Our list of recommendations during a hot, summer day in Charleston; Weather and Temperatures for Charleston Summers.
Gah! Some of the hottest days in Charleston happen in July + August. If your trip to Charleston happens in any of the summer months, read on below for how to make the most your stay in the times of this pandemic and the hot weather. We promise it's awesome here, in spite of the ridiculous humidity!
And for locals: pre-Coronavirus, we were all in the comfort of the A/C in our offices and homes, spending the hottest hours of the day indoors and working. But, if you're anything like us with flexible WFH hours, and wondering what the heck to do with yourself outside, and safely during these dog days, we've gathered a list below.
But First: In Praise of Our Summer Storms + Rainy Season
There are some occasional not-as-hot and low-humidity summer days in Charleston, believe it or not! Temperatures in the low 80's with a light summer rain are a nice reprieve, so don't let the forecast of a slight thundershower thwart your sight-seeing or outdoor plans for the day. Today and yesterday, we biked to Charles Towne Landing; though it was humid out, riding around the park with light rain-sprinkles on our skin was super refreshing.
Doesn't getting yourself and your plans literally "rained on," make for fun and romantic memories? If you've ever been outside just before a downpour, that gush of cold air is both eerie and exhilarating! Open your screened windows and doors to enjoy the sounds of the rainfall and thunder, and just, listen..
Now, On With Your Day...!
Get Thee to the Shore!
Sunrise 6:30am - 10am, and Sunset 6pm - 8pm
Whaat? Wake up earlier than you would on a work day, to go to the beach? Why, yes. Is it hot and humid that early the morning? Sure, but these conditions are a lot easier to manage than going to the beach at peak hours, between 10am-4pm. Avoid the gridlock by heading out there early. The early hours are usually far more family-friendly, too. You can take your mask with you when walking past others along the access paths or boardwalks, too.
The three closest beaches to Charleston and its locals are Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, and Sullivan's Island. After you've parked, remember to have all wheels off the pavement, and park in the direction of traffic. What I like to do first is plop my stuff down in the sand and go for a walk along the shore. When that gets too warm for me, I head back to my spot and take a swim to cool off.
Beachgoers take note: Dog Owners can have pets off-leash between certain hours -- usually before 9/10am and after 6pm.
Evening / Sunset walks and swims at the beach are just as lovely. The harsh sun has passed, and it's one of the best and symbolic places to leave behind any of your stresses from the day and week.
Want to Try What Us Locals Do?
Here are some Ideas for Peak Daytime Hours, when you want to get out of the house for some fun:
Feel free to refer to this article from the Mayo Clinic about outdoor summer fun during this pandemic. We're encouraged to get outside for our well-being, and we're walked through the level of risk associated with various activities.
Also, in addition to wearing light clothing and staying hydrated, we've found that bringing a cloth bandana or mini-hand towel is a great heat-hack: Run this cloth under water at your pit stops and squeeze some of the water out of it before wearing around the back of your neck. Oof, I get the good-chills just thinking about that.
County Waterparks: James Island, North Charleston, or Mt. Pleasant. -- These waterparks are located on the grounds of the county parks, so if you need to wait 'til their safe-capacity allows you entry at the pools, you can enjoy a walk along the trails in the semi-wild woods.
Skate indoors at the rink in the Carolina Ice Palace!
Bookshops: While the Public Libraries remain open for curbside pick-up only, you can safely browse in-store at The Itinerant Literate (available by appointment only), Blue Bicycle Books, Mr. K's Used Book Store, Buxton Books, and Barnes & Noble.
Museums: The Charleston Museum, Gibbes Museum of Art + Cafe. Entire days and afternoons can be wonderfully spent here.
Bike rides: get your breeze on, get some exercise, and get out on the town. -- Charles Towne Landing, and Palmetto Islands County Park offer low-cost children- and adult-sized bike rentals (including tandems and child seats) -- If you're Downtown, keep an eye out for the various Holy Spokes Bikeshare hubs.
SC Aquarium: As they are safely limiting capacity, you'll need to reserve a timeslot for entry, and purchase your ticket online and in advance. - Though the touch-tank is closed, you can purchase the experience of feeding the Cownose Stingrays
Produce-Picking: Blueberries, Blackberries, Okra, Peaches, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Muscadine + Scuppernong Grapes, oh my! Sunflowers, too? Oh, catch me, I've fainted. - Boone Hall Farms has the most extended season of these offerings and features strawberries, grapes, and sunflowers - Strawberries at Hickory Bluff in Holly Hill - Blueberries at Champney's Farm in Ravenel, Newton's in Hollywood, and Myers in Summerville.
Sheltering At Home?
Here are some ideas for Indoor Fun + Entertainment:
Work It Out! The Works has online streaming classes if you're not ready to visit either of their studios Downtown or in Mt. Pleasant. Free 7-day trial, then a monthly subscription fee when you're ready to commit.
Living Room Concerts - Charleston Symphony Orchestra Stream their Youtube channel and both you and the performers enjoy virtuosic talent in casual-wear and a casual-setting - Forte Jazz Lounge has live streaming concerts Thursdays - Saturdays
Curl up with some Charleston-reads and Charleston-based thoughts. Be even more indulgent with yourself and have a glass of iced tea nearby. Here are just a few: - The Cigar Factory by Michele Moore, 2016 - Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Church Massacre by Jennifer Berry Hawes, 2019 - Mrs. Whaley and her Charleston Garden by Emily Whaley + William Baldwin, 1997 - The Birth of All Things by Charleston's poet laureate Marcus Amaker, 2020 Additional Quintessential Authors: Pat Conroy, Sue Monk Kidd, Mary Alice Monroe, Dorothea Benton Frank
TV+Movies filmed in Charleston The fun in watching is when you're able to figure out where they're filming based on what's in the background.. - TV: HBO's Righteous Gemstones and Vice Principals (Actors Bill Murray and Danny McBride are also beloved residents of Charleston); BravoTV's Southern Charm; Reckless and Mr. Mercedes available on Amazon; Lifetime's Army Wives - Movies: The Notebook, The Patriot, Dear John, Halloween (2018), Cold Mountain
Shop Charleston's Local Businesses, Online! Support local businesses and fellow artisans in your community by shopping online. - Charleston-Makers: Brackish Bow Ties, J.Stark, Rewined-Candlefish, Smithey Ironware Company, Old Whaling Company - Gifts: Indigo, Preservation Society of Charleston, Gibbes Museum Store, Historic Charleston Foundation, Drayton Hall Gift Shop - Books: Turning Page Bookshop, Blue Bicycle Books - Home Furnishings: Celadon, Rhodes Boutique - Men's + Women's Fashion: Ibu Movement, Worthwhile, Indigo & Cotton, Gwynn's - Women's Clothing: Maris DeHart, Hampden Clothing, House of Sage, Finicky Filly, Copper Penny.
Color our City! Texture Design Co. offers 5 Charleston Coloring Pages that you can download for free as a PDF. Now, ain't that nice?
Take a virtual tour of Charleston and the Metropolitan Area Visit Bulldog Tours' Facebook Page for videos and insight into the history and sights of Charleston and the surrounding areas.
Lunch: Cooling + Hydrating
At Home: Try some refreshing and quenchy salad recipes, beyond greens-in-a-bag. We love the combo of an easy Caprese salad or Watermelon salad with Sugar Kiss Melons. Another option, Canned Beets with Vinaigrette Dressing with some salt and pepper are perfect in their simplicity; add feta + walnuts if you have those toppings, too.
On the Go? We recommend ordering an Unwich from Jimmy John's -- where any sandwich gets turned into a crisp and hydrating lettuce wrap. The Club Tuna and Club Lulu are our faves.
Desserts - a Real Treat!
As a Teen-Plus/Woman in my mid-thirties, nothing tastes better than this dessert out at the park: the Spongebob Squarepants Popsicle Bar. I still don't know, nor even care to know, if I'm allowed to swallow his gumball eyes or if I have to spit them out after chewing. I just eat them.
Ice Cold Desserts:
Throughout: King of Pops (based in Charleston), Pelican's Sno Balls, Ye Olde Fashioned Ice Cream, The Marble Slab. Beverages: Sonic Drive-Thru, Tropical Smoothie Cafe (love their add-ins and supplements), and try one of CookOut's 40+ Milkshakes.
Downtown: - Ice Cream + Gelato: Jeni's, Paolo's, Freddo's, Belgian Gelato, Haagen Dazs, Republic. - Desserts & Pies: Kaminsky's, Peace Pies. - Boba/Bubble Tea: Tapio, Ice Bing, and Ding Tea. - For adults: Booze Pops (they do have a boozy effect!).
Goose Creek: Milkster Nitrogen, sweetFrog, QQ Thai Ice Cream + Crepes, Dairy Queen.
Mt. Pleasant: Olde Village Pharmacy, Wich Cream. North Charleston: Park Circle Creamery, Sweets & More. West Ashley: Charleston Creamery, Gala Desserts, Kaminsky's.
Maxmize It: Order a side of french fries or fried pickles for some fun contrast.
2pm - 5pm, Option: Sieste
In Spain, Mediterranean-Southern Europe, and mainland China, it is customary for some shops, restaurants and offices to close in the afternoon, for sieste/siesta, post-lunch. Wherever you are, the drowsiness from lunch combined with simply hitting the hottest and slowest part of the day, make for napping a true summer staple. If you're WFH it's especially a treat to be able to do this on a work afternoon. Hop into your hammock with a fan nearby and catch some zzz's.
Sunsets + Summer Evenings in Charleston
Take a Paddle Board or Kayak Tour. A lot of these we found on or near Folly: Charleston Outdoor Adventures, Charleston SUP Safaris, and Folly Beach Adventures. Out on Mt. Pleasant, by Shem Creek and the Isle of Palms, you'll find Coastal Expeditions.
Drive-In Movies at the Terrace Theater! Your fave local independent theatre received permission from the Governor's Office and County Sherrif's office to convert/operate now as a drive-in theater. $28 per car load, with a double-feature every night. Tickets and concessions must be purchased online.
Thursdays at 8 p.m. Virtual Trivia Night! The Charleston County Public Library streams Trivia Night on Facebook Live each week. Come hangout with the group in the comfort of your home.
Nightly Ghost Tours Bulldog Tours and Black Cat Tours are operating with COVID-19 precautions in place. We've had our eye on Black Cat's "Wicked Charleston" tour for quite some time -- scandalous stories around the Holy City!
Head back to the beach: As we've stated earlier, evening walks and swims at the beach are lovely. Serenity Tree Yoga offers evening, donation-based yoga classes on the beach, too -- pop into the ocean after your practice to cool off. Post-Dinner or -Supper, take a stroll along the waterfront to catch a refreshing breeze.
We also recommend taking Night Walks in your own neighborhood, out on the Pitt Street Bridge / Old Village of Mt. Pleasant, or downtown on King Street for some after-hours-window-shopping. Listen to the cacophony of those crickets, frogs, and cicadas.
Refreshing Summer Dinners
Ah, What a full and beautiful day that was! What are some of your favorite things to do in high summer?