The Best Resorts to Book in South Carolina

| © Sean Pavone - Alamy Stock Photo
Sarah Warwick

South Carolina might not have a global name for tourism, but what it lacks in pizzazz it more than makes up for in immaculate beaches, pastel-tinged sunsets and quaint coastal cities. Though the Palmetto State is often overshadowed by its near neighbor, Florida, spring breakers still flock to Myrtle Beach each year, while golfers hit the championship courses of Hilton Head and Kiawah. Get a dose of Southern hospitality and discover why South Carolina should be your new go-to beach destination, when you check into one of these amazing resorts – all bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Wild Dunes Resort, for a beachy golf getaway

Chain Hotel, Luxury

Balconied living room area at Wild Dunes Resort, with stylish furnishings including a light gray sofa, a blue and orange abstract rug, and a blue and white feature wall with flatscreen TV, which looks like its been sponge painted.
© Wild Dunes Resort_Expedia

This family-friendly resort is located on the Isle of Palms, voted one of the most beautiful islands in the USA by Condé Nast Traveler. Just half an hour’s drive from downtown Charleston, it’s great for those who want to see the historic sights as well as live it up on the barrier island’s six miles (10km) of sandy beaches. Whether you stay in one of the resort’s two inns or its one-to-three-bedroom residences, you’ll gain access to Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, plus swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurants and water sports galore – you might have to work hard to drag yourself into Charleston after all.

2. The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, for a luxury family vacay

Boutique Hotel

Light and bright twin room at the Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, with two white double beds that have carved wooden headboards, a small table and two chairs, and a white bench at the end of each bed, with turquoise, cream and yellow upholstery.
© The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina_Expedia

A short boat-taxi ride from Charleston proper, this beach club hotel is a breath of fresh air, and we’re not just talking about the ocean breeze. Trimmed in maritime blue and white, the rooms burst with boutique character and boast views over the Cooper River and the city beyond. Exploring the resort brings a series of “Oohs” from younger guests, delighted to discover bocce courts, outdoor chess and mini cinema, while grown-ups will adore the poolside cabana, craft cocktails and full spa.

3. Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, for everything you ever dreamed of

Chain Hotel, Hotel

Outdoor terrace with a large wooden dining table overhung by festoon lights at the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort
Courtesy of Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort / Expedia

Omni means everything, and that’s what you’ll find at this resort. As well as the hotel’s five restaurants, four pools, three hot tubs and full spa, guests can access the facilities of the surrounding Palmetto Dunes community, including an 11mi (18km) lagoon system with bike trails, tennis courts and three championship golf courses – all staged against the paradise backdrop of Hilton Head, voted number one island in the continental US by both Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler.

4. Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, for going with the flow

Chain Hotel, Hotel

A large curved swimming pool at the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, with white sun-loungers, orange sun umbrellas and palm trees around the edge.
© Sonesta Resort / Expedia

Sometimes you stay in a hotel so well designed it takes the decision making entirely out of your hands. The smell of breakfast lures you straight from your room through tropical gardens. Afterwards, you wander straight into the lagoon-style, zero-entry pool. Before you know it, you’re in the middle of a massage, or, depending on your idea of paradise, on a golf course, tennis court or shopping for shoes (delete as applicable), before being drawn like a moth to the evening fire pit, where a drink lands in your hand. The point is, at this Hilton Head hotel, life is so easy you can simply go with the flow – and that’s our kind of vacation.

5. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa, for irresistible wellness

Chain Hotel, Hotel

A large swimming pool with loungers by the palm-fringed ocean at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa
Courtesy of The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa / Expedia

The stated goal of this wellness-focused South Carolina beach resort is to make you feel better by the time you leave – and you’d have to actively resist its charms for it not to succeed. There are three outdoor pools and a whirlpool bath for you to wash away your troubles, plus the Heavenly Spa, which is true to its name, particularly when you take one of the comprehensive “Journeys” to massage, scrub and soak. Re-energize with an 18-holer (Hilton Head is golfer’s paradise, after all); eat healthy yet hedonistic sea-to-table grub at The Carolina Room; and end by collapsing in one of the Westin’s trademark Heavenly Beds. We feel better already.

6. The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, for a grand coastal escape

Golf Hotel, Resort

Balconied double room at the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, with luxurious furnishings including a dark wooden bed, cream patterned sofa, and a wooden desk with two green upholstered chairs.
© The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort_Expedia

Despite being built in the 21st century, this mansion-style hotel was designed to mimic a grand old coastal home, complete with transplanted great oaks, reclaimed Charleston brick and creaky floorboards. The architectural efforts paid off, and the whole resort has a patina of established elegance, like the seaside house of an elderly aunt with impeccable taste. Whether you’re more drawn to the Sanctuary’s long list of spa treatments or its serious golfing credentials, you’ll adore its setting on Kiawah Island’s ten miles (16km) of sugar-soft sand.

7. DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach, for country club adventure

Hotel, Luxury

Restaurant at DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach, with amazing ocean view from its large windows, and two small chandeliers hanging over its understated cream, teal and pale-yellow furnishings.
© DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach / Expedia

Just a couple of miles from the airport, this country-club-style retreat is made for active guests. Explore more than 300 acres (121ha) of oceanfront maritime forest at neighboring Myrtle Beach State Park, take your rod and tackle along to Springmaid Pier, or flex your clubs at Whispering Pines and Prestwick Country Club. Or wander down Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk, a half-mile (0.8km) wooden boardwalk along a natural saltwater estuary. When you need a breather, retreat to your comfortable quarters right by the beach, bob down the hotel’s two lazy rivers or soak in the indoor/outdoor pools. Active or not active – it’s your choice.

8. Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort, for great quality and value

Chain Hotel, Luxury

Minimalist living room at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort, with cream soft furnishings, floor-to-ceiling windows, balcony and amazing ocean views.
© Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort / Expedia

There are no bad rooms at this northern Myrtle Bay resort – they all come with a balcony and ocean views. The hotel is egalitarian in other ways too: indoor as well as outdoor pools; casual poolside snack bars and more formal ocean-view dining spaces; and 24 meeting rooms catering to business travelers as well as holidaymakers. There’s a daily resort charge for everyone, which includes access to Splash Park, tennis courts, a gym, kids’ club, free shuttle, beach towels and discounts throughout the facility.

9. Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort and Spa at Grande Dunes, for parenting made easy

Chain Hotel, Luxury

Modern restaurant at Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, with circular tables and elegant sage-green upholstered chairs, which overlook a pool though large gridded floor-to-ceiling windows.
© Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort and Spa at Grande Dunes / Expedia

Many of the South Carolina beach resorts have great family amenities, but this Marriott in Myrtle Bay is top dog. Children have their own pool with water features, and there’s a kids’ club and activity center for structured, supervised fun. The whole family will love the burgers at Woodsy Grill and Pool Bar, plus nearby excursions to Family Kingdom, Pirates Voyage and WonderWorks. Villas at this resort come with their own living rooms and full kitchens, giving you total flexibility at mealtimes. While kids nap, adults can sit out on the private balcony and watch dolphins swim along the shore. Parenting just got a lot easier.

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