Charleston Summer Activities
Summer is finally here, and we Charlestonians are already enjoying the weather.
Charleston is known for its outdoor activities, summer festivals, and pristine beaches. We also use this season as an opportunity to eat some of our most iconic foods and enjoy a little lowcountry music.
Discover why summer is the most popular season to travel to the Holy City.
Charleston Summer Weather
While summer is one of the most popular seasons to visit Charleston, the weather doesn’t always cooperate during this season.
Charleston summer weather is usually hot and wet. Temperatures rise up to the upper 80s in June, July, and August. Lows at night are in the mid-70s.
Summer also marks the start of Charleston’s rainy season. But the city happens to get a lot of rain year round, so that’s saying something! The average rainfall in June is 5.92 inches, the average rainfall in July is 6.13 inches, and the average rainfall in August is 6.91 inches!
It’s safe to say you can expect both sun and rain on any given day in Charleston as well as some heat and humidity in the summertime.
Packing for Charleston in the Summer
Packing for Charleston in the summer can be a little tricky. You’ll want to pack light, breathable clothing — but also some rain gear.
We recommend comfy clothes for the day and something a little fancier in the evening if you’re planning to make reservations at one of Charleston’s fancier restaurants. Charleston locals are known for dressing to impress.
You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes, as there’s plenty of walking here — especially on uneven cobblestones!
Don’t forget to pack your rain jacket and umbrella in case of the occasional rain shower.
Charleston Summer Events
Charleston festivals are plentiful throughout the year. But the city’s time to shine is in the Summer when travelers come from around the world to eat great food and learn about lowcountry history.
Just some of the most popular Charleston summer events include:
- Annual Festival of Houses & Gardens
- Charleston Jazz Fest
- Charleston Wine and Food Fest
- Spoleto Festival
- Patriots Point Fireworks
- High Tide Music and Arts Festival
- Dancing on the Cooper
- Hot Nights in the Holy City
Most events feature live music and (of course) local lowcountry cuisine. Most of the above events are ticketed, but some are free to the public.
Charleston Summer Activities
With all the Holy City’s outdoor activities, it seems like Charleston was practically made for summer. Since Charleston is right on the water, water activities, like boating, dolphin watching, and sunbathing are also popular.
Our favorite Charleston summer activities embrace the outdoors and the city’s rich and colorful history.
Charleston History Tour
Charleston is a history lover’s paradise! The city was founded in the 1600s and is one of the oldest on the East Coast.
Thanks to Charleston’s close proximity to the ocean, it was quickly established as a port city.
If you want to hear the real stories of the people who built this city, we recommend booking a tour. Right now, Walks of Charleston is operating two public tours, including the Downtown Charleston History tour and our famous Alleyways and Hidden Passages tour.
We also operate private tours, including day trips to Savannah, off-the-beaten-path tours, Civil war history tours, and church tours.
Best Charleston Boat Rides
Charleston is located right on the water, making it an ideal destination for boaters. It’s home to some of the best Charleston boat rides.
If you want to learn about the history of the city and enjoy stunning views and affordable prices, the Charleston Water Taxi will take you to some of the most visited points in the city.
Or, take a kayak or canoe tour to learn about the rich aquatic habitats in South Carolina.
Love to party? A beer and paddleboat tour might be more your speed. If you’re a little classy, the
Schooner Pride offers tall ship tours of the Charleston Harbor.
Rooftop Bars and Restaurants
What better way to cool down and refuel than at one of Charleston’s many rooftop bars and restaurants?
A city with so much connection to the water should definitely feature at least a few rooftop eateries, in our opinion!
Some of our favorite rooftop bars and restaurants in Charleston include:
- Aqua Terrace
- Pavillion Bar
- Stars Rooftop Bar and Grill
- Eleve Rooftop
- Rooftop at the Vendue
- And many more!
Rest your tired feet, enjoy a refreshing cocktail, and get to know the culinary history of the city by enjoying some of Charleston’s most iconic food.
Charleston is home to six beaches, and each one has its own atmosphere. Head to a beach closer to the city’s downtown, and the vibe is a bit more lively. Travel to one of our more rural beaches for relaxation and surfing.
Our favorite Charleston beaches include:
- Folly Beach
- Isle of Palms
- Kiawah Island
- Sullivan’s Island
- Seabrook Island
Before you head to one of these spots, you’ll want to prepare. The easiest way to get to all of Charleston’s beaches is by car; if you’re not planning on renting a car or don’t want to order a rideshare, you can take the bus or rent a bike.
Fort Sumter/Patriots Point
Fort Sumter National Monument and Patriots Point are located across the harbor from Downtown Charleston. To get here, you can either take the water ferry or drive across the Ravenel Bridge.
The first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter. Tours of this structure detail its history — in the Civil War, leading up to the war, and its importance to Charleston since the war ended.
Patriots Point is home to a naval and maritime museum with exhibits including the Yorktown aircraft carrier, the USS Laffey Destroyer, and the Vietnam Experience.
One of the most popular activities in South Carolina is visiting Charleston plantations.
The Charleston area is home to four plantations, all of which offer a different view of the history of the South.
Charleston plantation tours offer a glimpse back into history. Learn about each plantation’s role in the U.S. economy and in the everyday lives of the locals. Most importantly, you’ll learn about the history of slavery in the South and the impact it still has on America’s society today.