Spring and fall in Charleston are really the times of year when our city shines but I honestly love so many aspects for winter and summer too… perhaps that’s why we live here! I love life year round here! Summer in Charleston is certainly hot, humid, and buggy but if you flip the coin on that you could say it is sunny, balmy, and full of nature, ha! It’s all about perspective. Charleston offers a lot year round and summer is no exception. Summer tends to slow a bit in Charleston after the rush of our busy spring season but this summer is different. The city is bustling with visitors ready to see the world after 2020’s summer of limited to no travel.
If you’re planning a trip to Charleston this time of year, then my top 10 things to do on a summer trip to Charleston will surely help you get your itinerary squared away and looking wonderful! There is certainly more to do than these 10 recommendations (like walking tours with my FAVORITE tour lady and BYOB candle making classes inside for a little break from the heat) but this list will give you a great start to your planning.
Dress (Xirena from Hampden but sold out – similar, similar, similar, similar) / Purse / Sandals (old – similar, similar, similar, similar)
My Top 10 Things To Do On A Summer Trip To Charleston
Eat All The Seafood
Charleston is a coastal city so I strongly recommend taking advantage of that and enjoying the flavors of summer by eating all the seafood that Charleston has to offer. My #1 top recommendation is and always will be 167 Raw. Go for lunch or dinner but be prepared to go and put your name in well before you actually want to sit down and eat. I also honestly can’t recommend these other seafood spots around town enough: The Ordinary, Chubby Fish, Delaney Oyster House, and Raw Sushi. If you are renting a house while visiting Charleston, then go to Abundant Seafood and pick up the freshest fish around to make at home one night. I promise it will be a meal you won’t forget even though you’re dining at home.
Spoleto Festival has come and gone this year but it is absolutely one of the highlights of the social and cultural calendar year after year in Charleston! It happens every year through late May and the first half of June. It is one of America’s major performing arts festivals and truly INCREDIBLE. Spoleto fills Charleston’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music. We always gravitate toward the musical performances and have had the pleasure of seeing some incredible talents at Spoleto over the years. Spoleto is worth planning a whole trip around.
The perfect summer activity to do with littles is to head to a u-pick farm to pick local produce and flowers. Charleston has a handful that are easily accessible and that offer a rotating selection of produce and flowers to pick based on the time of summer. A few to choose from are Bugby U-Pick, Champney’s Farm, Boone Hall Farms, King’s Farm Market, and Newton Blueberry Farm. Oh what fun!
Home and Garden Tours
Every summer, the Historic Charleston Foundation puts on its Festival of Houses and Gardens throughout the city welcoming visitors into beautiful historic properties. There is a range of tours you can do where you will learn about the architecture, food, and history of Charleston as well as gain exclusive access to private gardens and homes in the Historic District. As a Charleston local, I go to a number of these tours every year as they are a really enchanting way to see the city.
Charleston has a number of really fun outdoor concert venues to see some summer music and summer concert tours at. Summer nights in Charleston are my favorite… the air is warm, the frogs are croaking, and it is just all around pleasant out. I recommend looking for shows at The Bend, The Windjammer, and the Volvo Car Stadium.
Ferry to Dinner
Instead of Ubering to dinner somewhere downtown, mix it up and take the Daniel Island Ferry from downtown over to Daniel Island for dinner at Kingstide. We have done this and it is a ton of fun! The ferry is so easy and quite honestly a blast with beautiful views as well (beer and wine is included in your ferry ticket price too!). Step off the ferry on Daniel Island and walk up the dock to a delicious dinner at the costal-inspired Kingstide. Grab drinks upstairs on the deck if you’re waiting for your reservation and then request a table outside at the front of the restaurant, facing the water for beautiful dinner views.
Attending a Charleston Riverdogs game during the summer is a Charleston must. It’s really fun to go with a group of friends or with your children as a family night out. It is quintessential small town summer complete with baseball, balmy weather, hot dogs, and cold beer. Bonus if you get a Bill Murray sighting while there!
Sunset Drinks at Citrus Club
The Citrus Club is my favorite rooftop bar in Charleston bar none. It is the highest rooftop in Charleston and has gorgeous sweeping views of the city, the coastline, and the steeple dotted skyline. The cocktails are delightful (and you guessed it – citrus inspired!) and the light bites are delicious. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a summer sunset outside in Charleston!
Beach Day on Sullivan’s Island
When we head to the beach, 95% of the time we go to Sullivan’s Island. It is truly a little oasis and a slice of heaven. No summer trip to Charleston is complete without a Sullivan’s Island beach day. If you want to do it like a local, then don’t miss the frosé at The Co-Op. Grab sandwiches at the Co-Op too or fish tacos at Poes or bbq at Hometeam for lunch. If you stay out until the evening, then freshen up and enjoy a fantastic dinner at The Obstinate Daughter (be sure to make a reservation) and top your day off with gelato from Beardcat’s. You can also rent bikes on Sullivan’s to cruise around the island and see all the pretty homes.
One of my favorite ways to see Charleston is from the water. Some of my favorite golden moments each spring and summer in Charleston happen spent on the water with our family and friends. There are a wealth of boats and charters to choose from but here are two boat companies we have used and LOVED: one, two.
I hope you found my top 10 things to do on a summer trip to Charleston helpful. Enjoy your summer travels this year, especially if they include our wonderful city!