Visiting Charleston, SC

Road traffic bridge crossing the Ashley River into peninsular Charleston, SC

Weather & When To Visit

Although Charleston is a popular destination year-round it does have two distinct peak seasons (spring and fall), and two off seasons (winter and summer).

The best time of year to visit Charleston is either March through May or October through November, when the weather is warm without being too hot and humid, and the city’s events calendar is full. In spring, especially, Charleston is at its most beautiful, with the flowers of its parks and private gardens in full bloom.

Charleston’s two off seasons are high summer (July through September) and winter (January through mid-February). In summer, temperatures are high and humidity can be extreme. Rainfall and thunderstorms can be frequent. At this time of year, some people prefer to head to the beach, though the city itself is still a draw for many.

In winter, it is much cooler (though rarely very cold) and the crowds thin out considerably. The Christmas and holiday season, however, bring a lot of visitors to the city.

Read more about the best time of year to visit Charleston

Getting To Charleston

Many visitors to Charleston choose to drive there, but the city is also easily accessible by plane, train or bus from most major cities, especially the major cities of the northeast and eastern seaboard.

Charleston’s airport, bus station and train station are all located in the adjacent city of North Charleston, with quick and easy connections available to the historic downtown and area islands and resorts via taxi or rideshare and for some destinations, public transit.


Charleston International Airport is 12 miles from downtown Charleston. It offers direct domestic flights from many US cities, but international visitors will have to make a connection elsewhere.

The airport has good links to downtown Charleston, and an express bus service offers cheap transportation to the city. Uber, Lyft and taxi services are also available, and some hotels offer a shuttle service.

More about flying to Charleston and transportation to and from the airport


Amtrak’s Palmetto and Silver Meteor routes serve Charleston (the station is located in the city of North Charleston, roughly 8 miles north of downtown), with daily northbound and southbound services. Bus, taxi and ride-sharing services to downtown Charleston are available.


Intercity bus services are available to North Charleston, with connecting public transit, taxi and ride shares available to downtown Charleston. Services from nationwide destinations are available via Greyhound, with some regional services provided by Southeastern Stages. More about traveling to Charleston by bus

Getting Around

Most of Charleston’s historic sights and tourist attractions are located within reasonably close proximity of each other on the lower portion of the peninsular city. As traffic can be heavy and parking difficult to come by, many visitors prefer to see the city’s sights primarily on foot. For the more distant peninsular attractions, fare-free shuttles, and other ride services, provide an alternative to driving.

Driving & Parking

Parking in downtown Charleston is fairly limited and almost always requires payment. The easiest way to park is usually at one of the city’s several garages and lots, most of which are clustered around the central Meeting/King Street area from the Visitor Center southwards to Broad Street.

Metered street parking is also available, although spots may be time-limited.

More information about where to park in historic Charleston.

Public Transport

Charleston’s public bus service covers the peninsula and adjacent islands. Rides cost $2 per person. Of most use to tourists are the city’s fare-free DASH shuttles, which provide three routes covering most of downtown’s historic and tourist attractions.

Read more about Charleston’s public transit and fare-free shuttles

Taxi Services

Taxi services, plus Uber and Lyft, are currently available for rides in Charleston and vicinity.

Other Information

Visitor Center Locations

The main Charleston Visitor Center is located in a historic train station building in the north of the Historic District, at 375 Meeting Street. It is open daily, 8:30am-5pm, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.

Visit in person for brochures, discount vouchers for admission to Charleston and region attractions, or call 800-774-0006 for travel and sightseeing information.

Parking is available in the adjacent parking garage or lot, for $1 per hour. Charleston’s three free DASH trolley services connect at the Visitor Center, as do other local bus services.

Public Restrooms

Public restrooms are available at the Meeting Street Visitor Center, and at the following city parking garages: