10 Things to Do in Charleston in October

In the month of Halloween and the arrival of Christopher Columbus to America, it will be very easy to have 10 things to see and do in Charleston in October if you take into account the list of activities that I have prepared for you.

Keyvis Montilva

Keyvis Montilva

11 min read

10 Things to Do in Charleston in October

Charleston | ©Samuel

As the leaves fall from the trees onto the pavement and the weather starts to get colder by the day, there are bound to be plenty of things to see and do in Charleston. Don't worry about having to search for them, because I've taken it upon myself to find all the activities happening during the month of October in this city for you to choose from at your leisure.

Family plans, adult entertainment and a perfect combination of both. All this is what you can enjoy if you follow the recommendations I have formulated with the intention that you can prepare your tourist itinerary well in advance.

1. Drink beer at the Charleston Oktoberfest

Charleston Oktoberfest| ©CarolinaTravelCarl
Charleston Oktoberfest| ©CarolinaTravelCarl

Oktoberfest is a festival that, despite its historical and cultural origins in Germany, has crossed all the borders of the Western world so that each city can have its own annual version. So by being in October in this South Carolina port community you will be able to get to know the local reinvention that has been given to this beer festival, known worldwide by alcohol consumers.

Clearly, as a matter of practicality and convenience, Charleston Oktoberfest does not run for the same 17 days as the original festival in Munich, Bavaria. However, a single day of celebrations is more than enough to entertain a very large and diverse group of tourists and locals. Those who attend are very interested in learning about the brewing offerings of local companies, as well as experiencing the traditional German essence in the middle of the American South.

The place where it is held may change annually, but most commonly it is held in the vicinity of St. Mathews Lutheran Church. Which is logical, knowing that Christian Protestantism has its origin in German society, just as it happens with Oktoberfest.

Traditional German liturgical choirs, local food such as pretzels and sauerkraut, traditional German pastries and plenty of craft beers ranging from dark and hoppy fermentations to other more common and commercial versions.

All this and much more is what you'll find at this city's Oktoberfest and what makes it one of the things to see and do in Charleston during the fall.

2. Get to know African-American culture with the Moja Art Festival

Moja Art Festival| ©TwinCities
Moja Art Festival| ©TwinCities

The MOJA Arts Festival is an annual celebration of the cultural importance of African American and Caribbean arts in the American arts scene. It is organized by the Office of Cultural Affairs of the City of Charleston and at the same time it is an excellent entertainment alternative for your group of companions. This is due to the fact that more than half of the festival's events are free of charge.

Temporary art exhibits; classical, dance, gospel, jazz and R&B concerts; literary workshops and lectures; poetry dissertations and all kinds of film screenings. These are some of the things you can find in this festival that seeks to reinforce the community's sense of belonging to its African and Caribbean heritage and identity within the American social context.

It usually runs from the last weekend of September to the first weekend of October. As for its location, you should know that the activities take place in different parts of the city according to the characteristics of each event, since a day of sports entertainment does not have the same special requirements as a community theater play.

If you are interested in learning a little more about African-American history in the South Carolina region, it is also recommended that before the end of your trip you join some of the best excursions to the Charleston plantations. This taking into account that the first steps of this ethnic group in this territory took place during the slavery era.

Buy the best tours to Charleston's plantations

3. Enjoy an autumn tour of the city's old homes and gardens

Fall Tours of Home and Gardens| ©Marissa Grootes
Fall Tours of Home and Gardens| ©Marissa Grootes

The Charleston Historic Preservation Society is keenly aware that the best way to raise funds for its organization is to attract the investment of tourists and visitors who are in awe of the city's architectural beauty. For this reason, just after the end of summer and until winter begins, the Fall Tours of Home and Gardens cycle begins.

Basically, it is a season in which private tours are organized for not so large groups of guests through houses, gardens, churches and commercial premises that have an incalculable historical value for the identity of the city.

It is an excellent opportunity to get a close-up look at the preserved appearance of the famous Victorian townhouses that abound throughout the city's historic district. As well as to enter an authentic antebellum mansion where slave magnates lived before the American Civil War.

The gardens are another great protagonist of this type of tours, because in Charleston they present a very interesting balance between a tropical flora that can thrive in the humid climate and the same continental vegetation that defines the southern United States.

Ending this day of historical and cultural learning with one of the best Charleston carriage tours is a good idea if you want to feel that you have experienced a sequence of activities worthy of the beauty of the post-colonial era.

Get the best carriage tours of Charleston

4. Play with seasonal pumpkins at the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch

Children and Pumpkins| ©hmirma
Children and Pumpkins| ©hmirma

Pumpkin Patches are a widespread tradition throughout the United States when it comes to the arrival of autumn and all that has to do with this season, culturally speaking.

Basically, it is to attend one of the orchards where these giant legumes are grown and depending on the location there are usually other types of entertainment such as live music concerts, community markets and all kinds of children's activities.

In the case of Charleston, there is a Pumpkin Patch that stands out among other alternatives due to its proximity to the city, the quality of its activities and the beauty of the pumpkins that are exhibited there year after year. It is organized on the grounds of the Boone Hall Plantation and if you wish, you can attend from Thursday to Sunday during the whole month of October.

This is an event that usually does not have a limitation of permanence in any of its modalities. There are those who just come to get a pumpkin and take two or three pictures, while there are other family groups that go to spend the whole day consuming at the place.

Taking your kids to experience decorating the pumpkins with scary Halloween faces is one of the best things to see or do in Charleston with kids during the fall months, especially if they like to run around and play in the great outdoors.

5. Exercise for a good cause at the Isle of Palms Connector Run

On Isle of Palms| ©april burkwhat
On Isle of Palms| ©april burkwhat

Physical exercise is an excellent way to entertain yourself during a trip, clearly if this type of plan sounds interesting to you. If so, in October you can participate in the Isle of Palms Connector Run, which is two simultaneous races, a 5k and a 10k.

The cause behind this annual race, which takes place on the first Saturday of the month, is to raise private funds to support victims of child abuse throughout the greater Charleston area.

So by participating in this activity, not only are you balancing the sedentary lifestyle of your vacation with a good workout, but you are also contributing to the betterment of the society of the place that welcomes you with open arms during your stay as a tourist.

Since the race almost always takes place in the morning, you will have the rest of the day to occupy yourself with other types of activities. You can use your visit to Isle of Palms as part of your sightseeing itinerary, which is advisable considering that it is a picturesque town with a beautiful beach that may be too cold for you due to the autumn weather.

Returning to the Charleston peninsula to join one of the boat tours on the Cooper River and Charleston Bay is another excellent idea.

Also, since the city's aquarium is right next to the dock used by these tourist boats, you can take advantage of a visit to the marine wildlife to occupy your afternoon. That while the boat tour would make a beautiful souvenir during the sunset.

6. Participate in a fishing tournament in Mount Pleasant

Fishing| ©Dmitry California
Fishing| ©Dmitry California

The many miles of river and ocean shorelines throughout Charleston County make fishing tournaments in this community a very interesting activity for visitors from all over the world.

The one on the Mount Pleasant Pier, just across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, is one of the most important in town.

For your convenience, there is the fact that the last tournament of the annual fishing season occurs right in mid-October.

So not only could you participate like a true sportfishing aficionado, but you 'll also have the opportunity to meet who the big winners are in a cycle of fishing competitions that begins as early as the first few weeks of May.

That means a fishing tournament off the shores of Mount Pleasant is another activity you can see or do in Charleston in May, as well as in August or June. Keep in mind that October is the best of all according to many specialists due to the fact that it has the most favorable weather to stay comfortable throughout the morning.

7. Have fun at a Charleston stadium mimosa festival

Mismosa Cocktail| ©Susan Lucas Hoffman
Mismosa Cocktail| ©Susan Lucas Hoffman

The mimosa has become over the years one of the favorite cocktails when you think of a southern party in the United States. If you enjoy this delicious combination of sparkling wine and orange juice, you will be delighted to know that Charleston annually celebrates a festival that has this drink as the main protagonist of the event.

It's a mix of live music, beers, food from local chefs and a gigantic variety of novel versions of mimosas in every size, color and texture imaginable.

The festival is usually held on the second or third Saturday in October and the most interesting part of the whole affair is that Johnson Hagood Stadium at The Citadel is chosen as the venue to host the thousands of visitors who come in search of fun, music and Southern partying.

It is an activity that is 100% focused on adult entertainment and therefore is not allowed to admit anyone under 21 years of age. Remember that the minimum age for alcohol consumption in the United States is after that age and a breach of this regulation could bring serious consequences for the rest of your trip.

8. Celebrate Columbus Day in the historic district

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

In America, specifically in the United States, the arrival of Christopher Columbus is celebrated every year on October 12. It is really an ephemeris that has much more to do with primary education than with a feeling worthy of celebration by the entire population.

However, in cities such as Charleston, all kinds of activities tend to take place because of the direct connection that these urban epicenters have with the European settlement of North America. As well as with the founding of the colonies that would eventually become the United States.

For this reason it is very likely that in some parts of the historic district of Charleston workshops are being held on the colonial era in America, as well as the consequences that colonialism left in many regions of the continent.

The city's African American history museum is one of the places that often do these types of lectures or educational workshops. The Old Mart Slave Museum is another of the key points when it comes to attending a place where the conflicts and injustices of colonial and post-colonial slavery are discussed during Columbus Day.

Hiring one of the best guided tours of Charleston is a good idea for this day if you don't want to miss any of the touristy corners that might be offering commemorative activities throughout the morning and afternoon.

9. Get spooky at Boone Hall Fright Nights

Boone Hall Fright Nights| ©ProfReader
Boone Hall Fright Nights| ©ProfReader

In the United States, when you think of October you immediately associate the image of a terrifying night full of spooky costumes and parties until dawn if you are a teenager or young adult. I am talking about Halloween and if you are lucky enough to be in Charleston on October 31, it is essential that you live this holiday under the very criteria that Americans have developed as cultural patterns.

As in many other special dates, Fright Nights are celebrated at Boone Hall Plantation. Basically, it is a field that is decorated to create a kind of spooky trail where people in costumes scare those who are brave enough to walk through it.

This fun experience is accompanied by music, drinks, typical food and all kinds of children's games very similar to those of the fairs of a rural town.

The conditions of these events change every year, but they usually start at the end of September and last until the night of October 31. It is not a daily event, as it is most commonly left for Fridays or Saturdays.

Either way, it remains one of the best things to do in Charleston at night when you're visiting around Halloween.

10. Go trick-or-treating on Hallloween night

Trick or Treat| ©Haley Phelps
Trick or Treat| ©Haley Phelps

Trick-or-treating is a tradition that accompanies Americans from early childhood until they are well into adulthood.

They go around their neighborhood dressed in scary or very funny costumes, while the owners of the houses decorate them to let those who are participating in this activity know that they will receive candy and sweets when they knock on the door.

So if you are in Charleston on the night of October 31, it is essential that you go trick-or-treating in a residential area of the city. Of course, only if you are with your children, since it is a children's tradition in which it makes no sense for an adult to participate if he or she is not there to accompany an infant.

In fact, this is a favorite plan among those who visit the city for Halloween and are looking for things to do in Charleston during a three-day trip at the end of October.

What is the weather like in Charleston in October?

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

Charleston's average temperatures in October range from 25 degrees at the hottest times of the day to 17 degrees on cool nights.

So it's safe to say that this is a favorable season to visit the city, but it wouldn't hurt to pack waterproof coats in your luggage due to the fact that autumn is rainy all along the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Charleston Prices in October

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

Charleston is a relatively inexpensive city in comparison to other mass tourism cities in the American Deep South. Giving you exact prices on how much you would spend on a trip is an impossible task due to the fact that it is not to my knowledge what your specific needs are when you are on a tourist itinerary.

However, what I can say is that this season is much more economical than the Christmas or summer seasons, as those are the most important points for the tourism industry at the state level.