Visiting Charleston, SC in the Fall: What to Consider When Planning Your Trip

Each summer, Charleston hosts travelers from near and far who relax under our shady Palmetto palms, dig their toes into the sand, and sail around Charleston harbor in skiffs and on sailboats. What many travelers don’t know is that September to November is a wonderful time to visit Charleston and the Sea Islands. Fall is a best-kept secret among locals. Temperatures in the Holy City are mild, crowds are light, and there are activities for the whole family. If you’re thinking about visiting Charleston, SC, in the fall, let Pam Harrington Exclusives be your guide! Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy autumn in the Lowcountry.

Browse our Charleston area information guide and gather some ideas as you plan your adventure.  Explore our local recommendations for shopping, restaurants, and activities so you can live like a local during your trip to Charleston!

Charleston Area Info


The Best Things to Experience in Charleston, SC in the Fall

  • Historic City Market

With the holidays quickly approaching, Charleston City Market is an inspiring collective of shops with artisan crafts and regional gifts inspired by Charleston artists. What a great place to get your holiday shopping done before the rush of the season!

Historic Charleston City Market

The Charleston City Market was established in 1804 and encompasses several city blocks. It is one of the most visited markets in the United States.

We suggest starting your visit in the market’s Great Hall, a United States National Register Landmark that offers 18,300 square feet of gleaming micro boutiques.

Next make your way to three open-air structures filled with beautiful collectibles. Whether you’re looking for clothing, home goods, sweetgrass baskets, or bags of grits, you’re sure to find the perfect gift or souvenir.

Please note: Due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, masks are mandatory for entry. 

Market Hours are 9:30 - 5 pm daily.

The market is open 364 days a year, closed on Dec. 25th.

Night Market Hours (April - Dec) are Friday's and Saturday's, 6:30 - 10:30 pm.

  • Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Known as America’s oldest garden, Magnolia Plantation brilliantly captures Charleston’s spectacular fall foliage.

The landscape bursts with sasanqua camellias, pansies, azaleas, and snapdragons glowing in abundant hues of red, yellow, and orange, flourishing in the autumnal shade.

Keep a keen eye out and spot various wildlife species like alligators, black crowned night herons, and river otters before they retreat for the winter.

  • Fall Tour of Homes

Each October, the Preservation Society of Charleston hosts the Fall Tour of Homes, where guests may experience a behind-the-scenes look at some of the nation’s most exceptional historic houses. Strolling through these magnificent residences, you’ll experience the rich history of Charleston’s culture, architecture, and hospitality. 


Hear stories about the families who have lived here for centuries. It’s the perfect way to get to know our charming city!

Please note: During COVID-19 pandemic, all CURRENT CDC Guidelines will be followed. 

More Things to Do in Charleston, SC in the Fall

  • Charleston Fall Wine Festival

The Charleston Fall Wine Festival, held water-front in the Charleston Harbor Cruise Terminal, features over 50 wines and beer, live music, a DJ, and stunning views of the water. Purchase your tickets ahead of time and save on gate entry. Ticket prices include access, a souvenir wine glass, entertainment, and tastings. The event takes place rain or shine.  

  • Follypalooza

Swing over to the action-packed Follypalooza in the heart of Folly Beach. The cancer benefit is filled with excitement, from live music to a wonderful auction to carnival games for the kids. Support a great cause while having a blast at this fall event!

  • Drayton Hall

Take a fall stroll through America’s oldest public plantation house, Drayton Hall. The 18th-century home was built in 1738 by John Drayton. It is thought that Drayton built the house because he was unlikely to inherit his family’s property, now known as Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Visitors are welcome to tour the main home and gardens to transport themselves into a different time. Book a guided tour or enjoy a self-paced tour.

Kiawah Island in the Fall

  • Hit the Sand

Kiawah Island is perhaps the best place to visit during the fall. The temperatures stay around 75 degrees, the water is still warm, and it’s just you, the sand, and the surf. Trade in your typical summer vacation for a relaxing vacation on the coast this fall.

  • Fishing

Whether you’re chartering a boat or casting out from the shore, there are tons of fish in the water during the change of seasons. Fall fishing on Kiawah Island is a angler’s paradise - and Tarpon season! From Beachwalker Park to The Kiawah River, we have everything you need to know about tossing out your next line.

Considering a charter? Contact Lil Darlin Charters or Sonny Boy Charters for a guaranteed good time on the water. 

  • Harvest Festival at Johns Island County Park

Come out to the Johns Island County Park (Mullet Hall) for live bluegrass music, hay rides, pumpkin decorating, archery and more. Southern food staples will be plentiful, as well as all your favorite street fair / festival foods at this annual Harvest Festival. The crafters market with local artisans will be a great spot to pick up some holiday gift items!

Saturday Nov. 6th from 11 am - 5 pm. 

Admission is $8 per person, children 12 and under are free, and it is guaranteed fun for the whole family!

Seabrook Island in the Fall

  • Birding

Witness bird migration in the stillness of the Lowcountry this fall. Mild winters and a diverse habitat make Seabrook and Kiawah Islands premier birding destinations. Expect to see a variety of sparrows, waterfowl, finches, and shorebirds. What better way to spend your day than admiring the feathers over the water?

  • Biking

Grab a ten-speed and explore the island on two wheels. Fall is the ideal time to enjoy Seabrook’s moss draped private roads because of its perfect temperatures and quiet streets. Breathe in the ocean air from the seat of your bike this fall. Need a rental? Check out Surfscooter for everything from adult bikes to tag-alongs.

Become a Charleston Local with Pam Harrington Exclusives

Best East Coast Beaches

Whether you plan to vacation in Charleston, SC in the fall or want to make our city your permanent residence, Pam Harrington Exclusives has you covered!

From Kiawah Island’s beaches to the cobblestone streets downtown, our skilled and experienced real estate team will help you find the perfect vacation home or permanent residence for you and your family.

And if it is your first time visiting the Lowcountry, we’d love to treat you to a little gift to show our appreciation. Access our exclusive Vacation Guides to Kiawah and Seabrook Islands and unlock everything our town has to offer! We can’t wait to welcome you to Charleston!