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Best Beaches In Charleston, South Carolina
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Best Beaches In Charleston, South Carolina

Picture of Richard Tulis
Updated: 9 February 2017
From full-energy beach bars to tranquilly wooded waterfront walks, these beaches compose the best areas for fun and sun that Charleston has to offer. Check out the Windjammer, a vibrant beach club in Isle of Palms, or kick back and relax with a drink on a screen porch in Kiawah. Either way, Charleston’s beaches will make your day.
White Egrets, Charleston | © Henry de Saussure Copeland/Flickr
White Egrets, Charleston | © Henry de Saussure Copeland/Flickr
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Bull Island

Just a few miles outside of downtown Charleston is Bull Island, which is nothing short of an outdoors-man’s delight. Adventurers can rejoice in kayak tours, bird watching, or self-guided hikes through its many waterfront trails. The barrier island features a plentiful variety of wildlife creatures such as dolphins and sea turtles, all spectacular to behold as part of a memorable vacationing experience. Visit its Martello Tower, an old Civil War relic, for an alternative to Fort Sumter in the event that the crowds are too thick.

Bull Island Ferry, 498 Bulls Island Road, Andrews, SC, USA, + 1 843 881 4582

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Folly Beach

For a day at the beach you won’t soon forget, pick Folly Beach. If not for its stark blue, cloudless skies and charming wooden piers, the beach bars and popular restaurants deliver excellent social complements to an already aesthetic experience. Folly is also a desirable area when it comes to rental beach houses, which line its shores by the hundreds. Comprising South Carolina’s most buzzing crowds and family fun, the Folly Beach fishing pier or nearby County Park call out with pleasant social auras.

Folly Beach Fishing Pier, 101 East Artic Avenue, Folly Beach, SC, USA, + 1 843 588 3474

Sunrise at Folly Beach | © jblaha/Flickr
Sunrise at Folly Beach | © jblaha/Flickr
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Kiawah Island

Kiawah is one of the best barrier islands in the country. Its sheer lack of commercialization, peaceful summertime breezes, and friendly locals each work in sync and contribute to the ideal island experience. This beach has not only assumed a ranking as one of America’s Top 10 Beaches on numerous occasions in the past, but Kiawah is also home to several incredibly respectable golf courses. Keep in mind that Kiawah is technically a gated beach with many private homes – but don’t forget, it’s this very privacy that makes the beach so perfectly serene.

Kiawah Island Parkway, SC, USA

Kiawah sunset | © Scott Kublin/Flickr
Kiawah sunset | © Scott Kublin/Flickr
Isle of Palms Pier | © Alistair Nicol/Flickr
Isle of Palms Pier | © Alistair Nicol/Flickr
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Isle of Palms

Kayak rentals, boating tours, beach volleyball courts, and several beachfront bars occupy Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s favorite beaches. Roughly six miles of seashell lined shores make up the beach at Isle of Palms; there’s no shortage of space for visitors. Grab a towel and lay out – Isle of Palms is overloaded with several beach-side showers and public restrooms, so there’s no need to rush your stay. Check out the Windjammer, a local beach bar known to draw celebrities and some of the best live music Charleston has to offer.

Isle of Palms Marina, 50 41st Avenue, Isle of Palms, SC, USA, + 1 843 886 0209

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Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island is a vastly popular Charleston beach, but you’re likely to find more friendly locals than fumbling tourists here. The scenic beach stretches across the horizon and provides breathtaking views of Fort Sumter, Morris Island Lighthouse, and Charleston’s pristine Battery Row. Sunsets on Sullivan’s Island are sublime, and the inward street blocks are relaxed and private. Sandbars penetrate the ocean surface for hundreds of yards out and are conducive to puddle-filled strolls. Before you start your day and bust out the morning mimosas, remember that Sullivan’s Island has a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol.

Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, Sullivan’s Island, SC, USA

Sullivan's Island | © Alistair Nicol/Flickr
Sullivan’s Island | © Alistair Nicol/Flickr
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Edisto Beach

This beach is strictly non-commercialized and prominently family occupied. Residents seeking a getaway from their getaway should revel in its close-by location. Nonetheless, you won’t hear many loud sounds at this waterfront barrier beach. The gentle beach community is home to the Edisto River, a 206-mile free-flowing stream that pours out into the beautiful marshes of the Atlantic. Nature trails and long walks are the norm here, so grab a companion and be sure to see all Edisto has to offer with your very own feet.

Edisto Beach State Park, 102 State Highway 174, Edisto Island, SC, USA, + 1 843 869 2156

Edisto Beach sunset | © Courtney McGough
Edisto Beach sunset | © Courtney McGough