Looking for the best time to visit Charleston SC? Discover the most enjoyable months to visit along with crowd levels, weather, and events!
Planning a trip to the Holy City and wondering when the best time to visit Charleston SC is? Between stifling summer heat, a calendar full of events in spring, hurricane season, packed holidays like Easter and Valentine's Day, and a pleasantly mild winter... you may be surprised at what months are the most enjoyable from a tourist's perspective.
I'll take you through each month and season, what events you can expect, typical crowd levels, and of course weather patterns so you can plan your trip with confidence!
Short and sweet answer for the best time to visit Charleston SC
Late Fall in Charleston takes the win...early Spring is a close second
Late October through November and March through April are the best time to visit Charleston SC. The weather is perfect for sightseeing. Crisp and cool in the morning and evening, and warm in the afternoon sunshine. The earlier you visit in spring and the later you visit in fall, the better chance you'll have of fewer crowds.
November and March are my favorite months if you want to get specific.
Fall in Charleston SC - September through November
The best time to visit charleston SC for foodies, perfect weather, and fewer events (crowds)
Fall in Charleston SC is the absolute best...in my humble opinion. Like spring, the weather is perfect for rooftop cocktails, crisp morning walks, and warm afternoons to spend sightseeing or visiting the beach. What makes fall a tad more enjoyable than spring is that there are fewer events and fewer crowds.
Once Labor Day passes, kids are back in school, and the dreaded "hurricane season" scares other potential visitors away. In reality, Charleston rarely gets hit with hurricane weather. Hurricane season runs June 1st through November 30th with peak months being August and September.
The end of October and early November is the sweet spot and the best time to visit Charleston SC for great weather and fewer crowds (and you've passed the peak hurricane months). Temperatures range from the mid-50s to low-70s. Late October and November are also the driest months of the year.
Dress in layers as it's quite cool in the mornings and evenings and warms up considerably by the afternoon.
September on the other hand can be uncomfortably warm with lingering summer heat and humidity. This month also sees the highest chance of rain and is a peak hurricane month.
Fall in Charleston is less crowded than spring because there are fewer events. The biggest event, which makes fall the best time to visit Charleston SC for foodies is Charleston Restaurant Week. This is a great time to try the hottest restaurants in Charleston at a fraction of the cost.
Spring in Charleston SC – March through May
The best time to visit Charleston SC for colorful blooms, ideal weather, and a calendar full of events
Spring is the best time to visit Charleston SC if you're looking for ideal sightseeing and rooftop weather. I personally prefer to visit in March and April as the summer humidity can start as early as May.
March and April bring lows in the 50s and highs in the low-70s. Dress in layers as it can get quite chilly in the evening and early morning and warm up to t-shirt weather by the afternoon. While 70 may not seem hot, it does feels much warmer than the actual temperature when you're in the sun.
May can be hit or miss on weather depending on humidity levels. Temperatures range from the high 60s to high 70s. Afternoons can become quite hot, so plan your outdoor activities in the mornings and evenings.
Spring is also the best time to visit Charleston SC when it comes to a calendar full of events. In March you have the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. April events include the Cooper River Bridge Run, Volvo Car Open Tennis Tournament, and the North Charleston Arts Festival. Watch artists from around the world perform in operas, symphonies, and plays at the Spoleto Festival USA in May.
Winter in Charleston SC – December through February
The best time to visit Charleston SC for mild weather, lower prices, and fewer crowds
Outside of the Christmas season and Valentine's Day, winter is the best time to visit Charleston SC for lower prices paired with mild weather. Lows hover in the mid-40s while highs reach the 50s and 60s.
It's perfectly comfortable to explore the city during the day with a medium/light coat...sometimes just a sweater if the sun is shining.
Events are pretty sparse in the winter. The most notable being the Holiday Festival of Lights.
If you don't mind packing warmer clothes, winter is a wonderful alternative (and considerably cheaper) to spring and fall. You'll also have an easier time getting into restaurants without a reservation and have smaller tour groups.
Avoid the holiday season when kids are out of school and Valentine's Day (Charleston is a popular romantic getaway) as this brings a rush of tourists and hikes up hotel prices. I recommend the very beginning of December for fewer crowds and better weather.
Summer in Charleston SC – June through August
Not the best time to go to Charleston, SC with the spike in summer crowds and uncomfortable temperatures/humidity
If there was one season I would avoid and strongly say is NOT the best time to go to Charleston SC is summer. The combination of high crowds and prices paired with the miserable heat and humidity...it just doesn't make sense to visit this time of year. You would have a more enjoyable time and memorable trip if you spent spring or fall in Charleston...even winter beats summer.
June through mid-September is the wettest time of year. Typically, there's about a 35% chance or higher that you'll experience a wet day during this time of year. That likelihood keeps going up and hits a peak of 51% towards the end of July. Not great for sightseeing. If you're visiting in August be sure to always have an umbrella on you as this is the rainiest month.
Book your walking tours and any outdoor activities for the morning and save afternoons for cooling off at the beach.
I hope this post helped you decide the best time to visit Charleston SC for your upcoming trip! In general, my absolute favorite months to visit are November and March.
Fall in Charleston is the best mix of perfect weather and slightly lower crowds than spring. Spring is similar to fall weather-wise but offers colorful blooms throughout the city and a calendar full of events.
Winter is the time to visit for those more focused on lower prices, crowds, and mild weather. Summer is the absolute worst time to visit Charleston with summer crowds and miserable heat and humidity.
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Do you live in South Carolina or visit often? Share when you think is the BEST time to visit Charleston, SC in the comments below!
Last Updated on September 23, 2021 by Ashley Friemel