It’s difficult to come up with anything I don’t like about living in Charleston. Life here is really beautiful and I truly feel like I’m living a life I’ve dreamed of that is rich and full and one worth savoring. There is no doubt that we are busy with the ages of our children and our vibrant community of friends but I also feel that Charleston allows for slow living too, which is something I’ve always wanted when raising a family. Not only living here is wonderful but visiting is positively marvelous as well. Charleston always ranks as one of the best places to visit in the country for good reasons – the people, the history, the architecture, the lowcountry landscape, the restaurants, the beaches, the list goes on.
Our charming city offers unique experiences for each season so I’m dedicating this post to chatting about the best time to visit Charleston SC for the most splendid trip. While recommendations on times to visit Charleston almost always focus on spring and fall, I’m sharing the exact months I recommend within each of the four seasons because the beauty of our city isn’t just limited to those two times of year.
Best Time to Visit Charleston SC
Best Time to Visit Charleston SC in the Fall
Mid October through November! I think the first half of October has too many warm days for my liking – I am always in a fall mindset the minute the calendar turns over to October 1st. So, I recommend planning your trip for mid-October or later as it’s such a great time to be here. No Charlestonian wants to leave this time of year! Charleston during the second half of October and throughout November is magnificent. While we might not have the true foliage of the North East or the nearby North Carolina mountains, we do get a bit of color and we get some fantastic weather in Charleston that time of year. A day could be chilly all day long, which always brings a smile to my face because I love layers and coat weather.
However, so often, we have weather that is crisp and cool in the mornings and evenings but the days warm up to allow for an outfit consisting of a pretty fall dress, a sweater over your shoulders, and some lovely ballet flats. This was the precise type of day in late October that we snapped the photos in this blog post. Charleston also loves to decorate so the Halloween and autumn decorations around town are loads of fun. There is so much to do here in the fall from the Boone Hall Fall Festival to walking ghost tours. You can really get into the autumn spirit.
P.S. Yes, this is technically still hurricane season but we locals don’t plan our lives around that so I don’t suggest travelers do either. In the years we’ve lived here, September has been much more hurricane prone than October and November anyway.
Best Time to Visit Charleston SC in the Winter
December! People are always surprised when I recommend visiting Charleston in December but it is one of my absolute favorite months here. Charlestonians love to dress up and aren’t afraid of a fancy affair so I adore seeing everyone step out in their holiday best, beautiful coats, and festive attire this time of year. Even more so, I adore seeing the way everyone dresses up their homes. We aren’t so much a city of lights (although we do have Christmas lights) but we are a city of decoration and ornamentation. Wreaths, garland, bows, nutcrackers, swags, and Christmas trees on piazzas all adorn the homes around Charleston.
December is quite possibly the best time of year to do walking tours around the city so you can take in all the decor while learning about the city’s storied past. For walking tours, I recommend using the Lowcountry Walking Tours company and requesting a tour with my dad, Paul Attaway, as he’s a walking tour guide here or doing a tour with my girlfriend Tyler’s company, Walk & Talk. Both are fantastic!
Other highlights of visiting Charleston in December are window shopping along King Street to see all the holiday window displays (we’re no New York City but shopping on King Street is very festive), the Holiday Festival of Lights (p.s. doing the Holiday Festival of Lights the week leading up to Christmas is busy so it’s great to do earlier in the month!), the snow at The Charleston Place, Cougar Night Lights in the Cistern, Light the Lake at Colonial Lake, Christmas at Boone Hall, Charleston Jazz Orchestra’s annual Holiday Swing, Old Village Holiday Street Fest, White Christmas, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Best Time to Visit Charleston SC in the Spring
April or May! It’s impossible to top April and May in Charleston, South Carolina. These two months are probably the most popular time to travel to Charleston along with the end of March depending on when spring breaks fall, when Easter happens, and when the Charleston Wine and Food Festival takes place (if you haven’t been, then I highly recommend getting tickets!). These months aren’t hot and humid yet and boast average highs in the mid-70s, pure bliss. Plus, you get some spectacular beach days these months!
My absolute favorite thing to do in the spring in Charleston is to simply walk around our beautiful city to see all the flowers blooming. In March, you can expect camellias, azaleas, and wisteria. In April, you’ll spot wisteria, dogwood trees, peggy martin roses, and southern magnolias. And in May, you’ll adore the peggy martin roses, gardenia, jasmine, hydrangea, and crepe mrtyle. The Charleston Festival of Houses and Gardens put on by the Historic Charleston Foundation is a huge draw to visit Charleston, SC this time of year! I enjoy participating and being a tourist in my own city every single year while touring different historic streets, homes and gardens.
Best Time to Visit Charleston SC in the Summer
June! I couldn’t love June in Charleston more! If a trip to Charleston in the summertime makes the most sense to you with school schedules, then I definitely suggest June. The days are warm/hot but the heat and humidity isn’t unbearable at all (like it is in July, August, and September). I find the heat in June to be fun because the beach days are just perfection in June! Grab a bite on Sullivan’s Island at Sullivan’s Fish Camp, The Obstinate Daughter, or Poe’s + a bottle of frosé at The CoOp and then walk out to the beach for a day really well spent.
Another absolute highlight of visiting Charleston in June is the incredible culture that Spoletto Festival USA brings to the city. It is one of America’s major performing arts festivals and brings world renowned talent to Charleston. Us locals just live for it! The city feels alive in June with bustling summer fun, Spoletto performances, al fresco dining, and blooming gardenia and crepe myrtle everywhere!