The best time to visit Charleston, SC, is in the spring or the fall. Charleston has mild temperatures year-round, but March to May and September to November allow you to escape the heat and humidity and the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season.
Charleston sits on the South Carolina coast, sporting has a subtropical climate. Summers are hot and sticky, with frequent rain and a chance of hurricanes. The city’s coastal location can make winters breezy and a little chilly.
Spring and fall offer the best of both worlds: The weather in Charleston is pleasant, but the chance of rain and storms is lower. This delightful Southern city offers something for visitors year-round, but you should choose when to visit based on what you want to get from your trip.
Want to find out when to go to Charleston for your ideal South Carolina adventure? Pick your perfect season and month with this handy Charleston weather guide!
Got more travel plans on the horizon? Check out our other weather & when to go guides and our Charleston City Guide and South Carolina Travel Guide for more recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!
Weather in Charleston, SC
Early spring in Charleston, SC, is mild and gradually reaches warm temperatures by the end of the season. It’s the ideal time to comfortably explore the city and mix in some summer activities.
The weather can be variable at the start of the spring season; be sure to check the forecast as you go to avoid a rain shower putting a dampener on your plans. Dress in cooling base clothing with layers to easily adapt to the changing elements.
Charleston gets even more colorful in spring. Vibrant magnolias and azaleas are blooming at every turn. Visit the plantations at this time of year to see the full glory of the stunning gardens.
A visit to Charleston in spring is best planned in advance. You’ll have to contend with soaring hotel prices, especially around Easter. The city will be crowded, so if you’re looking for a quiet break, it might be better to visit mid-week.
You can expect an exodus from the city in the summer, with most people choosing to focus their days around Charleston’s surrounding beaches. The heat and humidity can be stifling, but the coastal breezes make it more bearable.
Spend your mornings cooling off on the beach, paddle boarding, or chartering a boat. Thunderstorms usually start in the afternoon, so spend them napping, browsing the museums, or taking a long lazy lunch.
Since it’s in the middle of the Atlantic hurricane season, a visit to Charleston in the summer is best booked last minute. There’s a chance of hurricanes and flooding derailing your plans in the city. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance with hurricane and natural disaster coverage.
The weather in Charleston in summer is blazing hot, but the cloud cover is high. Even on cloudy days, make sure you wear SPF, as the UV levels are strong. Also, take lots of mosquito spray with you and drink plenty of water!
Fall is the second busiest season for Charleston, SC, but has slightly fewer crowds than in the spring. As it turns colder, there’s less focus on beach days and more activities, drawing people back into the heart of the city.
Temperatures remain high in fall and reduce gradually, but there’s still a hurricane and storm risk at the start of the season. Relief fills the city as the humidity starts to fade away. Rain is likely at any time in Charleston, but fall has low rainfall, so you can enjoy warm days and lots of time outdoors.
Fall is the best time for exploring the top tourist attractions in Charleston, SC. The charming architecture and changing leaves give the whole area a perfect autumnal ambiance.
Stroll pretty waterways and gardens lined with orange maple trees. Sink into Charleston’s rich heritage with tours of historic homes or soak up the buzzing atmosphere of the local farmer’s markets.
Keep in mind that in the autumn season, the temperature drops quite a bit at night; take a sweater for dinner and evening walking tours.
Charleston doesn’t normally come to mind for a winter break, but it’s a great alternative to snowy destinations. While the air is a lot cooler, the weather is pleasant compared to other US cities in the winter. Snow is rare, but there’s a chance of moderate rainfall.
As it’s Charleston’s low season, the crowds have all but disappeared. This means great deals on hotels and easier access to the best restaurants in the city.
Enjoy walking the cobbled streets and Charleston’s top attractions in a quiet, relaxed environment. The winter months are great for taking one of Charleston’s famous carriage rides. You’ll tick off multiple sights in a few hours on an old-world horse-drawn cart.
You won’t be needing a swimsuit, but winter is a great time to take a walk on Charleston’s beaches. Now that the sunseekers have disappeared, you can appreciate the beauty of the area and get some fresh air in paradise.
January isn’t a great month to visit Charleston if you want guaranteed sunny days. The weather is changeable and can bring clear blue skies or clouds and rain.
The average temperature in January is 60°F, but remember that this encompasses the warmer and cooler days. Rain is likely, with an average of 3.5 inches over ten days. Pack lots of layers and prepare to be spontaneous with your plans.
The highlight of January is the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the largest oyster festival in the world. As well as tasty oysters, you can watch shucking and eating contests and enjoy lots of live music.
February is a pretty time to visit Charleston and is a romantic Valentine’s Day destination. The average highs are 63°F, ideal for enjoying cozy walks to the cutest places in the city. Cloud cover is around 47%, so there’s a chance you’ll get some crisp sunny days.
Nature lovers flock to Charleston for the Southeastern Wildlife Expedition. This event includes impressive animal demonstrations and discussions to boost environmental awareness.
Another unique event is the Bacon and Bourbon Festival. Sample bacon dishes from the top chefs in the area alongside tasting bourbon from 25 different distilleries.
Temperatures in Charleston, SC, warm up in March, with averages of 70°F by the end of the month. With daylight hours reaching 12.5 hours, you’ll have plenty of time to get out and explore the city.
March mornings are still chilly, but afternoons are warm. Go out with lots of layers so you can strip down as the day goes on. It’s a pleasant time to stroll the beaches, but a little cold to swim with water temperatures around 65°F.
This month is a dream for foodies, with the arrival of the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. Delve into the area’s beautiful combination of seafood and Southern hospitality. Take part in tastings, dinners, and workshops to find your new favorite dish!
April is a popular time to visit Charleston, SC. Average highs sit at 73°F, and the intense summer humidity hasn’t set in yet. You’ll have the ultimate flexibility of exploring the city comfortably or spending days lounging on the beach. Rain is still a possibility in April, but showers are not as heavy and become less frequent.
In April, children are still in school, so you can avoid the influx of family tourism and the long queues for attractions.
If you love a city in bloom, plan your visit to align with the Flowertown Festival. It’s filled with stunning azaleas and wisteria, as well as a farmers market, workshops, and arts and crafts.
The weather in Charleston in May is warm and tends to get hot at the peak of the day. The humidity is starting to linger, increasing from 30% to 72% by the end of the month. This brings a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, so plan any outside activities for the morning. With skies still clear 57% of the time, it’s a great month for outdoor sightseeing and water sports.
For a once in a lifetime experience, visit the Victory Cup Hot Air Balloon Festival. Watch colorful hot air balloons launch into the sky before attending a lively polo match. With an alcohol-tasting tent, chef competition, and farm-to-table dinner, this is a fantastic southern day out.
The heat ramps up in June. Temperatures average 85°F and can reach up to 100°F. Humidity is also high at around 75%. The hot & humid weather sends many people to the coast for the cooling ocean breezes. Spend your afternoons at Charleston’s many museums so you can escape into the air conditioning.
June is the start of hurricane season; don’t be surprised if your plans get disrupted by stormy weather. Make sure you have the right travel insurance and follow safety advice.
Events wind down in June, but you can still attend Spoleto, America’s premier performing arts festival. Alongside this, you also have Pico Spoleto, a celebration of Southeastern USA arts, literature, and performance.
July is Charleston’s hottest month. The oppressive heat of the summer has set in. Average highs are 91°F, and humidity reaches 98% by the end of the month.
Beach and sailing days are a must in July, but book last minute in case a storm rolls in. Sea temperatures are ideal for swimming at 82°F to 84°F. You’ll need plenty of water, loose-fitting clothes, bug spray, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
Days usually start off sunny and grow progressively overcast. Expect the city to be busy during the 4th of July celebrations. Embrace the tropical climate at the Charleston Margarita Festival and Caribbean Jerk Festival.
August offers little respite from the heat. Daily highs are around 86°F, and humidity is still at 93% by the end of the month. August is Charleston’s rainiest month. Afternoons bring welcome showers and storms, providing a short but welcome break from the heat.
There aren’t many organized events in August since the oppressive temperatures make large crowds impractical. Most festivals are in the evening and concentrated around the further away waterside locations.
Enjoy the Reggae Nights Summer Concert Series or sip drinks among the fishes during Beer From Here at the South Carolina Aquarium.
Temperatures remain high in September. Average highs are 82°F, and humidity levels are around 75%. The heat brings lingering summer crowds looking for some last-minute sun. Hurricane season progresses into the month, so it’s still a risky time to visit if you want guaranteed clear days.
Labor Day weekend kickstarts Charleston’s fall event calendar. Get a taste of the city’s jazz heritage at the Charleston Lowcountry Jazz Festival and feast on all the best southern food during Restaurant Week.
The heat is bearable again by October. Daily highs average 77°F and but humidity is at 73%. It’s a little colder, but water activities are still possible with a water temperature of about 78°F. Some days are warmer than others, so pack lots of layers to give you options for all weather.
The charming city is the perfect backdrop for seasonal fun. Embrace the spooky season with ghost tours through haunted houses and cemeteries.
October is also a vibrant time to visit, thanks to creative events like the Art Walk and MOJA Arts Festival. If you’re missing your furry friend, pop over to Dogtoberfest. The cute and free pet expo raises money for local rescue organizations.
Pleasant weather continues in Charleston well into November. You’ll experience average highs of 70°F, but this could reach the low 80s on a warm day.
Days are often sunny, but it can get cool when it’s overcast, so make sure you have a light jacket. November is also the driest month, with only six days of rain. This is Charleston, though, so you should still pack an umbrella!
The last of the cozy fall activities take place at the start of the month before the city is lit up with twinkling lights for the holidays. Enjoy classic seasonal events like the Harvest Festival and the Holiday Festival of Lights.
December is a great time to get into the holiday spirit without the chilling temperatures of other winter destinations. Daily highs average 62°F, with a chance of 77°F on warmer days. Crowds are low, so you can expect to find great deals on the best hotels in Charleston, SC, on your winter getaway.
Charleston comes alive with glittering Christmas decorations and palmetto trees adorned with shimmering golden lights. For a Christmas lights bonanza, check out the Mount Pleasant Tree Lighting and Christmas Light Parade. Over 100 boats are decked out in crazy decorations are paraded down Coleman Boulevard.