Updated: Jun 21
Charleston, South Carolina is known for it's charm and history. There are so many fun things to do in downtown Charleston and around the city (view my list of best attractions and things to do in Charleston here). Beaches are definitely high on the list of best activities to do in Charleston. Check out the list below for Best Beaches near Charleston, SC!
1. Folly Beach
11 Miles from Charleston // 20 Minutes
This is my personal favorite beach in the Charleston, SC area. Folly is known as "the Edge of America" meaning there is just miles and miles of blue ocean water straight ahead! It's one of the best beaches on the East Coast for surfing! Despite being a popular beach for locals and tourists, it still maintains it's "small town" feel. Be sure to check out "Fisher's Pier" which extends 1,045 ft over the ocean.
When you're not soaking in the sun at the beach, try local restaurants like Taco Boy and Lost Dog Cafe!
Parking: Street Parking is Free; City Lots are $7 per day
2. Isle of Palms (IOP)
13 Miles from Charleston // 15 Minutes
IOP is a great family-friendly beach located near Charleston, SC. It stretches for 7 miles and offers a lot of water activities nearby (water sports, fishing, boat tours). This is also the best beach to find sea turtles!
For a fun night out, try the Windjammer Beach Bar! When I was there, Darius Rucker performed a surprise concert for free!
Parking: Metered Street Parking; City Lots are $10-$12 daily
3. Sullivan's Island
9.5 Miles from Charleston // 15 Minutes
This beach is very popular for tourists during the summertime - when it's low tide the beach is so wide that you'll feel like the ocean is disappearing! Here you'll find many tide pools and small waves thanks to a sandbar offshore.
Try Poe's Tavern for a historical treat - Edgar Allen Poe was stationed in here in Charleston during the war!
4. Kiawah Island
26 Miles from Charleston // 45 Minutes
Kiawah Island is considered one of the countries most beautiful and prestigious islands. Most of the beachfront area is under private ownership, but you can explore the southwestern tip of the island called "Beachwalker Park"! The entry fee is usually between $5-$10 (depending on the season). It's worth it for the soft sands and beautiful relaxing views. This is also the best spot to see dolphins!
If you're a golfer, this is where you're going to want to golf!
5. Seabrook Beach
23 Miles from Charleston // 45 Minutes
Seabrook is a residential beachfront community hat is mostly private. It features plenty of summer houses for rent and a total of 4 miles of sandy beachfront. It's fairly quiet (compared to the 4 beaches listed above) but doesn't offer many amenities.
6. Edisto Beach
50 Miles from Charleston // 70 Minutes
Edisto Beach is a vacation in itself. It's a perfect place to relax amongst white sand beaches and great ocean waves. This is typically a spot that locals will travel to for a weekend getaway as it's a little over an hour from Charleston.
7. Capers Island
20 Miles from Charleston - plus a boat ride // 1 Hour
This beach is the perfect location for camping under the stars. The permit is free (but required). The catch... you have to access this island by boat. Definitely worth it for a once in a lifetime chance to sleep on the beach under the stars (legally).
8. Bull's Island
30 Miles from Charleston -plus a boat ride // 2 Hours
This is one of the few islands that has been left to nature (rather than inhabited by humans with homes, restaurants, and bars). You'll feel truly adrift on this island like you're out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Boneyard Beach is filled with tons of tree branches poking out of the sand for a boneyard-like feel.
This island is only reachable via private boat or daily ferry service (offered during the summer only).