7 of the Best Beaches in South Carolina

The Flavors of FIRE

South Carolina is known for its beautiful beaches that stretch alongside the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled in the Deep South, the Palmetto State is home to a variety of sandy locales, each with its unique tourist attractions and vacation spots. There are so many worth visiting you might find it hard to choose one getaway—but don't worry, we've narrowed down the list to these seven best beaches in South Carolina.

Best Beaches in South Carolina

Sandy Point Beach Charleston South Carolina
Image Credit: Jorge Láscar from Australia – Sandy Point Beach, CC BY 2.0 / Wiki Commons.

Everyone has different priorities when it comes to getting away. You might prefer access to the great outdoors, a family-friendly retreat, or an affordable vacation spot. Whatever you're looking for, our list of seven of the best beaches in South Carolina will surely help you find a spot you'll love.

Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island Beach, South Carolina
Image Credit: Brian Erickson bw_erickson – CC0/Wiki Commons.

Kiawah Island offers 10 miles of beautiful public beach and year-round amenities families will enjoy. Kiawah also offers accessibility choices for wheelchair users! A dressing area, drink vending, a picnic area with grills, a boardwalk, a handicap-accessible ramp, and restrooms are available all year long, and beach chair and umbrella rentals, a snack bar, lifeguards, outdoor showers, and beach-accessible wheelchairs are available during peak season.

Beachwalker County Park is the only public beach access on the island and is located on the island's west end. Private beaches are also available with some rentals. Award-winning seafood and Lowcountry restaurants are within minutes of the beach, providing fine dining experiences you'll love.

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island, South Carolina
Image Credit: chucka_nc – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Seabrook Island offers the best of both worlds for those who prefer seclusion or want to get away from crowded public spots but don't want to be left without activities to enjoy. The entirely private locale requires a vacation rental to experience but is only minutes from Charleston, making access to additional shopping and nightlife a breeze.

This coastal barrier island features serene marshes and a maritime forest, making it a beautiful birding destination. An Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community, Seabrook also boasts an Audubon Sanctuary Golf Course. Seabrook Island's quiet charm is excellent for families and mature couples.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Image Credit: Matthew Trudeau Photography – C0/Wiki Commons.

Without Myrtle Beach, one of the state's most popular vacation spots, no list of South Carolina destinations would be complete. According to the city's website, Myrtle Beach was named after an abundant local shrub called the wax myrtle. The name was chosen in a contest held in 1900. 

Myrtle Beach is also a great choice for families with tons of activities nearby. Nature lovers will enjoy Huntington Beach State Park—there's even a seaside castle! You'll also find minigolf, go-karts, fireworks shows, and plenty of great restaurants. 

Pawleys Island

Pawleys Island, South Carolina
Image Credit: Phoebe – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Pawleys Island is one of the oldest vacation communities in South Carolina. Although the location is smaller, with only four miles of beaches, there's something here for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can go kayaking, fishing, crabbing, choose from one of the city's fine dining locations, and more. Families might also enjoy visiting one of the community's several historic churches.

Fripp Island

Fripp Island, South Carolina
Image Credit: Fripp Island Resort.

Fripp Island is one of the best choices in South Carolina for engaged couples and golf lovers! The island's natural beauty and wedding services make this a popular destination for beach marriages and corporate getaways. Fripp's golf courses feature two clubhouses, catering facilities, tournament management, and instructional programs, making it a great place to tee off before heading to the beach. Best of all, some vacation rentals even include a golf cart!

Hilton Head

Hilton Head, South Carolina
Image Credit: Lee Coursey – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

If natural beauty is important for your next vacation, Hilton Head Island might be your top choice. White sand, tidal creeks, live oaks, and winding pathways offer more than a standard stretch of beach, and nightlife and additional activities make this a popular destination for travelers across the US.

Take a class in craft cocktails, enjoy a movie night, trivia, mixology, and more. Visitors can also enjoy zip-lining, shopping, and dolphin-watching cruises. Jet-skiing and parasailing are available for those looking for a little more adventure! Whatever you're into, Hilton Head has something for families and solo travelers alike.

Cherry Grove

Cherry Grove Beach, South Carolina
Image Credit: Festiva76 – Public Domain/Wiki Commons.

Cherry Grove is a smaller, quieter vacation spot and is one of four locations that make up North Myrtle Beach. There are only two roads to Cherry Grove — Sea Mountain Highway and Ocean Drive. According to the city's page, the beach is home to the largest tiger shark caught on rod and reel, weighing 1,780 pounds and stretching nearly 16 feet long.

Aside from the pier, tourists might enjoy golfing, surfing, and dining at one of the restaurants in town. Group kayaking tours and paddleboard rentals are also available. With a mix of Southern food, BBQ, seafood, and more, these dining and activity choices are sure to make Cherry Grove a hit with the entire family!

No matter what you're looking for, South Carolina has a beach everyone will enjoy. If you're still looking to compare destinations, however, you can take a peek at vacation activities in other coastal locations like Pensacola, Florida — but be warned! Families frequently take on debt to finance their vacations, making your getaway a threat to your future financial well-being. Budget well, plan ahead to prevent issues, and ensure your downtime doesn't break the bank.

Author: Lonnie Lee Hood


Lonnie Lee Hood is a Tennessee-based, queer Appalachian journalist who has primarily covered issues affecting everyday rural residents. With bylines in the New York Times, Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Smithsonian, Tennessee Lookout, Daily Yonder, Huffington Post, MTV, IGN and more, they've covered everything from natural disasters, policy, economy and corruption to games, digital culture, AI and crypto. Lonnie is also working on their debut nonfiction project with the West Virginia University Press, called "Redneck Revolution."

At Wealth of Geeks, Lonnie is currently a travel team writer.