Sunday, March 27, 2011

James Island Park, Charleston, SC

One of the Tribe's Top 10 Destinations - More
When the Richardson Tribe first started documenting PB&J Adventures, someone we met said we needed to go to a place called James Island near Charleston, South Carolina.  Finally, 2.5 years later, we did just that, and boy were we pleasantly surprised. 
The idea for the trip started with Rebecca looking for cheap airfare so the younger papooses could get the experience of flying. She found a flight between Atlanta and Charleston for $39, so it was on. 

After dropping off the van at the Atlanta airport, we started our journey to Charleston in Homer II on Saturday, July 25. We arrived at the James Island County park around 6:30 pm, and were immediately impressed with the park's facilities. The kids were first to notice the "Splash Zone" water park located right across the street from our campground. The people staffing the campground office and store were very friendly and helpful. We located our site, which was very tropical. It had full hookups and no cable, but it's local to Charleston, so we got adequate reception. 
Sunday morning started with a pancake breakfast at the campground activity center, just a short walk around the pond from our site. The kids would need the carbs and sugar for the next six hours of play at the water park. 
We were waiting at the gate when the water park opened at 10am (tickets are $8 at the campground.) The place was immaculate, clean, fresh, like it was new (we learned later it was 13 years old). Everyone there was very friendly and professional (and there are a lot of people that work there). There is a large pool with a kiddy side and a deeper side (4') for swimming. There are two 200' water slides, a water-play ground, and a lazy river to relax on. We pretty much spent the whole day moving from one to another. I must emphasize the staff at this park. Each of the attractions had no less than 4-5 life guards. there were life guards on high seats and walking around the pool and play areas constantly. I have to commend the park's management for having found and trained such a professional staff. Not once did we feel that our children might be in any kind of danger.

That evening we rode our bikes on some of the many miles of paved bike trails that cover the park. The kids discovered the large playground and couldn't resist. Everyone slept very well that night.

Monday morning we decided to visit Charleston proper. We drove across the long bridge entering the city and were amazed at all the sail boats. The kids got to see a large freight ship pulling through.  We walked around the area admiring the architecture for a while before going to the Noisy Oyster (downtown market location) for lunch. from there, we walked through the open-air market and saw ladies making baskets. One lady spoke Gullah for the kids so they could hear the language.

After returning to the James Island campground, we decided to go back to the water park. They have a twilight rate of $6, so it was very affordable.

Tuesday was 2 for 1 day at the water park, and you know it, we had to go again. It was much more crowded, but still lots of fun. We rode our bikes some more, and played around the campsite.  I had to do a lot of packing, because, sadly, this was our last night.
Wednesday morning we got up early so I could take Rebecca and the kids to the airport for their flight home. I drove the Homer II back home where they were waiting for me when I arrived.

In summary, we didn't even start to do all the things there are to do at and near James Island. Wildlife viewing is incredible. There are miles of paved bike trails running through lowlands and marshes. There are organized activities and events or everyone like crabbing and fishing. Then, of course, there are all the historical things to do related to Charleston.  The verdict? Oh, we'll be back, but longer next time!  For lots more pictures and details, visit the James Island Park PB&J Page.

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