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10 Finest Seaside Cities in South Carolina

South Carolina is split into 4 distinct areas: the Lowcountry, the Pee Dee, the Midlands, and the Upstate. Whereas the latter two are stunning in their very own proper, the primary two can declare the state’s coastal areas — together with its well-known laid-back seashore cities. From Myrtle Seaside all the way down to Hilton Head Island, large stretches of sand, palmetto timber, bike paths, quaint boardwalks, and contemporary seafood abound. 

I’ve spent a lot of my life frequenting the Palmetto State’s seashore cities — visiting Kiawah Island yearly and even residing in Charleston for a interval. So utilizing my very own expertise, in addition to the experience of some locals, we narrowed down the record of the perfect seashore cities in South Carolina to 10. See in case your favourite made the lower beneath.

Folly Seaside

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“As somebody who lives 10 minutes from Folly Seaside, I definitely really feel like I’m on trip the place I reside,” Katie Hirsch, the director and chief curator of the Halsey Institute of Modern Artwork, tells Journey + Leisure. It’s one of many closest seashore cities to Charleston, so it’s a fantastic possibility for a day journey in case you’re visiting the Holy Metropolis; simply be sure you arrive on the sooner facet if you wish to beat the crowds and have a neater time parking. Plus, “in case you’re an early riser,” says Hirsch, you may wish to “strive discovering shark enamel throughout a morning seashore stroll.” She additionally recommends grabbing some meals at native favourite Jack of Cups Saloon for “surprising bites impressed by Asian delicacies.”

Associated: This South Carolina Seaside City Is a Native Favourite — and It is Simply Exterior Charleston

Hilton Head Island

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“Hilton Head Island is among the finest locations to flee to if you wish to be close to a seashore city however need a totally different setting from Charleston,” explains Hirsch. “It has trendy touches however nonetheless retains its Southern appeal, interesting to each vacationers and locals alike.” Hilton Head is thought for its golf programs and bike trails, however there’s one thing for everybody on the 12-mile-long, five-mile-wide island. Gullah heritage excursions, boat rides, paddleboarding, and birding are all itinerary contenders, and Hirsch additionally says the vacation spot has “a number of the finest thrift shops.” If that’s up your alley, save a day for exploring the products at The Discount Field, My Sister’s Closet, and The Church Mouse.

Associated: 16 Finest Issues to Do on Hilton Head Island — From {Golfing} to Historical past Excursions

Isle of Palms

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I’ve spent numerous days on Isle of Palms, a small barrier island slightly below half-hour from downtown Charleston. It’s one of many extra family-friendly seashores within the space, with many guests opting to remain at Wild Dunes Resort or lease a roomy oceanfront house. Regardless of the place you’re on the island, although, its leisurely tempo, large seashore, and traditional small-town options will entice guests of all ages. One in every of my favourite issues to do on “IOP,” because the locals name it, is to seize dinner at Islander 71 and watch the boats come out and in of the marina. I’d additionally suggest testing the reside music schedule at The Windjammer — or choosing up a to-go frosé from The Co-Op.

Sullivan’s Island

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Named one of many finest seashore cities on the East Coast, Sullivan’s Island continues to be a favourite — particularly for Charlestonians. “The seashore could be very relaxed, and the marsh views are second to none,” says Betsy Fuller, proprietor of A Maker’s Put up. “For those who’re visiting, I’d suggest taking an extended seashore stroll ending at Station 22.5, so you may head into ‘city,’ aka Center Road, to perform a little purchasing.” This a part of Sullivan’s Island is standard for its varied eateries; there’s every thing from Mexican and barbecue to burgers and seafood. Fuller recommends getting a desk at Excessive Thyme or The Obstinate Daughter — then grabbing a nightcap at Dunleavy’s.

Associated: Methods to Plan the Excellent Journey to Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina


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The second-oldest metropolis in South Carolina, Beaufort is commonly in comparison with Charleston; it’s historic, stunning, and stuffed with oak timber and wonderful structure. Its proximity to the water can also be a perk. Equally to Charleston, you’ll should drive a bit out of the primary hub to get to the seashore. For those who don’t thoughts parking your seashore chair by Battery Creek, somewhat than the Atlantic Ocean, make your strategy to the Sands Seaside on the southern finish of Port Royal. The seashore is free to the general public, and there’s loads to maintain the entire household entertained, together with shark tooth searching, a boardwalk, and an remark tower. For true oceanfront seashores, you’ll have to drive to Searching Island State Park, the place 5 miles of lovely seashores reside alongside marshes, a saltwater lagoon, and maritime forests. 

Associated: This Small Coastal City in South Carolina Has Charleston-like Appeal With out the Crowds

Pawleys Island

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Rest is paramount whenever you’re visiting Pawleys Island, a barrier island seashore city positioned between Myrtle Seaside and Charleston. That is the kind of place the place time robotically slows, the place you’re inspired to sign off, and the place you may see the unparalleled pure splendor of South Carolina’s coast. Spend your days crabbing, browsing (if the waves allow), fishing, {golfing}, or eating on traditional Lowcountry staples; simply don’t overlook to save lots of time for the artwork of doing completely nothing. For a very rejuvenating getaway, ebook a room at The Pelican Inn, an eight-bedroom bed-and-breakfast with plenty of studying nooks and locations to take a nap. 

Murrells Inlet

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Murrells Inlet, or the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina,” makes this record for a couple of causes. For starters, the historic fishing village has a function referred to as MarshWalk. The picket boardwalk spans a half-mile alongside a pure saltwater estuary and several other eating places, together with Bovine’s, Wahoo’s Fish Home, and The Claw Home. In between journeys to the far-from-crowded Huntington Seaside State Park, guests ought to make a degree to cease by Brookgreen Gardens, a zoo and 9,100-acre sculpture backyard. Murrells Inlet was additionally beforehand the situation of Goat Island, which Hirsch calls a “spectacle to see,” however as of 2023, the resident goats have been changed with steel goat replicas as excessive tides posed an excessive amount of of a risk to the animals.

Edisto Seaside

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Edisto Seaside isn’t your typical, buzzy seashore city — and that’s the fantastic thing about it. There aren’t any stoplights, excessive rises, or chain eating places on everything of Edisto Island, and the seashore city itself wholeheartedly embraces the magic of sluggish residing. For leisure, guests can (respectfully) discover the 4.5 miles of shoreline, take a dip within the ocean, and seek for shells, shark enamel, and different fossils that will wash up on shore. Biking, kayaking, and dolphin excursions are additionally favourite trip additions. But when there’s completely one factor you may’t miss whereas visiting Edisto Seaside? The wonderful sunsets. Carry a blanket to Edisto Seaside State Park, sit again, and benefit from the present. 

Associated: Methods to Plan the Excellent Journey to Edisto Island, South Carolina

Myrtle Seaside

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Myrtle Seaside might technically be a metropolis, however it has all the trappings of your traditional seashore city. There’s a bustling boardwalk, golf programs, go-karts, memento purchasing, and, in fact, plenty of public seashores. “I’ve at all times been drawn to the nostalgia that you could find on Myrtle Seaside,” says Fuller. “One in every of my favourite films, “Shag,” is about there, and each time I watch it, I daydream about going again to go to the seashore city within the Fifties.” And whereas it is perhaps synonymous with spring break crowds and households on summer time trip, it is a vacation spot that delivers — whether or not you’re hoping to spend the day by the water or retaining your schedule full, from sun-up to sunset. 

Associated: 25 Finest Issues to Do in Myrtle Seaside, South Carolina

Kiawah Island

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“Seaside city” has totally different associations for various folks. To me, a seashore city is someplace that’s simply navigable by bike; it’s a spot with just a few outlets that each one, for probably the most half, promote some type of solar hat or location-specific t-shirt. In South Carolina, a seashore city additionally evokes a nostalgic mixture of humidity, salt water, and the odor of pluff mud. Kiawah Island meets all of those standards — after which some. A majority of the island features as a gated personal group, accessible solely to residents, their friends, and people with reservations, although there are a few areas open to the general public, specifically Kiawah Beachwalker Park and Freshfields Village. On the latter, you may load up on all of your trip necessities — groceries, seashore reads, bathing fits, and extra. 

Associated: This Small South Carolina Island Has 10 Miles of Pristine Seashores and One of many Finest Resorts within the State

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