What to Do in Charleston When it Rains: 7 Fun Indoor Activities

Did you carefully plan a trip to Charleston, SC, only to show up and find rain clouds hovering in the sky and that you’re not sure what to do in Charleston when it rains? I can relate!

I’ve learned how to navigate rainy days in Charleston by necessity, as it seems like almost every time I visit, the rain follows (of course, the fact that I tend to visit in the spring is probably as much of a reason for this as anything).

If you’re looking for some fun indoor activities in Charleston to make the most of a rainy day, here’s where to look.

Old Exchange Dungeon, an interesting part of a 3 day Charleston Itinerary
The dungeon of the Old Exchange is very cool!
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What to Do in Charleston When it Rains

Visit the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Home to an impressive collection of American art dating back to the 18th century, the Gibbes Museum of Art makes it easy to remember that Charleston was once the wealthiest city in what would become the United States.

Their collection focuses on art connected to the city of Charleston, and it is a fantastic place to visit.

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Dodge the rain at Patriot’s Point.

Not all of Patriot’s Point is indoors, but the USS Yorktown sure is–and since this ship is truly more like a city, you can easily spend hours on a rainy day in Charleston entertained here.

It rained the entire time we toured the ship, but once you get deep into the tour, you’ll completely forget that it’s raining (or even that you’re floating on the water instead of inside a building on solid land).

Touring the USS Yorktown is one of the most memorable indoor activities in Charleston, and should be on your list of what to do in Charleston regardless of the weather.

USS Yorktown from the outside on a rainy day in Charleston. The USS Yorktown is one of the best indoor activities in Charleston SC

Learn important history at the Old Slave Mart Museum.

Housed in a building that was once an auction house where human beings were bought, sold, and held against their will, the Old Slave Mart Museum tells the dark story of the slave trade in Charleston, complete with many primary sources.

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Visiting is a very sad but important experience in the Holy City.

It is impossible to understand the history of Charleston without understanding the history of the slave trade, and this is arguably the best place in town to start learning.

front facade of the old slave mart museum on chalmers street in charleston sc

Duck into the Charleston City Market.

You may get a bit wet on your way there, but the famous Charleston City Market is covered, and an incredibly fun place to peruse when looking for indoor activities in Charleston!

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Whether you want to shop for souvenirs or just enjoy the ambiance, it’s worth strolling through City Market if you’re looking to escape the rain.

Interior of Charleston City Market, one of the best places to visit on a rainy day in Charleston SC

Tour a historic house museum.

The stunning homes of what were once Charleston’s wealthiest citizens make fascinating places to explore, both for their beauty and their complicated history.

Of course, lurking beneath the surface is the fact that their incredible beauty was only possible through the forced labor of enslaved people–for the starkest look at that reality, head to the Aiken-Rhett House.

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Check out The Charleston Museum.

Founded in 1773, The Charleston Museum is dedicated to exploring the history and culture of the Lowcountry, complete with many first-person artifacts and enormous archives.

The Charleston Museum’s about us section on their website is enough to make any history lover want to visit.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best indoor activities in Charleston!

Rainbow Row in Charleston SC on a cloudy day.

Visit the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

Built in 1771, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon has a long history of being one of the most consequential buildings in Charleston.

During its centuries, it has operated as a customs house, as a military prison during the American Revolution, as the site of horrific public auctions of enslaved people, and as a place to entertain elite members of society (including George Washington).

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Today, it is one of only four remaining buildings where the US Constitution was ratified.

Touring the museum, including the dungeon, is a very interesting look into the many layers of Charleston’s past, and is one of the most interesting indoor activities in Charleston.

The Charleston Old Exchange as seen at an angle during a long weekend in charleston sc

How to Get Around During a Rainy Day in Charleston

Even on a rainy day in Charleston, driving from your hotel to another part of the city for sightseeing isn’t practical.

To get around when bouncing between things to do in Charleston when it rains, consider using Uber or Lyft, which both operate in the city (though be prepared for surge pricing during heavy downpours).

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Of course, there’s also the old-fashioned way to get around Charleston in the rain, which happens to be my favorite: grab a travel umbrella and maybe some rain boots, and walk the beautiful streets regardless of the weather!

Map of the Best Indoor Activities in Charleston

Take This Map With You! Click each highlight to pull up the name of the destination. To save this map to “Your Places” on Google Maps, click the star to the right of the title. You’ll then be able to find it under the Maps tab of your Google Maps account! To open the map in a new window, click the button on the top right of the map.

two photos of charleston buildings with shuttered windows on a rainy day, black and red text on a white background reads "7 best indoor activities in charleston when it rains"
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

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