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Know Before You Go: Charleston Summer Touring Edition

23753103 – iced sweet tea close up with blue straw

Describing Charleston in the summertime requires only two simple adjectives: fun and hot! From nearby S.C. beaches to rooftop bars, fresh summer menus, and pop-ups galore, there’s plenty to love about being in the Lowcountry during the summer months. But, as seasoned locals know, the subtropical humid climate can be a real beast, especially to the uninitiated. So, here’s our short list of the best ways to handle the high temps while enjoying your Charleston Culinary Tour experiences!


  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! – We really can’t overemphasize how important it is to keeps the fluids (and by fluids we mean water) flowing before, during, and after your Charleston tour experiences. When we say that Charleston’s climate is subtropical humid, the active word is humid. This ain’t a dry heat, friends. Anytime spent outdoors in a Charleston summer results in copious sweating – we’re not shy about it, it’s just a fact of life here! Dehydration can be a sneaky problem that comes on quick and results in exhaustion for days. Be sure to carry a water bottle with you on any tour you may take, but especially our wonderful Most Beautiful Walk Tour, which will lead you into some of Charleston’s oldest neighborhoods where historic architecture abounds but convenience stores are nonexistent.
  2.  Sunscreen up! – You may already know that the UV Index rating system corresponds to local rates of ultraviolet radiation – high rates of which can cause skin cancer and premature aging. But did you know that Charleston’s UV Index regularly hits the High and Very High ranges during the summer months? Yep, with UV Index ratings in the 7-10 range during daytime hours (usually peaking around 1 PM), coastal S.C. summer brings some strong sunshine. For most of our Culinary tours, like the dynamic Upper King Street tour, guests spend part of every tour inside, but even short walks outside can deliver high bursts of UV rays. We always recommend that our guests come prepared, wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ or higher. Other protective coverings like hats, sunglasses, and even breathable long sleeved shirts are great ways to prevent getting a burn while in Charleston – especially if you’re unused to strong sunshine!
  3. Take it easy. – With so much to do around the Charleston area, it can be tempting to try and squeeze as much activity into the daylight hours as possible. However, our summer heat and humidity can take a lot out of a person! Visitors sometimes comment that Charleston seems to move a little more slowly in the summertime, and this is undeniably true. Locals know to adapt to the summer temps by easing up on scheduling too much, and we suggest visitors do the same! After a tour stacked with several scrumptious courses, and some steamy time walking Charleston’s fascinating neighborhoods, we suggest our guests spend the rest of their day resting and digesting. A visit to a local beach, a scenic (air-conditioned) drive around the city, an ambling walk through one of our downtown museums, or even a restorative nap are all great ways to let yourself chill post-tour!
  4. Pack an umbrella. – All Charleston locals know that with powerful summer heat comes powerful summer storms. Often cropping up in the mid to late afternoon, it’s not at all uncommon for storms to sweep in from practically nowhere during the summer months and rapidly soak the peninsula before disappearing just as quickly. While that might sound refreshing, our consistent high humidity means that if you do get caught in a deluge, you might not dry off as quickly as you’d like! For comfort’s sake (and because no one can really predict exactly when these storms will appear) we always encourage guests to bring a small, packable umbrella along on tours, just in case the skies happen to open up between bites!
  5. Lighten up (on the booze). – Visitors to Charleston often figure out pretty quickly that we’re a drinking city, with thirst for everything from brunch bloodies to boutique natural wine and all beverages in between. It can be tempting to want to dive into the Charleston drinking scene headfirst, what with so many exceptional local breweries and bars to choose from, but we suggest that visitors keep an eye on their alcohol intake by sticking to lower ABV beers and nursing that frozen cocktail or chilled white wine for a little longer, rather than throwing back four in a row. Another great tip is to follow every alcoholic beverage with a glass of water, to help maintain the body’s hydration. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of humidity to drain you of precious fluids – and don’t confuse a hangover with heat exhaustion!
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