The best Beaches near Charleston Sc

The coast of South Carolina is peppered with some of the most beautiful beaches on the Eastern Seaboard. With the protection of scattered barrier islands, the sandy beaches around the historic city of Charleston are certainly some of the most spectacular. Whether you’re looking to relax in seclusion, mingle with the locals, or have some fun in the sun with a more “funky” crowd, you’ll find what you’re looking for within fifteen to twenty minutes of the city.


This local favorite beach is located on the tropical island oasis of Isle of Palms, which boasts palm tree lined streets and multi-million dollar waterfront homes. Of the beaches in the area, this one is certainly more on the laid back side. The sandy shore is quite expansive, and even when the surrounding restaurants and bars are full, it never feels as though you are fighting for a spot to lay out your beach towel. Clean and serene, this spot is certainly ideal for those who want to spent some quiet time relaxing to the sound of the ocean, but also enjoy passing the time with people watching.

The only downside to the beach on Isle of Palms is the parking situation. During the summer, the public parking lot tends to fill up before the sun is even a quarter of the way up the sky, and while there are other places to park along the road, these can be few and far between as well. The roads are regularly patrolled, so parking illegaly is out of the question. The best advice…get there as early as possible, or be ready for a possible twenty minutes to half hour of searching for a spot.


The six-mile long coastline of Folly Beach offers the best surf in all of the Charleston area, and if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of some locals practicing with thier boards, you’re sure to find them at Folly’s just after sunrise. If you want to learn to “hang ten” yourself, there are several places where you can take lessons. Offering everything from jet ski rentals to parasailing adventures, this hot spot is also home to the Edwin S. Taylor pier, which extends over 1000 feet out into the Atlantic Ocean. Even during the summer, this expansive chunk of coastline never seems overcrowded, and there is ample parking available. With covered shelters, easily accessible bathrooms, showers and even a bait and tackle shop, this beach is the perfect place to bring the family for a fun day in the sun.

If you’re looking for a good place for your kids to splash around in the waves, be wary of the water near the pier, which often has a severe undertow, and if a pooch paradise is what you’re after, Folly’s has a strict leash law, and dog’s are not allowed on the beach during the daylight hours from May through September.


Located just across the bridge from Isle of Palms, this small town paradise is the perfect place for a super secluded beach adventure. You won’t find any big hotels or resorts along the sandy shores of this island, but you will find some of the most naturally beautiful beaches in the area. There are several nice restaurants in the area, and of course, the famous “Poe’s Tavern”, whose namesake is the late Edgar Allen Poe, who was stationed on Sullivan’s Island while he was in the army. This beach is a great place to bring the family for some good, old-fashioned beach fun without all the glitz that you would find at a beach like Folly’s.

Sadly, there are no “amenities” along this coastline. The only bathrooms are located in the small, public parking lot, which gets filled up quite quickly throughout most of the year. Like Isle of Palms, you will most likely have to park several blocks away from the beach along the street, so remember to pack accordingly.


If you’re looking for someplace to take your “sweetie”, you’ll fall in love with Kiawah Island. This privately owned, five-star resort is located south of Charleston and Folly Beach, this beautiful little island was rated to have the “Second Most Romantic Beach in America” by National Geographic Traveler. Unlike the famous Hilton Head, Kiawah Island is virtually undeveloped in terms of commercial businesses. The area was painstakingly planned to be extremely environmentally friendly and relaxing…the perfect place for a romantic getaway or even a honeymoon. The climate is beautiful and slightly tropical, and you can enjoy everything from kyaking to canoeing, and biking to golf at one of the premier courses in the state.

While it is virtually impossible to choose the “best” beach in the Charleston vicinity, because each offers something completely different and unique, it is safe to say that the four listed above will meet all of your desires…and more!