Fun Things to Do in Summer
Summer in Charleston isn’t just sunshine–it’s a vibrant array of amazing experiences. Dive into waves at Folly Beach, sail with playful dolphins, or savor culinary masterpieces from humble shacks to elegant bistros. From museums teeming with tales to moonlight cruises, Charleston promises an unforgettable summer. So pack your beach towel, your curiosity, and your appetite for adventure and look through our list of a few of our favorite fun things to do in summer in Charleston!
Cool off at the Beach
One of the most popular summer activities is soaking up the sun on one of our five nearby sandy beaches. Each has its own unique charm, but we are huge fans of Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island for a truly unforgettable experience. Bring a lunch, some sunscreen, and a boogie board, and you’ll be all set for a day of fun in the sun. Click here for more details about nearby beaches.
Get on the Water
On a hot day, consider embarking on a sail around the harbor to enjoy the ocean breeze or take in the sights and sounds of Charleston from a climate-controlled bus with Charleston Tours & Events. For those seeking a more active experience, you can rent kayaks and paddleboards for a self-guided tour or opt for a guided tour from Coastal Expeditions.
Immerse Yourself in The Food Scene
Charleston’s food scene is constantly expanding with an abundance of options to choose from. The city’s chefs are highly innovative, offering unforgettable meals. If you’re looking for a fancy night out or a special occasion, Circa 1886 Restaurant is the perfect destination for an exquisite fine dining experience. For other top-notch food options, we recommend Raw 167 Oyster Bar for seafood, Basic Kitchen for brunch, and Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company for their outdoor patio and large selection of beers on tap.
Cool Off At Joe Riley Waterfront Park
Stepping into Joe Riley Waterfront Park is like stepping into a postcard. Free and open to the public, it features beautiful, shady oak trees, panoramic views of the Charleston Harbor, and the famous Pineapple Fountain. The fountain is a focal point of the park and a popular spot for Instagram photos. It’s also a great spot for kids to cool off and wade in the fountain.
Catch a Minor League Baseball Game
Gather your loved ones and visit Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park to experience Charleston’s local Minor League Baseball team! A Charleston RiverDogs game offers an ideal summer evening, with stunning stadium views by the waterfront and various food and drink options available from different vendors. Don’t forget to explore their promotions page to discover the exciting themed nights happening this season.
Shop 'Til You Drop
Charleston offers exceptional shopping experiences, especially on King Street. Divided into three distinct districts, it caters to various tastes. Lower King Street’s “Antiques District,” between Broad Street and Market Street, has been acclaimed as the “Best Antique Shopping in the U.S.” by Travel + Leisure readers. Middle King Street’s “Fashion District,” from Market Street to Calhoun Street, showcases a delightful mix of local boutiques and national brands. The Upper King Street “Design and Dining District,” spanning Marion Square to Spring Street, boasts superb dining options and vibrant nightlife. Furthermore, every second Sunday of the month, King Street transforms into a pedestrian paradise with live music, outdoor dining, and shopping, offering an enjoyable experience for locals and visitors alike. Don’t miss out on exploring Charleston’s vibrant City Market as well, known for its rich history, local artisan crafts, and diverse culinary offerings.
Cool Off At The South Carolina Aquarium
Tucked alongside the Charleston Harbor, the South Carolina Aquarium allows everyone to learn about marine life. The Aquarium features the local sea life as well the exotic reptiles and fish found outside our indigenous coastlines. Explore every exhibit, from the Mountain Forest, Piedmont to Coastal plains and Saltmarsh Aviary. Stay to watch divers feed sharks in their two-story-385,000 gallon great ocean tank. Be sure to enjoy the view from the sundeck before you leave—snag a picture with the Arthur Ravenel Bridge as the backdrop!
Go Back In Time at the Nathanian Russell House
Take a trip back in time while visiting this historic site, a National Historic Landmark built in 1808. Docent-led tours take place every 30 minutes. The tours offer a great second-hand recount of the life of Nathaniel Russell and the Charleston’s elite post-revolutionary war. Spend an hour marveling at the three-story free-flying staircase and stroll through the formal gardens. Learn about the history of one of Charleston richest Resident and the Africans that were enslaved on the property. The Nathaniel Russell House will be a great educational experience for all ages. Click here for more historic homes.
Wet Your Whistle at a Local Brewery
There are dozens of breweries sprinkled around Charleston and the surrounding areas to take a break from the heat and grab a local beverage and bite to eat. If you want to stick to the Charleston Brewery District, you can jump on and off the Brewery Shuttle! The free shuttle runs every Saturday from 2pm-8pm and makes a full loop every hour as it stops at each of the 10 breweries in the district. Click here for some of our favorite watering holes.
Pounce Into Pounce Cat Café
If you’re a cat lover you, you’ll have to pounce in to this locally owned café that was created for a cause. Located on Meeting Street, Pounce Cat Café is partnered with the Charleston Animal Society. Be sure to make an online reservation before visiting this cozy café. Cool off with the kitties and enjoy a cold beverage at the same time!
Visit A Museum or An Art Gallery
Charleston is an emerging haven for artists, hosting numerous art galleries across town. Robert Lange Studios, voted Charleston’s Best Art Gallery multiple times by the Charleston City Paper, stands out as a prime choice. Redux Contemporary Art Center, with its diverse personal artist studios, showcases distinctive and innovative creations. For a deep dive into South Carolina’s history, visit the Charleston Museum, dubbed “America’s First Museum” since its founding in 1773. It offers an extensive look at the Lowcountry’s past. Families will find the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry an interactive delight, featuring a giant pirate ship and an art center for creative exploration—an energetic and educational stop for kids and families alike!
Catch a Show or Two
In Charleston, there are various choices to experience live theater or watch the latest blockbuster. If you’re in the mood for some laughter and improvisation, Theater 99 is the place to be for top-notch comedy in the city. For those who prefer watching Ballet or touring Broadway shows, you can visit the Charleston Gaillard Center or the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, both of which have an impressive lineup of performances. If you’re looking for a more relaxed activity on a rainy day, we recommend visiting the Terrace Theater, a vintage cinema on James Island where you can enjoy a movie along with a delicious glass of wine.