Charleston’s Five Beach Towns

Whether you’re taking the kids out for sandcastles and swimming lessons, or your friends need a day suntanning with gossip and a good book, Charleston beaches have something for everyone. We’re known for gentle waves, fun beachside events and friendly neighborhoods, but how do you choose which one to visit?

Check out our short guide to plan a day-trip on the coast:

Kiawah Island: Known as one of the most popular southeast wedding destinations, Kiawah Island is all about Southern comfort and luxury. Not only can you enjoy ten miles of untouched beaches, the family can explore forests, sand dunes and enjoy wildlife. The Island is mainly known for its impressive golf course and resort, so if you get sick of the surf, you can trade it for turf. Coastal Living Magazine recently voted Kiawah the “Happiest Seaside Town.”

Isle of Palms: Six of the seven miles that make up Isle of Palms are accessible beaches, which are used by a number of year-round residents as well as thousands of visitors and guests. Many of the beach houses on the island are available for rent. It’s quiet and perfect for families who want a subdued getaway. Rent or bring some bikes and explore the island through its many bike paths!

Folly Beach: Folly Beach is where the action is! Catch some waves at the most popular surfing spot in the area. But note: From May 15th to Sept. 15th surfing is prohibited from 10 am to 6 pm from 2nd Street East to 3rd Street West, known as the swimming zone. From September 16th to May 14th, surfing is allowed in any area except surfing is always prohibited 200′ from the fishing pier. Build sandcastles and enjoy the sun on these wide beaches. If you want to escape the coastline for lunch, break with a picnic and check out the pier or gaze at the Morris Island Lighthouse in the late afternoon.

Seabrook Island: Exclusive and serene, Seabrook is a privately-owned island for members and their guests to enjoy. That’s right, you have to join the Seabrook Island Club to gain access to its amenities, but it’s worth it. Miles of pristine beaches, gorgeous dunes, old live oaks and more await. You can enjoy ultimate comfort, plus switch between playing in the waves and playing in the pool.

Sullivan’s Island: Sullivan’s Island is a truly day-trip spot, with hardly any vacation rentals and no hotels available. A serene and casual neighborhood, it offers the best in family-oriented activities. Bring your buckets, bikes and blankets for an all-day sun fest! Be sure to pack a cooler, too. This island is so quiet, it only offers a handful of restaurants. You’ll feel like you live there!

Remember to check beach guidelines and rules before you travel!

5 Most Scenic Places in Charleston

There are many places in Charleston that steal our breath away, but perhaps none more so than the parks, beaches, and historic sites that abound in the city. Regardless of the time of year, a trip to The Battery or a seaside meal on Sullivan’s Island can make any day memorable.

If you’re craving a peaceful day in Charleston’s open air, check out these scenic venues for your next outing:

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  • The BatteryFamous for its’ stately antebellum homes, The Battery is a landmark defensive seawall and promenade in Charleston. It stretches along the lower shores of the Charleston peninsula, bordered by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, which meet here to form Charleston harbor. Visible from the Cooper River side and the point, is Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10), and Sullivan’s Island. Take a pleasant stroll along the promenade, and you can almost feel the centuries of history that resonate throughout the peninsula.
  • Waterfront ParkAlong the Cooper River, you’ll find Waterfront Park, which received the 2007 Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award “recognizes a distinguished landscape architecture project completed between 15 and 50 years ago that retains its original design integrity and contributes significantly to the public realm of the community in which it is located.” Enjoy a relaxing walk along the pier, and be sure to check out the incredible pineapple water fountain!
  • Sullivan’s IslandIf you’re looking for a seaside venue, you’ve come to the right place. Sullivan’s Island is one of the most relaxing and family-friendly beaches on South Carolina’s coast. Year-round, visitors enjoy the island’s tranquil beaches, seaside neighborhoods, and waterfront dining venues.

Charles Towne Landing State Historic SiteOn a marshy point off of the Ashley River, you’ll find Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. This is the very place where a group of English settlers landed in 1670 and established what would become the birthplace of the Carolinas colony. Charles Towne Landing depicts life in Colonial Charleston through interpretive rangers in 17th century dress, a self-guided history trail with an audio tour, and in the interactive museum in the Visitors Center. Take the whole family and tour the Adventure, Charleston’s only 17th-century replica sailing ship. You can also see cannons fired or take a peek at otters, bears, and bison at the Animal Forest natural habitat zoo. If you prefer a more low-key day, the grounds include 80 acres of gardens, with an elegant live oak alley—the perfect place to be alone with your thoughts.

Where do you go in Charleston for a scenic stroll?