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Mar 28, 2014 02:14 PM

Charleston in August - curious about your summertime traditions


I will be driving leisurely across country this August, and have been posting this question on boards pertaining to where we will be spending some time, and am very interested in your responses.

For locals and travelers to the Charleston area in early August, would you tell me about food/drink/travel traditions you have that are specific to this time-period? Unfortunately, lots of the literature regarding travel through the south in August harps on how oppressive the weather can be, and I have my doubts that people hide in their homes for months on end… there must be things that people look forward to this time of year to experience.

If you have the time, would you mind describing foods local to the Charleston area that are at their peak in summertime - ways that you like to spend this time of year (drinks on balconies in 'x' side of town, etc..), any specific festivals or culinary/travel traditions that you have that you look forward to during this time?

I know this is an open-ended and possibly bizarre question - I have done lots of research, but oddly this time-period seems lacking in information. It seems many do not choose this time to travel through the southeast.

If it helps, our planned route in this general area is from Durham - Scotts BBQ - Charleston x 3-4nights - Athens - Nashville - Birmingham - New Orleans - etc. on to SF.

Thank you in advance for your responses.

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  1. I'm from SC and we don't go down in July or August.Charleston is so much about walking and being outside. it just is no fun in summer.I think summer would be all about shrimp and fresh vegetables.Unfortunately for you, Charleston is in its glory in spring and fall.

    1. The summertime tradition in Cherleston is to go to Folly Beach or to Cashiers, NC.

      My advice would be to route your trip through Asheville.

      1 Reply
      1. Thanks for all the replies. Unfortunately, the timing isn't optional - we are moving from Philadelphia to SF for work, and despite the heat, want to make the most out of our trip through the south. I am sure Charleston will be hot and humid, though I imagine New Orleans will be worse - it will be worth it.

        I am hoping that shrimp and (crab?) will be at their peak as well as the unique low country vegetables I have read so much about.

        We will definitely check out the beaches. There must be something else unique to summer that people enjoy. I usually shift my timescale to sleeping during the day and being out late when the weather is like this. Philly is no peach in the summer either.

        1. Have you been in Chas. or NOLA or Athens or Hemingway SC in August ?

          you have _no_ idea.

          This time period is 'lacking in information' and 'many do not choose this time', because its 90/90. we don't plan festivals etc this season.

          think about calling ahead - lots of people vacation in August - anywhere north of Greenville. Rodney Scott might go north to do some 'Q demonstrations.

          Foods that are local to Charleston? Shrimp ? not a good month for shrimp or oysters. Best time for crab is fall - oysters in October - April.

          there's a spring season in May and June and brown shrimp season runs June-ending in August. Lots of shrimp sold in restaurants are not from SC, if they are local they are usually advertised as such. Best to call a local place like Crosby's.

          "unique low country vegetables" ? okra? pretty much everybody will have it but tourists don't usually like it. Don't see it much in the fine dining places that visitors go to. lots of great veggies in season and the farmer's markets will have lots. maybe you mean white pattypan squash? or butterbeans, lady peas, pink eyes? most people buy and cook at home. maybe some of the restaurants feature these, but they aren't fancy, glamerous items that visitors are impressed by.

          Dawg and Molly are on point. We get everything we can get done 6am-11, stay in AC from noon-7. or go to the mountains.

          good luck.

          1. Thanks for your candor. If it is a possibility to extend, is early October an improvement?

            1 Reply
            1. re: wynnemat

              I'm shocked by these crazy responses. July and August are perfectly fine times to visit Charleston and you're at the peak of seasonal vegetable goodness. All the "fancy" restaurants fall all over themselves to showcase the bounty of the season, tomatoes probably being the number one source of beauty.

              The summer is hot and humid in the south. So what? Drink plenty of iced tea, move a little slower and sit on the porch. Where do you think sterotypes come from?

              Restaurants in Charleston , by and large, are quite relaxed on dress code, so no jackets to worry about and you could get by with longer shorts and leather flip flops in most places. Ladies have a chance to wear their barest sundresses to dinner, but better bring a sweater because we DO have A/C here, and we use it! ;-)

              Sea island red peas are my favorite "unique low country vegetable" I cooked some dried ones just last night.

              I do agree that staying on IOP or Folly is a great way to enjoy a charleston trip in summer. It'll be great. I go to Chas every year in August and December and often April. Each season has it's advantages, but I prefer the August trip.