Best South Carolina Beaches

Imagine warm sand beneath your feet, blue waters as far as the eye can see and the rejuvenating scent of Atlantic sea air. It’s all waiting for you at the Best South Carolina Beaches.  Whether it’s the iconic Myrtle Beach Grand Strand, the white-sand shores of Hunting Island or the Lowcountry’s Kiawah Island Resort, South Carolina beaches compose a landscape of unmatched beauty. Paradise is closer than you think.  South Carolina’s coastal towns and picture-perfect beaches are Just Right for family vacations. From fresh-caught seafood and waterfront views to world-class golf and endless seaside adventures, it’s easy to create lasting memories with the ones who matter most on a coastal vacation in the Palmetto State.

Myrtle Beach

As the largest resort along South Carolina’s 60-mile Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach is the East Coast’s ultimate vacation hub. The town teems with summertime action: beaches dotting the Strand, amusement and water parks, restaurants and live entertainment. Myrtle Beach’s actual beach is an extensive stretch of silky white sand, with opportunities for fishing, swimming, sunbathing, sailing and surfing.  People choose to visit the Myrtle Beach area for lots of reasons, but it mostly boils down to this: options for fun. With 60-uninterrupted-miles of beautiful sandy beaches, this coastal strip of South Carolina known as the Grand Strand is the necklace that strings together a diversity of beach destinations. Pick your pearl: the quiet fishing village of Little River, the luxury resorts of North Myrtle Beach, the family-focused beaches of Garden City and Surfside, the culinary haven of Murrells Inlet, the laid-back, Southern pace of Litchfield and Pawleys Island, the historical richness of Georgetown or shoot the moon and go for the bustling, high-excitement amusements of Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

Kiawah Island

Just 21 miles from the pulsing energy of downtown Charleston, Kiawah Island is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and renowned hospitality for those seeking a retreat into adventure – and luxury. Kiawah Island has 10 miles of pristine beaches.  Kiawah’s five championship courses make it South Carolina’s crown jewel of golf, and the magnificent Kiawah Island Golf Resort exemplifies Southern comfort in all of its splendor.  Kiawah Island is for families, for couples and for everyone.  In addition to its 10 miles of beaches, enjoy Kiawah Island’s perfectly preserved maritime forests, sand dunes, and marshes where turtles, whitetail deer, and seabirds abound.

Kiawah Island, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

Isle of Palms

The Isle of Palms makes its home among naturally beautiful neighbors, like the Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic Ocean, Breach Inlet, and Sullivan’s Island. Its strong community, seemingly endless beaches, resort, championship golf, tennis, park, marina, and local restaurants and shops provide non-stop enjoyment and entertainment – and always, the opportunity to truly relax and rejuvenate, all just 12 miles from downtown Charleston.  The Isle of Palms’ nearly 2,880 acres includes a thriving local business district surrounded by residences, miles of beach, and a community where you’ll find beachfront live music at the Windjammer, bathing-suit clad kids eating ice cream, beach volleyball, and families kicking back to enjoy it all.  Isle of Palms is watching the sun rise over the Atlantic, a 9:00 a.m. tee time on a Tom Fazio course, an afternoon cruise along Breach Inlet, a refreshing ocean swim, and a delicious, locally-caught seafood dinner. Quite simply, an Isle of Palms beach vacation is exactly everything you want it to be – and we promise to keep it that way.

Isle of Palms, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

Folly Beach

Just 15 miles from downtown Charleston, Folly Beach is its own universe – with its own sense of time, enjoyment, and a laidback, friendly energy that has earned it the lifelong affection of locals and visitors alike. Its wide beaches, solid surfing, eclectic neighborhoods, and community of locally-owned restaurants and shops make it the perfect place in which to revel, relax, and reconnect.  Nestled between the Folly River and the Atlantic Ocean, Folly Beach is home to more than just amazing beach vacations and a laidback vibe. It’s also home to loggerhead turtles, dolphins, bald eagles, sea birds, several endangered species – and a way of life that’s simply, distinctly – and only, Folly.

Folly Beach, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island is a private, welcoming, oceanfront community just thirty minutes from historic Charleston, SC. Completely immersed in natural splendor, the coastal barrier island is home to lush maritime forest, serene marshes and pristine beaches.  A vibrant community thrives within Seabrook Island with an array of activities and locales on the Island to enjoy; Seabrook Island presents a unique opportunity to pursue whatever type of vacation experience you are looking for. Explore more than three miles of peacefully sandy beaches, horseback ride on the beach, go kayaking, explore the marina or dine overlooking the ocean.  Despite its serene, secluded spirit, Seabrook Island offers an abundance of family-friendly activities including a children’s camp with certified counselors, two championship golf courses, tennis center, deep-water marina, equestrian center, fitness center, award-winning dining, and shopping.

Seabrook Island, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

Sullivan’s Island

Nestled at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor and neighbor to the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island is an inviting mix of wide beaches and watersports, history and folklore, local restaurants and shops, peace and perfect – just minutes from one of the country’s most beloved cities, Charleston, South Carolina.  At just 3.3 miles, what Sullivan’s Island lacks in sheer size, it more than makes up for in beauty and charm. Its beachfront lands are owned by the town and protected under easements, forever preserving the beautiful, vital environment they – and visitors from around the world – treasure.  Whether you’re soaking up Revolutionary War history at Fort Moultrie, kiteboarding at top speeds, relaxing with your sandy feet up and a view of the Lighthouse, or dining al fresco with the family on Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island promises that time spent here is time well remembered, always.

Sullivan's Island, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

Hilton Head

One of the largest islands on the East Coast, Hilton Head is perfect for families and individuals who are looking for a large resort area with an array of activities to enjoy. Hilton Head is divided into large quadrants of developed communities called “plantations,” each with an array of hotels, housing developments, restaurants and services. There are 12 miles of beaches, countless bike trails, over 30 golf courses and more than 300 tennis courts for off-beach fun.

Hilton Head, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

North Myrtle Beach

Home to award winning dining, shopping and entertainment, North Myrtle Beach offers a variety of accommodation choices for a perfect beach vacation. The sound of beach music can be heard in the Ocean Drive section nearly every night as those who love the state dance, the shag, slip and slide the night away.  The diversity of North Myrtle Beach guarantees something for everyone to enjoy!  Select from North Myrtle Beach hotels, resorts, vacation and condo rentals, beach homes and more.

North Myrtle Beach, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

Garden City Beach

In an area known for the wide range of activities offered to its visitors, perhaps no section of the Grand Strand offers quite as much as Garden City Beach.  Here you’ll find peace and quiet, fine dining and family friendly nightlife.  Garden City Beach is five miles of golden sand.  The majority of the area sits on a narrow peninsula sandwiched between the tidal marshes of Murrells Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean, so you will enjoy a beautiful view from all directions!  The beaches are quiet and uncrowded (even in the peak of summer,) and Murrells Inlet provides fishing, boating, crabbing and much more.

If you’re looking for something a little more lively, just cruise on up to Atlantic Avenue, the social (and geographic) center of Garden City Beach.  This two-block area is home to many of the area’s most popular attractions, and there’s always something for the entire family. Sam’s Corner with its world-famous hot dogs has become an annual tradition for thousands of vacationers, and the Pier at Garden City attracts fishermen and sightseers alike with its nearly 700 feet of fun.

Garden City Beach also boasts the closest oceanfront accommodations to both Murrells Inlet (the Seafood Capital of South Carolina) and to Brookgreen Gardens, one of the world’s largest outdoor sculpture gardens.  Take all this, add in the fact that it’s just minutes away from Myrtle Beach, and you’ve got the recipe for a truly one-of-a-kind family vacation.

Garden City Beach, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

Pawley’s Island

Situated on the south end of the Grand Strand, Pawleys Island, South Carolina, is a picturesque seaside community that offers a tranquil and welcoming atmosphere to vacationing visitors throughout the year. Famous for its “arrogantly shabby” Cypress cottages, the vibe on the island is a reflection of the feel of these old, classic homes – grandiose, but uninterested in putting up a facade. Home to large swaths of undeveloped marshland, rivers, and oceanfront state parks, this area just 30 minutes south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a perfect destination for outdoors-enthusiasts and those who appreciate the beauty of the Lowcountry landscape offered by a Pawleys Island vacation.

Pawley's Island, best beaches of South Carolina, South Carolina beaches, best beaches, Beach Travel Destinations

36 Comments

  1. Shannon

    Beautiful beaches! I have never been to South Carolina, but this post has forced me to add it to my bucket list.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Shannon, most people do not realize that there are so many beautiful beaches on the East Coast such as in South Carolina. Not just the normal destinations that come to mind first. Glad you learned about the best South Carolina beaches and have it on your bucket list now!

      Reply
  2. Laurie

    OMG… after the winter we’ve had in Wisconsin, I want to go NOW! Instead, I’ll have to save up some money, and keep following your blog. Thanks for the great information!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Laurie. Yes, you guys did have quite a winter. We had a few weeks of under 60 degrees, which is very cold for me LOL! Thanks for visiting the best South Carolina Beaches.

      Reply
  3. John

    Leahrae,
    Spent a week at the South Carolina beaches a few years ago. Stayed in Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head. Great beaches and activities. Enjoyed the seafood. Planning on another trip to this area in a couple of years, this year and next are taken.
    Thanks for the information.
    John

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome John. Hope you found some new information you can use when you visit the area again! Thanks for visiting the Best South Carolina Beaches.

      Reply
  4. Andy

    Love reading your posts! Always packed with information and plenty of reasons to visit these places.

    I have bookmarked some of your posts about Mexico as me and my wife go there on the 1st of May and we have found them so interesting.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Good Andy, where in Mexico are you headed? I can send you the links to my visitors guides for the area. I am pretty sure I have covered them all in Mexico 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  5. Paul

    That’s an exciting picture of the coastal activities in South Carolina. Very enticing I think. I love Myrtle Beach for the golf and the beaches. There are plenty of decent places to get a meal and a drink.
    I think last time we checked my little gang of golfers has played half the courses there. We will go back. Life goals to finish them all. Or maybe a silly goal. Not sure.
    I love the way you describe these locations. You seem to capture the essence of each location and find just the right words to give us a glimpse of that world. Seabrook Island looks interesting. The few private island beach communities I have been to always had an interesting vibe.
    The Sullivan Island’s local government seems to have a strong set up to keep the environment safe along with the beaches in good shape for visitors. I wonder if local government ownership of beach land is a common thing.
    Is Hilton Head a tourist packed location these days? It’s so famous I wondered. I haven’t been. I didn’t realize it had 30 golf courses though. Hmm,,,
    Pawley’s Island with its home style look along the beach in the photo you show has a nice allure. I love the beaches with that set up. Just wake up and run out the back door to the water.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Paul for taking the time to comment. Yes, unfortunately Hilton Head does get busy. Myself, I prefer Sullivan’s Island and Pawley’s Island. Sometimes I like the crowds, but I get that here at home on Clearwater Beach. T

      Reply
  6. Dave

    What a nice blog, lovely layout, good content blogs, with a good mix of reviews, images and videos as well

    Really enjoyed reading this and I espeically like the pop ups encouraging the subscription. Great info for future use!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Dave! Thanks for reading about the best South Carolina beaches and visiting my website 🙂

      Reply
  7. stefanie

    South Carolina really is a beautiful place to visit with its miles and miles of sandy beaches. Looks like paradise to me and would be the perfect holiday destination for my type of holiday as there is a mix of everything to do. I especially love all kinds of water sports, especially kayaking and there seems no better place to do it than here.
    Also, I love the look of Seabrook Island because you can ride a horse along the beach which has always been a dream of mine. How romantic that would be to ride off into the sunset with somebody ha ha. Awesome post Leahrae, you have definitely sold it to me 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Stefanie. I love riding horses on the beach. It is something my son and I do every time we go on a beach holiday. Our little treat I guess. Seabrook Island is amazing really, and such a beautiful place to vacation to. Thanks for stopping by and reading about the best South Carolina Beaches.

      Reply
  8. Yvonne

    All the beaches look so beautiful! I personally like the Hilton Head and Seabrook Island. My kids love playing with water so I’m sure they will love it there. Which beach in South Carolina would you recommend for families with young children?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I would recommend Seabrook Island. Less crowded, beautiful, plenty to do and amazing wildlife for the kids to see. Thanks for reading Yvonne.

      Reply
  9. Michael

    You delivered with this article! I like that you drew me into South Carolina’s beaches within the first couple sentences. That was enough already. I’ve never been to South Carolina, but almost did. Still want to one of these days now that I know what I can expect. I liked them all of I’m being honest, I am not big on golf but I can see me watching a golf tournament/PGA lol. Sullivan’s island and myrtle beach I want to say stand out the most to me but not by far. So do they actually hold watersporting events there? Like professionals, and for the public to attend? Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      On Myrtle Beach yes, you could be a spectator to some water sporting events including sailing and surfing. So, yes you could watch these. There are so many choices for beaches here, and it is beautiful. You would have a great vacation at any South Carolina beach. Thanks for visiting beachtraveldestinations.com.

      Reply
  10. Ben

    Pretty awesome beaches there. I’ve never been to South Carolina before. The Folly beach picture is my favorite on this page. Love the sunset.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Folly Beach is probably the best beach in my opinion. They are all awesome like you say. I never have been to a bad beach. Thanks for taking the time to leave me some comments 🙂

      Reply
  11. Timotheus

    Wow! So many South Carolina Beaches. I had no idea. And these are the best?
    I like a beach that is quiet and not so crowded. Which one would you recommend from among these Best South Carolina Beaches? Also, how about hotels and restaurants?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well, Folly Beach is my personal favorite. But if you want to avoid the crowds, go to the Isle of Palms Beach, very nice and very uncrowded 🙂 I am working on hotels and restaurants 🙂 I will keep you updated!

      Reply
  12. Jennifer

    I absolutely loved all of your pictures and like most of the other comments, I had no clue there were so many beaches. I’m a walk on the beach at night person and you sold me on Pawley’s Island with the picture of the shells. Bookmarking site for the other beaches too, thank you for the info!!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Jennifer and thank you for stopping by to see the best South Carolina Beaches. Pawleys is a shelling dream!

      Reply
  13. Reneea

    Wow! what an awesome blog post, Love the photos of all the beaches. I love being on the beach, though I haven’t been to the beaches in years. I guess it’s because I can no longer feel comfortable wearing bath suits, never-the-less, it feels great laying on the beach taking in the sights and all of that fresh air, sun and ocean breeze.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, so true. The ocean, the sunshine, and the sand between the toes…wonderful. Throw in a tropical drink, paradise!

      Reply
  14. Anna

    Oh boy, now this is what excites me the most!! Reading about beach destinations is so enjoyable for me!!

    South Carolina looks so beautiful and I am extremely drawn to Myrtle Beach! For me, it would be a dream vacation – so much to do and see! But, for the most part, I would be spending my day swimming in the ocean and enjoying the beautiful weather!

    What a wonderful site – I will be back for sure!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      thank you so much Anna! Yes, beaches are the best!

      Reply
  15. Jassi N

    Wow, I have never known that there are many breath-taking beaches like this in South Carolina. I simply like everything at the beach: the sea, the ferris wheel, the pier, etc. This list is wonderful! I will bookmark your post. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are most welcome Jassi. Both the Carolina’s actually have great beaches. The boardwalk can’t be missed!

      Reply
  16. Kevin Bulmer

    You had me at “Beach Travel.” Love it!
    I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Myrtle Beach several times and really enjoy South Carolina in general. I’ll have to get some of these other spots on my list.
    Thanks for the great article and site!
    All the best,
    Kevin

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Kevin….and yeah I am the same way. Mention the word beach and I am all ears!

      Reply
  17. Richie

    You just took me back to my childhood. My father lives in Conway, and I would be on those beached every summer. I really need to take some time and go back again. Loved seeing the Pavilion picture you have on your post. I forgot there were so many beached there.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      A lot more beaches than people realize for sure. Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  18. Ryan

    Very good information on these beaches! I love south carolina. Which of these do you recommend to go to over all the others?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Myrtle Beach of course! Everyone has to experience Myrtle Beach, thanks for reading!

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed