Charleston is located near several beautiful beaches. The beaches are some of the best in the U.S., and attract huge numbers of out-of-town visitors every year, along with local Charleston residents.
Here’s a guide to our best beaches near Charleston, including my personal favorites.
Folly Beach is located on its own barrier island, accessed via James Island and a very long causeway. Folly Beach has a very distinct, funky vibe and is known as “The Edge of America”.
Folly Beach has beautiful white sandy beaches, although the sand does vary depending on the beach location.
Folly has great surf, and is one of the most popular beaches for surfing. For non-surfers, there is a very nice laid-back atmosphere to relax and enjoy the beach.
There is also a historic lighthouse — Morris Island Lighthouse — at the northern tip of the island. Folly Beach County Park is located at the south end.
There is a large pier in the center of the island with a variety of beach services, including beach chair rentals and jet ski rentals on the beach.
Folly Beach also has a number of popular beachfront bars, restaurants, and shops.
Isle of Palms
Isle of Palms, also known as IOP, is located on a barrier island just north of Charleston.
The beaches on IOP are wide and have beautiful, fine white sand and beautiful water. It’s a great, quiet beach for sunbathing, and beachcombing.
Isle of Palms also has several beachfront restaurants and shops.
Sullivan’s Island is located on a barrier island just north of Charleston Harbor, just south of Isle of Palms.
Beaches on Sullivan’s Island are known for their beauty and the island is known for its luxurious beach houses and historical landmarks, including Fort Moultrie.
Sullivan’s Island is usually a quieter island than other beach towns like Folly Beach, but it also has several beachfront restaurants and bars.
Sullivan’s Island also has a beautiful lighthouse, the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse.
Kiawah Island, also just known as Kiawah, is located about 30 miles south of Charleston.
Beaches in Kiawah are known for being beautiful and largely undeveloped, with sand dunes, and some maritime forests. Kiawah Island also has several upscale resorts and golf courses.
Edisto Beach is located approximately 50 miles south of Charleston. Edisto beach is known for its quiet, relaxed atmosphere and undeveloped coastline. Edisto Beach also has several seafood restaurants and beachfront cottages for rent.
These are just a few of the many beautiful beaches near Charleston.
Besides beaches, Charleston offers a wide range of activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy. From surfing and swimming to fishing and sunbathing, there’s something for everyone at these beaches.