Spring activities in Charleston have a charm like none other. Nestled between winter and summer, spring offers perfect temperatures and sunny days before the summer heat hits. It’s the perfect time to explore this beautiful, historic town.
No matter who you are—a local or a visitor; a foodie or a history buff; active or chill—Charleston has a little something for everyone. Although the activities in Charleston abound (there’s always something exciting to do here), there are some that stand out more than others.
Here are 10 can’t-miss spring activities to try in Charleston.
In this article
- Springtime in Charleston offers some of the best activities that you can find anywhere.
- Go to the beach, enjoy some fine dining, and learn some fascinating history.
- Locals can also take advantage of the city by enjoying a staycation at a historic bed & breakfast.
Visit a local plantation
Plantations offer the opportunity to explore some of the South’s darkest history. Although plantations do offer some gorgeous views and beautiful architecture, it’s important that we don’t forget the atrocity of slavery.
Visiting a plantation can be a peaceful, history-filled afternoon. But, when you visit a plantation, you must also open your heart and mind to the dark history surrounding these places. Many plantations do an excellent job of telling the tragedies that occurred in these areas. When you visit, it’s important to keep these somber realizations in mind rather than simply trying to capture an Instagram-worthy selfie.
That being said, Charleston is surrounded by plantations that do an excellent job of including Black voices in its historical retelling of the property and ensuring that the slaves who lived and died on these properties are not forgotten. Some notable plantations include the following:
Take a Charleston walking tour
What better way to take advantage of the stunning spring weather while enjoying Charleston’s unmatched architecture and history than with a walking tour? Whether you’re looking for history, a local’s perspective, architecture, or even Charleston’s spookier side, there’s a walking tour for you.
Two Sisters Tours
Led by, well, two sisters, this tour offers a combination of local knowhow, architectural wonder, and Charleston history from the days of the pirates to now. This 2.5-hour tour includes St. Michael’s Church, The Battery & Rainbow Row, Former Slave Dwellings, Grand Homes of Charleston, and more. Private tours are also available.
Lowcountry Walking Tours – Charleston’s Hidden Alleys and Passages
One of the best parts of embarking on a walking tour is getting to explore the winding and narrow alleyways that characterize Charleston. Lowcountry Walking Tours take advantage of that. With a focus on Charleston’s history and architecture, this tour takes you a little off the beaten path while still exploring some of Charleston’s biggest points of interest.
Charleston Architecture Tour
Charleston was once America’s wealthiest colony. Those who first developed the city were world travelers who brought international architectural styles and combined it with Southern styles we know and love. This lent itself to Charleston’s world-famous architectural designs. This tour explores some of Charleston’s most famous buildings, like Dock Street Theater, Heyward-Washington House, Pineapple Gate, and more.
Enjoy Charleston’s thriving food scene
Besides its history and architecture, Charleston is also a foodie’s dream. With loads of food options, often featuring Lowcountry cuisine, but also offering top-notch dishes from around the world, visitors would be remiss to miss out on some of the finest food that you can find anywhere.
Head to the coast to try out oysters and other delicious seafood. (You can even join an oyster roast or another food-centered event.) Or, go to Kings Street to check out the plethora of dining options there. From breweries to fine dining, you’ll get it all in Charleston.
Overwhelmed by the food options? Take a food tour! Here are some options.
Savor the Flavors of Charleston Tour
This 2.5-hour walking tour is a history/foodie/Lowcountry extravaganza. Eat your way through some of the finest Lowcountry offerings at various marketplaces, restaurants, bakeries, and more. As you eat, your guide will talk about the history of Lowcountry cuisine and how it became the delicious offering that it is today.
Downtown Charleston Culinary Walking Food Tour of French Quarter & City Market
Combine history and the culinary arts at this downtown Charleston walking tour. Focusing on French-inspired Lowcountry cuisine, this 2.5-hour tour covers four locally owned restaurants and explores classic and contemporary dishes. As you walk between establishments, your tour guide will also share the history of the city.
3-Hour Secret Food Tour
Those who like to go a bit off of the beaten path will love this secret food tour. While most tours take you through Charleston’s favorite tourist destinations, this tour goes a little outside of the main tourist area to explore local Charleston favorites. You’ll eat your way through shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, fried green tomatoes, and more.
Go to the beach
One of the biggest draws of the Charleston area is the plentiful beaches. Our beaches are like none other. Here, you can enjoy sandy areas where you can bask in the sun, some of the hottest surfing in the US, plenty of fishing spots, coastal golfing, marshlands, birdwatching, and more. It offers a little something for everyone making it the perfect spot for a family vacation.
There’s a beach for every occasion:
- For a chill time, head to Sullivan’s Island.
- For family fun, head to Isle of Palms.
- For golfing and resort life, head to Kiawah Island.
- For surfing and a locals’ vibe, head to Folly Beach.
Attend an event
Besides the amazing food, architecture, and history, Charleston is also known for its endless events. Now that spring is upon us, there’s something happening almost every week! From outdoor festivals and farmer’s markets to wine tastings and parades, there’s always something going on in Charleston.
Some of the bigger events include:
- Charleston Art Walk: Support local artists while exploring the city.
- Festival of Houses and Gardens: Get an inside look of some of the finest houses in Charleston.
- Charleston Jazz Festival: Enjoy the jazz stylings of local and international musicians.
- Spoleto Festival: Join the internationally-recognized festival celebrating the performing arts.
Stay at a bed & breakfast
Because of Charleston’s history as the wealthiest colony in America, we are blessed with a large number of beautiful historic homes. Many of these homes have been turned into bed & breakfasts to offer the most unique accommodations that you can find anywhere.
Enjoy Southern hospitality in an intimate setting at a number of bed & breakfast venues. Each spot has its own flair and personality so that you can find your perfect spot. At the John Rutledge House, you can stay in a home where portions of The U.S. Constitution were drafted. Find your romantic getaway at Two Meeting Street Inn, whose origins stem from an old love story. Or, stay at the home of the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence at The Governor’s House Inn. The options are nearly endless.
Walk along the Battery Seawall
Part promenade and part seawall, the Battery Seawall offers amazing views of the water as well as some of the most beautiful antebellum architecture that you can find. Go for an early morning stroll for beautiful sunset views, and stop by White Point Garden for a picnic breakfast. There are even some bed & breakfasts and historical sites along the way to check out. Besides the beautiful sunrise, morning is the best time to explore this area for the brisk spring air and fewer crowds.
Check out Angel Oak Tree
Located on Johns Island, the Angel Oak Tree is one of Charleston’s natural landmarks. Estimated to be between 300 and 400 years old, this astounding oak is 65 feet high with a circumference of 25.5 feet. It provides a stunning 17,000 square feet of shaded area.
The tree has two namesakes: it appears on the Angel Estate, and local folklore states that the souls of former slaves appear beneath this tree as angels. Believed to be the oldest oak tree in the Southeast, Angel Oak has survived hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. In some places, the branches even dive below the earth before remerging.
Today, Angel Oak is a popular destination for both tourists and locals who enjoy the plentiful shade this gorgeous tree brings, especially on hot South Carolina days.
Hang out at Waterfront Park
Waterfront park offers a variety of shaded areas, waterfront views, walks along the pier, and a large fountain. Enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, it has become a go-to destination for those looking to spend a day relaxing.
The 10-acre park is located along Concord Street where local maritime traffic used to travel in and out of Charleston Harbor. After the Civil War, shipping lines decreased, and the area was all but abandoned. By the 1980s, it was essentially nothing but empty lots. Designed by Stuart O. Dawson with the intention of offering distinct sections to meet multiple needs, the park opened in 1990. Since then, it has been a Charleston favorite, adding a taste of nature to an otherwise bustling city.
Here, you can lay out a blanket for an afternoon picnic, watch the ships go by, walk along numerous walking paths, watch egrets and other local birds, play in the fountain, and more. Whether you’re here for an hour or an entire day, Waterfront Park offers nothing but enjoyment.
Take a carriage tour
Although walking might be the best way to view Charleston, a close second is by carriage. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as horses’ hooves hit the cobblestoned pavement, and you can gaze at the beautiful architecture from the comfort of a covered carriage. A number of carriage tour services are available, from small groups to more intimate private experiences. Here are some carriage tours to check out.
Charleston Carriage Works
Book a private carriage or join a group of up to 16 people with Charleston Carriage Works. These 1-hour tours cover 2 – 3 miles of the Historic District—one of Charleston’s main tourist areas. The drivers are all Certified Tour Guides, and will be able to tell you all about Charleston’s history as you meander through some of the most beautiful parts of the city.
Palmetto Carriage Works
Palmetto Carriage Works is the oldest carriage tour company in Charleston. Your party can choose between private and group tours offered in the daytime and evening. The private tours even offer two carriage choices for the ultimate customized experience. These one-hour tours cover 25 – 30 blocks of the Historic District, and every guide is certified, guaranteeing the greatest experience. Tour add-ons are offered as well.
Haunted Carriage Tour with Old South Carriage Co.
For those looking for a spookier experience, join Charleston’s only haunted carriage tour. This 40-minute tour covers supernatural spots around one of the most haunted cities in the U.S. They offer upgrades like private tours or private rows, too. This tour includes sites like old cemeteries, Provost Dungeon, and Old Exchange coupled with spooky (and supposedly true) ghost stories. If spooky isn’t your thing, they offer standard group and private tours as well.
Charleston offers a whole bunch to explore. Now that spring is here, it’s time to start checking items off your list. Get started on your Charleston spring bucket list today!