7 of the Best Charleston Winter Vacation Ideas

If you’re looking to escape the ice and snow, we have the perfect warm-weather getaway destination for you. Why not plan a trip to Charleston, South Carolina? The Lowcountry’s mild, year-round climate offers the perfect respite from a harsh winter.

Though the colder months may be considered the off-season for our quiet city, you won’t lack things to do. Let us help you plan a relaxing winter vacation to Charleston. Take a look at some of our suggestions below and book your next getaway today.

Don’t forget to request access to our complimentary Charleston Sea Island Vacation Guides for more helpful tips and trusted local recommendations. You’ll find our picks for the best things to do on your next winter vacation to Charleston, including upcoming events, restaurants, and local attractions.

A Local’s Guide to Planning Your Winter Vacation to Charleston

Visit Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Did you know that Charleston was historically a winter destination for gardeners?

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, America’s oldest public garden, offers two different experiences during the colder months. During the day, you can tour the gardens and admire 20,000 gorgeous camellias in bloom. 

At night, visitors are welcome to attend the Lights of Magnolia event. There are 23 different displays of Chinese lanterns located throughout the site. Don’t miss out on either of these fantastic experiences.

Attend an Oyster Roast

Winter is considered prime oyster season along the coast of South Carolina.

While there are several roasts you can attend this winter, one of our favorites is the Lowcountry Oyster Festival at Boone Hall.

Named one of the top 20 events in the Southeast, the festival features 80,000 pounds of oysters, contests, live music, wine, and beer. If you’re not a fan of seafood, there is always a wide array of other delicious cuisines available.

Enjoy Holiday Magic in Historic Charleston

Are you visiting Charleston during the holiday months? You’re in for a very special treat.

There’s simply nothing more spectacular than Christmas in Charleston. The city offers a wide variety of family-oriented activities and events that capture the spirit of the season.

Shop the holiday market at Middleton Place, attend the Festival of Lights, or watch a holiday production at Dock Street Theatre. A week in Charleston is sure to put you in the holiday mood.

Holiday Festival of Lights

Take a Carriage Tour

Horse-drawn carriage tours are a quintessential part of any Charleston vacation, no matter the time of year.

During the holiday season, however, the experience is extra special. Guests can tour the historic district while sipping on hot chocolate and admiring thousands of sparkling lights.

Your tour guide will point out special landmarks and teach you more about the city’s rich history. 

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Style

If you’re staying through New Year’s Eve, you’ll also discover plenty of exciting ways to celebrate. Dress in your finest attire and get ready for extravagant black-tie dinners, dazzling fireworks displays, and elegant cocktail parties.

From the Yorktown Countdown to the Snyder Grand Ball, there are several great venues for a night out on the town. For a more family-friendly affair, we recommend visiting Kiawah Island.

Night Heron Park hosts an early celebration complete with live entertainment, kids’ activities, and a full dinner menu of Lowcountry favorites.

Indulge in Charleston Restaurant Week

Charleston has made a name for itself as a culinary destination that’s not to be missed. Get a taste of the Lowcountry during Charleston Restaurant Week!

Held each year in January, this is another one of the most anticipated winter events. Visitors have the chance to sample dishes from some of the Holy City’s top restaurants.

Participating restaurants offer prix fixe lunch and dinner menus. Try everything from savory shrimp and grits to sweet pecan pie. It’s a fun, budget-friendly way to experience some of the city’s most renowned eateries. 

Play in the Sunshine

The Lowcountry’s mild weather means that you won’t have to stay bundled up indoors during your stay.

Take a stroll down historic King Street, or enjoy a game of golf or tennis on Kiawah or Seabrook Island.

Daytime temperatures on Charleston’s sea islands can be quite warm, which is why they are one of the most popular South Carolina winter vacation spots. Comb the beach for shells, enjoy a leisurely bike ride, or venture into town for some retail therapy.

Does It Snow in Charleston in Winter?

Charleston’s winter weather is mild and snow is a rare occasion. From December through February, Charleston, SC, winter temperatures usually range from the low 40s to the mid-60s.

You can expect chilly mornings and warm afternoons. We suggest packing T-shirts, jeans, sweaters, and your winter coat, just in case!

Start Planning Your Warm-Weather Getaway

Now that you have some great Charleston winter vacation ideas, it’s time to plan your trip.

Take a look at our Seabrook and Kiawah Island snowbird rentals, perfect for guests who want to spend the season near the beach.

These long-term rentals feature a reduced monthly rate as well as top-notch amenities and comfortable accommodations. There’s no better way to escape the snow and cold than relaxing in one of our luxurious vacation homes.