What to Do on a Rainy Day in Charleston☔️

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Even on days when it rains in Charleston, it’s still a good day because you’re in Charleston. And while you might have to cancel a trip to the beach or reschedule your walking tour, there’s still plenty to do in and around Charleston on even the rainiest of days.

Here are some good indoor options for those rainy days in the Holy City:

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

If the kids need a place to burn off some extra energy, this is the spot. The Children’s Museum has hands-on exhibits and activities, including an art room, pint-sized grocery store, pirate ship, a medieval castle and water play area.

Gibbes Museum of Art

Located in the heart of downtown, the Gibbes houses more than 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection as well as special exhibitions. Visit the first floor for free and check out the Museum Store and Café Gibbes with sandwiches, soups, and beverages.

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is a non-profit, non-collecting contemporary art institute within the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The HICA presents contemporary art exhibitions by emerging or mid-career artists. The exhibits are always free and open to the public.

The Charleston Museum

located in downtown Charleston has several rotating exhibits and permanent displays highlighting various aspects of Lowcountry history. Also, check out Kidstory, a hands-on exhibit specifically for children.

USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is a famous Charleston landmark that is mostly covered from the rain and weather except for the top deck of the USS Yorktown, a famous decommissioned aircraft carrier. Great place to take the family, explore and learn about our nation’s history.

South Carolina Aquarium

There’s already lots of water here! Learn about everything from sea turtles to jellyfish through interactive displays, dive shows in the great ocean tank or go behind the scenes for a look at the Sea Turtle Hospital.

North Charleston & American LaFrance Fire Museum & Educational Center

Walking distance from Tanger Outlets, this museum is great for kids and adults with its one-of-a-kind fire vehicles, antique fire equipment, fire truck simulator and interactive displays. $1 off per person coupon.

Catch a Show

A good resource for a schedule of local theater productions is Theatre Charleston. Also, check out The Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theatre: Three comic mysteries run most evenings with some matinees and morning shows. Shows range from a G-rated pirate mystery to the “Sherlock Holmes and the Charleston History Mystery.” Also check out the shop for mystery-themed books and gifts.

Watch a Movie

There are many movie theaters in almost every area of the city where you can catch the latest blockbuster. Visit Fandango to search for the theater nearest you.


Stop off for some new rain boots at an area mall or shopping center. Nice covered spaces include Northwoods Mall in North Charleston, Citadel Mall in the West Ashley area and Tanger Outlets in North Charleston. The Charleston City Market is also covered from the rain, but beware: when it rains hard, the Market area floods. Also, check out this video of the Charleston City Market.

Take a Mini-Bus Tour

This is a great way to see a lot of history and learn the facts in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle. They will also transport you out to the plantations and a harbor tour can be added as well. There are two companies that we recommend:

Historic Houses

  • Edmonston-Alston House –Take a 30-minute guided tour of the home’s public rooms and piazzas with a special focus on its Federal and Greek revival design and collection of family silver, decorative arts and furniture.

  • Joseph-Manigault House – One of Charleston’s most exquisite antebellum structures, this house, built in 1803, reflects the urban lifestyle of a wealthy, rice-planting family and the enslaved African Americans who lived there.

  • Calhoun Mansion – This incredible home is a baronial Italianate manor house, widely acclaimed as one of the great post Civil War homes on the Eastern Seaboard. Although it is a private residence, it is open daily for public tours.
  • Aiken-Rhett House – This home, built in 1820, remained in the hands of family descendants for 142 years until it opened as a museum house in 1975. The house was built by Charleston merchant John Robinson. When Robinson lost five ships at sea in 1825, he was forced to sell the house. In 1827, it was sold to William Aiken Sr.

More Fun Things To Do

  • Sky Zone – Mount Pleasant, indoor trampoline park.
  • Velocity Air Sports – North Charleston, indoor trampoline park, arcade, ninja warrior course, and inflatables.
  • Charleston Fun Park – Mount Pleasant, indoor arcade. Outdoor Go-Karts, two miniature golf courses, jump land, gemstone or fossil mining and a climbing wall.
  • Frankie’s Fun Park – North Charleston, indoor arcade, go-karts, batting cages, mini golf, and bumper boats.
  • Carolina Ice Palace North Charleston, indoor skating rink open year round.
  • The Alley – Downtown Charleston, eight bowling lanes, three bars, a full kitchen, and retro arcade games.
  • CandlefishDowntown Charleston, make your own candle.

Local Events

Check out our Charleston online events calendar that’s always being updated

Stay safe

One important note for visitors is to use caution when driving through downtown Charleston. Especially at high tide, many streets (including Market Street) are prone to significant flooding and can make driving dangerous. Don’t drive through high water and check the City of Charleston website for updates on road closures. Sometimes businesses and attractions close early if rain/flooding is particularly bad.

Let us know what you like to do on a rainy day in Charleston!

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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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/articles/hotels/

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/guide-charlestons-beaches/

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/places-to-learn-about-charleston-sc-history/

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/charleston-family-fun-activities/

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/charleston-first-time-visitors-guide/

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-springtime-in-charleston/

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/charleston-12-things-to-do-fall/

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/guide-charlestons-beaches/
  • 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: https://tourpass.com

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/events/

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

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: https://travelerofcharleston.com/attractions/

Checkout the Charleston Relocation Guide page which will guide you during your move: https://travelerofcharleston.com/charleston-sc-relocation-guide/

Additional Places to Explore