As the vibrant hues of autumn take over the landscape, Charleston, South Carolina, emerges as an enchanting destination for a fall weekend getaway in 2023. With its historic allure, captivating architecture, and a delightful blend of culture and relaxation, Charleston offers a splendid escape that promises a memorable experience. From exploring the cobblestone streets of historic downtown to basking in the mild October weather and indulging in beachside activities, this charming city has it all.
One of the highlights of visiting Charleston in the fall is the delightful weather. By October, there’s a good chance that the stifling summer heat has subsided, giving way to milder temperatures that are perfect for exploring the city on foot. With highs ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s°F (24-28°C) and pleasantly cool evenings, you can comfortably enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about the sweltering heat. Pack a light jacket or sweater for the evenings, and you’ll be all set to enjoy Charleston’s fall ambiance.
Lace up your shoes and head out for a stroll
Stepping foot in historic downtown Charleston is like entering a living history book. As you wander through cobblestone streets lined with colorful antebellum houses, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of Southern elegance and charm. The historic district is brimming with well-preserved architecture, quaint shops, and an abundance of. Take a guided walking tour to learn about the city’s rich history, from its role in the American Revolution to the Civil War and beyond.
Step inside a hidden garden
A celebration of architecture, history and gardens, this beloved event takes you inside some of Charleston’s most iconic historic homes and intricate gardens. Each year, for one month only, the Preservation Society of Charleston invites you to get up close and personal with some of Charleston’s oldest and most exquisite homes. During “The Fall Tours: Architecture, History and Gardens” you can step inside private homes and gardens, ordinarily closed to the public, and walk through history.
Take a step back in time
Aside from the taking in the sights and sounds of historic downtown Charleston by foot, Charleston is also a hub for cultural experiences from incredible art galleries to world-class museums. The Charleston Museum is notable as the oldest museum in the United States. The Gibbes Museum of Art showcases Southern art and Lowcountry history, offering a unique perspective on the region’s artistic heritage.
In early 2023, Charleston, celebrated the opening the International African American Museum as a fitting addition to its historic landscape. Situated at the Gadsden Wharf, where countless enslaved Africans disembarked, the museum stands as a powerful testament to resilience and history. The museum’s compelling exhibits narrate the African American journey, from the depths of the Middle Passage to the heights of cultural contributions. Through immersive displays, interactive installations, and personal stories, visitors gain profound insights into the rich tapestry and enduring legacy of the African American experience.
Slip on your flip flops and head to the beach
No trip to Charleston would be complete without spending time at its pristine beaches. Head to Folly Beach or Isle of Palms, where you can sink your toes into the soft sand, soak up the sun, and listen to the soothing sound of the waves. Cast a line from one of the popular fishing piers, or even try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking. As the sun sets over the ocean, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking display of colors that paints the sky. You’ll find great dining options offering up coastal fare at both of these oceanfront communities.
Located on the iconic fishing pier of Folly Beach, Pier 101 serves up family friendly plates for the whole group. Sit inside or outside on the pier, enjoy ocean views, sea breezes, and watch the sky dance in vibrant colors as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll find some of Folly Beach’s top restaurant’s located along Center Street, including Taco Boy, Jack of Cups, Rita’s Seaside Grill or Lost Dog Cafe. Head over to Dolce Banana Cafe for ice cream and frozen treats and for the cherry on top of a fun night on Folly, take a cone of your favorite flavor for a stroll on the beach.
This island paradise just a short drive from downtown Charleston is a favorite among kiteboarders who flock to Breach Inlet where the winds are reliably brisk year round. In addition to six miles of beaches, Isle of Palms includes a quaint downtown retail and dining district along Ocean Boulevard. Popular restaurants and cafes along this stretch of the island offer a wide variety of delicious seafood and other local specialties, including Coda del Pesce, Coconut Joes Beach Grill, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen and the locally loved Sea Biscuit Cafe, that serves up only breakfast, but is well worth the wait!
Nothing says fall in the South like a coastal fair
The October weather makes this the perfect time to celebrate fall at the fair, and there’s plenty for everybody to do at this favorite, family-friendly fair. Held in nearby Ladson, SC, just an easy 25 minute drive from the downtown Charleston peninsula, this is a fun-filled, small town fair filled with food, rides and entertainment. From the recognizable ferris wheel, to fiddler competitions, 4-H events, arcade games and cotton candy, The Coastal Carolina Fair is a fun-filled destination for kids – big and small alike.
Stay in Luxury
A fall weekend trip to Charleston, SC promises a blend of historic charm, cultural richness, and coastal beauty. With its historic downtown, captivating museums, mild October weather, and inviting beaches, Charleston beckons travelers to experience the very best of the Lowcountry. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking relaxation by the sea, Charleston is the ideal destination to create lasting memories against the backdrop of a picturesque Southern fall. Book a stay at any of our luxury vacation homes in the heart of Downtown Charleston or on Folly Beach, Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island and be that much closer to having your toes in the sand. The team at Luxury Simplified Retreats goes above and beyond to offer guests an outstanding experience with beautiful beach rentals and unparalleled concierge services. Browse our Experience Packages to consider making your trip especially unique, then sit back, relax, and leave all of the planning to us.
If you’re looking for a day trip or weekend excursion to experience the best of the South Carolina lowcountry, Downtown Bluffton, SC offers both small-town southern charm and the sophistication that comes with being close to the desirable resort destinations of Palmetto Bluff and Hilton Head. Bluffton has evolved from a quiet coastal village to a thriving cultural hub, so no matter the season, there’s always plenty to do and see. With its scenic waterfront, walkable historic downtown, a wide variety of shops and restaurants, and a popular Farmer’s Market you’ll be sure to find something that makes for a memorable trip. Popular annual events in Bluffton include Mayfest, which originally started in 1978 and unites local artisans and musicians to celebrate local culture, and the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, which features original art, kayak tours, a 5K run and plenty of fresh, local seafood.
Here are some of the top reasons to spend a day exploring Downtown Bluffton:
Charming Boutiques and World Class Dining
From stylish boutiques like Gigi’s, to the art galleries, quaint cafes, and upscale restaurants that line Calhoun Street, Boundary St. and Promenade St., you’ll find something for everyone in downtown Bluffton. Grab a coffee at Corner Perk, before you begin your morning stroll around the historic downtown district. Located on Church Street, the renowned Bluffton General Store offers up housewares, gifts and locally made goods. Locals and visitors alike vie for reservations at top restaurants including The Pearl Kitchen & Bar, Farm, Burnt Church Distillery. Options to experience world class cuisine in Bluffton continue to grow, with the 2023 James Beard nomination for “Emerging Chef” awarded to Chef Bernard Bennett, of Ọkàn, with a much anticipated opening for the restaurant set for March 2023.
Gullah Cultural History
Bluffton’s rich history includes origins steeped in the Gullah Culture and many of the locals have deep roots in Bluffton that go back centuries. In remote rural areas in the Lowcountry, the Gullah people continued to practice their traditional culture with little influence from the outside world well into the 20th Century. The Gullah people now organize cultural festivals every year in towns up and down the Lowcountry including the annual Gullah Celebration held every year in February.
Old Town Bluffton
Downtown Bluffton is home to some of the oldest buildings in the area, including the Old Town Bluffton Historic District. Here you will find the Heyward House, circa 1841, at 70 Boundary St. and Bluffton’s Church of the Cross, located at 110 Calhoun St., along the shores of the May River. This Carpenter Gothic-style church was built in 1857 and was added to the National Register in 1975. Today, the church is open to the public for tours and church services.
The Allure of the May River
Downtown Bluffton is situated along the May River. This incredible waterway winds through the coastal lowcountry, from the Port Royale Sound of Beaufort to the Callibogue Sound of Hilton Head. The pristine waters of the May River provide some of the best fishing in this region of coastal South Carolina, including largemouth bass, red drum, spotted sea trout, flounder, sheepshead, black drum, tarpon, jacks, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and more. A day spent on the water is a good day, and the crew at May River Excursions has an ample fleet of available fishing charters, both inshore and river, and some of the top fishing guides in Bluffton and the surrounding waterways.
Stay in Luxury
Plan to stay in luxurious comfort within the Palmetto Bluff resort where your vacation can include a fun-filled day spent exploring historic Bluffton. A stay booked in our portfolio of luxury vacation homes offers the breathtaking lowcountry backdrop of Palmetto Bluff’s centuries-old oak trees, majestic pines and vast waterways. Palmetto Bluff is a lush, lowcountry resort community nestled within 20,000 acres of Bluffton’s stunning wildlife. With its vast nature preserve and resort style amenities, Palmetto Bluff has both a quaint, small-town feel and a sense of understated luxury. Our collection of vacation rentals in Palmetto Bluff features incredible amenities and superb locations. Let our Concierge team plan a fishing charter for you and your friends, or have a private chef waiting to cook your catch-of-the-day while you sit around the fire pit with a cocktail, telling stories of the big one that got away. And, while you’re there, why not plan a southern-style happy hour on the porch, or travel by private water taxi to explore the Bluffton Farmers Market? With our Guide to Exclusive Experiences, these are just some of the ways you customize your stay for an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind vacation – and we have a team of people ready to help you plan it all.