By Allison Tibaldi, Taking the Kids Correspondent
I am always on the lookout for destinations with multi-generational vacation potential. With my extended family spread around the globe, we make a genuine effort to try and spend vacation time together. While it’s not easy juggling the interests and desires of a broad range of ages, being together is worth the effort.
I recently organized a family reunion to Charleston. We rented a house on Isle of Palms, a beachside beauty of a town just a few minutes from Charleston’s perfectly preserved downtown. The combination of sand and city offered a multitude of options, with something to appeal to everyone in our diverse group. The kids loved romping in the surf, while the adults enjoyed indulging in Charleston’s world-class dining scene and touring its exquisite churches and mansions. We left feeling like we had hit the multi-gen jackpot.
We rented a 10-bedroom house with Wyndham Vacation Rentals. The spacious digs offered privacy and togetherness in perfect proportion. The house was completely furnished, right down to plush towels and supply of board games. It even had a rooftop plunge pool that we took full advantage of. The large kitchen was perfect for preparing snacks and meals. The washer and dryer were a welcome addition. In fact, it was a downright luxury for me, as I live in an NYC apartment and don’t have a washing machine.
Our rental property was located across the street from a gorgeous stretch of sand. We enjoyed swims, strolls and naps to the relaxing soundtrack of waves. A favorite activity was biking on the hard-packed sand. It was easy to rent wheels at Wild Dunes, a resort just down the road from our temporary home. We appreciated the kid-size bikes and helmets.
A highlight of our trip was a guided excursion to Capers Island with Barrier Island Eco Tours. This undeveloped barrier island is only accessible by boat. We caught glimpses of marine life, including a school of frolicking bottlenose dolphins. We marveled over the island’s unusual landscape called Bone-yard Beach. This forest of eroded and sun-bleached tree stumps was eerily beautiful. As we explored, our captain prepared a Lowcountry boil for dinner. This mélange of fresh shrimp, flavorful sausage, potatoes and sweet corn was simple and delectable.
We took advantage of urban delights, falling in love with the grace, charm and manageable size of Charleston. Several adults in our party booked a guided walking tour with Charleston Strolls. A knowledgeable local gave us an excellent overview of the city’s cobblestone streets, hidden gardens and historic homes.
The entire family visited Middleton Place, a former rice plantation. The spacious grounds were dripping with live oaks and Spanish moss. The kids enjoyed spending time with the farm animals, including pigs and sheep. We all enjoyed interacting with the costumed craft artisans as they demonstrated old-world blacksmithing, spinning and weaving techniques.
My family lives to eat. Luckily, Charleston is an epicurean’s dream. My favorite meal was savored at Husk. This eatery promotes the use of the nearly lost ingredients of the Lowcountry. Yesteryear grains and heritage animal breeds are all sourced exclusively in the South for a bona fide regional experience. Our Sunday brunch was memorable.
My family unanimously agreed that our time in Charleston was terrific. Staying at the beach yet within easy reach of the city provided the right blend of urban offerings and seaside activities. Our rental house allowed us to save money cooking simple meals. Charleston charmed us with its beauty, history, cuisine and beaches. We departed with great memories and a desire to return to this lovely city very soon.