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.
To plan your vacation to South Carolina, visit our travel guides: Charleston Travel Guide.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.