The Best Beaches in Charleston, SC

The Best Beaches in Charleston, SC

Charleston is one of South Carolina’s best-known coastal towns. And so, if you are planning a beach vacation, this is a great place to go to. Whether you’re planning for a summer vacation for the whole family, spending some alone time for yourself to relax and de-stress, or simply to spend a weekend out in the sun, Charleston’s beautiful beaches is an excellent destination.

You’ll love the variety of beach options that Charleston offers. Here, you’ll be able to find every kind of beach experience under the sun – from those with lots of fun family to secluded spots where you can simply be one with nature, coasts where you can explore historic lighthouses, and wild beaches with maritime forests, marshes, and rolling sand dunes where you can spot deer, alligators, seabirds, and sea turtles.

Get ready to take notes, here is our list of the best Charleston, SC beaches.

Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island is known as one of the most beautiful barrier islands on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. This is the perfect beach to go to if you are after tranquility and wildlife. Also one of the best destinations for a Charleston, SC beach wedding.

While most of the island is under private ownership, the Beachwalker Park is open to the public.
The beach is just a 45-minute drive from downtown Charleston.
There’s a parking lot for public use.
Entry to the beach costs between $5 and $15 ($20 for RVs/campers), depending on the season.
Beach chairs, umbrellas, and beach wheelchairs are available for rental.
There are dressing and picnic areas, a small vending facility for drinks and snacks, and restrooms on site.
This is a popular beach for canoeing and kayaking around the Kiawah River.
You can walk barefoot along the soft sandy shore which is also firm enough for biking.
You might spot some dolphins feeding and playing at the mouth of the river where it meets the ocean.

While most of the island is under private ownership, the Beachwalker Park is open to the public.
The beach is just a 45-minute drive from downtown Charleston.
There’s a parking lot for public use.
Entry to the beach costs between $5 and $15 ($20 for RVs/campers), depending on the season.
Beach chairs, umbrellas, and beach wheelchairs are available for rental.
There are dressing and picnic areas, a small vending facility for drinks and snacks, and restrooms on site.
This is a popular beach for canoeing and kayaking around the Kiawah River.
You can walk barefoot along the soft sandy shore which is also firm enough for biking.
You might spot some dolphins feeding and playing at the mouth of the river where it meets the ocean.

Also called the Edge of America, Folly Beach is a barrier island located on the front lines of the Atlantic. There’s nothing but the ocean stretching out before it.

This beach is loved for its small-town character.
It’s a 12-mile drive from downtown Charleston.
A day-long parking pass at one of the local lots costs $7.
There are no cabanas at the beach, but you can rent chairs and umbrellas and the staff will even set them up for you.
There’s a tackle and bait shop on the pier, if you want to go fishing.
Surfers hang out around The Pier and The Washout.
While the sands are slightly coarse, the shore is generally smooth and perfect for barefoot walks.

Edisto Beach

Named after the agrarian Edisto Indian tribe that once lived on the island, Edisto Beach is a historic beachfront community known for its beautiful beaches, rich wildlife, magnificent old plantations and great food. This is one of the best destinations for Charleston, SC beach camping.

Located 60 miles outside of downtown Charleston.
The beach is part of the ACE Basin, a beautiful 1.6 million-acre estuary – one of the largest areas of undeveloped wetland ecosystems on the Atlantic Coast.
There are 37 beach access points with parking.
Entry to the state park costs $8.
There are four miles of ADA accessible trails, cabins on the saltmarsh, and two campgrounds with 120 sites that accommodate RVs or tents inside the park.
The clean sands and gentle waters are perfect for family getaways – it is safe for children to paddle in the lapping tides and go treasure hunting for seashells.
Aside from swimming and strolling on the shore, you can also go fishing and hiking.
It is best to keep your beach footwear on in this beach as it is one of the more shell-strewn areas in the region.

The close community at Isle of Palms makes it one of the most family-friendly beaches in the area, stretching across seven miles of crystalline shoreline.

The stunning white sands are family-friendly – they’re nice and soft for going barefoot on the shore.
Enjoy a wide range of activities – water sports, golfing at the Wild Dunes public golf courses, boat tours, sports fishing charters, eco-tour of the barrier islands, and sunset dolphin-watching cruises.
The beach is only a 12-mile drive through Mount Pleasant.
There is a vending area and bathrooms at the main County Park lot, where you can change and buy snacks, sunhats, boogie boards, and beach sundries.
There’s also a rental station for chairs and umbrellas.

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island is a private, residential beachfront community that boasts four miles of pristine, sandy beachfront.

The beach is about an hour’s drive from downtown Charleston.
There are not many amenities, so this spot is ideal for just spending a day at the beach.
There are no changing rooms unless you rent a place on the island.
Like most of the region’s beaches, the sand at Seabrook Island is soft, perfect for barefoot afternoon strolls.

Considered one of the most dramatic spots along the South Carolina coast, with narrow stretches of sand lined with living and petrified palm trees, Capers Island offers a surreal, otherworldly setting to beachgoers.

This undeveloped barrier island can only be reached by boat, but you can find charters from Sullivan’s Island.
You can also opt to canoe or kayak to the island.
This is a fairly remote and undeveloped island, so it is best to bring everything you need with you, such as water, bug spray, and extra layers of clothing.
This place is more popular for hiking through the eerie beachside forest than sunbathing or picnicking.
Some of the wildlife to look out for include deer, loggerhead turtles, and ospreys.
While the thin stretch of sand is relatively soft, most of your activities will involve walking across timber and woodland area, so wear the appropriate shoes.
The Best Beaches In Charleston SC infographic

Charleston, SC definitely has a lot of wonderful beaches that offer wonderful, unique experiences. Whether you’re going alone or spending a vacation with the entire family, there’s at least one destination that’s perfect for your upcoming getaway.

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