Wedged between the Sunshine State of Florida and the exclusive coastline enclaves of North Carolina, there’s little question that the state of South Carolina is geographically primed to offer up some of the most breathtaking beaches on the entire Eastern Seaboard. And it doesn’t disappoint.
From bustling Myrtle Beach on the state’s northern fringes, to the picturesque spots of Edisto Island and Kiawah further south, there’s such an array of sands and coastline here that every year thousands of families, adventure seekers, nature lovers and adrenaline junkies come to case South Carolina’s shores for fun and relaxation.
Here’s our pick of the top ten beaches in the state, with options ranging right the way from the North Carolina border to the rugged marine islands, perched out in the Atlantic swell.
As the name suggests, this sprawling resort town of high-class hotels and luxurious beachside accommodations sits just north of its big brother at Myrtle Beach, a short drive from the state border with North Carolina. With a well-developed array of family friendly attractions and places to stay along with a wide stretch of beautiful sand that shoots out either side of the city’s iconic Cherry Grove Pier, the spot remains a steadfast favorite in the state’s line up of best beaches; particularly suited to families or travellers with kids.
Throughout the summer months Myrtle Beach transforms into one of the liveliest spots on the entire South Carolina coast, bubbling with crowds of locals and travelers alike. Some come to enjoy the cascade of activities on offer, from adrenaline-pumping windsurfing trips on the swells of the wild Atlantic to explorative sea kayaking excursions around the nearby marshlands and waterways. Others come for the world-class waterparks, the fabled fishing charters, or simply to kick back and relax on the sand.
South Carolina’s Edisto Beach has done well to resist the mass commercialization and touristic boom that has swept over the Eastern Seaboard in recent decades, remaining defiantly raw and rugged in its more remote island location on the state’s southern side. Guests here still enjoy a quintessentially Atlantic beachfront in all its glory, complete with undulating sand dunes and roaring swells, not to mention some fantastic dolphin spotting opportunities, isolated camping grounds and one of the state’s best links golf courses.
Beautiful and exclusive Kiawah Island is home to one of the most beautiful beachfronts in all of South Carolina, not to mention some of the state’s most famous, PGA-accredited links golf courses and an array of other recreational amenities. The wide, dune-backed beach runs for nearly 10 miles across the front of the island, broken only by the occasional stream or waterway, allowing kayakers to explore the inland wetlands with ease. What’s more, if you’re searching for a little romance and isolation close to Charleston, then Kiawah is the perfect choice!
Since the 1960s Litchfield has styled itself as the thinking man’s Myrtle Beach, home to a more refined array of attractions and nestled just to the south of the state’s famous Huntington State Park, where glistening white sands meet the crashing Atlantic swells. The beaches themselves are much quieter than the spots at Myrtle Beach and actually hailed as some of the cleanest in the region, while tours of nearby Georgetown and Charleston will offer a glimpse of South Carolina’s historical character.