The Weather and Climate in Charleston

Charleston, SC

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A top travel destination for domestic and international visitors alike, Charleston, South Carolina is a coastal city with a subtropical climate, with over 200 sunny days and 50 inches of rain annually. Summer days are hot and humid—with high temperatures ranging between 80 and 90 degrees F (27 and 32 degrees C)—while winters are short and mild—with snowfall and temperatures below freezing a rarity. Spring and fall are the most popular seasons for tourists because of the ideal temperatures. However summer offers a great opportunity to enjoy area beaches, recreational activities, and outdoor festivals, while winter offers a break from crowds and relatively mild weather compared to the rest of the country. Overall, Charleston is a beautiful city with ideal weather most of the year.

Fast Climate Facts: 

  • Hottest Month: July (90 degrees F / 30 degrees C)
  • Coldest Month: January (57 degrees F / 14 degrees C)
  • Wettest Month: August (12 inches of rain)

Hurricane Season in Charleston

Due to its location on the Atlantic Ocean and below sea level, the city can be impacted by hurricanes (the season runs June through November) and occasional flooding. In those instances, there is generally advance warning and officials have evacuation measures in place. To learn more read our article on hurricanes in North and South Carolina.

Spring

With flowers in full bloom and long, sunny days with high temperatures ranging between 70 and 80 degrees F (21 and 27 degrees C), spring is the most popular time for visiting Charleston. It's a great time to explore the area on foot or take advantage of popular seasonal events like the Annual Festival of Houses & Gardens, Cooper River Bridge Run, and Spoleto Festival USA, one of the country's largest performing arts festivals. Note that hotel rates are at their highest this time of year, and that water temperatures are still a bit too chilly for swimming or boating until late May or early June.

What to pack: Spring days are often warm, but nights can be chilly, especially in March and April, or at spots close to the water. Pack light clothing that can be layered. While spring is generally dry, you may want an umbrella in case of occasional showers.

Average Temperatures by Month

March: 70 F / 47 F (21 C / 8 C)

April: 76 F / 53 F (25 C / 12 C)

May: 83 F / 62 F (28 C / 17 C)

Summer

Summers in Charleston are hot and muggy, with temperatures soaring to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) over 40 days annually. The humidity, which is generally between 70 and 80 percent this time of year, can be stifling, but summer is great time to enjoy area beaches on Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island as well as recreational activities like boating, golf, and swimming. Do be aware that hurricane season is from June to November, so your travel may be impacted by tropical storms and other inclement weather.

What to pack: Yes, these are the city's hottest months, so shorts, sundresses, and light fabrics are a must. Be aware that some restaurants have dress codes requiring pants and collared shirts, and that indoor buildings can be chilly due to air conditioning, so pack a light sweater or jacket just in case. Note that August is the rainiest month of the year, so come prepared with an umbrella.

Average Temperatures by Month

June: 88 F / 70 F (31 C / 21 C)

July: 91 F / 73 F (33 C / 23 C)

August: 90 F / 72 F (32 C / 22 C)

Fall

Fall is another popular time for Charleston visitors, as the city enjoys mild temperatures well into November. Humidity can still be a bit high, and there is a threat of hurricanes and tropical storms, but overall, it's a pleasant time of year and is often less crowded than spring and summer.

What to Pack: Early fall can be quite warm, so pack as if you would summer in other locations. In October and November, light layers for warm days and cooler nights are recommended.

Average Temperatures by Month

September: 85 F / 67 F (29 C / 20 C)

October: 77 F / 57 F (25 C / 14 C)

November: 70 F / 48 F (21 C / 9 C)

Winter

Winters in the city are mild, with temperatures rarely falling below freezing. From holiday dinner cruises to light festivals, parades, and performances of seasonal classics like "A Christmas Carol," December is a magical time in the city. January and February can be a bit chilly, but high temperatures are still near 60 degrees F (15.5 degrees C), making Charleston a welcome escape from places with true winter climates. Hotel rates are also the least expensive in the first two months of the year.

What to pack: As with other seasons, layers for temperature variations work best in winter. Also pack a light coat or heavier jacket for chilly evenings.

Average Temperatures by Month

December: 62 F / 40 F (16 C / 5 C)

January: 59 F / 38 F (15 C / 3 C)

February: 63 F / 41 F (17 C / 5 C)

Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours Chart

Charleston's weather is moderate year-round, with ample sunshine, mild winters, and agreeable springs and falls that make up for hot and humid summers. Here's what to expect in terms of average temperature, inches of rain, and daylight hours throughout the year.

  • January: 49 F / 9 C; 3.7 inches; 10 hours
  • February: 52 F / 11 C; 3 inches; 11 hours
  • March: 59 F / 15 C ; 3.7 inches; 12 hours
  • April: 65 F / 18 C ; 2.9 inches; 13 hours
  • May: 73 F / 23 C ; 3 inches; 14 hours
  • June: 79 F / 26 C; 5.7 inches; 14 hours
  • July: 82 F / 28 C; 6.5 inches; 14 hours
  • August: 81 F / 27 C; 7.2 inches; 13 hours
  • September: 76 F / 24 C; 6.1 inches; 12 hours
  • October: 67 F / 19 C; 3.8 inches; 11 hours
  • November: 59 F / 15 C ; 2.4 inches; 10 hours
  • December: 51 F / 10.5 C; 3.1 inches; 10 hours
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