Average Ocean Temperatures for North & South Carolina
Unusually warm water bathes Atlantic beaches of the southern United States. Ocean temperatures here are typically much higher than at beaches across the country on the west coast.
The water at beaches in North Carolina and South Carolina stays warm enough from May to mid-October for most people to enjoy swimming. Ocean temperatures normally peak at over 80 °F (high 20s °C) during summer. The farther south you go, the warmer the sea.
The warm ocean and long stretches of sand make the beaches from Charleston to Cape Hatteras popular places for a summer vacation.
But the Atlantic Ocean cools sharply in late fall. Temperatures drop as low as 46 °F (8 °C) on average in February off Cape Hatteras, making it much too chilly for swimming.
These coastal water temperatures are averages compiled by the National Oceanographic Data Center. Actual ocean temperatures do vary from year to year depending upon the weather and the flow of ocean currents.