6 South Carolina Beaches You Need to Visit

With nearly 200 miles of coastline, it’s no wonder that South Carolina is a popular vacation spot for beachgoers. Whether you’re interested in staying on the mainland or venturing off to a nearby island, there are many different places you can go to enjoy the ocean. Some of these destinations are perfect for a romantic getaway while others are more suited for families looking to spend the week together.

Whether you’re looking for a sleepy beach town or a bustling waterfront community, you can find it in South Carolina. The sections below outline some of the best stretches of sand you can experience in the state.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is one of the East Coast’s most famous oceanfront destinations. Millions of visitors travel to this city each year, and the beach’s summer months are filled with families and individuals looking to experience the sun and sea.

From shopping and dining outlets to water-based tour opportunities, there is much to see and do in Myrtle Beach. The following sites are located only a short distance from the beach:

  • Family Kingdom Amusement Park, which is a park that offers classic roller coasters and water rides for kids and adults to enjoy
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, where you can go to see thousands of different types of animals that live in the sea
  • Hollywood Wax Museum, where you can view wax figures of your favorite celebrities and public figures

Hilton Head

Along with Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island is one of South Carolina’s premier vacation destinations. This island is located about two hours away from Charleston by car. If you’re interested in visiting South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Hilton Head is a good place to begin your trip.

There are many reasons to visit Hilton Head. However, most people go to experience the island’s white-sand beaches. Across the island, there are different parts of the shoreline you can access. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Islanders Beach Park
  • Burkes Beach.
  • Coligny Beach.
  • Driessen Beach Park.
  • Mitchelville Beach Park.

Surfside Beach

For a smaller, more intimate vacation experience, look no further than Surfside Beach. This beach is located south of Myrtle Beach and is quieter than its northern neighbor. Visitors can also bring umbrellas and tents to Surfside Beach, which is not permitted at many of the other beaches in the area. However, make sure your item meets the beach’s size restrictions for that item.

There are 26 different access points you can use to reach Surfside Beach. Once you enter through one of these locations, you can take advantage of the area’s white sand and beautiful waters. After leaving the beach, you can also visit local attractions, which include:

  • Surfside Bowling Center.
  • Harbor Light Batting Range.
  • Adventure Falls Golf.

Folly Beach

Folly Beach is located on Folly Island, which makes this beach more secluded than other destinations you would find on the Carolina coastal strip. This city is only half an hour away from Charleston, which makes it a popular day trip destination for visitors who are staying in that city.

Once you’re on the island, there are other attractions you can visit. Folly Island is also home to:

  • Folly Beach Pier.
  • Folly Beach County Park.
  • Folly River Park.
  • Wave Watch Playground.

Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms is another beachside location that is easily accessible from Charleston. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, Isle of Palms visitors are surrounded by water. Whether you’re interested in spending the day catching rays or swimming in the ocean, many activities await you here.

For individuals who prefer to spend time on the island instead of in the water, Isle of Palms offers other ways to enjoy a day at the beach. Picnic areas are available around the island so you can relax and have a meal with your friends and family. If you’re a golf fan, Wild Dunes Links Golf Course offers scenic greens where you can play.

Many people who visit Isle of Palms choose to stay in Charleston and visit the beach during the morning or the afternoon. However, there are various beachfront hotels and resorts you can stay at if you’d prefer to make Isle of Palms your home base.

Kiawah Island

Another popular island destination in South Carolina is Kiawah. This island is located approximately one hour south of Charleston. Generally, it’s an exclusive destination with designated areas that only individuals who own property on the island can enjoy.

However, non-residents can still enjoy portions of the island. Kiawah Beachwalker Park is a public beach located toward the south of the island. Due to its location, this park offers visitors views of both the ocean and the Kiawah River. This is the island’s only area with public beach access, and once you’re there, you can enjoy the following amenities:

  • Dog-friendly beaches where leashed animals can play
  • Accessibility options for individuals with handicaps, such as wheelchairs they can use on the beach
  • Grills located in the picnic areas, which are available on a first-come-first-serve basis