5 Fun Fall Activities to Explore in Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC, with its rich history, Southern charm, and vibrant culture, transforms into a delightful destination in the fall. The pleasant weather with warm days and mild humidity makes it ideal for exploring the city on foot or by boat.

The town’s scenery, people, and atmosphere are magnificent, boasting traditional charm enhanced through a modern vibe. Notable neighborhoods with modern and historic homes for sale in Charleston, SC, include Goose Creek, Hanahan, North Charleston, and Mt. Pleasant. This quick guide lists events, places, and activities worth exploring during the fall.

1. Relish a Historic Tour

Touring the city’s stately historic homes, streets, and waterways is one of the best ways to absorb and appreciate all the local charm. Charleston, SC, boasts an array of historic tours available year-round. Walking tours and sightseeing boat tours range from one to two hours.

There are guided, self-guided, and GPS-enabled tours. These tour routes wind down historical streets and through historical neighborhoods. You might find yourself inspired to extend your visit once you see some of the Mount Pleasant homes for sale. Boat tours departing from Charleston Harbor explore the South Carolina Lowcountry marshland and tidal creeks. Whether you go for a pro tour guide or a self-guided audio tour, you’ll get a rich historical background and details.

Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and light clothing, and keep a bottle of water on hand. Bring a light sweater if you book a boat tour; it gets a bit cool on the water.

2. Book a Ghost Tour

Charleston, SC, features a host of ghost tours year-round. However, fall is the high season, and many types of ghost tours pop up around Halloween.

Nighttime tours hit the perfect mood, but you may opt for a daytime tour if you’re a bit squeamish. During these outings, a seasoned, knowledgeable guide takes you on a trek through Charleston’s “spooky” sites, such as:

  • Historic church cemeteries and graveyards
  • Haunted jail tours
  • Ghost pub crawls
  • Ghost carriage tours

3. Get Your Fill of Charleston’s Eats

The Charleston food scene is among the most celebrated nationally. Shrimp and grits are a nationally beloved dish believed to originate in Charleston and the Lowcountry. Today, Charleston is a scrumptious think tank churning out delicious Southern fusion food and updated perspectives on traditional Southern micro-regional cuisine.

Charleston has plenty of other types of cuisines as well. Fortunately, fall in Charleston provides plenty of opportunities to explore the city’s history, geography, people, and culture through its food. Here’s how:

Lowcountry restaurants: Menus crafted from local growers feature seasonal ingredients grown and harvested with care and then expertly prepared in professional, local kitchens. Fresh seafood and shellfish are abundant, typically appearing on every menu.

Specific restaurants may come and go, so research local restaurants and ask the locals for recommendations.

Taste of Charleston Festival: Charleston hosts an annual Taste of Charleston festival. In recent years, as many as 40+ restaurants have participated. The festival is usually a multi-day affair on a weekend. The variety of events makes it fun and easy to partake in many foodie-oriented activities and entertainment.

In previous years, the Taste of Charleston showcased:

  • An Iron Chef Competition: Modeled after the popular show, local chefs battle it out in a state-of-the-art facility before a live audience.
  • The Taste of the Kitchen: This is an event featuring actual celeb chefs.
  • The Taste of the Arts on Gallery Row: A fun crawl mixing local galleries, the artists they showcase, and appetizers from local restaurants.
  • The Taste of Charleston Main Event: Patrons can sample from dozens upon dozens of Charleston’s finest local restaurants as well as specialty beers and wine pairings.

4. Tour Charleston’s Plantations

Charleston is the site of many antebellum plantations that are historical sites. Middleton Place, for example, is a National Historic Landmark. Plantations boast breathtaking scenery, sprawling greens, landscaped paths, and lush arboreal scenery.

Charleston’s local plantations fascinate millions of visitors year-round with seasonal activities. Some of these fall activities include the following:

  • Boone Hall Plantation hosts the Taste of Charleston Main Event as well as an annual Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze.
  • Magnolia Plantation in Dorchester County features the Autumn on the Ashley Arts and Crafts Fair.
  • Drayton Hall invites guests for Sunday Wine in the Garden.

Both Boone Hall Plantation and Magnolia Hall Plantation also feature “Fright Night” events. The events stretch over 17 or more days, beginning in late September and ending on Halloween night. There’s kid-friendly trick-or-treating and other activities as well.

5. Catch a Local Music Festival or Concert

While it doesn’t get the same press as Nashville, Charleston is a major hub in the Southern music scene. A-list headliners come through every year, many stopping by during fall. Luke Bryan, KT Tunstall, and the legendary Bruce Hornsby are a few acts who’ve appeared in recent years.

Throughout September and October, there are daily concerts and weekly music, food, and drink festivals at these local venues:

  • Lowcountry Jazz Festival
  • Music on the Green
  • Color of Music Festival
  • Riverfront Revival Festival
  • Boogieman Music Festival
  • Music Farm (rotating acts)
  • MOJA Arts Festival
  • Charleston Beerfest
  • Donut Fest Charleston
  • Holy Smokes BBQ Festival
  • Southern Songwriter Festival
  • Fall Food Truck Festival

Maximizing Your Time in the Holy City

By foot, boat, or carriage, you can take in a superabundance of sights, eats, drinks, and music that define the Holy City. With a little planning and an adventurous spirit, it’s possible to have a stellar Charleston, SC, travel experience. Good luck, and have a ball.

FAQs about Charleston in the Fall

1. What are some must-try Charleston foods in the fall?

  • Shrimp and Grits: A Charleston classic, this dish is a delicious combination of fresh shrimp and creamy grits.
  • Lowcountry Cuisine: Sample local takes on Southern dishes with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
  • Taste of Charleston Festival (if happening during your visit): This multi-day event features a variety of restaurants and culinary experiences.

2. What are some of the best ways to experience Charleston’s history in the fall?

  • Historic Tours: Explore the city’s charming streets, stately homes, and waterways on a guided walking or boat tour.
  • Plantation Tours: Visit historic plantations like Middleton Place, Boone Hall Plantation, or Magnolia Plantation for a glimpse into Charleston’s past.

3. Are there any spooky Halloween events in Charleston?

  • Ghost Tours: Charleston offers a variety of ghost tours year-round, with a peak season around Halloween.
  • Plantation Fright Nights: Boone Hall Plantation and Magnolia Plantation host Halloween events with spooky themes and activities.

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