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The Overall Best Time to Visit South Carolina in 2024 (Our Take)

The Overall Best Time to Visit South Carolina in 2024 (Our Take)

What's the best time visit South Carolina?

The best time to visit South Carolina is from April to June, featuring warm weather perfect for beach outings and mountain hikes amidst blooming wildflowers. This season also welcomes the start of beach season and numerous cultural festivals, including Charleston’s famous Spoleto Festival, making it an ideal time for diverse activities.

South Carolina is one of the nation’s most charming states, and a great destination to visit for everything from beaches to history. Most visits here start in Charleston, the biggest city in the state with centuries of history and a world-class gastronomic scene.

The seashore, with miles of sandy shores and internationally famous destinations such as Hilton Head, is another popular place to go. Try to visit some inland destinations as well, such as the Blue Ridge Mountains and other natural parks.

South Carolina has something for everyone, especially if you visit during the right season. We’ll show you this and more below; let us be your guide!

Overall Best Time to Visit South Carolina

Historical mansions line the dam where the ocean meets the city during the best time to go to South Carolina

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The best time to visit South Carolina is from the late spring to the early summer (April-June), when you can enjoy decent weather throughout the state.

In late spring and early summer, temperatures are pleasantly warm, but not sweltering like they get during the height of summer. In Charleston, average high temperatures in May are around 83 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is great weather for exploring — warm enough for short sleeves and sundresses, but not so hot that you will be sweating buckets.

Thanks to South Carolina’s warm, subtropical climate, beach season starts early. At Myrtle Beach, one of the state’s most popular beach destinations, the average high temperature in May is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ocean is a bit chillier than it gets during the summer, but you can still go swimming and enjoy other beach activities as early as May. April to June is also one of the best times to head inland to South Carolina’s mountains.

The entire season is alive with wildflowers — spring wildflowers are in full bloom by April, and in June, the summer wildflowers are in bloom. The state park network has a page dedicated to the best wildflower trails around South Carolina, certainly a worthwhile way to spend a day or two.

Late spring is also the best time to visit South Carolina for foodies. Fresh produce is starting to fill the farmer’s markets and farm-to-table restaurants by April. It’s also seafood season.

Soft-shell crabs are in season in April, while shrimp season starts in late May/early June. As if you needed another reason to visit during this time, the late spring and early summer are when most of South Carolina’s best festivals take place.

Locals take advantage of the good weather before the hot, muggy summer to enjoy outdoor events. One of the biggest festivals in the state is the Spoleto Festival (May-June) in Charleston.

It’s considered one of the nation’s top art festivals. For over two weeks, the city is packed with theater performances, concerts, and more, with a show happening at every corner.

Other popular spring/early summer events include:

Cheapest Time to Visit South Carolina

Neat looking wreaths on a big white home in South Carolina, pictured during the winter, the cheapest time to visit

David AvRutick/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit South Carolina is during the winter (November-February), when there is less demand to visit the state. Like during most seasons, prices tend to fluctuate during the winter in South Carolina.

In late November, then again from mid-December to early January, expect higher prices due to the holiday season. People travel to see their families for Thanksgiving and Christmas, raising the cost of flights and hotels.

Others come to see South Carolina’s holiday festival, such as the Dickens Christmas Show in Myrtle Beach. Outside of the holiday period, winter is the best time to find discounts on accommodation, no matter where in the state you visit.

Charleston, usually South Carolina’s most expensive destination, is also budget-friendly at this time. Even top hotels offer deals of 20-35% off compared to other seasons.

Winter is the least expensive time for out-of-state visitors to come to South Carolina because the cost of transportation goes down. January and February tend to have the most affordable flights to major airports such as Charleston International Airport.

Since winter weather is usually mild, you also won’t have to worry about trip insurance or cancellations the way you do in spring and fall.

Least Busy Time to Visit South Carolina

Myrtle Beach boardwalk pictured during the best time to visit South Carolina with palm trees lining the beach

MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA – MARCH 19, 2020: The Boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, SC, March 19 the restaurants are closed or serving take out/Simply Photos/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit South Carolina is in the winter. From November to early March, the state receives a fraction of its usual visitor numbers. The weather in winter isn’t nearly as cold as it gets in some other parts of the United States.

It is too chilly to go to the beach, which is one of the main reasons people visit South Carolina. Average daytime temperatures in Charleston in January are about 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the Upcountry and other inland areas, it gets even colder, with nighttime temperatures around freezing. Many smaller towns feel sleepy and quiet during the off-season, especially beach communities.

Some businesses such as restaurants shut down completely in the winter since it doesn’t make financial sense to stay open when there are fewer tourists around.

However, bigger cities such as Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville are fully open for business even in the winter. This is a great season for a city break because there are so few crowds around. You won’t have to fight for space in galleries or on popular tours.

Winter is also a great time to visit if you are a foodie. The lack of crowds means that snagging a restaurant reservation is easy, even at some of Charleston’s top locations. Winter also has its fair share of seafood festivals, such as the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival (February).

The capital Columbia is also less crowded in the winter. A massive student town, the city sees an influx in visitors whenever there is a major event at the local universities, such as commencement, orientation, or move-in day.

By winter, the student calendar has evened out and there are fewer families visiting. You can also catch a football game at the University of South Carolina.

Worst Time to Visit South Carolina

Photo of a nice garden in Charleston pictured during the summer, the worst time to visit

Gold Decor/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit South Carolina is in the summer (July-August), which has sweltering temperatures, and in the early fall, when hurricane season peaks.

Summer weather in South Carolina can be downright beastly. Average temperatures in Charleston in July are around 91 degrees Fahrenheit. The Lowcountry is very humid, so daily high temperatures feel even hotter.

Expect to sweat through your shirt a few minutes after you leave your hotel room. Summer is also the rainiest season in South Carolina, especially along the coastal lowland areas. Expect frequent downpours that may affect your plans for outdoor activities.

More worryingly, summer coincides with hurricane season. Hurricane season lasts from June to November, although there have been storms in May and December before.

The most storms occur from mid-August to late September, when there are sometimes tropical storms back to back. You should be aware of the risks as a hurricane could disrupt your trip — or endanger your life if you don’t evacuate in time.

There are a few benefits to visiting South Carolina in the summer. This is the best season to visit the beach since the weather is the best for swimming. However, many families from the state and further afield head to the shore during this time as well, so expect traffic and lots of crowds.

Meanwhile, big cities such as Charleston are empty due to the high heat. If you’re willing to brave the humidity, you can have the city to yourself in the summer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beautiful dusk view of the harbor at Hilton Head pictured during the best time to visit South Carolina, the late spring

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Here are a few of the most common questions people have asked about visiting South Carolina:

What are the best months to visit South Carolina?

The best months to visit South Carolina are May and October. They have warm weather without the humidity and storms of summer.

What are the best months to visit Charleston, SC?

The best months to visit Charleston, SC, are April, May, or September. These months have good weather and excellent festivals.

When is the rainy season in South Carolina?

South Carolina has two seasons that get a lot of rain. Early spring (March) gets a lot of rain and tornadoes, while late summer and early fall is hurricane season and also very rainy.

What are the hottest months in South Carolina?

July and August are the hottest months in South Carolina. Temperatures are very high, and the humidity makes it feel hotter.

What month is the hurricane season in South Carolina?

Hurricane season is from June to November, but hurricanes are also possible in May and December.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit South Carolina?

The best time to visit South Carolina is in the late spring or early summer. That way, you can get the best weather and hit the beach without experiencing the worst of summer’s temperatures or crowds.

So, with so much to see and do and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that South Carolina has to offer. Happy travels!