10 Things to Do in Charleston in July

Who has not seen the celebration of the 4th of July in American movies? This is undoubtedly a special date for the inhabitants of this country. If you travel to Charleston you will have the opportunity to enjoy the patriotism of this date in all its splendor.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

10 Things to Do in Charleston in July

Charleston | ©GPA Photo Archive

Charleston is a city in the state of South Carolina in the United States. It is also known as "the Holy City", thanks to the fact that it is home to a great variety of churches. Among the things to see in Charleston during the month of July are its festivals and history museums.

During the summer the city offers different activities with historical value for the whole family. The most popular is the 4th of July celebration that takes place in museums, parks, bars, among others. It is undoubtedly an ideal occasion to learn about the history of this country and the events that led to the country's independence.

1. Dazzle yourself with fireworks at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum fireworks display| ©Bryan Adams
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum fireworks display| ©Bryan Adams

Every year the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum hosts a fireworks show to celebrate the 4th of July. The event usually starts at 6pm and runs until 9 or 10pm. If you are traveling in your own car you will have to pay around €20 for parking.

Some years a more private event is held on the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. On those occasions it is possible to access an area with chairs and tables, from where you can get a VIP view of the fireworks.

On the other hand, access to the mainland is completely free and from there you can also watch the show at your leisure, as the fireworks are launched from the bow of the USS Yorktown.

In addition to the fireworks you can enjoy music and snacks and drinks from the local food trucks located near Patriots Point.

Be sure to arrive early so you can get a great spot for your picnic blanket or folding chairs.

Book a boat tour of Charleston

2. Take a historic tour of Charleston

Harleston Village| ©Warren LeMay
Harleston Village| ©Warren LeMay

It's never a bad time to tour the historic streets of Charleston, especially during the most patriotic month of the year. Since the city's founding in 1670, Charleston became an important center for commerce in the United States.

In addition, all the architectural styles of its churches are a reflection of the various periods of development the city went through.

On your tour you can not only appreciate Charleston's architecture, but also visit and explore some interesting sites. One of them is the Historic District that houses an important architectural collection of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, so it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

On the other hand, you can see the towers and churches for which Charleston is known as The Holy City. Among them are St. Michael's Episcopal Church, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, French Huguenot Church, among others.

If you want a much more interesting experience you could take a carriage tour that will take you through phenomenal sites.

Book a historical tour of Charleston

3. Don't miss the 4th of July Festival

4th of July in Charleston| ©Adam MacConnell
4th of July in Charleston| ©Adam MacConnell

The 4th of July is the Independence Day of the United States and if you are in Charleston, you should not miss the Festival that this city prepares. Year after year this event is held at the Riverfront Park in the afternoon. Get ready to experience the patriotism of the inhabitants of this small city in South Carolina.

During this event there are usually several concerts, activities for children and food trucks.

If you want to know the details of the festival, you can go to the official website of the city of Charleston... Attendees can bring lawn chairs and blankets to set up in the park and enjoy the performances.

During the evening there is a fireworks show that you can enjoy with other spectators. Don't worry about parking, as it is totally free. However, I recommend you to share your car, walk or ask for a cab through an app like Uber, as sometimes there are not enough parking spaces left.

Keep in mind that when you arrive at the park the security personnel will search your belongings. This is only a preventive measure to ensure that the festival runs peacefully.

In addition, it is prohibited for citizens to bring fireworks or grills. You may only bring your snacks, water and money to purchase food or craft merchandise inside the festival.

4. Celebrate Artcelium Fest

Woodlands Nature Reserve| ©Andrew Wyant
Woodlands Nature Reserve| ©Andrew Wyant

Artcelium Fest is an event held several times a year in Charleston. The summer edition is usually held in July and is not to be missed.

If you go to this event you can enjoy DJ shows, dances and other expressions of art in nature. It is definitely a good way to spend a day in Charleston.

The goal of this celebration is to create live art, serving as a source of inspiration for the attendees. That's why you will see, for example, painters selling their works, but also creating one from scratch so you can observe the creative process.

The festival takes place in nature as a way to create a metaphor: the roots of trees, mushrooms and other plants share the nutrients of nature. So too should artists be, sharing ideas to grow together.

If you love art and the outdoors this is the event for you. The event takes place at the Woodlands Nature Reserve for one day only.

With the Open Mic you will be able to meet artists from the region and the city.

Practical Information

  • Location: Woodlands Nature Reserve, 4279 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414.

  • When to go: Held in the spring and summer. The summer one takes place during the month of July.

  • Price: around $10 and $15.

  • Hours: usually starts at 2:00 p.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m. on a Saturday or Sunday.

5. Celebrate the Charleston Caribbean Jerk Festival

Caribbean Jerk Festival| ©robynfreaks
Caribbean Jerk Festival| ©robynfreaks

The Charleston Caribbean Jerk Festival began less than a decade ago. Every year on a Sunday in the middle of the month, Riverfront Park is filled with Caribbean music and food for a day. Come and enjoy music, food and more.

This event is great for the whole family to have a great time. If you love Caribbean culture you must attend this festival which is perfect for the summer. In the park you will find food vendors and chefs specialized in Jamaican cuisine. You can also enjoy refreshing drinks typical of the Caribbean.

I recommend you bring folding chairs or blankets so you can sit somewhere in the park. This way you will be more comfortable and you will be able to enjoy the music of DJs and live bands. If you want to take home a souvenir of this experience, don't forget to stop by the craft stalls. You will be amazed at what you will find.

Please note that you cannot bring your own pets, food or drinks to the event. Also, if you travel by car you will find free parking. Be sure to arrive early to get a good place to park.

Practical Information

  • Location: Riverfront Park, 1001 Everglades Dr, North Charleston.

  • When to go: the park is open year-round, the festival is held on a Sunday in the middle of the month.

  • Price: around 5€ and 10€.

  • Hours: usually starts at 5:00 pm and ends at 11:00 pm.

6. Watch the fireworks from the roof of a bar or restaurant

4th of July Fireworks| ©Jared Shapiro
4th of July Fireworks| ©Jared Shapiro

If you prefer quieter, less crowded places, I recommend looking for a bar or restaurant with a rooftop.

During the 4th of July celebration many businesses have good views of the sky. This way you can spend a pleasant evening sipping your favorite cocktail and having your favorite dinner. This is a perfect plan to spend the night in Charleston.

One of the most famous places is the Pavilion Bar that overlooks the Charleston Harbor. This is an ideal option to enjoy the local food. They also have options for everyone including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

Another place you will surely like is the Pour Taproom, from where you can have a panoramic view of downtown Charleston. If you like beer, visit the Revelry Brewery. Live music concerts are usually held there on weekends.

Several bars and restaurants plan events during and after the 4th of July, just keep an eye out for announcements.

7. Visit the rooftop bar at the Vendue Art Hotel

Rooftop / Bar of the Hotel de Arte Vendue| ©clarissa:)
Rooftop / Bar of the Hotel de Arte Vendue| ©clarissa:)

The Vendue Art Hotel is Charleston's first and only hotel dedicated to art. It features different galleries and various art exhibits that are on display to the public throughout the year.

In addition to being known for these details, during the 4th of July it attracts many more people because of The Rooftop Bar, one of the best in town.

Visitors come to this bar not only to enjoy the view of Charleston Harbor and the French Quarter, but to enjoy the bar's themed parties. Beyond admiring the Independence Day fireworks, this bar allows diners to socialize with each other.

A favorite theme is the Spotlight Party. This consists of dressing up in the colors of the traffic light. If you wear red it means you're in a relationship, white means your status is complicated and blue means you're single. Would you go for something like this?

If you want to see more flashy places like this, I recommend taking the Charleston tour bus. That way you can see a lot more of this city in just one day.

Practical Info

  • Location: The Vendue, Charleston's Art Hotel. 19 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401

  • When to go: open year-round, but they have themed parties on the 4th of July.

  • Price: The price for parties is about $24.

  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday hours are 11:30 am to 11:00 pm. On Fridays and Saturdays the bar is open from 11:30 to 0:00 h.

Book your Charleston tour bus

8. Visit Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum| ©Ron Cogswell
Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum| ©Ron Cogswell

In addition to visiting this museum to admire the fireworks during the 4th of July, I also recommend taking a tour of the museum for a more complete experience.

That way at the end of your tour at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum you can stay for the 4th of July celebration in the harbor.

If you are a fan of aviation or World War II history, at this museum you will have the opportunity to explore the interior of the USS Yorktown (CV-10), a historic aircraft carrier in the United States.

This ship served the nation for approximately three decades and received the Presidential Unit Citation and 11 battle stars for its service in World War II.

It also features three Navy ships, 28 historic aircraft and a state-of-the-art immersive experience that tells the story of the Vietnam War. In this museum you will also find the Medal of Honor Museum.

Practical Information

  • Location: the museum is located along Charleston Harbor in Mt. Pleasant, SC.
  • When to go: open year-round but you get a more themed experience during the 4th of July.
  • Price: about $25.
  • Hours: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm.

9. Have fun at the Lights in the Forest Festival

Lights in the Forest Festival| ©Fuzzy Gerdes
Lights in the Forest Festival| ©Fuzzy Gerdes

If you love electronic music and want to party, the Lights in the Woods Festival is what you're looking for.

Since 2019 this festival is held in the city of Charleston in different locations. Its goal is to create a space for music and love for nature, but above all, to give visibility to local DJs.

The attraction of this festival is that lights are installed in the forest to make the atmosphere colorful and different from other festivals.

This festival is held in summer, specifically in July. Although the location may change, it has already been held at the Woodlands Nature Reserve. If you are attracted to the nature of the city you should take a trip to the plantations from Charleston.

During the event you can enjoy DJ shows, buy snacks and various types of food from the trucks, as well as enjoy the light show.

The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, with camping available in the area. When purchasing your ticket you must decide if you want the pass from Saturday or only on Sunday.

Practical information

  • Location: Woodlands Nature Reserve, 4279 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414.

  • When to go: on their social networks they announce the dates of the event which is usually during the month of July. In that case, it is held for a weekend, although you can go for just one day.

  • Price: around 120 € to 220 €.

  • Schedule: usually starts at 12:00 noon on Saturday and ends on Sunday night.

10. Visit the Riverfront Park to enjoy the summer

Riverfront Park| ©Geoff Livingston
Riverfront Park| ©Geoff Livingston

Riverfront Park is located in North Charleston on the banks of the Cooper River and is open to the public year-round. However, visiting during the 4th of July celebrations is a unique experience because of the historical value of the monuments it houses and the old homes that surround it.

If you can't go on that date, that's okay: it's a great place to avoid the summer heat for a bit.

When you visit this park you'll find the Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial. This was built to honor the military and civilians who served the United States of America and the Greater Charleston region when the base was active.

Near this park you will see the homes where Naval Base officers lived. These were carefully restored to preserve them. Besides enjoying the history of the site you can admire the peace inspired by the huge oak trees that adorn the park and its tranquil landscapes.

In addition to attending during the 4th of July festival, I recommend going a few days before or after, because in summer there are always activities.

This is one of those great plans to take kids to see a bit of Charleston.

Sometimes the park is the site of corporate events, concerts and even weddings, so you might run into some similar activity on your way through Charleston.

What the July weather is like in Charleston

Sunny day in Charleston| ©adnan kouatli
Sunny day in Charleston| ©adnan kouatli

If you travel to Charleston in July you will experience the summer in this city. I advise you to be prepared for hot and sunny days, as temperatures are generally between 31°C and 34 °C. On the coldest day, the temperature can drop to 24°C and rarely to 21°C.

On the other hand, the sky remains cloudy for most of the month. Only during the first week you can enjoy a much clearer sky. This is ideal for enjoying the nighttime sights during the 4th of July celebrations.

Also, rainfall is rare, so you don't have to worry about it. I also recommend having an umbrella in your backpack in case of sudden rain. In this month you will also be able to walk freely until 7 or 8 p.m. since it gets dark around 8:30 p.m.

Traveller Tip

When traveling to Charleston during the summer you should not forget your sunscreen. Long periods of exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can lead to sunstroke and even skin blemishes. I also recommend staying hydrated throughout the day.

What to pack for a visit to Charleston in July

Packing| ©Marissa Grootes
Packing| ©Marissa Grootes

If you plan to spend more than four days in Charleston, I advise you to bring several changes of clothes. This is an ideal time to wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts.

Even if it doesn't rain often, it's best to have an umbrella on hand. Drizzles can catch visitors off guard and increase the heat. Also, sunscreen should not be missing from your personal items.

On days when touring Charleston's museums or parks, be sure to pack water in your backpack. The heat and sun can make you dehydrate easily. This will make you tired and you will not be able to enjoy all that the city has to offer, especially if you have a long distance to travel.