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When to visit South Carolina

by SmarterTravel Staff

South Carolina is a year-round destination with long, hot summers and mild winters. The spring, summer, and fall are ideal times to visit the coast and beaches. Summer is especially popular with families and golf enthusiasts. Fall and spring are quieter seasons that appeal to retirees and those interested in golf and RVing. Any time of year can be a good time for historical and cultural attractions.

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  • high season: May to August
  • low season: December to February
  • shoulder season: September to November, March to April

Weather Information

South Carolina's subtropical climate is warm and humid for most of the year, especially during the summer high season when average temperatures can reach 90 degrees. The winter is fairly sunny and mild, with snow only falling in the mountains and upper Piedmont. Brief thunderstorms are common throughout the year, and the state receives an annual average of 49 inches of precipitation. Hurricane season lasts from June through October.

Crowd Information

Summer holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day attract large crowds to the coast. The spring and fall shoulder seasons see fewer crowds, but are still pleasant times weather-wise.

Closure Information

For the most part, hotels, shops, and other venues remain open year-round. However, some regions are subject to seasonal closures. For example, in the popular tourist area of Myrtle Beach, some attractions such as amusement parks and water parks may close during the winter.

Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park and Family Kingdom Amusement Park generally open in March and operate on a limited schedule until late May, when they open for the summer, then cut back their hours in September, and close completely in October. The water parks are open from May through September, with limited hours in May and September. Some businesses on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and other Grand Strand communities close during the winter months. However, hotels, malls, outlet centers, entertainment theaters, and restaurants are open year-round (a very small number of restaurants may close).

Major attractions that remain open year-round include NASCAR SpeedPark, Ripley's Aquarium, Alligator Adventure, Children's Museum of South Carolina, Waccatee Zoo, IMAX Discover Theater, MagiQuest, and Brookgreen Gardens.

When to Save

Because the majority of travelers to South Carolina are families with children on vacation, rates drop in the spring and fall when kids are in school.

When to Book

Book six to 10 months in advance for vacations to the coast during late spring or summer. For fall, winter, or early spring visits to the coast, plan ahead by at least two to six months. Book at least one week to a month in advance for trips to the Heritage Corridor, which stretches along the western border of the state from Charleston to the mountain foothills.

Information provided by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

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