Charleston’s climate is subtropical which means mild winters and warm summers. The city sees 230 days of sunshine each year. Spring is the best time to visit Charleston because of its colorful azaleas, dogwoods, and other flowers that bloom between March and June.

Summer is warm but there are cooling coastal breezes. Autumn brings sunshine, blue skies, and cooler temperatures. Winters are mild with rain and occasional snow flurries in late December or early January. Spring and autumn are by far the best times to visit Charleston. There are fewer crowds; the temperatures are perfect; and room rates are slightly lower.

1. Charleston Weather & Temperature by Month

Charleston Weather & Temperature by Month
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January is the coldest month of the year in Charleston. Despite this, Charleston winters are generally enjoyable with the average low temperature not falling any lower than 38°F (3°C). The average high temperature to be expected is 59°F (15°C).

In February, the temperatures go up to an average high of 63°F (17°C) and an average low of 41°F (5°C).

Charleston Weather in March: The climate starts to get warmer in March as the average high temperature increases to 70°F (21°C). Meanwhile, the average low temperature 47°F (8°C) also makes a slight increase to.

April continues to see an increase in average temperatures as Spring reaches its peak. Average high and average low temperatures range between 76°F (25°C) and 53°F (12°C).

In May, Charleston receives the most sunshine out of the year at 323 hours. The average high temperature makes another jump to 83°F (28°C), while the average low temperature increases nearly ten degrees to 62°F (17°C).

Charleston Weather in June: Things begin to really heat up in June with the arrival of summer. Temperatures easily hit the high 80’s with an average high temperature of 88°F (31°C). Evenings bring much more manageable temperatures with average lows of 70°F (21°C).

July is the hottest month of the year with the average high temperature peaking at an incredible 91°F (33°C). The average low temperature also increases a few degrees to 73°F (23°C).

In August, Charleston receives the most rain annually, hitting 7 inches (182 mm) of rainfall. The high precipitation rates also come with a decrease in the heat, with the average high and average low temperatures ranging between 89°F (32°C) and 72°F (22°C).

Charleston Weather in September: Despite the arrival of fall, temperatures in September remain quite warm. The average high temperature peaks at 85°F (29°C) while the low temperature is 67°F (20°C).

October brings a welcome drop in average high and average low temperatures which hover at 77°F (25°C) and 57°F (14°C) respectively.

In November, the average high temperature makes another big drop to 70°F (21°C). The average low temperature sinks by ten degrees to 47°F (9°C). Meanwhile, November also sees the lowest precipitation rates in the entire year with rainfall averaging at 2 inches (62 mm).

Charleston Weather in December: Charleston gets the least sunshine annually in December. The winter season is marked by another drop in temperature with the average high temperature settling at 62°F (16°C). The low temperature average is 40°F (5°C).

The best time to visit South Carolina to enjoy nature and its lush gardens is any time between the months of March and May. When it comes to South Carolina’s many gorgeous beaches, it’s best to visit during June or July, while the month with the least crowds at the beach is September. For the best of the state’s festivals, come by during the peak seasons of September through November. If, however, you’re looking for the best deals, January and February are the best times to visit.

2. Getting to Charleston

Getting to Charleston
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Many people arrive by plane at the Charleston International Airport, located about 12 miles west of the city on I-26. For people who enjoy traveling by train, Amtrak runs its Silver Service/Palmetto train that begins in New York and runs through Washington, DC, before passing through Charleston on its way to Orlando and Miami. Arriving by car, visitors can use U.S. 17, the main north-south coast road, or I-26 which runs northwest to southeast and ends in Charleston. There are two bus companies that serve Charleston: Greyhound from Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Savannah; and Southeastern Stages with similar routes. More day trips from Charleston, SC

3. Getting from the Charleston SC Airport

Getting from the Charleston SC Airport
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There are several ways to get to and from the Charleston International Airport. The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) operates an express non-stop bus service called NASH to and from several different stops in the downtown area and the airport. This is a reasonably priced way to get downtown and the CARTA stop is just outside of baggage claim.

The Downtown Shuttle is more expensive and, as a shared ride shuttle, makes several stops, depending on the number of passengers. Going by taxi is another option and there are many taxis at the airport. There are five car rental companies located near the baggage claim area inside the terminal. More Charleston, SC beaches

4. Getting Around Charleston by Bus or Trolley

Getting Around Charleston by Bus or Trolley
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The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) is Charleston’s public transportation system. It consists of buses and trolley lines. Tourists will not use the buses as much as the trolleys unless they want to visit places like Mount Pleasant, the town east of Charleston. The buses have one way fares as well as money-saving one-day and three-day passes.

The trolleys are free to ride. They are used by visitors because of this and because the trolleys stop at many of the most popular attractions like the Charleston City Market, the Charleston Museum, the South Carolina Aquarium, Waterfront Park, and many other places.

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5. Getting Around Charleston On Foot, Taxi, Car or Bike

Getting Around Charleston On Foot, Taxi, Car or Bike
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Charleston is a walking city, so getting around by foot is the best way to explore this historic city. By walking, visitors can enjoy a relaxed tour of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and the many old historic homes that abound in Charleston. Many of these are located close to each other. There are several taxi companies with taxis at the airport and in the downtown area.

If you need a taxi outside the city limits, it’s best to call to make a booking. A car is really only necessary if you’re visiting or staying outside of the city. Biking is popular and there are many scenic bike paths.

6. Charleston SC Restaurants

Charleston SC Restaurants
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Charleston is renowned for its Lowcountry cuisine as well as French and international restaurants. Lowcountry cuisine was created in Charleston: it consists of a blend of traditional Southern, African, Caribbean, and French elements. Farm-to-table is also an important part of Charleston’s restaurant scene. Chefs use ingredients that are produced locally and seasonally.

In Charleston, visitors will find upscale fine dining restaurants, country kitchens, seafood joints, and much more. Charleston’s City Market is a popular place to find snacks and dishes; visitors can eat at the market or take their meals down to the Waterfront Park. There are also bakeries, cafes, and coffee shops for light meals.

7. Shopping in Charleston

Shopping in Charleston
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Charleston offers some of the best shopping in the Carolinas. One place to start is on King Street: there are many upscale boutiques and shops here. On the ground floor of the Charleston Place Hotel is the Shops at Belmond Charleston Place with designer brand shops like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. In the Upper King Street Design District there are trendy boutiques aimed at young shoppers.

There are several shopping malls and outlets like Citadel Mall, Freshfields Village, and Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre. Some of the things that visitors will find in Charleston include antiques, artwork, arts and crafts, books, clothing, fabrics, jewelry, kitchenware, and much more.

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8. CharlestonNeighborhood Guide

CharlestonNeighborhood Guide
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Charleston consists of several neighborhoods, the most popular and well-known being the Historic District. The best place to see historic buildings is at the city’s southernmost point where the Ashley and Cooper rivers meet. The Downtown district has some attractions like the Old City Market, the Dock Street Theatre, many historic churches, as well as good shopping.

North Charleston, where the airport is located, is a residential and industrial area. West Ashley is where the colonists first arrived in the 1670s. Here you can see Charleston’s birthplace: the Charles Towne Landing. Mount Pleasant is east of the Cooper River and close to the Historic District: Mount Pleasant is the home of the Old Village on the riverfront.

9. Getting Married in Charleston, SC

Getting Married in Charleston, SC
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Because of the beauty of the city and its historic atmosphere, Charleston is a popular destination for couples to hold their weddings. Hotels and their banquet rooms are often a good choice for a wedding. In Charleston some of the hotels include the Francis Marion Hotel, the Hyatt Place Charleston-Historic District, Courtyard by Marriott Charleston Historic District, and many more.

Many people want to have their ceremonies in a historic home: some of these are the Mansion at Woodlands, the McLeod Plantation, and the Governor Thomas Bennett House. Some people like to have their ceremony near the water, but how about on the water? SpiritLine Cruises offers weddings on its boats.

10. Where to Stay in Charleston

Where to Stay in Charleston
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Charleston is well-known for its historic inns. Hotels and inns in and close to the Historic District tend to be a little more expensive than accommodations further away from this district. Bed and Breakfasts can be as grandiose as an entire historic home or as simple carriage houses and cottages.

For budget-minded travelers, visiting and eating in Charleston but finding accommodations outside of the city is an option. There are many clean and comfortable chain hotels in several areas, but most are centered in the North Charleston District close to the airport. Another option is a self-catering apartment with typical stays of three nights to several weeks.

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More Ideas: The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum was founded as America’s First Museum in 1773 and preserves, interprets, and celebrates the history of Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country. The Charleston Museum is known as America’s First Museum having been established on the eve of the American Revolution in Charleston in 1773 by the Charleston Library Society. The museum was not opened to the public until 1824, but it’s collection was declared to be one of the finest in America by leaders in field.

Museum History

Since the late 18th century, the museum has been able to aggressively expand its collection and now holds the most comprehensive materials on South Carolina in United States.

The Collections

The artifacts in holding at The Charleston Museum are a part of 14 different collections. These collections are comprised of thousands of items that span hundreds of years of Charleston History and pre-history. Much of the collections is catalogued on the online database and exhibits at the museum are curated from select pieces in the collections.

Archaeology- Artifacts in the archaeology collection date to the prehistoric period and modern historic period which is from 1492 to present day. There are materials sourced from around the world in this collection with an emphasis on artifacts that were excavated in Charleston and the Lowcountry.

Fine Art- 18th-early 20th century paintings and sculptures, etchings, sketches, and drawings are represented with various subject matter.

Furniture- Furniture pieces from the 18th- early 20th century that were locally made including large pieces such as sofas, tables, and chairs are included in this collection.

Geology- Explore over 5,000 stones collected from all over the planet. This collection includes precious stones, minerals, rocks, amber with preserved insects, gemstones, and meteorites, as well as soil samples from the region.

Herbarium- This collection of more than 5,000 preserved plants as an emphasis on the low country of South Carolina but includes specimens from around the world. There are seeds that date back more than 300 years, pressed flowers, and an herbarium that is used for scientific study.

Needlework- This collection focuses on embroidery, needlepoint, and samplers with pieces created as early as colonial times.

Photography- More than 35,000 photographs comprise this collection that were all taken by Charleston photographers such as Louis Schwartz and Robert Achurch. The photos range from the civil war era through the Hurricane of 1989.

Pottery- This collection features pieces from the Edgefield District of South Carolina spanning from the 18th century and into the early 20th century.

Quilts- This collection is categorized into household accessory quilts and bedding and is one of the largest collections of quilts in the region.

Slave Badges- The Charleston Museum holds the largest public collection of Slave Badges. These copper badges were worn to identify slaves who worked outside of their owner’s property until 1863.

Uniforms- Uniforms from the military, schools, militia, and many other civic services are included in this collection.

Vertebrate Paleontology- one of the largest collections in the museum’s holdings, the vertebrate paleontology collection consists of more than 10,000 specimens dating back to the Cenozoic Era. The Charleston Museum is also home to largest Oligocene Whale collection in the world.

Weaponry- 17th century swords, firearms and accoutrements are included in this collection that spans the early 20th century and features projectiles and explosives.

Wedding- The Charleston wedding scene from 1768 through the 1980’s can be seen through this collection that features gowns, shoes, veils, gloves, garters, and men’s attire. Much of the clothing was worn by prominent South Carolinians such as the Pinckney’s, Heyward’s, and Hollings’s.

Permanent Exhibits

There are nine exhibits that are permanent fixtures in the Charleston Museum.

Charleston Silver- Silver crafted from Colonial times through the Victorian age is featured in the Loeblein Gallery of Charleston Silver. One of the highlights of this exhibit is the cup used to Christen George Washington.

Historic Textiles- This gallery features rotating artifacts from the textile medium and clothing collections. This collection is one of the best in the Southeast. Current exhibit details can be found on the Charleston Museum website.

Kidstory- This exhibit is designed specifically for kids, to be hands on and interactive. Visitors can discover and explore the history of Charleston and the Lowcountry region. Pirate ships, historic mansions, and science laboratories can be discovered in this exhibit where history comes alive.

Early Days- Artifacts from all over the world are presented in this exhibit that is strong in 19th century history. A favorite piece for visitors to see is the Egyptian Mummy and the Greek and Roman artifacts. Other prehistoric specimens such as fossils, dinosaur’s tracks, and a two-headed snake can be found here.

Natural History Gallery- An impressive look back in time to the prehistoric animals that once roamed the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Charleston. Birds, whales, crocodiles, and a 28-million-year-old dinosaur as well as extinct species of parakeets are found in the Natural History Galleries.

City Under Siege- The Ordinance of Secession that sparked the Civil War is the focus of this exhibit that highlights weaponry, uniforms, and the history of Charleston during this conflict.

Becoming Americans- Visitors to this exhibit are educated on the history of the American Revolution and the role that Charleston played in the road to independence.

The Armory- Weaponry dating back to 1750 through the 1900’s are collected in The Armory which features military and personal use weapons. Swords from major conflicts in American history, artillery, muskets and riffles Revolutionary War through World War II.

Lowcountry History Hall- Native Americans who were the first people to call the Lowcountry home and their history is explored in this exhibit that also goes through the cultural history of the colonists, African slaves, and economic transformation of South Carolina.

Historic Homes

The Charleston Museum owns and manages two historic homes in South Carolina.

Joseph Manigault House- This Plantation home is a perfect example of the antebellum south built in 1803 for Joseph Manigault. This home reflects upon plantation life and the binary differences between the wealthy white family and the rice growing slaves that worked the land.

Heyward-Washing House- One of the few Colonial homes still standing, this Georgian-style double house was built in 1772 for Thomas Heyward Jr. who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This property is unique in that it features the only kitchen open to the public from 1740 in the region as well as a formal garden that still maintains 18th century South Carolina Lowcountry perennials.

Educational Programming

The Charleston Museum offers dozens of opportunities for children, adults and families to learn more about Natural History and participate in classes, workshops, and explorations at the museum. Details on specific programs fees and registration information can be found online. All classes are designed for specific age groups with program offerings changing monthly.

Explorations- Scavenger hunts are available for grades 2-12 and pre-k through grade 3 for students or groups that are visiting the museum and partaking in self-guided tours.

Classes- There are many different classes offered throughout the month that educate children on many natural history topics from the oceans to animals, prehistoric animals, tribal lives and customs, Ancient Egypt, the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Gullah Traditions and many others. These classes allow participants to gain more knowledge on permanent exhibits in the museum through interactive lessons and hands-on learning.

To-GO- Get the Museum to Go and have the educational programs of Charleston Museum brought to a school or community group. There are minimum group sizes that must be accommodated for this program. The Charleston Museum also offers programs that are designed for After-school care that are one hour long and come in series of extended learning opportunities. There are five topics that educators can choose from for program.

Toddler Days- These special days for children 18 months to 3 years old are for parents and toddlers to partake in together and include craft making and age appropriate play at the museum. This program has a schedule that can be found online.

Camp Programs- There are three camps offered at Charleston Museum that occur during traditional school breaks. Spring Break camp, Nature Trailers Summer Camp at Dill Sanctuary on James Island, and day-camp at the Museum are offered annually. Advanced registration is required.

Special Events

Birthday parties are the most common special event hosted at The Charleston Museum. Parties can be arranged for groups of 10-20 children and themed for Egyptian, Oceans, Pottery, Dolls, Safaris, pirates, or bugs. Charleston Museum provides many birthday activities, cake, and other goodies!

Tea Parties, and other private events are also welcomed to be hosted at the museum. There may often be other events as tours, field trips, lectures, and toddler days going on during events.

Museum Store

The Charleston Museum Store can be shopped in person or online. The gift shop sells a large collection of educational gifts for children and adults, museum souvenirs, books on Charleston history, and pieces inspired by the collection. Shoppers will also find handmade and artisanal crafts and products from the Lowcountry.

360 Meeting street, Charleston, South Carolina, 29403, Phone: 843-722-2996