Fall in Charleston, SC
Fall in Charleston, SC, may not be the most popular time to visit — but it should be!
Our favorite season in Charleston just happens to be fall. The days get a little cooler, the nights a little spookier (hello, haunted Charleston!), and it’s not nearly as crowded here in the fall as it is in the summer months.
Why Visit Fall in Charleston, SC? 5 Reasons to Head to South Carolina in the Fall
Fall is one of the best times to visit Charleston. Let’s find out why! Here are five reasons to head to South Carolina in the fall.
Charleston Fall Foliage
Charleston may not be as famous for its fall foliage as New England, Canada (or even Appalachia), but we do see some dazzling colors here in the autumn!
Charleston’s fall foliage season starts later than up north, meaning you can see two different peak leaf seasons in two different months! While peak season in New England is usually mid-October, peak season in Charleston doesn’t happen until mid-November.
If you love leaf peeping, why not take a trip to the Lowcountry after you visit the colors up north?
Our nights (and days) are warmer, and you won’t find the best shrimp and grits on this side of the Mississippi in New England!
Warm Days and Cool (ish) Nights
While the temperature does start to dip a little in the fall in Charleston, the weather is still pretty warm here in the fall.
In October and November, we experience highs in the mid-60s to mid-70s during the day and lows in the 50s at night. If you visit during the first week of October, you may even get a few days in the 80s!
These temperatures are perfect for travelers. You can easily walk around Downtown without breaking a sweat during the day, and you may only need a light jacket at night.
Summer is our peak tourist season in Charleston! Despite the fact that temperatures soar into the 90s (and 100s!) in the summer, this is simply the season that most travelers visit us.
If you visit anytime after Labor Day (and before Memorial Day), you’ll experience fewer crowds.
Even though we still do get lots of travelers visiting us in September, October, and November, it won’t be overwhelmingly crowded.
It’s easier to make restaurant reservations, get closer to the art in museums, and book a hotel room.
If you hate crowds, we recommend visiting Charleston in the Fall.
There are two times when you might see the crowd levels rising: during Charleston festivals! There are two big festivals here in the fall, including Charleston Restaurant Week and the MOJA Arts Festival.
Yes, there will be crowds, but these festivals celebrate two things Charleston is famous for: food and art!
Charleston Restaurant Week
Taking place the second and third week of September for 10 days, Charleston Restaurant Week features some of our favorite Charleston restaurants.
Enjoy a set menu of three to five courses (depending on the restaurant) at places like the Butcher & Bee, Delaney Oyster House, Hyman’s Seafood, High Cotton, Stars Rooftop & Grill, and more.
MOJA Arts Festival
The MOJA Arts Festival runs the last week of September through the first week of October.
This year, the festival will run from September 29th through October 9th.
On September 29th, the MOJA opening day parade kicks of the festivities! The festival celebrates Lowcountry culture and history with events like:
- MOJA Reggae Block Dance
- An Evening of Jazz with Momentum and Da’rrell Ravenell
- Harambee Dance Company at the Main Library
- Lowcountry Voices presents Hymnology II
- WONDERVERSE: The Music of Stevie Wonder
Since the weather is a bit cooler, there will be more opportunities to get outside and learn about Charleston’s history!
We offer all our public tours every fall, including our Charleston History tour and our Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages tour.
Several companies also run ghost tours in October in Charleston, and the Preservation Society opens the doors to Charleston homes to allow you to get a peek inside Lowcountry life!
Charleston History tour
Our most popular public tour is our Charleston History tour. Learn how the city of Charleston was built in the 1600s, about the South Carolina slave trade, and Civil War history.
Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages
We also operate our popular Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages tour as our second public tour.
Like our history tour, this tour also takes you through Downtown Charleston; unlike our history tour, this tour takes you through the back alleys and hidden passages — a network of alleys that tell the stories of both Charleston’s elite, working classes, and enslaved African Americans.
Want to do something different? We also run a private tour of Charleston as well as private tours outside of the city, too.
Charleston Fall Weather
Charleston fall weather can’t be beaten. We’ve got warm days and comfortably cool nights. Though we do see quite a bit of rain in Charleston in October and November, you may want to pack your umbrella — but chances are that it won’t rain every day.
Head here in the first week of October and you might get days where the temperature still crawls up into the 80s! But by the second week of the month, the temperature starts to dip.
Highs are in the mid-70s and lows are in the 50s. Most days, the temperature is in the 70s, though there will be a few days when it only gets up to the mid-60s.
Fall is a rainy season! In September, the average rainfall is just over six inches. In October, this number falls to just under four inches. By November, the average rainfall is just over two inches.
What to Pack to Visit Charleston in the Fall
Since Charleston fall weather can be somewhat unpredictable, you may want to plan for every type of weather event.
Throughout any given day in Charleston in the fall, you may experience rain, heat, cool breezes, and more.
Fall is also hurricane season on the East Coast, so we may even get extreme weather in Autumn in South Carolina.
It’s better to be prepared!
In addition to pajamas and toiletries, you’ll want to pack some long pants, short-sleeved shirts, a light jacket, rain gear (umbrella, rain jacket, waterproof shoes, etc.), comfortable walking shoes, and evening attire (if you plan on eating dinner at a restaurant with a dress code).