If you are visiting Charleston, SC, in the off-season, then you are in luck. From culinary events like oyster roasts to family-fun activities like the Festival of Lights, there are so many ways to take advantage of this quieter time of the year. Below, we’ve outlined a comprehensive guide to downtown Charleston’s peak season, shoulder seasons, and the off-season for tourism. We hope this information will help you plan a Lowcountry getaway that is perfect for you! Afterward, find of the area’s top attractions by downloading your free Charleston Area Vacation Guide. Our guide is full of local recommendations on shopping, dining, tours, and more, so that you can spend less time planning and more time having fun!
The Off-Season in Charleston, SC, & What You Need to Know
When Is the Most Popular Time to Visit Charleston?
Tourism patterns in downtown Charleston have three categories: the off-season, the peak seasons, and the shoulder seasons.
The first peak season and the most popular time of the year to visit the downtown area is from the second weekend of February (when the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition kicks off) through May. Historically, the most popular month for visiting downtown Charleston is April. Part of this is due to the influx of visitors coming into the city for the annual Cooper River Bridge Run!
The second peak season takes place from September through Thanksgiving. During these months, Charleston enjoys warm afternoons and mild evenings: the ideal weather conditions for enjoying a horse-drawn carriage tour or wandering the city’s historic plantation gardens.
When Are the Shoulder Seasons and the Off-Season?
The shoulder season, also known as the period between the peak season and off-season, is June through August. Although the downtown area is quiet during this time, the city’s sea islands come alive with activity. As school lets out for the summer, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island become the area’s prime destinations.
For both downtown Charleston and the surrounding area, December, January, and the beginning of February are the primary off-season; this is also the most affordable time to visit!
How to Take Advantage of the Off-Season
The off-season is the perfect time of year to get to know the Lowcountry from a quieter perspective. You are also likely to save money on dining and other area attractions. Some of the best ways to enjoy Charleston and the surrounding area in the winter include:
- Oyster roasts and festivals
- The James Island Festival of Lights
- Holiday-inspired concerts with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra
- The Kiawah Island Marathon
- Year-round golf and tennis
For more recommendations on how to make the most of your off-season stay, view our complimentary Destination Guide.
The Best Place to Stay
Now that you know everything about the peak season and off-season in Charleston, SC, it’s time to find your home away from home. A vacation rental on Kiawah Island or Seabrook Island has all the features you could ever want in a Charleston getaway: a phenomenal location only 30 minutes away from downtown, resort-style amenities, and miles of pristine beach.
If you are ready to start planning your winter getaway to the Holy City, check our current vacation specials and book your stay! We can’t wait to welcome you to Charleston’s most beloved sea islands!