10 Things to Do in Charleston in February

The month of February in Charleston is much warmer than it seems, both in temperature and activities. If you are visiting during this month, you should know that there are many activities and events not to be missed.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

14 min read

10 Things to Do in Charleston in February

Charleston | ©Pedro de Carvalho Ponchio

Are you going to Charleston in February and you are worried that there is not much to do? Well, there is nothing to worry about, because in this city there are always things to see and do and February is a great month where you will always have a full agenda. Although in this city there will be winter temperatures, in comparison they are much warmer than the rest of the United States, so you can avoid the cold and enjoy culture, sports and history while touring the city.

There will always be a plan for you in this winter month if you visit Charleston. I recommend that you do not miss this visit because the city is much less crowded than other months and there are unique and world-renowned events that you should not miss. Will you join me to know them?

1. Get to know the fauna of the southeastern United States

Southeastern Wildlife Exposition| ©scbiz news
Southeastern Wildlife Exposition| ©scbiz news

If you are visiting the beautiful city of Charleston in February, you should not miss the great wildlife event of the southeastern United States: the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), which has been held for four decades and is therefore an institution. Generally, this exposition is held for three days in mid-February, so if you are close to those dates, you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Inside the exhibition you will find wonderful things. I recommend that you buy a general admission ticket which costs about 35€ and can be used to participate in one of the three days of the event, although on Sundays it is cheaper. You can also buy a three-day ticket for around 70€, which is particularly convenient if you have time, because each day you will be able to see different activities and exhibits in one of the most important exhibitions of its kind in the United States.

When you go, you'll be able to see an extensive collection of wildlife art, as well as demonstrations of animals in their habitats and exhibits on animals of the American Southeast. For all these reasons, it's an ideal opportunity for you to go with children. Also note that this event is held at several sites in the city, so I recommend visiting at least two in one day. The organization usually offers shuttle services between the venues.

Practical Information

  • Location: Held at five different venues, including the Charleston Marriott, the Gaillard Center SEWE and Charleston Place, where the art gallery is located.
  • When: mid-February, for three days.
  • Price: the ticket for Friday or Saturday costs about 35 €, but if it is on Sunday it goes down to about 30 €. The three-day ticket package costs about 70 €.
  • Hours: Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

2. Take a carriage tour on Valentine's Day

Carriage in Charleston| ©debbiepayne210
Carriage in Charleston| ©debbiepayne210

Going to Charleston as a couple? You should know that in the city there is a lot to do for Valentine's Day, so the month of February is perfect for you to share with your partner through its streets. And what better way than taking a historic tour in a carriage on this day of love? Yes, this is a historical tour, but I assure you that there is a lot of romance when you ride through cobblestone streets in a carriage that emulates the 19th century.

This is a fantastic way to relive history, because you get to see how white, wealthy people lived in the city in the 19th century, as well as understand how they moved around the city. Not to mention that on that day the streets will be decorated with Valentine's Day decorations, so between that and the carriage you will be able to take the best pictures with your partner, where you will feel like you are in the 19th century.

The carriage tours usually end at Bay Street and cost around 60 €, but this is not the only thing you can do that day. It is also possible to enjoy concerts and events in general, but also parades in the city. There are even plantations on the outskirts of the city where rice was once produced and humans were enslaved, but which today are reinterpreted as a place for love. Without exaggeration, this is the case of the Magnolia Plantations and Gardens.

For Valentine's Day, you can find different chocolate stations and many musicians, singing songs such as serenades and other romantic pieces. This can be a family event among the activities in Charleston to take the kids and you only pay for the access to the plantation, but there is no need to pay an additional entrance fee.

3. Lunch at the corkage festival

Cork Shuckin' Festival| ©Annie
Cork Shuckin' Festival| ©Annie

Despite the cold weather, February is a month to eat and drink the best produce. Among the best things to do in Charleston in winter, you have an option at the Cork Shuckin' Festival held at the Deep Water Vineyard. In previous years, this festival has been held on one day in the first or fourth week of February, so keep an eye out if you want to go and sample the food and drinks.

But, specifically, what do you drink? Mainly local craft beers. And, if you like beer, I recommend you not to leave Charleston without having tried some of the city's own, because, although they are a bit sour, you can enjoy a taste as native as delicious. About the food; most of the dishes involve oysters, one of Charleston's quintessential foods that is also in season. You'll find many of them in food trucks.

The best part is that this is a family-friendly event with proceeds benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All of this will be held at the Deep Water Vineyard, Charleston's only vineyard located on Wadmalaw Island, just outside the city, but beautifully connected by rail. Are you going to miss it?

Practical information

  • Location: Deep Water Vineyard, 6775 Bears Bluff Wadmalaw Island, SC 29487
  • When: usually the last week of February, although it has sometimes been held during the first week of February
  • Price: approximately $25 admission
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

4. Enjoy the best oysters in season

Festival Oysters| ©Elizabeth Wenner
Festival Oysters| ©Elizabeth Wenner

The quintessential product of Charleston and the entire Lowcountry region of South Carolina are oysters and if you go in the month of February, well, all the better, because you're right in the oyster season. That is precisely the reason for the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, which you can usually go to on the first Sunday of February.

Yes, it goes without saying that if you go to an oyster festival it's to eat oysters, but what else is there? The event is nothing minor, because they call themselves the largest oyster festival in the world and they have shows from different musical groups, as well as food contests. When you go, you will notice that there are dozens of restaurants where you can not only eat oysters, but also drink good beer, wine and other seafood.

The general admission for this event costs around 22 €, but keep in mind that once inside you will have to taste oysters. A full meal can cost you a little more than 10 €, although if you eat between snacks, it may be less. Also, it's great if you go with kids, because admission for children 10 and under is free.

Practical information

  • Location: Boone Hall Plantation, 1235 Long Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
  • When: Usually held on the first Sunday in February.
  • Price: the cost of admission is usually about $22 excluding in-house refreshments. Children 10 and under are free.
  • Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Traveller Tip

For the past few years, this oyster festival has had a cashless policy. Please note that for any internal purchases you will first have to purchase vouchers by credit or debit card or other electronic means.

5. Enjoy the activities of the black history month

The Old Slave Mart Museum| ©BrineStans
The Old Slave Mart Museum| ©BrineStans

In the southern United States, the history of African Americans will always be present in a very special way. For it was in this region that slavery was most present in the life of the United States as an independent country, and it was also the site of the greatest conflicts of the Civil War. Black History Month is celebrated every February and in Charleston it is something very special.

There are many things you can do this month to honor African-American culture. For starters, you might want to visit museums like The Old Slave Mart Museum which is believed to be the last slave market in all of South Carolina. In this museum you can find different commemorative and research activities for this month, designed for tourists.

But it is not the only iconic site to understand the past of the African-American community, because Charleston is a city that still preserves plantations in its surroundings that you can visit on tours. Thousands of people were enslaved in these plantations to obtain agricultural products. In this case, I would recommend you to visit the Drayton Hall, one of the oldest, as its structure has survived since the War of Independence and then the Civil War, so you can learn a lot about slavery and segregation. Are you going to visit it during this important month?

Book the best plantation tours in Charleston

6. Artwalk, the first Friday of the month

Night Art| ©EzequielD
Night Art| ©EzequielD

Who doesn't like art while enjoying a nice walk? Something like that is what the Charleston Gallery Association offers, which month after month organizes an Artwalk on the first Friday of every month. As its name suggests, "art" means art and "walk" means walk, so it is a move where different galleries in the city come together between 5 and 9 pm to show different exhibitions in a unique event.

My advice is not to miss this; especially because in winter evenings there is usually not too much to do due to the cold and the Artwalk is ideal, because you can meet even more than twenty art galleries and enjoy the art in all of them, with an ideal temperature while you are visiting them. It's a good alternative to the cold that will enliven at least one February night in Charleston with the presence of many artists and curators.

To make sure you don't miss out on anything, you'll have to check the official website of the gallery association to find out which galleries have joined this month's event. I promise you'll have a great time, enjoying the best art in town.

7. Delight among cocktails and camellias

Middleton Place| ©Paul Braynard
Middleton Place| ©Paul Braynard

Do you like cocktails and flowers? Better yet, do you like both and are passing through Charleston in February? Then you'd better go to the Cocktail and Camellias, a magnificent event held at Middleton Place, another of the great plantations around Charleston. It's a truly beautiful place that I recommend you go to, even if it's just to take the best pictures with the camellias.

Cocktail and Camellias is usually held during the last days of February, in the middle of the afternoon. Not only can you taste delicious cocktails, but you can also smell and feel in the atmosphere more than 10 thousand camellias that bloom throughout the plantation at this time of the year. Additionally, the event always has live music and also offers food from exclusive chefs.

This will be a fantastic evening. Although you will have to shell out some money, you will be able to see some wonderful flowers while enjoying the best drinks and food, at one of the most beautiful plantations in the entire Lowcountry. If you are worried about winter, you shouldn't worry about that, because by the end of February the temperatures are usually quite pleasant, as in much of the southern United States, although you should still bring a coat.

Practical Info

  • Location: Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Road Charleston, SC 29414
  • When: usually the last Saturday in February
  • Price: the cost of admission is usually around $70
  • Hours: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

8. Eat and shop on King Street without the hustle and bustle

King Street| ©Warren LeMay
King Street| ©Warren LeMay

One of the best things about visiting Charleston in February is the fact that there are not many tourists in the city and the whole atmosphere will be much more comfortable and relaxed, both in accommodation and transportation. King Street is one of the most important streets in the city and in high season it is always crowded, but in February you will be able to walk along it to buy the best products and eat in excellent places without much effort.

If you decide to walk around this area, my advice is not to miss the traditional wine bar Bin 152, in the French Quarter. Although aesthetically it looks like any other place, it is one of the most historic bars in the city and offers more than 200 wines, so you can dedicate a cold afternoon to this place that can give you warmth and good drinks.

But not only: in this street there is a lot to buy, especially in the lower part which is considered the best area to buy antiques in this part of the United States. If you prefer to buy clothes, then you should go to the middle part of the street, with international franchises. In the upper part of the street you can find more restaurant options, ideal for dinner, when the night falls and the temperature drops considerably.

9. Shelter from the cold by watching a field hockey or basketball game

In a set of South Carolina Stingrays| ©kreativ xpressionz
In a set of South Carolina Stingrays| ©kreativ xpressionz

Think February is such a cold month that you won't be able to enjoy any sports in town? Not so, because both field hockey and basketball will be available to you if you're passing through Charleston and both will serve to insulate you a bit from the cold outside. These are two of the most famous sports in the United States and when you go, you will realize all the passion they generate, so I recommend you not to miss at least one game of these sports.

One of your options is the South Carolina Stingrays, a field hockey team from the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), a minor division of this sport. That doesn't stop them from having thousands of fans. Their games are played at the North Charleston Coliseum, a beautiful arena that you can usually go to in the late afternoon after dark. This pavilion can be cold because of the temperature that the ice needs, but I assure you that the night outside will be even colder.

The other great option I recommend is basketball. In Charleston there is a military educational college called The Citadel, well known for its sports teams known as The Citadel Bulldogs. The most recognized of these teams is the basketball team that participates in the first division of the NCAA. In February you can watch several of their games at the McAlister Field House and get to know the best of college sports. In this pavilion you can stay acclimatized and while you take a break from the cold of the city, you can watch a quality basketball game.

10. Take a walking tour

Getting to know Charleston| ©robynfreaks
Getting to know Charleston| ©robynfreaks

There are many people who go to Charleston to enjoy the warmer temperatures in the month of February to be able to walk around. If you come from an area where it is hot all year round, the 10 or 12 °C that Charleston averages for February will seem very cold, but for most of the United States it is a perfect environment to take a walking tour and get to know the city in a month that is not so crowded.

In general, I would recommend takinga guided walking tour of the city in February because the groups that form are small, so you can pay your own way and still get personalized attention. In addition, the museums, galleries and restaurants you visit will have a much more acceptable amount of people, which will allow you to enjoy better and more calmly. All this added to the fact that in the city there will be less traffic and more availability of public transportation.

I advise you to take a historical tour of the city center, which is a magnificent area to walk around. Here you can visit the French Quarter, the Old Exchange Building or traditional churches such as Saint Philip or Saint Michael. In any case, it is important that you bring a coat in case the temperature drops suddenly.

Book a guided tour of Charleston

What are the temperatures in Charleston in February?

Afternoon in Charleston| ©Pedro de Carvalho Ponchio
Afternoon in Charleston| ©Pedro de Carvalho Ponchio

Winter travel has few friends, but if you plan to travel to Charleston in February, you shouldn't have any major concerns. In the south of the United States it does get cold, but much less than in the north and for that reason, it is very rare to see snow or frost. The average temperature ranges between 6 and 18 °C, so you can stay cool and warm for most of the days.

In the evenings the situation is a bit colder and that's why you don't see so many night plans in this month. But that doesn't mean it's not impossible either, as there are plenty of indoor spaces to enjoy when the sun goes down. Any outdoor activity is complicated if the temperature is around 6 °C, but that will depend on the time of the month and the weather that week.

Prices and traffic in Charleston in February

Money in Dollars| ©Karolina Grabowska
Money in Dollars| ©Karolina Grabowska

Don't want to find a crowded city? Then February is a perfect month for you, because it is winter and low season, which makes the city with a very low influx of tourists. In general, only people who have vacations or days off and need to get away from the cold of cities that are much further north go there.

This can benefit you in the prices of airline tickets and car rentals that are usually cheaper in low season. However, some tour prices are higher because groups are not booked as frequently as in high season. In spite of that, I recommend you to take advantage of cheaper air tickets and get to know this beautiful city.

What to pack if you are visiting Charleston in February?

Preparing Luggage| ©Marissa Grootes
Preparing Luggage| ©Marissa Grootes

Worried about having to pack too many coats when visiting Charleston in February? That shouldn't take up that much space in your suitcase. I recommend bringing at least one heavy coat, but only if you're going out in the evenings, which is the only time you'll need it. Otherwise, with sweaters and other light winter clothes you will manage more than well, because many times during the day the temperature is around 10 ° C.

Regardless of that, it is essential that you wear good shoes. In any case, you will have to walk long distances, whether you are walking in a plantation, visiting a museum or shopping for clothes on King Street, so a comfortable pair of sneakers is a must. Also, although February is not a rainy or snowy month, I recommend having an umbrella, especially if you are going to visit outdoor spaces that cannot be delayed by rain.