The Best South Carolina Beaches For A Relaxing Lowcountry Getaway

A porch-sipping, beach-cruising, shag-dancing type of trip.

Myrtle Beach Marshwalk
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

"Carolina beach music…the holiest in the world," wrote Pat Conroy in his 1995 novel, aptly titled Beach Music. Sure, we all know the Shag started its jig somewhere on the shores of South Carolina—many say Myrtle, to be exact—but that's not the only thing about South Carolina beaches Southerners love to claim. Between the salt marshes, palmetto trees, broad beaches, seafood dives, and preserved wildlife, the coast has plenty going for it. Whether you're a fan of the lush Lowcountry scenery or the gorgeous Grand Strand sands, there's a South Carolina beach waiting to whisk away your worries.

It's time for a porch-sipping, beach-cruising, shag-dancing type of getaway. Here are the 8 best South Carolina beaches to visit now.

01 of 08

Hilton Head Island

Coligny Beach Park in Hitlon Head Island, SC
Peter Frank Edwards

Hilton Head feels like a grown-up beach town, which isn't to say it doesn't still embrace what made it so beloved in the first place: tranquil beaches, real-deal seafood joints, good golfing, and Carolina marshes. You might even recognize it as having been awarded the honor of South's Best Beach Town more than once, which touted many of Hilton Head's best attributes, like how HHI has "matured into a collection of gated neighborhoods surrounded by live oaks, magnolias, and palmettos; linked by neon-free boulevards bordered by bike paths; and boasting clusters of markets, bars, boutiques, and more than 250 restaurants." Doesn't sound half-bad, huh?

02 of 08

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Robbie Caponetto

We couldn't leave out this family-favorite spot. Anchoring a 60-mile stretch of Grand Strand waterfront communities, Myrtle Beach is for those who want something extra. With new resorts and hotels popping up, the iconic boardwalk getting bigger, and plenty of attractions that will cure even the rainiest day such as the beloved SkyWheel, it'll have you too worn out to shag dance. But, sorry, you still have to, for old time's sake. Here's everything you need to know to plan your trip.

03 of 08

Fripp Island

Fripp Island, South Carolina
Courtesy Fripp Island Resort

Only three and a half miles long and about a half-mile wide, Fripp Island is a sanctuary worth seeing. Located just 25 minutes from Beaufort, South Carolina (another favorite South's Best Small Town), here you'll find the perfect place to put your towel down on laidback beaches, only leaving to visit a handful of restaurants or do something sporty like tennis, golf, or boating. You'll also find a popular trail maintained by the Audubon Club that not only gives great views of land and water wildlife, but of more than 175 bird species.

04 of 08

Edisto Beach, South Carolina

Ella & Ollie's on Edisto Island, SC
Peter Frank Edwards

Edisto Beach sits on a pristine shoreline on Edisto Island, one of South Carolina's biggest barrier islands. While there's not much in terms of hotels (it's purposefully been left only gently developed), there are beach houses available for rent where you can cozy up and watch the sunset. Then, head to Ella & Ollie's for phenomenal Lowcountry seafood dishes.

05 of 08

Murrells Inlet

Marsh Walk at Murrells Inlet
Peter Frank Edwards

This historic fishing village caters to those coming to the Grand Strand coastline with its waterfront Murrels Inlet MarshWalk, which boasts an impressive selection of restaurants and plenty of live music to keep everyone full and happy. Here's a tip: At Huntington Beach State Park, you'll find more than three miles of milk-white sands that make up the best-preserved stretch of the 60-mile Grand Strand.

06 of 08

Pawleys Island

Pawley's Island
UWMadison / Getty Images

This South Carolina coastal town is known for its hand-woven hammocks, upon which we'd like to hang a while, but it makes sure to keep you interested with pristine beaches, surf-worthy waves, great seafood, Lowcountry marshland, and an easygoing attitude (hence, its affinity for hammocks). The lack of commercialism is something that draws people to the quiet town, especially considering it can be found between bustling neighbors, Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Enjoy an old-school island experience at the oceanfront Sea View Inn, established in 1937.

07 of 08

Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Panoramic Images/Getty Images

Located only 21 miles from downtown Charleston, Kiawah Island is just far enough (and just quiet enough) to feel like it's worlds away from the bustling Southern city. Here, you'll want to indulge in the most relaxing of pursuits, such as renting a beach chair at Beachwalker Park, booking a room or spa day at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, or setting yourself up with an oyster roast at Mingo Point. See our guide to visiting Kiawah Island.

08 of 08


Courtesy DeBordieu Colony Real Estate

One of the best-kept secrets along the South Carolina coast, DeBordieu is a tucked-away community that teases visitors with the ultimate natural escape, which can only be attributed to its committed preservation of South Carolina's stunning scenery and wildlife. It's also located just 10 miles from Georgetown, which has a historic district worth visiting on days when respite from the sandy shore is needed.

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