If you haven't been to Greenville, SC, think of it as a place where quaint Southern charm meets family-friendly fun. Greenville's fabulous walkable downtown area is anchored by Falls Park on the Reedy with gorgeous waterfalls, a cool suspension bridge, and sprawling grassy areas for running and picnicking. Add to that yummy Southern fare, plenty of kid-approved activities, and mild weather, and you've got yourself an easy, memorable family vacay.
Read on for our list of 25 fun things to do in Greenville, SC with kids, including family-friendly hotels and restaurants in Greenville. For more family vacation ideas from Florida to California and beyond, check out our Family Travel Guide.
Fun Things To Do in Greenville, SC with Kids
Though this zoo is medium-size and easy to navigate, it has no shortage of cool animals—think giraffes, primates, a red panda, and more.
Get lost in The Climber at the Children's Museum of the Upstate.
With three levels of fun, it's no surprise this one made our list of the best children's museums in every state. Kids especially love the 3,2,1 Blast Off section (all about space) and The Climber (a huge play structure).
What's cooler than seeing planes take off and land? Getting to play on a playground right next to the runway!
4. Make a Splash at Greenville County Rec Water Parks
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, families can cool off at Discovery Island and Otter Creek. These water parks have slides, pools, and other water activities for all ages.
Roar! Dinosaurs greet families at the Roper Mountain Science Center.
This awesome venue, part of Greenville County Schools, is open to the public in the afternoons during the school year and all day in the summer. Kids can explore science exhibits, check out the dinosaur trail, and see stars on "Friday Starry Nights."
A trip to Greenville, SC is not complete without a visit to this scenic in-town park. Families can walk the 300-foot-plus suspension Liberty Bridge, pose for pics with the waterfalls, and play in grassy areas near the water.
Linky Stone Park itself is hidden under a bridge, making the children's garden all the more magical. Kids will love exploring the garden's flowers, instruments, and gingerbread house.
Challenge yourself at Treetop Quest. Photo by Elizabeth Faulkner
Kids as young as four can tackle rope obstacle courses set among the trees at Treetop Quest, which opens for the season in early March and closes in late November. Older kids can try more challenging routes and zip lines.
Just north of downtown Greenville, SC, this state park offers hiking trails, a waterfall, and a playground.
Use these online clues to hunt for statues of little mice all around downtown Greenville, SC. Based on the book Goodnight Moon, this free activity is a fun way to explore the city.
The Greenville Gemstone Mine really rocks.
This downtown shop is a rock enthusiast's treasure trove where kids can go flume-mining for gems and fossils.
Don't let the name fool you—this 22-mile trail through downtown Greenville, SC is full of scenery. Doing a portion of it is easy for kids on foot or on wheels.
Families can play a round of mini golf, compete in laser tag, race with go-karts, ride bumper boats, and more at this popular entertainment venue.
Catch a show or a hockey game at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
This event complex often has family-friendly shows (we saw Dude Perfect) and affordable hockey games (go, Greenville Swamp Rabbits).
Take a two-hour tube ride down the beautiful Saluda River. Families can even stay at the Saluda Outdoor Center along the river in a tiny home or glamper.
Family-Friendly Hotels in Greenville, SC
All of our hotel recommendations are in downtown Greenville so families can easily access downtown parks, restaurants, and shops.
We always love Embassy Suites hotels for their spacious suites, their evening reception with snacks and drinks, and—best of all—the mega breakfast buffet included with your stay. This one also has an excellent downtown Greenville location overlooking the river and is within walking distance to family-friendly attractions like Falls Park on the Reedy.
This beautiful, historic hotel in the heart of downtown Greenville is a little on the fancy side, but not too fancy for kids. Families love the Spoonbread restaurant in the hotel for any meal, but especially for breakfast.
One of the more affordable family-friendly hotels in downtown Greenville, the Holiday Inn Express is in a great location for walking. Plus, it has an excellent complimentary breakfast that almost rivals the Embassy Suites. Almost.
This is another more affordable hotel option centrally located to Falls Park, shopping, and dining. Kids can run around in the courtyard area that has a waterfall.
Dine al fresco at Gather Greenville.
Best Restaurants in Greenville, SC for Kids
This outdoor venue is a go-to for families because it has lots of options (pizza, chicken, and burgers, just to name a few), plus adult beverages. Think of it as a food court, only nicer and not in a mall. Gather GVL also has entertainment on certain nights, including live music and an amazing balloon artist.
Serving legendary warm bagel sandwiches, Sully's has yummy adult fare like Reubens, but also kid faves on bagels such as ham-and-cheese and pizza.
This popular joint out of Asheville has a location in Greenville, much to the delight of biscuit enthusiasts. Try its mimosa fried chicken biscuit, or go sweet with biscuit donuts.
Kids will freak over a Grill Marks freakshake. Photo courtesy of the restaurant
Come for the burgers, stay for the enormous milkshakes called "freakshakes." Grill Marks is in downtown Greenville and also near Haywood Mall.
Families can find lots of healthy options at this local joint, known for fresh ingredients, homemade pastries, and breakfast all day. The sign on the building says it all—"Eat Local Ride Bikes."
Locals rave about this pizza place, which has six locations in and around Greenville. Adults gravitate towards the more complex pies like margherita and hot Hawaiian, while kids tend to go more basic with a cheese pizza. Everyone loves the locally made ice cream.
Unless noted, photos by the author