Charleston Warnings or Dangers
If you love old southern charm, then there is no place like Charleston, South Carolina, with its antebellum homes and Spanish moss. Of course, even a place this beautiful has warnings and dangers you need to know to stay safe.
Entering Charleston and Downtown at Night
If you enter Charleston like most people via Interstate 26, head south toward downtown’s visitors center. The area immediately off the interstate is one you should avoid, especially at night. The downtown area is safer, but as with most city neighborhoods, it’s a good idea to explore with someone rather than alone.
Consider Avoiding North Charleston
North Charleston is a separate city from Charleston, similar to the relation of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some parts aren’t as safe as the city itself. The suburban areas of Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley, however, are worth a visit outside of the city. West Ashley is home to popular plantations and gardens. Not all areas of North Charleston are bad, but if you don’t know your way around it’s better you don’t take a chance.
Be Sure to Check the Weather Before You Head to Charleston
Charleston can get the brunt of hurricane season some years. The city was hit hard by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Charleston was also brushed by hurricanes Dennis, Irene, and Floyd in 1999, within months of each other. 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.
Plan on Spending a Good Deal of Money on Your Trip to Charleston
Charleston can be pricey when it comes to lodging, meals, and transportation. If you are driving, plan on expensive and limited parking.
Avoid North Charleston. Crime there is very high and there’s no reason to go there as everything to see is in Downtown Charleston.
To women driving alone: In the night or day, If a car pulls you over with flashing lights, make sure it’s a policeman before you roll the window down. There have been rapes and sometimes murders and carjacking all over Charleston. Crack the window enough to slip your drivers license through the window if you’re unsure. Make him show his ID. There are people that pose as police officers.
That said, Charleston is well covered by the police so you don’t want to get out of hand or you may end up in a lot of trouble. They roll the streets up in the shopping area of King Street pretty early. So be good.
Hurricane Season in Charleston runs roughly from July 4th through Thanksgiving. Charleston sits on sea level so even a Category 1 storm can cause damage especially if you are staying on Folly, Sullivan’s, Kiawah, or Seabrook Island. Have a back-up plan if a storm threatens the area. If you need to evacuate, pack early and leave early! Head south on Hwy 17 to Savannah GA if feasible. Interstate 26 gets deadlocked easily. Another evacuation route is Hwy 52. Have multiple escape routes planned and have a full tank of gas and radiator fluid.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Charleston Travel Guide
- Charleston – Unusual Attractions & Day Trips
- Charleston – What to Pack – Clothing and Supplies Tips
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Charleston.
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