Best Time to Visit - 12 min read

Best Time To Visit South Carolina (Best Weather Beaches & Barbecue)

Lauren Abbott

Lauren Abbott, Updated October 22, 2022

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South Carolina is a beautiful Southeastern state known for its stunning beaches and delicious Carolina barbecue. Its mild weather makes it the perfect destination for many outdoor activities. From its Atlantic coast to the mountains, South Carolina is packed full of interesting adventures. 

The best time to visit South Carolina is between March and May. The weather is pleasant, averaging 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Those who travel to South Carolina in the spring can enjoy the best weather of the year. This time is best spent enjoying outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and going to the beach

If you are planning to enjoy everything South Carolina has to offer, read on to discover the most optimal season to visit. 

Worst Time To Visit South Carolina 

The worst time to visit South Carolina is in the summertime. From June through August, there is an influx of tourist traffic on the beaches. 

Crowds are present for summer break and family vacations. This is also considered the high season of tourism in South Carolina. 

Travelers who visit during these months will likely have to deal with large crowds, long lines, and inflated prices. If possible, it is best to avoid traveling to South Carolina in its peak season of June to August. 

Cheapest Month To Go To South Carolina 

September is the cheapest month to go to South Carolina. This month is in the middle of the low tourist season of August to November. 

In September, guests can enjoy fewer crowds and cheaper accommodations. On average, flights and hotels are discounted by about 30% this season. The middle to end of the month is the best time for discounted travel costs. 

Best Time To Visit South Carolina For Picturesque Beaches and Southern Barbecue 

January: Best Time To Enjoy The Snow 

January is a beautiful time in South Carolina. The weather is chilly but not freezing, at an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The state also sees snow in the winter, making it optimal for winter sports and spending time outdoors. 

Some of the best things to do in January in South Carolina are skiing, sledding, and snowboarding. Enjoyable activities for families include snowball fights, building snowmen, and making snow angels. 

South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island hosts an official snow day at the beginning of the month. The event features a snowfield and inflatable rides.

Another point of interest during January is the Holiday Ice Rink at Fountain Park. There are tons of lights and decorations still up from the holiday season to view while traveling. 

  • Go on a cross-country skiing trip
  • Holiday Ice Rink at Fountain Park and Skating On The Square Ice Rink

Related Read: 60 BEST Things To Do in South Carolina

February: Best Time To Experience Culture 

There are a wealth of cultural experiences to explore in the state of South Carolina in February. The weather is mildly chilly at this time. Daytime temperatures are perfect for exploring everything the area has to offer. 

Points of interest in February include the Aiken Antique Show and American Heritage Festival. The Connick School of Irish Dance puts on an annual celebration in February. It features singing, dancing, and other live entertainment. 

Travelers to South Carolina in February can also attend music festivals and chef experiences open to the public. The Gullah Market is a great place to learn about Gullah culture by viewing art and trying cultural cuisines. 

  • Visit local markets
  • Attend annual cultural festivals 
  • Ancient Order of Hibernians Ceili

March: Best For Attending Festivals 

South Carolina is a melting pot of different cultures that can be experienced through food, music, and art.

One of the best ways to do this is by attending a festival. The state hosts plenty of yearly festivals, especially in the early spring. 

March is the best month to visit South Carolina if you look forward to attending its various festivals. Food-lovers can take advantage of the Hilton Head Wing Fest.

The event serves chicken wings and provides live music and activities. Hilton Bead also hosts a food and wine festival later in the month. 

Aiken’s Bacon and Brews is another point of interest for foodies. There is a Low Country Pow Wow and Cultural Festival held in early March.

In Sumter, South Carolina, guests can attend the annual Inspire Festival. This is a great way to become immersed in different cultures through art and music.

Various other interesting food and street festivals are available on South Carolina’s event calendar in March. 

  • Front Beach Fest
  • Festival Of Houses and Gardens
  • Irish Fest Camden

April: Best Time For Athletic Events 

The month of April boasts some of the best weather in South Carolina for the year.

This is an optimal time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while visiting. The state has a wealth of opportunities to participate in outdoor activities in April. 

The month is kicked off with the Carolina Cup, a horse racing charity event.

The Cooper River Bridge Run is a family-friendly 10K race in Charleston. The entire family can also participate in athletic competitions during Columbia’s Tartan Day festivities. 

There are plenty of other athletic activities and competitions available during April. These include a 4 Legged 4K race and sailboat races. 

  • Cooper River Bridge Run
  • iFiveK Race

May: Best Time For Local Tour Experiences 

May in South Carolina features warm spring weather and sunny days. It is the ideal time to sightsee and experience some of the state’s most interesting landmarks. 

The city of Charleston contains tons of history to explore. Travelers can ride on a horse drawn carriage to see all of the significant sites. The tour is led by an experienced local guide. 

There are several walking tour options as well. Charleston has an interesting “haunted history” tour, visiting graveyards and abandoned buildings alongside a group. 

Scavenger hunt activities and boat tours are available through South Carolina’s most visited cities. Local professional photographers also offer guided tours to the best photo spots around the state. 

  • Downtown Charleston guided tours
  • True Crime and Wine group tours

June: Best Time To Visit The Beach 

The weather in June in South Carolina is warm and ideal for visiting the beach. The state’s Atlantic Coast offers the perfect opportunity to cool off by the sea. Hilton Head Island is a beautiful area to visit and enjoy direct access to the water. 

A day on the beach is best spent going swimming, surfing, and boogie boarding. Travelers can also pack a picnic lunch or go for walks down the shoreline.

South Carolina’s most populous beaches offer additional attractions, from ferris wheels to parasailing rentals. 

  • Myrtle Beach
  • Isle of Palms

Related Read: 15 Top Treehouse Rentals in South Carolina

July: Best For Water Sports Activities 

July is another one of the hottest months experienced in South Carolina. In addition to visiting one of its many beaches, this season is great for outdoor water sports.

Staying cool under the sun is easy with all of the nearby water activities South Carolina has to offer. 

The lakes and rivers in South Carolina provide opportunities to go boating, fishing, and swimming. Those visiting the beach can go water skiing, jet skiing, and parasailing over the water. 

There are also several water parks scattered across the state. Visitors can splash around in swimming pools, lazy rivers, and ride down enormous water slides. 

  • Wild Water & Wheels water park
  • Lulu’s Beach Arcade and Ropes Course

August: Best Time To Eat Southern Barbecue 

South Carolina is renowned for its delicious southern barbecue dishes. This region features a famous “Carolina Barbecue” sauce that sets it apart from other regions.

The distinct condiment is golden as opposed to dark brown, containing mustard as a main ingredient. 

The best thing to experience in August while visiting South Carolina is one of its many food tours.

The city of Charleston offers guided walking tours of the best local restaurants. Tours typically last a few hours, and stop at 3 to 4 popular restaurants along the way. 

The South Carolina Barbecue Trail is a map of restaurants serving up grilled meats and delicious sauces. The state is composed of over 200 barbecue restaurants to choose from! 

August in South Carolina is optimal for barbecue food events and festivals. These include the Barbecue and Sweet Tea Festival and Beer, Bourbon, and Barbecue Festival. 

The Go Go BBQ Festival is another popular event in mid-August. Visitors who are looking to taste unforgettable dishes and experience Carolina barbecue will not be disappointed during this season. 

  • Midway BBQ
  • Hites Bar-B-Q
  • Q2U BBQ Pit

September: Best For Budget Travelers 

September is one of the cheapest months to visit South Carolina. It is part of the state’s low tourism season, presenting opportunities for budget flight options. 

With less crowds at popular tourist attractions, prices tend to be lower. Travelers can also avoid inflated hotel costs during this time for the same reasons. 

Those who choose to travel to South Carolina in September can take advantage of other budget activities during their stay. These include sightseeing and walking through the various cities.  

There are plenty of free or cheap outdoor activities to enjoy when the weather is chilly but not too cold in September. 

  • Hiking in the mountains
  • Go on a mountain biking adventure
  • Picnic in the parks

October: Best Time To Eat Fresh Seafood 

South Carolina is known for its delicious barbecue and fresh local cuisine. The neighboring Atlantic Ocean provides lots of delicious seafood caught and prepared daily. 

October is the best time to visit South Carolina to eat fresh oysters. This is the month when the shellfish are traditionally harvested on the coast. 

Some of the best places to enjoy fresh, in-season oysters are Pearlz Oyster Bar and Pappadeaux’s. 

Dishes to try featuring fresh oysters include a low country boil and oyster stew. The annual Oyster Roast takes place in October and is open to the public. 

In addition to oysters, clams and other shellfish are also in season in October. Visiting South Carolina in the late fall is a seafood lover’s dream. 

  • Lady’s Island Oysters
  • Caper’s Blade Oysters
  • Bluffton Oyster Company

November: Best For Art and Culture 

November is the best time to visit South Carolina for art and cultural experiences. Guests can attend a vintage automobile show at Hilton Head Island in the late fall. 

Other experiences include the Autumn Faire Arts Festival and Charleston Literary Festival. There are plenty of homemade crafts and goods for sale at Columbia’s Trinity Bazaar in mid-November. 

  • Coastal Carolina Fair
  • SC Pecan Music and Food Festival

Related Read: 50 Best Things To Do in Columbia, SC

December: Best Time To Celebrate The Holidays 

December is a magical time in South Carolina’s tourist cities. From Christmas lights to candle displays, the state offers plenty of opportunities to get in the holiday spirit. 

Other points of interest for December travelers include the Holiday Market, Lights Before Christmas, and Greenville Poinsetta Parade. 

  • Anderson Christmas Lights
  • Fantasy of Lights

Best Time To Visit South Carolina To Avoid Crowds 

The best time to visit South Carolina to avoid crowds is in the low season from September to November.

The cheapest rates for hotels and attractions are usually found in September. Visitors who are concerned about crowds can enjoy a more private vacation experience at this time. 

What Is The Best Time To Visit Charleston, South Carolina? 

The best seasons to visit Charleston are spring and fall. Weather between March and May is mild before the summer. This allows for plenty of time outdoors while traveling. 

The months of September through November are similarly pleasant. Fall is the best time to travel to Charleston for the lowest overall cost. 

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Charleston

What Is The Rainy Season In South Carolina? 

South Carolina gets the most rain between June and September. The rainiest month of the season is August, with over 7 inches of rainfall. 

After September, the state does not see much precipitation for the rest of the year. Travelers who are concerned about the rain should plan their trip around this season. 

When Is The Worst Time To Visit Myrtle Beach? 

Myrtle Beach is one of South Carolina’s most beautiful travel destinations. It boasts blue waters and miles of golden sand. With relatively mild weather year round, it is an ideal place to visit at almost any time. 

The worst time to visit Myrtle Beach is in the peak of the summer. From June to August, the area experiences an influx of tourist traffic.

The beaches are extremely crowded and can be unpleasant for those seeking a quiet vacation. 

What Is The High Season In South Carolina? 

June to August is the high season for tourism in South Carolina. Summer is the most popular time to visit due to the warm weather and entertainment options. 

Visitors in June, July, and August can expect beaches and attractions to be extremely crowded.

Many family trips to South Carolina take place during summer vacation. While there are plenty of things to do at this time, it is not ideal for seclusion. 

What Is The Best Time To Go Camping In South Carolina? 

The best month to go camping in South Carolina is September. Travelers can avoid the crowds during this time and enjoy outdoor activities in mild weather. 

Temperatures average up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the mountains during the day. It gets slightly chilly in the evenings below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but not unbearable. 

What Is The Best Time To Go Fishing In South Carolina? 

May to September is the most optimal time to go fishing in South Carolina. During this time, groupers and snappers are plentiful in the water. 

The busiest season for fishing is the summer. Travelers concerned about crowds should aim to visit in May or September. 

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