Best Bests for Fall Fun in Charleston

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A visit to Charleston in the fall is pretty much perfect. The fall season brings a calendar absolutely overflowing with festivals, theater performances and fabulous foodie events. The days are warm and sunny and mornings are cool – perfect for a long walk on the beach, cup of coffee in hand. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite fall events. Be sure to check out our calendar of events for even more fall fun. If you attend any of these events, be sure to let us know what you think! Share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #travelerofcharleston.

In October , Charlestonians will celebrate the opening of the newly rebuilt Gaillard Center, a world-class performance hall and event space in the heart of downtown. A public ribbon cutting and dedication cer-emony is 5-9 p.m. Oct. 9 at the center, which is located near the intersection of Calhoun and East Bay streets. The 2015-16 season opens to the public on Oct. 22 with a concert by San Francisco-based Chanticleer, an ensemble of 12 men performing everything from Renaissance to jazz and gospel to new mu-sic. The Charlotte Ballet will perform the “Nutcracker” in December. Info:

Dine on that classic Southern comfort food at the sixth annual Charleston Mac Off from 2-7 p.m. on Oct. 24 at The Grove at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. More than 20 local restaurants, cafes and caterers will compete for the best cheesy concoction in Charleston. Plus, shop the vendor market, sample spirits along the Bourbon Trail and enjoy live music. General admission tickets are $15; tasting tickets are $1 each. This is a family friendly event. Info:

Wicked Woods at Boone Hall
photo/Boone Hall

Boone Hall Fright Nights is the ultimate haunted experience. With four different attractions, including a Wicked Woods Hayride and Zombie Town, we dare you to not scream, gasp and shudder at the site of these ghouls and ghosts. Boone Hall Fright Nights is open throughout the month of October from dark to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and from dark to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Tickets are available on site or online at (Not recommended for children under 12 or pregnant women.)

Want to tour some of downtown Charleston’s creepiest spaces? Bulldog Tours has four different ghost tours depending on your spooky preferences. The Haunted Jail Tour goes behind-the-scenes in The Old City Jail, which housed some of Charleston’s most infamous criminals. The Ghost & Dungeon Walking Tour is a 90-minute tour through Charleston’s streets, cemeteries, back alleyways and churches. The Darkside of Charleston Walking Tour (mature audiences only) is an unsensored look at Charleston’s dark history – brothels, prostitutes, crime and scandel. The Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tour lets you into one of Charleston’s oldest graveyards. Info:

Bulldog Tours
photo/Bulldog Tours

(UPDATE: This event has been canceled; Cypress Gardens is closed until further notice due to flooding.) Get spooked in the swamp at Cypress Gardens in Moncks Corner. Halloween in the Swamp is Oct. 23-24. General admission includes family friendly events –a lighted pumpkin trail, jump castles, sto-rytelling and a campfire and marshmallow roast. The Haunted Swamp Experience is a separate event not recommended for young children. Visitors take guided haunted boat rides and then go for a walk along a haunted trail. Tickets for the Haunted Swamp Experience must be pur-chased in advance at

Head to Summerville’s historic town square for a variety of harvest activities to get you in the fall spirit. Scarecrows on the Square is Oct. 17 to Nov. 1. Two ghost walk tours are available (G and PG options). Tickets are $6 each the day of the event and children under 3 are free. Hayrides are also available for $3. Info:

Colour of Music Festival highlights the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers on American and world culture. This third annual festival is Oct. 21-25 at various ven-ues around Charleston. Acclaimed black chamber ensemble players and artists form the Colour of Music Orchestra, and the festival showcases some of the top black classical musicians in the United States. Info:

Charleston International Film Festival
photo/Charleston International Film Festival

The Charleston International Film Festival, running Nov. 4-8 at the Charleston Music Hall, showcases film-makers from around the world, short films, animation and documentaries. Info:

Latte lovers and coffee connoisseurs will be in heaven at the second annual Charleston Coffee Cup on Nov. 8 at the Cedar Room at the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street. Head to this family friendly event featuring the best local and regional coffee shops and roasters plus coffee tast-ings, latte art competitions and brunch. Info:

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Charleston FAQ's

Choosing a hotel and where to stay in Charleston all depends on your budget and goals. Do you want to stay Downtown, at the beach or in the outer areas such as North Charleston where you have to drive to get everywhere? For more help on deciding:

Charleston has 3 main public beaches which are: Folly, Isle of Palms and Sullivans. Each beach has it’s own atmosphere. The most common beach that people visit is Folly Beach and then Isle of Palms followed by Sullivans Island. For more info on Charleston’s beaches visit:

Charleston, SC is full of historical things to do. Everything from museums, to public sites and free landmark sites such as Rainbow Row and the Battery can be seen. For more info on Charleston’s top historical sites visit:

There are many things that will keep the kids and family entertained and educated in Charleston. There are historic sites such as Fort Sumter, a Children’s Museum, Aquarium and the USS Yorktown…a WWII era aircraft carrier you can tour. For more info visit:

There’s so many  things you could do in Charleston it can be overwhelming. We recommend that first time visitors, checkout the ultimate first-time visitor guide here:

Spring in Charleston, SC is an amazing time of year to visit. The flowers are blooming and the weather is mild and sunny. For more info, check-out our spring guide to Charleston here:

Summer in Charleston is a great time to visit. There’s plenty of things to keep you busy and visiting the beach will probably….or should be on your short-list. Also water-based activities and tours are popular. Checkout this summer guide to Charleston for more info: 

Our 10 Favorite Summer Activities in Charleston

Fall is one of the best times to visit. The weather cools down a bit and the skies are typically blue and clear. In addition there are many great events, festivals and the large crowds of summer have gone back to school or work. For more info on visiting in the fall, checkout this article:

There are so many great things to do that it’s difficult to narrow the list down. This article does a great job with figuring out the must do things to do in Charleston

7 Can’t Miss Reasons to Visit Charleston, SC Now

The consensus is a minimum of 3-days is needed to settle in and experience Charleston. For instance, many people take 2 days exploring downtown and another day visiting sites outside of downtown such as the plantations, Angel Oak Tree or beaches. Checkout this page for a list of tours and attractions: 

Charleston’s Top Tours & Attractions | Things to do

Downtown Charleston was made for walking and for sure one of the best way to soak up and experience the history first-hand. This article goes over getting around Charleston with and without a car as well: 

Getting Around Charleston, SC

We’re of course partial to Charleston, but here’s the truth. There are many similarities however there are some differences in our opinion: 

  • Both cities are historic and beautiful. 
  • Both cities are extremely walkable. Savannah, with it’s park-like squares maybe more walkable than Charleston. 
  • Charleston has a more established and food scene with many more options. 
  • Charleston has better hotels and shopping.
  • Both cities have equally good tours.
  • Charleston has better beach options. Savannah has Tybee which is great, however it’s 1 beach vibe versus Charleston which has 3 beaches with different vibes. Checkout this Charleston beach guide article:
  • In Savannah you can walk with alcoholic beverages on the street. This is not allowed in Charleston. This can be good or bad depending on your stance. 
  • Savannah is more affordable.
  • TourPass offers all-inclusive passes in both cities:

There are always great and world-class events happening in Charleston. For a calendar of events and things to do in Charleston, checkout our online calendar of events:

Of course there are free money-saving coupons that you can use. Visit the coupons page for a bunch of ways to save:

Charleston has some fantastic can’t miss tours such as Fort Sumter, carriage, ghost, harbor, historic and culinary tours. For a full list with more info visit:

Checkout the Charleston Relocation Guide page which will guide you during your move:

Additional Places to Explore

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