How Safe Is Charleston for Travel?

Charleston, United States
Safety Index:

Charleston is a seaport city in the state of South Carolina in the United States of America.

Its historic downtown is on a peninsula formed by two rivers, Ashley and Cooper, flowing into the Atlantic, and protected from the open ocean by surrounding islands.

The current downtown skyline, with practically no tall buildings due to the city’s height restriction ordinance, is dominated by church steeples and the stunning Arthur Ravenel cable-stay bridge completed in 2005 over the Cooper River.

The city is a major port on the eastern seaboard of the US and a popular destination for domestic and international tourists.

Warnings & Dangers in Charleston

Overall Risk


There are no safe areas in the city that should be avoided at any time of the day or night. In general, Charleston can be travel-safe if you follow certain safety precautions. Walking alone at night is not recommended. If traveling by car, carefully close it and park in a guarded parking lot.

Transport & Taxis Risk


City buses and trolleys are available too, as are taxis. You'll find a handful of taxis stationed at the airport and scattered throughout Charleston's downtown area. But cabs aren't as comfortable to come by outside city limits; plan to call ahead to book a metered taxi if you're not staying downtown. Every transport is safe.

Pickpockets Risk


Market Street often has pickpockets. This is a place where usually there are always a lot of tourists. You should be very careful here and keep track of your pockets and personal belongings. Watch your surroundings.

Natural Disasters Risk


The Charleston area faces a genuine risk of fire, flooding, hurricanes, lightning, high winds, and earthquakes. Make sure and avoid the hurricane season during your trip to this city. Since there is a clearly defined hurricane season and it spares no one.

Mugging Risk


The risk of severe robberies in the city is often found in disadvantaged areas. In central tourist places, this rarely happens. Therefore avoid dangerous streets and move around the city after sunset only in a group of like-minded people.

Terrorism Risk


The risk of terrorism in Charleston is likely. In the past, the city was subjected to terrorist attacks. Explore the surroundings before your visit to the town. Avoid mass demonstrations, religious and political gatherings. Be careful with suspicious objects and people.

Scams Risk


Most often, the fraud here occurs via SMS and phone calls. When third parties try out to find out your personal information, usually, this does not apply to tourists, but you should be careful in any case.

Women Travelers Risk


Charleston is safe enough for women traveling alone. However, walking alone late at night is not recommended. In bars, it is also better not to stay too long. Show maximum vigilance when traveling by car alone.

So... How Safe Is Charleston Really?

Charleston is a small town with crime rates ranging from low to medium.

The main problems are related to the theft of goods, car theft, vandalism, and drug problems.

Meet the street between Interstate 26 and the visitor center should be avoided after dark, as bandits often visit this area.

Here you are often threatened with a gun to lure money.

Nassau Street and America Street are especially bad, and you will want to stay away at any time of the day or night.

This area is well known as a stash for drug dealers and violent criminals.

Many parts of North Charleston are also quite dangerous, especially around the former Navy base.

Charleston can get the brunt of hurricane season some years.

Watch the weather conditions before you take your trip to Charleston, and know you could find yourself evacuating in the middle of your vacation if you choose to visit during hurricane season.

There have been rapes and sometimes murders and carjacking all over Charleston.

Some people pose as police officers.

Be very careful and prudent in this city, especially at night.

Take a taxi and in groups for more excellent safety.

How Does Charleston Compare?

CitySafety Index
St Louis58
Los Angeles56
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63

Useful Information

  • Visas - Visitors to the United States must obtain a visa from one of the United States diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries or Visa Waiver Program countries. A valid passport is a must.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States. It has a sign: $ and a code: USD. Also, it abbreviated US$. One dollar is divided into 100 cents (Symbol: ¢).
  • Weather - The best times to visit Charleston for ideal weather are March to June. Average temperatures in Charleston vary greatly, and the weather feels nice some year, but often too hot in the summer and cold in the winter with a chance of rain or snow throughout most of the year.
  • Airports - Charleston International Airport is a joint civil-military airport located in North Charleston, South Carolina. It is South Carolina's most significant and busiest airport. The airport is located in North Charleston and is approximately 19 km northwest of downtown Charleston.
  • Travel Insurance - The travel insurance policy is a must when visiting a foreign country. Make sure you got it before starting your journey, the customs officer may ask for it.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Charleston Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 10° C
Feb 12° C
Mar 15° C
Apr 19° C
May 23° C
Jun 27° C
Jul 28° C
Aug 28° C
Sep 25° C
Oct 21° C
Nov 16° C
Dec 12° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

2 Reviews on Charleston

  1. A decent place

    I actually felt quite safe while in Charleston while visiting a friend. He told me about what was going on, the dangers that can be found here so I had a pretty good guide. I guess if you know the bad areas and avoid them you’ll be fine. Pickpocketing is a problem here as I’ve had a chance to see 2 such events happen to other people in crowded areas.

  2. Plenty to see and it’s safe for tourists

    Charleston is a nice place to visit. You can certainly have fun for a few days or even a week. I wouldn’t rule out terrorism anywhere, especially in the US but giving it a HIGH rating doesn’t seem like the case to me. The city is much safer than it was when the last attack happened. Their current problems are pickpockets which can be seen operating in crowded areas, thieves that try to distract you and steal your stuff or potential for muggings in certain areas. Like someone already mentioned, knowing these bad areas means you’re solving half the problem already.

    If you have a friend or a guide, chances are you won’t run into any kind of problems. I didn’t. Here are just a few places I think you should consider visiting while you are here.

    Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. I’m a sucker for magnolias so this was a must. Take the guided tour and visit everything here. There’s a boat tour I also highly recommend. There’s plenty to do and see.

    Go to the old market building to buy souvenirs and watch basket weavers. The building is beautiful and well worth a visit.

    Go on a boat ride to the Fort Sumter National Monument which is an important piece of history from the American Civil War.

    Must see! Patriots Point where you will find the USS Yorktown. You will love this huge aircraft carrier which served in World War II and Vietnam. I, for one, always wanted to see one up close and I realized that dream while here.

    Whether alone, with a friend or with family visit the South Carolina Aquarium. This place has so many marine animals that you can make a day out of it. You’ll also find a sea turtle hospital here – yes, that’s a thing.

    So plenty to see (much more than I’ve mentioned) and the place is safe.

Rated 4 / 5 based on 2 user reviews.

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