The Best Beaches in South Carolina
Coligny Beach, Hilton Head
The Lowcountry wraps around America's pioneering eco-friendly resort community. Explore its boho scene, Spanish-moss-veiled groves and gorgeous oceanside. Hard-packed sand below the mid-tideline makes for great wide-tire cycling.
Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Beach
Sailing, shrimping, and surf-casting hold sway in the beautiful state park, but don't miss the 1.5-mile white-sand shoreline fringed by palmettos. Especially beautiful at sunrise, it's famous for fossils and shelling. The park also contains the state's longest system of ADA-accessible hiking and biking trails.
Folly Field Beach Park, Hilton Head
To beat the summer crowds, follow locals to this favorite at the north end of this beautiful Lowcountry island. A short boardwalk — shaded by palmettos and live oaks — leads to the coast. As the tides ebb, kids often play in small, safe shoreline pools on the wide, peaceful beach.
Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort
South Carolina's most popular state park protects this largely undeveloped island, which has semi-tropical maritime forest blanketing the ancient sand dunes of its uplands. Lounge along five miles of golden beach or fish the manmade lagoon, home to barracuda!
Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet
More than three miles of milk-white sands – the best-preserved stretch of the 60-mile Grand Strand – draw beach babies to this dog-friendly preserve. But look beyond the surf-fishing and sea-breeze camping: the park includes Atalaya, a Moorish-style winter home that's a National Historic Landmark.
Wide, sandy Beachwalker Park sprawls on this barrier island's western side, snugged between the ocean and the Bohicket River. Explore 11 miles of unspoiled sand and a boardwalk weaving among live oaks, palmettos, and yucca plants.
Isle of Palms
Over 50 public-access paths lace six miles of sugar-white beach on this barrier island near Charleston: Try the city lots on Pavilion Drive for cheap, convenient parking. Watch for sand dollars, frolicking dolphins, and loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings (July through October).
Poised between historic Georgetown and bustling Myrtle Beach, this lovely, laid-back shoreline stretches 1.5 miles along the community of the same name. High dunes flank clean, wide, white sands that remain uncrowded even during spring break. Parking can be a challenge: Plan ahead!
Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach
South Carolina's first state park includes expansive dunes speckled with sea oats, plus a maritime forest of live oak and southern magnolias. From mid-May to mid-September, lifeguards patrol north of the pier along the one-mile undeveloped beach.
North Myrtle Beach
Once the seaside getaway of rice-plantation owners, Pawleys retains an "arrogantly shabby" vibe — or so locals like to joke. Reach its 2.5 miles of pristine barrier-island beach via the South Access parking lot.
This 3.3-mile-long barrier island north of Charleston Harbor is home to South Carolina's richest zip code. Its unspoiled beach remains tranquil, but has no amenities like public toilets. Arrive early in summer to find street parking.