18 Best South Carolina Beaches

Yes, there are actually the best South Carolina Beaches list! There is more than two thousand miles of coastline in the state of South Carolina, so it shouldn’t be surprising that there are so many incredible beaches there. Out of all the best beaches in SC, everyone seems to have their own personal favorite. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t venture from the top beaches in South Carolina to some of the other places on the South Carolina beach map. After all, you never know where or when you will find your favorite South Carolina vacation spot for future family trips.

Best South Carolina Beaches

1. Hilton Head Beach

One of the top beaches in South Carolina is Hilton Head Beach. This is also one of the best beach towns in South Carolina and it is almost always packed with people. This South Carolina vacation spot is on a barrier island in the state.

Hilton Head Beach - Best South Carolina Beaches
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

It is approximately thirty miles to the northeast of Savannah, Georgia, so you can easily take a day trip if time allows. There are plenty of water activities available on this beach. You can also play tennis and golf nearby. The best things to do when you are not enjoying the water and the sand is shopping at the nearby boutiques and outlets and indulging in treatments at the spa for the day.

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2. Kiawah Island Beaches

Kiawah Island is a private island in South Carolina, and it is lined with at least ten miles of stunning beaches. Each one of these South Carolina beaches offers gorgeous views of lush marshes, sand dunes, and forests that seem to go on for miles. The one public beach in South Carolina on this island is the one located at Beachwalker County Park. There are lifeguards on duty there during the months of June, July, and August. The rest of the SC beaches on this island are private, so you must rent a home to use them.

3. Sullivan’s Island Beaches

Sullivan’s Island is only about three-square miles in size, but that doesn’t diminish its popularity as one of the white sand beaches in South Carolina.

Sullivan’s Island Beaches
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

This is one of the Charleston, South Carolina beaches that is popular amongst the locals. The water is always calm, which is perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming. There is also so much history on this island, so you can easily wander around for your own little history lesson when you are visiting.

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4. Seabrook Island Beaches

There are two beaches on Seabrook Island. North Beach is popular for those who want to spend their day swimming, while Pelican Beach is the perfect option for those who want to see a stunning sunset. This South Carolina beach is not too far from Charleston, yet its natural surroundings are seemingly untouched. There are two golf courses on the island, so family members can golf, while others enjoy their playtime in the sand.

5. Pawleys Island Beach

One of the oldest South Carolina coastal towns in on Pawleys Island. Despite the length of time it is been known as a popular South Carolina vacation spot, the entire area is practically void of touristy sites. This island is where you will find one of the most secluded beaches in South Carolina.

Pawleys Island Beach - Best South Carolina Beaches
Credits: Bob Ciminel, Flickr CC BY 2.0

A day on this beach will have you feeling as if it is you and nature and nothing else. When you are tired of the sand, you can make the drive to Brookgreen Gardens or you can play a round at the Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club.

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6. Huntington Beach State Park

While this park offers more than two thousand acres to explore, you may find yourself focusing on the three-mile-long beach instead. Surf fishing is quite popular at this SC beach, but make sure you take a little time to watch the more than three hundred bird species flying around. A hiking trail that is two miles in length is close to the sand, so you can always take a detour from the sandy fun to explore. Atalaya Castle is also nearby, and this 1930s castle is one of the National Historic Landmarks in the state.

7. Folly Beach

Folly Beach is one of the best beaches in SC. This Charleston SC beach offers quite the adventures for locals who are looking for a daytrip to get away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Folly Beach - Best South Carolina Beaches
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The list of Folly Beach things to do is extensive. However, the most popular items on the list include watching the sunrise, surfing, and enjoying a drink at one of the nearby bars.

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8. Edisto Beach

While it would seem like there should be dozens of family-friendly beaches in SC, that really isn’t the case anymore. One of the few true best family beaches in South Carolina happens to be Edisto Beach. This is one of the few best South Carolina beaches for families, thanks to the lack of development in the area. This is one of the smaller South Carolina beach towns and not as many people arrive at this beach during the peak seasons. Over by Edisto Beach State Park, you will find a hiking trail that is perfect for kids of all ages. There is also a two-mile stretch of sand that is covered in seashells waiting to be discovered.

9. Isle of Palms Beach

This long beach is to the northeast of Sullivan’s Island. There are tons of water activities to do at this SC beach. However, we recommend making sure you at least do some kayaking and windsurfing during your visit.

Isle of Palms Beach - Best South Carolina Beaches
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

This is one of the best South Carolina beaches for families, due to its size and the adventures it offers. If you are tired of the sand, you can always venture over to one of the two championship golf courses.

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10. Litchfield Beach

If you are looking for quiet on the South Carolina beaches, you must make sure Litchfield Beach is on your list. This is the perfect SC beach if you are staying in Myrtle Beach and simply need some time away from the crowds. At only twenty miles from the most famous beach in South Carolina, you will appreciate the different ambiance from the moment you arrive. If you are looking for something different to do during your SC beach vacation, you can wander over to the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway. This trail is twenty-six miles long and while you can bike there, you can also walk or run. The trail will take you all the way from the Murrells Inlet to Huntington Beach Park. However, feel free to start your adventure anywhere along the way.

11. Surfside Beach

One of the best East Coast beaches for families is Surfside Beach in South Carolina. This beach has two miles of coastline and you can access it all from thirty-six different spots. This is another one of the beaches in South Carolina that is not too far from Myrtle Beach.

Surfside Beach - Best South Carolina Beaches
Credits: Mike Cole, Flickr CC BY 2.0

This SC beach is one of the options you will want to consider if you want to do a little camping during your SC beach vacation. The Ocean Lakes Family Campground is nearby and there are many different accommodation options to choose from there. This part of the state is also filled with many family-friendly activity options, so make sure you add those to your list.

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12. Burkes Beach

One of the best beaches in South Carolina for families is Burkes Beach. The easiest way to reach this beach is via bicycle, so you must plan ahead if you want your visit to be amazing. Also, while this beach is deemed family-friendly, there are no restrooms available. The nearby Chaplin Community Park is perfect for families with dogs, because the dogs can run around in their own little playground.

13. Cherry Grove Beach

Cherry Grove is one of the South Carolina coastal towns you must add to your list when it comes to future vacations. This is one of the white sand beaches in South Carolina and you will love the boating options in the nearby saltwater channels.

Cherry Grove
Credits: Louis Keiner, Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

When everyone is tired of the sand, or you simply want a change of scenery one day, you can head over to OD Pavilion Amusement Park or Alligator Adventure.

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14. Daufuskie Island Beach

Daufuskie Island Beach can be found between Hilton Head and Savannah. The island is isolated, so it is one of the few secluded beaches in South Carolina. You can only reach this SC beach via boat, so you must plan in advance if this is the South Carolina vacation spot for you. Most of the accommodations are at Haig Point, which is also where a high-ranked golf course can be found on the island.

15. Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is the most famous beach in South Carolina. In fact, it is one of the most popular South Carolina vacation spots during the summer months, as well as spring break. This top beach in SC has sixty miles of sandy shoreline, as well as many family-friendly activities.

Myrtle Beach - Best South Carolina Beaches
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

An amusement park and aquarium are near Myrtle Beach, so you can easily spend time at those destinations when you are not in the sand and the water. At night, you can purchase tickets for a performance at the Carolina Opry or one of the other nearby theaters.

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16. Mitchellville Beach Park

This is another beach on Hilton Head Island, and you can easily walk from your car to the sand in a minute or two. There are restrooms and showers available at this beach, but the water activities are limited to kayaking and swimming. However, if you are planning to make incredible sandcastles during your South Carolina vacation, this beach is your best option. The soft sand is perfect for creating sandcastles, so bring your shovels and buckets and don’t forget to take lots of pictures!

17. Coligny Beach

This is one of the top beaches in South Carolina for bike riding along the sand because there is hardpacked sand near the mid-tideline.

Coligny Beach
Credits: Ron Cogswell, Flickr CC BY 2.0

The views of the ocean are amazing from the coastline, but make sure you spend a little time near the Spanish moss-covered groves too.

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18. Hunting Island State Park Beach

This is the most popular state park in South Carolina and the island is almost entirely undeveloped. The maritime forest is almost tropical, and it surrounds the ancient sand dunes. You will want to spend your time determining where on the five miles of sand you want to set your towel, because every spot offers a spectacular view that is different from everywhere else.

FAQS About South Carolina Beaches

What are the nicest beaches in South Carolina?

The nicest beaches in South Carolina are Folly Beach, Hilton Head Beach, and Sullivan’s Island Beach. Of course, all the beaches in South Carolina are amazing, so you really can’t go wrong when you choose one for your next SC beach vacation spot.

What is the prettiest beach in South Carolina?

The prettiest beach in South Carolina is on Kiawah Island. This island is considered paradise, so plan on wanting to stay forever once you get there!

What are the beaches like in South Carolina?

The beaches in South Carolina are fabulous all year long. You can easily stay in world-class resorts near almost all the SC beaches. Every beach is also filled with pure white sand, which makes them all sparkle under the shining sun.

South Carolina Beaches

Where is the clearest water in South Carolina?

Kiawah Island Beach has the clearest water in South Carolina. The water is a deep blue yet appears crystal clear at the same time.

Is Hilton Head better than Myrtle Beach?

While both destinations are quite touristy, Hilton Head is slightly more upscale than Myrtle Beach. Therefore, it basically depends on what you are looking for when it comes to your beach vacation, as to which one you will prefer. Myrtle Beach is action-packed for families, while Hilton Head offers a slightly more elegant and luxurious atmosphere.

What is the best time to go to Hilton Head?

The best time to go to Hilton Head is the months of March through November. The weather is beautiful during those months. The warmest months will be June, July, August, and September and that will be when the beach is the most crowded. You may want to avoid visiting Hilton Head in January and February, because that is when the temperatures are at their coldest.

These are the best beaches in South Carolina. While you may choose one of the top beaches in South Carolina for your next beach vacation, we recommend visiting a few South Carolina public beaches until you find your absolute favorite. After all, you never know when a tucked away SC beach will pique your interest and turn into your next option for a future South Carolina vacation!

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