, you get pretty ocean views (parallel park loop road) before arriving back at the Sand Beach parking lot.  Be sure to spend some time at Sand Beach as it is one of the few areas in the park where you can walk directly along the ocean.  We visited two different times during our trip. 

Note: The Beehive Part of this Hike is Busy and Slippery When Wet! 

We rank this hike lower than most other hikers. The Beehive is very busy, maybe too busy, and we found it less peaceful than other trails.  We also hiked this route after recent rain and even without hiking the more technically challenging Beehive route, we had to be very careful with our footing as it was still quite slippery. We would not recommend hiking Beehive itself after any sort of rain given how slippery the easier and safer option was after recent rain. 

All Trails Beehive, Gorham Mountain and Ocean Path Loop

Note: This map shows hiking up the more technically challenging Beehive Trail to the Beehive Summit rather than up the Bowl as we did (and recommend if you are baby wearing).  

Logistics: 

  • Combination of Beehive, Gorham and part of Ocean Path—3.5 Miles, 750 feet of elevation gain hike, loop (hiking via the Bowl adds about a mile onto the route) 
  • Beehive alone—1.5 Miles, 500 feet of elevation gain, loop
  • Gorham Mountain alone—1.8 miles, 500 feet of elevation gain, loop

From the parking lot at Sand Beach, hike the Bowl Trail to summit Beehive → then back on Bowl Trail→  Gorham Mountain Trail → Gorham Mountain Summit → get to Gorham parking lot/Ocean Path by taking the Cadillac Cliffs Trail (more exposed) or Gorham Mountain Trail → meet up with the Ocean path (parallels Park Loop Road, cross street from Gorham Mountain parking lot) to get back to the Sand Beach parking lot.


#4 Best Hikes in Acadia: Dorr Mountain via Ladder Trail & Cannon Brook Trail

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Looking for a stair-master workout? Well this climb is for you! The hike to the top of Dorr Mountain is about a mile and very steep. However, we really liked this route as you got a lot of variety in scenery and it was so serene (we only saw one other person and one coyote). 

You hike the steep ladder trail to the summit of Dorr Mountain first.  This has 3 ladders to climb but we found them to be easy without any cliff exposure and with stable placement.  The trail is mostly steep rock steps. Note, there is one narrow rock passage to walk through that may be an issue if you have a really wide backpack carrier (ours fit).  Once at Dorr Mountain Summit, you take the Dorr Ridge South Trail down the mountain while enjoying stunning coastline views that are very pretty in fall.  You will then meet up with the Canon Brook Trail that is mainly flat and easy.  The fall colors on the Canon Brook Trail were very stunning.  We saw a coyote from a distance on this trail too. 

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

Logistics: 3.4 Miles, 1200 feet of elevation gain, loop

Hike Ladder Trail→ summit of Dorr Mountain→ take Dorr Ridge South Trail to enjoy coastline views → then Canon Brook Trail (it is flat, easy and beautiful in the fall) → brings you back to beginning of Ladder Trail


#5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park: Ocean Path

Best Hikes in Acadia National Park

The Ocean Path is an easy and beautiful coastline hike, landing it a spot in our Top 5 Best Hikes in Acadia National Park list.  We found the second half of this hike (after the Gorham Mountain parking lot on Park Loop Road) to be really serene and beautiful. It was also more of a trail and is tucked a bit away from the road in comparison to the first half. The first half of the hike has very pretty views too but is also directly next to Park Loop Road and very busy with hikers as it is easily accessible for large tour buses.  This is a great hike for anyone not looking for a steep or technical climb but stunning views nonetheless.

Logistics: 4 Miles, 375 feet of elevation gain, Out & Back

All Trails Ocean Path Map

We actually hiked the Ocean Path as two seperate hikes as we combined the first half of the trail with hiking to Beehive/Gorham Mountain (outlined above as #3) and then hiked the second half of the hike another day as a separate hike (parked at Gorham Mountain parking lot).  

Note: You can see the highlights of this trail driving/stopping on Park Loop Road but we found it to be nicer/more serene to hike it. You are taking a slower pace walking and can truly take in the scenery.


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


We hope this 5 best hikes in Acadia National Park guide helps you plan your hiking in Acadia.  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!

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks


Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of our favorite hikes we have ever completed.  This hike gives you amazing views of the Pictured Rocks along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  The North Country Trail (part of the Chapel Basin Loop), between Chapel Beach and Mosquito Beach, is the only place you can see these unique multicolored Pictured Rock cliffs from land.  This hike will also take you past two waterfalls (Chapel Falls and Mostiquo Falls), to a unique rock formation (Chapel Rock) and to two beaches (Mostiquo Beach and Chapel Beach). With so much pretty and varied scenery on this hike, the Chapel Basin Loop Trail will not disappoint anyone up to hiking it.  Here is our complete guide on hiking the Chapel Basin Loop.  

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 off two different hikes both completed in early September 


How long is the Chapel Basin Loop Hike? How much elevation gain on the Chapel Basin Loop Hike?  

This trail is approximately 10 miles with 750 feet of elevation gain and is a loop trail. However, that being said, we have hiked this trail twice and have recorded a longer distance both times.  With walking down to the beaches (Mosquito and Chapel beach), we have recorded this hike to be a little over 12 miles both times. We recommend budgeting enough time (and mentally preparing yourself) to hike 12 miles before starting. 

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks

Which way should I hike the Chapel Basin Loop?

You have the option to start this loop hike towards Mosquito Falls/Beach (clockwise) or Chapel Falls/Beach (counter-clockwise). See map above for a visual.  We have hiked both ways and recommend starting toward Mosquito Falls/Beach.  The Mosquito part of the trail involves more elevation and is more uneven/rocky than the start/end of the Chapel Falls part of the loop.  It is best to do this Mosquito part of the trail when your legs are fresh and save the relatively flat/smooth Chapel Falls part of the loop for when you are more fatigued at the end of your hike.  

What are the Chapel Basin Loop Logistics? 

This hike starts at the Chapel Falls Trailhead in Shingleton, Michigan (easy to find by typing into Google Maps). 

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks

Start Towards Hiking Mosquito Falls/Beach

Starting towards Mosquito Falls at the trailhead, you will hike about a mile on a rocky/root covered path before arriving at these pretty flowing falls. Mosquito Falls is the less impressive of the two waterfalls you will see on this trail but nonetheless pretty.  

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks

After hiking to Mosquito Falls on the Chapel Basin Loop, you will make your way towards Mosquito beach.  This will take you about another 1.5 miles.  This path is rocky and root covered as well.  When you reach the Mosquito area, be sure to look for signage pointing you down to the beach.  It is easy to pass it by as it is not easily visible from the main path and you do have to walk down to it.  Mosquito Beach is extremely scenic, peaceful and not crowded, especially early in the morning (when we had it to ourselves). 

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks

Hike Along the Pictured Rocks

After stopping at Mosquito Beach on the Chapel Basin Loop hike, you will now hike about 4.5 miles parallel to the Lake Superior Shore along the famous Pictured Rocks. This is the best part of the hike!  Soak in the views of all the rock formations including Indian Head and Grand Portal Point (our favorite).  The views along this part of the path are why we love this hike so much.  

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks

Hike Through the Chapel Beach/Falls Area

After you hike along the Pictured Rocks on the Lake Superior Shoreline, you will arrive at Chapel Beach.   This is a nice sandy beach. It is more crowded than Mosquito Beach but is a nice place to stop and take a break.  You then can hike parallel to Chapel Beach before you reach Chapel Rock.  Chapel Rock is a super unique rock formation with a large tree growing on top of it jutting out of the shoreline.  

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks

After seeing Chapel Rock, you will turn right and start your hike back towards the parking lot.  On the way, you will pass Chapel Falls (after about 1.9 miles).  This waterfall is the bigger of the two on this loop.  Be careful to not get off the trail here as it can be a bit confusing which path is correct – there are several sections that look like trails to take. You will need to cross a bridge after you see the initial Chapel Falls viewing platform to continue on the trail back towards the parking lot (approximately 1.2 miles away).  The trail after this point is relatively flat and smooth before you reach the parking lot. 

How long will it take to complete the Chapel Basin Loop Trail?  

Budget 5-6 hours when hiking Chapel Basin Loop at Pictured Rocks.  You may be able to hike it much faster but it took us between 5 and 6 hours (including breaks) when hiking the first time with only our newborn daughter and then the second time with our newborn son as well as our 2 year old daughter (both carried).  For tips on hiking with an infant, see our How to Hike with a Baby post. 

Hiking Chapel Basin Loop Pictured Rocks

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


Are dogs allowed on the Chapel Basin Loop?

No, dogs are not allowed on the Chapel Basin Loop. There is a large fine for bringing them as well so best to leave fido at home. Many of the shorter hikes in the area, covered in our Complete What to do Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Guide, are dog friendly though so be sure to check those out if you will have your dog in tow. 

Looking for a dog friendly vacation? See our Dog Friendly Apostle Islands Guide, Dog Friendly Door County, Wisconsin Guide and our A Day at Starved Rock State Park guides.  

Is the Chapel Basin Loop Hike Busy? 

Yes, it is highly trafficked.  Arrive early as the trail is less busy earlier in the day.  The Chapel Falls/Basin side of the loop tends to be busier because many people only hike out to Chapel Falls and/or Chapel Rock/Beach. 

Also, hiking it on a predicted or questionably rainy day helps negate some of the crowds too (just be prepared with the right gear).  Here are links to the rain gear we use and love:

We hiked the trail the second time on a questionably rainy and overcast day.  We loved how we had the trail mostly to ourselves and luckily we never actually got rained on. 

Anything else I need to know about hiking the Chapel Basin Loop?

The road to access the trailhead is in rough conditions and 4WD is preferred to access it.  However, you likely could navigate with 2WD if you go slow and carefully. We were easily able to drive the road with an AWD small SUV. 


We hope this guide helps you plan hiking the Chapel Basin Loop.  See our Complete What to do Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Guide for more information on this area. 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!

error: Content is protected