South Carolina is well known for its beautiful coastline and stunning beaches. It’s a popular spot for everyone east of the Mississippi River looking for a drivable summer vacation with time in the water. There are numerous towns and islands that attract visitors too from all over the globe, such as Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island.
South Carolina’s mix of subtropical shores, historical sites, and a seemingly endless supply of fresh seafood keep visitors coming back each year, with some choosing to live there full-time. Home to some of the best beach towns on the east coast, The Palmetto State is the perfect coastal destination for every type of vacation. From …
Top Beaches and Coastal Towns in SC
With 187 miles of coastline, the Palmetto State has plenty of pretty beaches to choose from. “The Grand Strand” runs for over 60 miles from Little River to Winyah Bay. Myrtle Beach is among the most visited beach towns on this stretch of unbroken beaches. Tens of millions of visitors pick a spot along the Grand Strand for their holiday.
Guide to Visiting the Beaches in South Carolina
South Carolina is an excellent state for a getaway to the ocean, thanks to its pristine beaches and 187 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and sea marshes. With an abundance of attractions, historical sites, seafood restaurants, and golf courses that dot the coast, there’s plenty to do both in and near the water.
The Palmetto State’s famous strip of undistributed shores is called “The Grand Strand” and stretches over 60 miles over tourist-heavy areas like Myrtle Beach. The Lowcountry region has its own mecca of beach resorts, dining, and shopping at the renowned Hilton Head Island.
For a more laid-back atmosphere, explore one of the quieter beach towns on a barrier island or a lesser-developed community like Edisto Beach. Many of the smaller islands, like Sullivan’s Island, are also great for part-time or full-time homes, being so close to larger cities.
South Carolina has relatively temperate weather with milder winters and hot summers. The subtropical climate keeps the coastline at average temperatures between 55-90℉, and the rainiest months are during the summer, from June to August.
There is no “dry season” in South Carolina, just months with less rain than others. Hurricane season along this coast is June through November, with the most activity in August and September.
The best time to visit SC beaches depends on what you’re looking for. If you want the warmest weather and water, then June, July, and August are your months. September is an excellent time to visit when looking to enjoy warm weather with lesser crowds.
Of all the months, November gets the least rain, so that’s an ideal time to go if you’re looking to see less precipitation. March through May, the temperatures are pleasant and not too hot, but the water may be cooler and have fewer events.
South Carolina has a lot of diversity in its ecosystem. Land animals that you might see near the beach include coyotes, snakes, lizards, and turtles. South Carolina is home to 437 bird species, most of which can be seen year-round. Pay close attention as you walk around the shores and in the state parks to see how many you can find.
Alligators are throughout the state, especially in the Lowcountry, so it’s essential to pay attention to warning signs in areas where they are likely to be present. The American alligator is South Carolina’s only native crocodilian creature, and there are roughly 100,000 of them that call the area home.
While alligator attacks are uncommon, they can occasionally happen, especially in marshlands, ponds, lakes, lagoons, or anywhere with vegetation and shallow water.
South Carolina has more than 40 shark species off its shores, but the time of year you’ll most likely see them is May through late October. There were five attacks in 2022 from January to August off SC’s beaches and a total of 116 unprovoked attacks in the last 122 years.
While these numbers are higher than in many other coastal areas, the odds of getting bitten are still relatively rare. Beachgoers need to follow the rules regarding shark activity and interactions to keep the chances of an injury low.
Two of the most popular lodging options in South Carolina are resorts and vacation rental homes. These are especially prevalent along waterfront areas, barrier islands, and The Grand Strand. Resort towns like Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island have some of the most premium resort properties in the country and can provide the ultimate beach experience.
Many tourists love the less crowded beaches of South Carolina for sunbathing and reading in the shade with waves crashing in the background. But if water sports are more your style, these beaches offer multiple places to kayak, paddleboard, sail, scuba dive, snorkel, fish, jet ski, parasail, and surf.
Big and small beach towns are equipped with rental gear to provide visitors, so they don’t have to transport their equipment.
When it’s time to indulge in some R&R, look no further than the South Carolina beaches for your next vacation. Whether you’re looking for luxury or adventure, this section of the Atlantic coast has got it all.