What’s the best time to visit Charleston?

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The Lowcountry is blessed with a sub-tropical climate, meaning Charleston has mild winters and hot summers. Tourist season peaks in May, for good reason — although the midday air temperature is still comfortably in the 80s, the water is warm enough for swimming and the evenings are cool.

Charleston’s beaches stay busy through September, despite sweltering and sticky July and August days. If you visit in mid-summer, allow time for afternoon rests and trips to the beaches. Fortunately, the long days allow for pleasant evening activities, from sipping drinks by the water to walks downtown.

Winter nights rarely freeze in Charleston, although February and March bring their share of frost. Those who make the trip this time of year are rewarded with major attractions virtually free of crowds. The flowers may not be in bloom yet, but having Middleton Place or Magnolia Gardens all to yourself is priceless.

  • On June 7, 2013
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    What’s the best time to visit Charleston?

    The weather is at its absolute best in Charleston in the spring  — July and August can be quite hot and humid, though you always have the ocean waters at beaches like Folly and Sullivan’s Island to cool you down. But weather aside, you can plan your visit around some of the city’s happenings, too. The Spoleto Festival runs for two weeks every May/June and features a huge lineup of performances and exhibitions to catch at venues all over the city, giving you a great look this seaside town. You can take in everything from opera to theater to music to dance, as well as sit in on artist talks and view special art exhibits. Venues for Spoleto include College of Charleston’s gorgeous Cistern Yard — canopied by oaks with hanging moss — and Middleton Place, a historic plantation set on the marsh just outside the city with a maze of gardens and sheep that graze on huge swaths of open grass. Besides Spoleto, the Cooper River Bridge Run, a 10K that takes place each April, also draws visitors to the city. The race leads runners across the city’s new, super-sleek Cooper River Bridge and into the historic downtown streets. The best part is that after you run the race, you can visit one of the Charleston’s many fantastic brunch spots for a well-deserved breakfast (we recommend Hominy Grill). If you’re looking to visit Charleston during the holiday season, you might plan your stay (try Charleston Place hotel) to coincide with the night-time Christmas Boat Parade at the beginning of December. Stand on the edge of The Battery and watch every kind of boat imaginable — including kayaks — float by, decorated in creative displays of holiday lights. Meanwhile, behind you, the lovely historic homes of Charleston are decked in their own classic holiday displays. It’s a fun and memorable way to begin the season. 
  • On June 7, 2013
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    What’s the best time to visit Charleston?

    The weather is at its absolute best in Charleston in the spring  — July and August can be quite hot and humid, though you always have the ocean waters at beaches like Folly and Sullivan’s Island to cool you down. But weather aside, you can always plan your visit around some of the city’s happenings, too. The Spoleto Festival runs for two weeks every May/June and features a huge lineup of performances and exhibitions to catch at venues all over the city, giving you a great look this seaside town. You can take in everything from opera to theater to music to dance, as well as sit in on artist talks and view special art exhibits. Venues for Spoleto include College of Charleston’s gorgeous Cistern Yard — canopied by oaks with hanging moss — and Middleton Place, a historic plantation set on the marsh just outside the city with a maze of gardens and sheep that graze on huge swaths of open grass. Besides Spoleto, the Cooper River Bridge Run, a 10K that takes place each April, also draws visitors to the city. The race leads runners across the city’s new, super-sleek Cooper River Bridge and into the historic downtown streets. The best part is that after you run the race, you can visit one of the Charleston’s many fantastic brunch spots for a well-deserved breakfast (we recommend Hominy Grill). If you’re looking to visit Charleston during the holiday season, you might plan your stay (try Charleston Place hotel) to coincide with the night-time Christmas Boat Parade at the beginning of December. Stand on the edge of The Battery and watch every kind of boat imaginable — including kayaks — float by, decorated in creative displays of holiday lights. Meanwhile, behind you, the lovely historic homes of Charleston are decked in their own classic holiday displays. It’s a fun and memorable way to begin the season. 
  • On May 24, 2013
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    What should I pack for a trip to Charleston?

    Charleston, South Carolina is by far one of the quaintest towns in the Southeast. We’re certain you’ll enjoy your visit. Here’s what you should bring along for the ride:

    1. Stylish walking shoes. You’ll want to walk the charming streets of Charleston to get a closer look at the gorgeous architecture. The homes on the Battery, in particular, are sure to draw you in for a long gaze, so driving simply won’t do. Slip into a pair of comfortable walking shoes — perhaps boat shoes, to fit in with the natives of this seaside town — and hit the pavement (and cobblestone).

    2. Sundresses and shorts. Like many cities in the Southeast, Charleston is not just hot but ultra-humid in the spring and summer. Sticky weather calls for light and breezy clothes (trust us), which is why you’ll see so many of the native ladies wearing sundresses. Join the crowd, girls, and don a muted sundress during the day — and also out to dinner and drinks at night. Guys, bring your khaki shorts. 

    3. Your swimsuit. One of the most wonderful things about Charleston is that it’s so close to the beach. Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island and Kiawah are each a mere 20 minutes or so away from the city, so you should definitely pay a visit to the ocean.

    4. Your camera — or your phone, that is. If you’re a first-timer to Charleston, you’ll be transfixed by all the intricate details of Charleston’s historical architecture. Don’t be surprised if you start snapping images of potted lemon trees on porches, ornate columns and wrought iron balconies. It’s all just so pretty.

    5. Your appetite. Charleston is known for its rich, low country fare, and you need to experience it. Nix the diet and dig into a deep plate of spicy shrimp, Andouille sausage and grits — not to mention fried hominy and hush puppies. It's worth it. 
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  • On May 22, 2013
    Amanda Arnold answered the question: Amanda Arnold

    What should I pack for a trip to Charleston?

    Charleston, South Carolina is by far one of the quaintest towns in the Southeast. We’re certain you’ll enjoy your visit. Here’s what you should bring along for the ride:

    1. Stylish walking shoes. You’ll want to walk the charming streets of Charleston to get a closer look at the gorgeous architecture. The homes on the Battery, in particular, are sure to draw you in for a long gaze, so driving simply won’t do. Slip into a pair of comfortable walking shoes — perhaps boat shoes, to fit in with the natives of this seaside town — and hit the pavement (and cobblestone).

    2. Sundresses and shorts. Like many cities in the Southeast, Charleston is not just hot but ultra-humid in the spring and summer. Sticky weather calls for light and breezy clothes (trust us), which is why you’ll see so many of the native ladies wearing sundresses. Join the crowd, girls, and don a muted sundress during the day — and also out to dinner and drinks at night. Guys, bring your khacki shorts. 

    3. Your swimsuit. One of the most wonderful things about Charleston is that it’s so close to the beach. Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island and Kiawah are each a mere 20 minutes or so away from the city, so you should definitely pay a visit to the ocean.

    4. Your camera — or your phone, that is. If you’re a first-timer to Charleston, you’ll be transfixed by all the intricate details of Charleston’s historical architecture. Don’t be surprised if you start snapping images of potted lemon trees on porches, ornate columns and wrought iron balconies. It’s all just so pretty.

    5. Your appetite. Charleston is known for its rich, low country fare, and you need to experience it. Nix the diet and dig into a deep plate of spicy shrimp, Andouille sausage and grits — not to mention fried hominy and hush puppies. It's worth it. 
  • On April 8, 2013
    Craig Deihl answered the question: Craig Deihl

    What are the best things to do in Charleston?

    We have a lot of great beaches. We have a rich history of overly friendly people and Southern hospitality. Downtown and the former slave market are worth a walk-through. If you’re looking for a history lesson on what this city has to offer, a carriage tour is definitely worth it. If you’re into art, we have some unbelievable museums in Charleston. And Charleston Grill is an awesome place to listen to live jazz.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Craig Deihl answered the question: Craig Deihl

    What are the best places for brunch in Charleston?

    Butcher & Bee is a great little restaurant. It’s a made-from-scratch place. It used to be a little hidden gem, but not anymore. It’s definitely doing it right. It has a relaxed atmosphere. Also Fat Hen on Johns Island is another good pick for brunch.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Craig Deihl answered the question: Craig Deihl

    What are the best Charleston neighborhoods?

    I live on James Island, and we love it. It’s 10 minutes from the beach and downtown. If we didn’t live on James Island, we’d probably live on Mount Pleasant. Our favorite place to daycation is Goat Island. You can only get there by boat. It’s behind the Isle of Palms and separates the Intracoastal Waterway. We roast oysters and pigs out there. And we even got married out there.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Craig Deihl answered the question: Craig Deihl

    What’s the best time to visit Charleston?

    The months between March and the beginning of May when it’s not too hot is when you want to be outside. As soon as it hits 90 degrees, Charleston is hot, muggy and sticky. November to March, I want to work in the kitchen because it’s not too hot in the kitchen.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Craig Deihl answered the question: Craig Deihl

    What are the best Charleston restaurants?

    FIG is one of my favorites. On the outskirts of downtown is The Glass Onion. We eat there about once a month. It’s a place my daughter can be herself and we can still eat great food. Slightly North of Broad will always be a restaurant that I love. It was one of the newer restaurants when I moved to Charleston. I have not had a bad meal at The Macintosh. Wild Olive on Johns Island has high-quality food and ingredients. I encourage people to get out and go there.
  • On April 8, 2013
    Craig Deihl answered the question: Craig Deihl

    What are the best Charleston museums?

    The Charleston Museum — it’s the oldest museum in all of the country. But I also think of a museum when getting on the boat and visiting places like Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie at Sullivan’s Island. Even though they aren’t technically museums, they are living museums. Even down by The Battery is a living museum. Really, the entire city is a museum.
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