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South Carolina is one of the United States’ top vacation destinations thanks to its miles of golden sandy beaches. Most people head to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head Island, however, there are tons of other beautiful vacation destinations along the coast. From historic fishing villages, through to tiny barrier islands and rugged coastline, we’ve rounded up the 7 best South Carolina beaches. Happy vacation!
1. Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is one of the top beach destinations in South Carolina. It’s located in the heart of the Grand Strand, which is a 60-mile string of beautiful beaches lining the Atlantic coast. The beach is known for its traditional boardwalk, complete with arcades, shops, restaurants and an amusement park with a very tall Ferris wheel. It’s the main hub for entertainment on South Carolina’s coast and you’ll find tons of great resorts and hotels perfect for fun, family vacations. The main beach is lined with chairs, sun loungers and umbrellas, meaning it’s an easy vacation option if you’re traveling with kids.
2. Kiawah Island
If you’re looking to get off the grid, head to Kiawah Island, which lies just off the coast of South Carolina. The island has ten miles of beautiful beaches and thousands of acres of woodlands, meaning you can have the best of both worlds, and relax on the beach or explore lush forests. There are some great hiking routes just off the sandy shores.
3. Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island is located just off the East Coast. It’s a beautiful island with 12 miles of pristine beaches, family and couple-friendly hotels, golf courses and a range of restaurants. There are tons of activities you can enjoy on the island, from playing a game of tennis on one of the island’s courts, through to horse riding and volleyball. The top beaches on the island are Mitchellville Beach Park and Burkes Beach, where the sand is perfectly soft. It’s a great place for a family vacation and the beaches get busy during summertime weekends.
4. Folly Beach
It’s hard to believe that the sleepy Folly Beach is just a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Charleston. The beach has an incredibly low-key, relaxed atmosphere and is known for its large fishing pier and delicious fish restaurants nearby. It’s a great place for watersports and you can surf, fish, windsurf, kayak and sail to your heart’s content. Vacation rentals in Folly Beach are popular during high season, so be sure to book in advance.
5. Pawley’s Island
Pawley’s Island is a barrier island that’s part of the salt marsh coastline. It’s known for its great hammock shops (which would make a great souvenir or gift) and its laid-back, sleepy atmosphere. The island is filled with beautiful sand dunes and stunning views of the marshes. It’s also known to have several historic houses, dating back to the 18th century.
6. Edisto Beach
Edisto Beach is known to be one of the most relaxing destinations in South Carolina. It’s still relatively off the beaten track, meaning it retains its charming and tranquil atmosphere. There are water sport rental shops, quaint restaurants, and great hiking routes. Check out the Swamp Moss Nature trail for a hike with stunning views.
7. Murrells Inlet
Murrells Inlet is a small, historic fishing village home to a peaceful beach. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking to escape the crowds, as there’s not much to do on the inlet. You can spend your days unwinding on the beach and taking a dip in the Atlantic ocean.