South Carolina climate
South Carolina has hot and steamy summers and brief, mild winters. Along the shore, winter temperatures are usually in the mid-teens (Celsius) and summer temperatures in ranging between about 26 and 32 degrees. Inland winters are just above freezing, about four degrees, and summers in the mid to high 20s. Most of the rain falls during the spring and summer, and the mountains and upper Piedmont see some snow. The hurricane season is June through November.
When to fly to South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is is packed with families during the summer and college students during spring break. Rates are at their highest in summer, and hotels require reservations.
Folk, craft, art, and music festivals take place in summer, as do sporting events. Most state and local fairs are held in August and September, with a few in July and October.
Summer is the peak season for Hilton Head Island, but the mild winters make South Carolina a year-round golfing haven.
Charleston’s high seasons are spring and autumn.
Off-season can be a great time to find cheap flights to South Carolina. Charleston’s rates drop in winter and summer, and the shore is still warm in autumn but without the crowds.
Spring is probably the most attractive season in South Carolina, and the autumn leaves are beautiful.
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Getting around South Carolina
A rural state with no major cities, most visitors come to see the South Carolina coast. For exploring the coast, driving is your best bet. This is a relaxed affair as there are no major highways, so be prepared for the slower pace.
Myrtle Beach has public transportation and some areas can be explored on foot. You will need a car to get to the nearby restaurants, hotels, museums, and parks.
The best way to explore Charleston’s historic district is a walking tour, guided or on your own. Charleston’s CARTA's buses cover most areas, and the Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) has three trolleys that stop at the visitor centre. There are boat tours to Fort Sumter, and Charleston has a number bike routes and local bike clubs.
If you are venturing further inland, trains cross the state east to west, making stops along the way from Charleston to Greenville. There is some bus service inland and along the coast, and some airlines offer flights within the state. If you are driving, South Carolina has very good, well-maintained roads. (State law requires that you have the headlights on when the windshield wipers are in use during inclement weather.)
South Carolina insider information
- Alligator Adventure claims to be the world's largest reptile park. Stars include Albino American alligators, dwarf crocodiles and giant snakes.
- The Grand Strand runs 60 miles from Little River to Georgetown. Myrtle Beach, the popular resort, is located along it, famous for golf courses, shopping and nightlife. Pawleys Island, one of the East Coast’s oldest resorts, lies between Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Famous for the Pawleys Island Hammock.
- Charleston has architecture dating from pre-Revolution days, the late 1700s and pre-1840s, as well as beach resorts at Kiawah Island, Seabrook, Wild Dunes and Edisto Island. It is also home to the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. The park is the site of the first English Settlement (1670) in South Carolina and has a full-scale reproduction of the 17th-century trading ship Adventure as well as a natural habitat zoo, the 1670 Experimental Crop Garden and 80 acres of English Park Gardens.
- Visit Fort Sumter where the first engagement of the Civil War took place in 1861 and antebellum mansions such as Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site and Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site.
- Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mt. Pleasant: tour the Yorktown, the most decorated aircraft carrier from the Second World War. Yorktown’s battle group includes the destroyer Laffey, the submarine Clamagore and the Coast Guard cutter Ingham.
- And then for something different: the World's Largest Fire Hydrant in Columbia is actually a sculpture of an erupting fire hydrant by a local artist called Blue Sky. In Ridgeway, you’ll find the World's Smallest Police Station. It is about the size of a bathroom and was last used in 1990. The Peachoid in Gaffney is a million-gallon water tower. The giant peach-shaped structure serves to remind passersby that South Carolina produces more peaches than Georgia.