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4 Seasons of Southern Charm: 13 Things to do in Charleston

One Owner shares the scoop on things to do on your next South Carolina getaway — no matter what time of year you visit

Maehing O

In Charleston, we have four proper seasons, five if you want to count August and its humidity as its own. 

Colorful houses along Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina.    

Even with the humidity, there’s no place like home.

So, while we love packing our bags and putting our timeshare to use to explore new destinations, we also look forward to our local annual events and plan our trips away around them.

With each change of season, we get a chance to experience Charleston's magical charm all over again.  

Here are the top things to do.

Spring 

Springtime brings the azaleas to full boom and promises that mild days and cool evenings have arrived, and the first week in April is the busiest month for local events and you won’t lack for things to do.  

Flowertown Festival

The town of Summerville hosts the Flowertown Festival, which is the largest craft festival on the East Coast. More than 100,000 people visit Azalea Park daily for the three-day weekend event. If you go on Saturday, you're sure to see plenty of people who participated in the Annual Cooper River Bridge Run.  

Annual Cooper River Bridge Run

Aerial shot of New Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina.     

You'll know them when you see them. The t-shirt gives these runners away. Local artists compete to design the t-shirt every year, and for a good reason.

The run is the largest 10K in the world, and I'm proud to say that our family has participated in the Kids run or Bridge run every year for the past 18 years. 

Run, walk or crawl across the bridge — just get over it as we locals like to say. 

Annual Lowcountry Food Festivals

Boone Hall Plantation hosts the Annual Lowcountry Cajun Festival the same weekend. Don’t worry if you can’t come until the end of the month. It just means you’ll catch Boone Hall's annual Strawberry Festival instead.

If you like grits, make your way to St. George — just a 40-minute drive from Charleston. There you can enjoy the World Grits Festival, also in April.  

We even have a rice festival. Drive to beautiful Walterboro, South Carolina, in June to enjoy the Annual Rice Festival.  

Summer

Shot of ocean and pier at Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina.  

Plan a (Cool Off with) Water Day

Summers in South Carolina will make you appreciate the comforts of air conditioning. 

With all of the local water sources, we have plenty of options to cool off. Choose from lakes, rivers, creeks, sounds, and of course, the ocean and give "boat life" a try.

Be sure to plan your boat day around the changing of the tides so you don't find yourself stranded on a sand bar for hours.

If you'd rather stay on dry land while you enjoy the water, drive to one of our beaches and enjoy the sand between your toes for the day. Parking fills up early, so start the day early. Whether I dig my toes into the sand at Folly Beach, or the “Edge of America" as it’s referred to by locals, or I drive over the scenic Cooper River Bridge, I love a good beach day. 

Spoleto Festival

Spoleto Festival is a friendly reminder that summer is upon us. The event is one of America's major performing arts festivals and has run annually since 1977. 

The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Gian Carlo Menotti, started the festival after visiting the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. This fun event showcases performances that all ages can appreciate. Churches, gardens, theaters and open spaces serve as the backdrop for the 17-day event. 

Fall

Flowers blooming along The Battery in Charleston, South Carolina.    

I love the mild fall in the South and, I chuckle when my husband tells stories of shoveling the driveway to leave for work when he lived in Wisconsin. He traded his snow skis in for water skis shortly after moving to South Carolina and never looked back.  

I can even recall enjoying pumpkin patches and Halloween in shorts.

Lowcountry Halloween festival

If you do find yourself visiting during Autumn, be sure to check out the Lowcountry Halloween Festival. Remember to bring your candy sacks and prepare to fill them to the brim.

The first 1,500 people are guaranteed to get candy from the local businesses handing it out.

After the kids are sufficiently sugared, spend your time enjoying face painting, the petting zoo and other fun things to do

Insider tip: Come dressed as a family for the opportunity to win a prize.      

Once December rolls around, you’ll notice that you start feeling the chill in the air while the sun is up, and it's an ideal time to enjoy the outdoors.

Camping, Campfires and S’mores

People exploring the outdoors with a map and compass.    

If you're an adventurous, outdoorsy family, the region is great for camping excursions this time of year.

However, chances are you’ll have to go a little North to feel the frost on your tent. 

Winter

As the new year nears, we’re praying for a snow day. It’s true that the snowstorm of 2019 blanketed the Lowcountry with a whopping 5.3 inches of snow, so anything is possible. 

Enjoy the cooler temperatures with these activities.

Holiday of Lights Show

James Island County Park hosts the fabulous Holiday of Lights Show that runs from mid-November to December 31 and wows visitors of all ages with its millions of twinkling lights. The youngest travelers and kids at heart can also pay Santa a visit here.

Explore the Holy City's Many Churches

Aerial view of church steeple against sunset painted skies in Charleston, South Carolina.    

Winter is a great time to bundle up and appreciate other parts of the city. Like admiring the skyline, where you'll notice the church steeples standing tall. We have more than 400 churches on record, and our nickname is the "Holy City." 

The City of Charleston has a long-standing ordinance stating that no structure can be taller than our tallest church steeple, which is Saint Matthew's Lutheran Church. Most importantly, in the Holy City, we love and respect each other's religious beliefs, and there's plenty of churches to explore.

Annual South Eastern Wildlife Exposition

If you're a lover of all things wildlife and nature, don't miss the annual South Eastern Wildlife Exposition, a three-day weekend event in February.  

It brings together people of all ages, outdoor enthusiasts and conservationist in the name of outdoor education and awareness. Exhibits cover everything from fine arts, conservation, sporting demonstrations and fundraising events to educate the public about local wildlife and how to protect the environment. 

Read 6 Restaurants in Charleston to Try on Your Next South Carolina Getaway for more Lowcountry vacation ideas.

Hilton Grand Vacations Owner, Maehing O.

Maehing O

As seasoned Owners since 2006 and with a love of adventure, Maehing and her husband purchased Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare on the spot and vowed to never stay on the same property twice — and so far, so good. The couple and their large family, including five kids ages 10 through 28, grandkids and extended family, are always on the go searching for their next great family adventure. 

One of their favorite Hilton Grand Vacations memories was the look on their newly engaged kids' faces when they found out they were given ClubPoints for their honeymoon. They chose Kings' Land by Hilton Grand Vacations on The Big Island. When asked why she wanted to become an Explorer, Maehing says, "There's an entire world out there with beautiful people and places that should be seen, experienced and shared."

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