Greenville, South Carolina: Travel Guide with Kids
If you’ve been following my Instagram, you would know Matt and I decided last minute to drive south for our Christmas break. We wandered around different areas of South Carolina and when we received word that Dylan’s school would begin the new year remotely, we decided to rent an Airbnb in Greenville and do remote school and Matt’s work from there. Matt and I first went to Greenville to visit friends when we were newly married and we fell in love with it. We have been back four times now and have decided that if there was one place in the United States that we would want to live, Greenville it is! We love the warmer weather in the south, the mountains, the walkable city, park system, food, and lifestyle.
In this post I’m going to share everything we loved about Greenville in the format: sleep, eat, and play.
Generally, Matt and I prefer staying in hotels. We love the convenience of having a concierge to give us information. I love having my bed made and getting the room cleaned each day. Also, most hotels we stay at provide breakfast which is a huge plus... so is a hotel pool for the kids. 😉 The hotel experience always feels like vacation to us because everything is done for us and it’s just so nice to relax and really spend time with our kids without having a big list of things to take care of each day.
This experience was a little different for us because we technically weren’t on vacation, we were working and doing school remotely. So we decided to rent a house through Airbnb instead. We found a bunch of options on Airbnb and here’s what helped make our decision on choosing the best one:
-Location location location. We love being right in the center of all the action and having the convenience of stepping outside our door and being able to walk to coffee shops and restaurants, so it was really important for us to find a place that was close to the city center.
-Space. One thing that we’ve learned from traveling with kids is that we need our own separate spaces when we are together 24/7. So we had to find a house that had enough bedrooms to fit us all and allow Matt and I to be able to stay up after the kids go to bed and not have to worry about waking them up from too much light or noise. Also, because both Matt and Dylan were going to need to work remotely, we needed to find a place that had areas for each to sit and work as well as take video conference calls without disruption. We were literally zooming in on pictures of different houses to see what their table & chairs looked like and if it would be comfortable to work from all day. 😆
We ended up choosing this Airbnb and it did not disappoint!! The location was PERFECT, we had so much space inside, and (added bonus) it was very clean.
Normally when we are home we would maybe eat out once every two weeks, but since we were in Greenville, we really wanted to try some new restaurants. I will list off what was recommended to us and our personal experience. Don’t forget when you are reading this, that we are traveling with our kids, which adds a whole different dynamic to someone else’s experience without kids, so your experience may be completely different from ours.
We saw the name of this café and just had to stop in! Anything that has “Europe” in their title is up our alley! 😉We grabbed Americanos and the kids tried their macaroons and we ordered a muffin and it really did taste like Europe! We would HIGHLY recommend stopping in for coffee and a treat.
Spill the Beans:
This coffee shop doesn’t seem to have a lot of pastries, but they do offer a bunch of ice cream flavors which would be the best of both worlds if you are visiting with your kids on a hot day. Coffee drinks for the parents and ice cream for the kids!! This cafe is right next to the Falls on the Reedy, so it’d be fun to take your ice cream and coffee to go, and enjoy the park!!
Coffee Underground: This is a fun hip coffee shop with a bunch of yummy drinks and pastries. My only complaint is that it really is “underground”, so if you want to go, leave your stroller in the car, because there are a whole bunch of stairs to get inside.
Starbucks: I think we all know Starbucks, but just so you know, it is the closest coffee shop to McPherson Park, so if you are bringing your kids to play there, it would be most convenient to grab your coffee at Starbucks beforehand. 😉
Coffee on Stone:
This coffee shop is a little outside the main downtown area, but it also serves a bunch of pastries and ice cream for the kids, and it’s located next to a brewery- so something for Dad too! 😆
Eggs Up Grill: We loved the idea of going to Eggs up Grill for bunch during our stay in Greenville because it was right next to our rental house. Also, looking at the menu, everything sounded amazing and was super inexpensive! However, when we arrived, the restaurant was slammed, our kids were starving and hangry, and we hadn’t had any coffee before we arrived, so the whole meal was pretty much a disaster for us. I am sure that under different circumstances, we would have loved it there, but our coffee was cold when it finally came, the food took forever and we left with a “sour taste in our mouths” about the whole experience.
Mellow Mushroom was also right near our rental and Matt walked over one night to pick up a pizza and we loved it! He couldn’t put his finger on it exactly, but said it seems like they use a different oil on their pizzas and they just taste so unique from other pizza places.
Smoke on Water: We heard really great things about this barbecue restaurant and loved all our meals a ton- even the kids’ chicken nuggets were super yummy.
If the weather is decent, you have to go to Mary‘s! A perfect location, right next to Falls on the Reedy, this restaurant has a beautiful view and the food is amazing too! We sat on the upstairs patio, and although it was a chilly day, the late afternoon sun was shining on us and we were so nice and warm. The restaurant (right now) is only open for lunch so make sure to go during the day!
Gather GVL: This is such a neat concept. Gather GVL is a combination of a bunch of pop-up restaurants all in storage-like containers around an open area where you can eat and your kids can run around and play. We were very excited to find our favorite European wine drink- glogg, a hot, mulled wine that we first discovered at a Christmas market in Denmark. We drank our glogg sitting around a big fire while the kids met a friend and ran around playing in the open area. It was sooo much fun!!
Bonjour Crepe: The boys really wanted pancakes in the afternoon and we weren’t sure if we would be able to find a breakfast place that was open all day so we came here and ordered them a crêpe and figured they wouldn’t notice a difference! It was so yummy and they devoured it! Matt ordered their lasagna and I ordered a salmon salad which both were amazing, especially because the place is known for their crepes! The atmosphere was really cool too!
Tupelo Honey: This restaurant has really great southern food! We went there for brunch and loved everything, except it was very busy so expect a wait.
Farmhouse Tacos: We stopped here after hiking Table Rock because it’s a little outside of the city center. Matt was really excited about this restaurant and it did not disappoint! The tacos were amazing and we would definitely recommend!
Tropical Grille: Tropical Grille is a counter service restaurant with really yummy rice bowls if you are looking for something fast and healthy! I ordered salmon over mixed vegetables and skipped the rice and it was amazing. They had really good sauces to go with everything as well. We were surprised to hear Christian music playing and read scripture verses on the walls of the restaurant, something that we are definitely not used to back home, but it was so nice and refreshing.
Mice on Main: This is a completely free fun scavenger hunt to do in the city. Starting at the Hyatt hotel on Main Street, you follow a list of clues to discover little mice statues hidden throughout main street! The scavenger hunt is so fun for the kids while mom and dad can enjoy window shopping and walking along the city streets. However, there were a few nice that were really hard to find and we may or may not have used our phones to cheat!😆🙈
Children’s Museum: I had heard amazing things about the Greenville Children’s Museum and it certainly lived up to my expectations. We were there for three hours and definitely could have spent a lot more time, we didn’t even have enough time to see everything there was there! Everything is very interactive and hands-on and we spent a lot of time just playing in each of the exhibits! My kids most enjoyed the climbing area, car racing exhibit, water table, farm exhibit, wilderness exhibit, and space exhibit! I think Charlie would have really enjoyed the pretend shopping exhibit and bear doctor section but we ran out of time to play there.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $9 for kids ages 1 yr and up. The cost is well worth it! You can purchase your tickets in advanced here.
Greenville Zoo: I love going to the zoo and couldn’t wait to be in fresh air exploring all of the animals at the zoo with some of our Buffalo friends who had just recently moved to Greenville! We walked there along the bike path from the Greenville city center and had such a pleasant time getting there. The Greenville zoo is small, but honestly the perfect size for my kids and the amount of time that we had to see everything (which was about 2 hours). Our favorite animals were the snapping turtle, orangutans, lemur, red panda, lion, & giraffe. The whole area is very scenic and I’d love to see it in the spring or summer! For more information about the zoo and registering online, click here.
Reedy Falls: This was originally our draw to loving Greenville so much! Reedy Falls really is spectacular and our favorite part about the area is how well the park built walking/bike paths for you to explore around the grounds. It is just so peaceful to walk along the water and the bike path goes for miles on either side!
Ice on Main: Believe it or not, I used to be a figure skater but have never taken my kids ice skating! The outdoor rink is right in the city center and it’s so beautiful with all the lights and buildings around it! Because of Covid, you do need to register on their website here for your one hour time slot ahead of time, however we came during the week and didn’t register but they were able to get us in the time-slot that we were there! In addition to your ticket, you can rent skates as well as a walker for your toddler for $2 each.
Kangaroo Jax: I found Kangaroo Jax from a quick Google search looking for things to do when the weather was going to be crummy. This is a little outside of the city, so we did have to drive, however it was probably my boys favorite thing we did all week! They have a bunch of bounce houses and rides, even a ninja warrior section. My boys played on everything for hours and left with red faces and sticky skin! Tickets are $10 per kid for an all day pass.
A short 45 min drive from Greenville is Table Rock for fun hikes and great views! We were able to meet some friends with little kids too and the hike we took was perfect for our little walkers.
There is so much more to see and do in Greenville and I promise we will be back and I will add to this post! Comment below if you have a favorite spot in Greenville!