With an average 230 days of sunshine each year, Charleston’s pleasant weather is just one reason why visitors love it. But even Charleston gets its fair share of rain, especially in August and September—the two wettest months of the year.
The good news is that pop-up showers and thunderstorms tend to come and go quickly in the Lowcountry. Still, it’s not a bad idea to have a backup list of activities in case the rain lasts longer than expected.
Visit a Museum
A rainy day in Charleston is a great opportunity to explore all the museums, many of which are located in historic downtown Charleston. Known as the Museum Mile, this one-mile strip begins on Meeting Street and features the Gibbes Museum of Art, The Charleston Museum and the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, among many other museums and historic homes.
Duck inside one of the museums and browse the many historic artifacts, stunning works of art and interactive exhibits which provide a hands-on learning experience. The entire family will come away with a better sense of Charleston’s rich culture and history.
Catch a Performance at Dock Street Theatre
Dock Street Theatre is a beautifully restored theatre that is still in operation. Located in the Historic French Quarter, the theatre is the venue for the entertaining performances produced by the Charleston Stage Company.
While there are no bad performances at Dock Street Theatre, there is such a thing as bad seats. Unless you’re in the front row, it can be difficult to see the performance from the balcony. For a better view of the performance, choose center seats in front of the orchestra.
Discover the South Carolina Aquarium
A trip to the South Carolina Aquarium is an excellent opportunity for the kids to learn more about marine life, including species that are native to the Lowcountry. The aquarium features interactive exhibits and touch tanks, a rehabilitation center for sea turtles, an albino alligator and even a bald eagle.
You won’t find whales or huge sea animals at the South Carolina Aquarium, but you can easily make a day of exploring the aquarium. Stop by between 9:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. for a chance to hand feed the cownose rays and stingrays!
Dine at Charleston’s Famed Restaurants
You might not be able to enjoy Charleston’s patios or rooftop bars on a rainy day, but you can still experience the city’s unique food culture. With so many fantastic restaurants in this great city, it’s difficult to choose from them all.
Don’t worry! We have a few recommendations to get you started. Grab an authentic, Southern-style breakfast at Hominy Grill, or treat yourself to dinner at Husk (be sure to make a reservation in advance).
Searching for a great lunch spot in downtown Charleston? Grab lunch at Butcher & Bee and share an appetizer of bacon-wrapped dates. If you’re craving shrimp and grits, Early Bird Diner is a local favorite.
Tour a Historic Home
Charleston is full of historic homes just begging to be explored. Walking through these elegant mansions and stately homes is like traveling back in time.
Visit the Joseph Manigault House on Meeting Street for a great example of Federal period architecture. Built in 1803, the antebellum home is full of early 19th century artifacts that offer a glimpse into the lives of the Manigault family and their African-American slaves.
To save money and make the most of a rainy day, consider getting a combination ticket for access to the Joseph Manigault House, the Heyward-Washington House and the Charleston Museum. You can visit the Charleston Museum and the Joseph Manigault House (both of which are located on Meeting Street) first before taking an Uber to the Heyward-Washington House on Church Street.
Be Pampered at The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place
Everyone deserves to be pampered on vacation. Why not relax and unwind with a spa treatment at The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place?
Facials, manicures, pedicures, massages—The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place has everything you need to feel rejuvenated. Book an Ultimate Spa Day for complete pampering, along with lunch served to you poolside. They also have specific packages for couples, kids, men, large groups and more.
If it’s still raining after your spa treatment, you can always walk around the high-end shops and boutiques located on the ground floor of Charleston Place.
Get a Drink at The Dewberry
For a great cocktail, head to The Dewberry. This luxury hotel has a stylish bar named The Living Room which serves up fancy drinks, from classics like an Old Fashioned to innovative concoctions.
The Dewberry doesn’t need to advertise its bar. Locals and tourists alike frequent The Living Room when they want to experience a hint of old Charleston charm or simply celebrate before a night on the town.
Just keep in mind that the classic-yet-modern bar isn’t a good place to wear a t-shirt and jeans. Although it isn’t pretentious, business casual wear is the norm.
Keep Up with the Latest in Charleston
One of the reasons people love this city is because there is always something fun going on. From festivals and concerts to local events, boredom is never an issue here.
Attending local events is a great way to experience the city in a whole new way. Plus, you get the opportunity to mingle with friendly locals!
You don’t need to let the rain ruin your Charleston vacation. The Holy City is famed for much more than stunning architecture and scenic beauty! From historic homes to unique shopping opportunities, there is a never-ending list of things to do here—rain or shine!
About the Author:
Traci Magnus is a realtor for Dunes Properties located in Charleston, SC. She was born and raised on the Charleston coast and attended the College of Charleston before obtaining her real estate license. When she’s not working, you can find her writing, spending time with her husband Glenn and son Max or wandering the historic streets downtown.