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Top 14 Clear Water Beaches In South Carolina

Which beaches have the clearest water in South Carolina? Visiting these 14 amazing shoreline destinations won’t leave you disappointed!

Anett Victoria - Author of SeaSpiration

Written by Anett Victoria

When it comes to a beach vacation, Anett is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, a romantic seaside getaway, or a fun family trip to the ocean. As a world traveler with years of experience in exploring tropical countries and a water sports fan, she creates this inspiring site where she writes travel guides, reviews and recommends beach gear, and gives travel tips to make planning your trip quicker and easier! Are you curious about where She wanders now? Follow her adventures on IG too!

  • Coligny Beach Park
  • North Myrtle Beach
  • Burkes Beach
  • Surfside Beach
  • Garden City Beach
  • Huntington Beach State Park
  • Pawleys Island
  • Sullivan’s Island Beach
  • Front Beach – Isle of Palms
  • Folly Beach
  • Kiawah Island beaches
  • Seabrook Beach
  • Edisto Beach
  • Hunting Island Beach

South Carolina is an affordable vacation destination that will take your breath away with its clear and calm blue waters. The coast here is diligently maintained to provide pristine settings for relaxation and sightseeing so you can soak up the sea air, enjoy live music, seafood, or go shopping!

Coligny Beach Park

Coligny Beach Park offers a manicured setting with well-maintained walking paths, biking trails, fun swings, and easy access to rental equipment for all of your beach adventures! Tucked at the end of Pope Avenue off Coligny Circle, this free beach provides miles of beautiful clear water coastline for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

It’s not surprising to learn that this is Hilton’s Head’s most popular stretch of sand. Families love this kids-friendly beach because it offers swimming spots, gazebos, changing rooms, restrooms, and showers. A variety of coffee shops and great seafood restaurants are also located just steps away.

North Myrtle Beach

walkway to North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach is exactly what people picture when they think of a beach vacation in South Carolina! The upbeat, party-like atmosphere here is perfect for couples, families, and everyone else.

When visitors aren’t sunbathing and relaxing on the beach, they are exploring the shops and restaurants on Main Street, visiting Barefoot Landing, golfing at championship-level courses, seeing free concerts at McLean Park, and enjoying some of the best fishing on the East Coast.

While North Myrtle Beach can seem more crowded than other spots along the coast, it is still one of the best blue water beaches in South Carolina for those seeking clear water and pristine sand!

Burkes Beach

Located mid-island off of William Hilton Parkway, Burkes Beach is considered to be one of the best beaches in South Carolina by the locals. Visitors enjoy miles of scenic beachfront that’s perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and watching wildlife.

Due to the slightly quieter nature of this beach, it’s common to see shorebirds, sea turtles, and dolphins around. The uncrowded water is also perfect for doing a little sea kayaking or boarding. Burkes Beach visitors usually encounter tranquil, calm water.

Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach in Horry County is known as The Family Beach of South Carolina! Spanning two miles of pristine oceanfront, this white sandy beach in South Carolina boasts 36 access points for getting in the water, several of them featuring restrooms, showers, and foot showers.

While it has a lot of attractions, Surfside still feels much more secluded compared to other popular beaches and is a top pick for swimming, surfing, sea kayaking, and pier fishing. In addition to being a kids-friendly beach, Surfside Beach became the world’s first autism-friendly travel destination in 2016. Quaint restaurants and outdoor markets make planning a romantic and charming beach getaway for couples easy!

Garden City Beach

Located directly south of Surfside Beach in Horry County, Garden City Beach is a small beach community where visitors can taste authentic coastal living. Garden City is rare among clear water beaches in South Carolina because it’s the spot where the ocean meets the inlet.

As a result, visitors come specifically for crabbing and fishing. The soft sand and clear water also attract swimmers, sunbathers, and people eager to enjoy watersports!

There is something magical about the Garden City creek walk that spans a picturesque salt marsh with stunning views of the shoreline. The beach also has a nearly 700-foot fishing pier that serves as the gathering place for anglers! There’s also a marina, pavilion arcade, restaurants, and many more fantastic attractions to keep people of all ages entertained.

Huntington Beach State Park

bird resting on the clear sand at Huntington Beach State Park

Located on Murrells Inlet, Huntington Beach State Park is a breathtaking Atlantic Beach with a wetland environment here creates a hotbed for wildlife activity! The area is home to marine birds, alligators, and sea turtles.

Find your way to the area’s nature trails; step onto viewing decks that offer up-close views of majestic herons and egrets as they dive for their meals! Explore boardwalks that spread across a lagoon.

Adding to the magic of this stunning park is a nearby place called Atalaya Castle. Built as a winter home for Archer M. Huntington in 1939, this castle is now a designated National Historic Landmark with a sculpture garden;

Pawleys Island

beach chairs at the beach at Pawleys Island

Many people consider Pawleys Island to be the prettiest, cleanest stretch of coast in South Carolina, so I recommend you visit this beautiful beach destination. It’s also one of the oldest resort towns on the East Coast; you can explore historic homes dating back to the 18th century.

Due to the secluded and exclusive vibe of Pawleys Island, people often call this destination the high-end and subdued alternative to North Myrtle Beach. Sea kayaking is a top activity here, and you can also swim, fish, and enjoy boat tours.

Sullivan’s Island Beach

Sullivans Island Beach

Located at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, Sullivan’s Island Beach is known for its wide beaches. Its proximity to Charleston makes this beach a top destination for locals seeking fun and sea air on the weekends.

In addition to beautiful sand and clear water, Sullivan’s Island offers terrific restaurants; when you get tired from swimming or trying out exciting watersports, head to The Obstinate Daughter for fresh seafood and wood-fired pizzas!

Front Beach – Isle of Palms

Located on Ocean Boulevard, Front Beach is considered the best beach on Isle of Palms. This relaxed, fine sandy stretch of sand is among the popular clear water beaches in South Carolina due to its location and family-friendly features. Still, it is big enough not to get crowded even on busy summer weekends and you can always find a spot to set up your camp for the day.

Expect a posh experience that includes waterfront dining, shopping, and cocktails at sunset. Beach volleyball is especially popular here!

Folly Beach

Folly Beach Pier at sunset

This is the one you’ve been waiting for if seeing a South Carolina lighthouse is on your list! Beautiful Folly Beach’s Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve offers incredible views of the Morris Lighthouse! Standing on the shore feels like going back in time to see the lighthouse when it was first constructed back in 1876.

Another highlight of this beach is the Folly Beach Pier. This magnificent pier stretches more than 1,000 feet into the blue water. Other highlights that make this spot worth a visit include shops, picnic areas, and a pelican rookery.

Kiawah Island Beaches

Kiawah Island Beach Boardwalk

Experience amazing beaches just minutes from Charleston! In addition to offering visitors 10 miles worth of extraordinary shoreline to play on with an abundance of outdoor activities, Kiawah Island also shows off a rare beach ecosystem that will make you think you’ve stumbled into a forgotten paradise.

Enjoy a maritime forest, long stretches of sand dunes, and unspoiled marshes. The landscape here is home to bobcats, sea turtles, whitetail deer, and gators! If you have your heart set on splashing in the bluest water in the state, it’s good to know that many people consider this spot to have the clearest water in South Carolina.

Seabrook Island

houses on the shore on Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island beaches are untouched in so many ways. Located just 30 minutes from downtown Charleston, it is the best place to see a sunset in South Carolina. It is a private access island so you must live or rent to enter, but this is why it is a very nice and quiet spot.

You can explore roughly three miles worth of secluded, raw beaches that are among the wildest in the state! In fact, some of the best dolphin viewing in the country can be enjoyed here. The area is also a critical habitat for local sea turtle populations.

The calm waters here have essentially no waves, making it safe for kids to play in, while the clean and smooth sand is perfect for walking. I highly recommend this beach for a peaceful, quiet getaway!

Edisto Beach

Edisto Beach South Carolina

Edisto Beach in Colleton County is a “gently developed” beach community where the architecture flows with the landscape. This spot’s claim to fame is that it’s where the Edisto River completes its 200-mile journey to the Atlantic Ocean.

Visitors come specifically to see this mighty river merge with the great ocean. Often, you can see the dolphin pods fishing around!

There’s nothing quite like spending a day searching for shells, shark teeth, and fossils and enjoying the shallow, calm waters on the quiet shore here. Make sure to be here when it is low tide when tide pools are exposed! The shallow water that lacks undertow and crosscurrents makes Edisto Beach excellent for swimming, too.

Hunting Island Beach Park

Hunting Island State Park sand dunes at the beach and lighthouse

Enjoy a 5,000-acre park containing what many consider to be the clearest beach in South Carolina! Located in Beaufort, Huntington Island welcomes more visitors each year than any other state park in South Carolina.

This park can feel like many ecosystems in one. The Atlantic-facing side offers nearly five miles of velvety white sand. There’s also a salt marsh lagoon that attracts dolphins, tiger sharks, eagles, and ospreys.

It’s worth the trip just to see the gigantic palmettos that pepper the area! In addition, the park is inhabited by loggerhead turtles, deer, diamondback snakes, gators, and a large variety of seabirds.

Moreover, there is even an amazing lighthouse you can visit for a small charge. To have a wonderful, adventure-filled day at the beach, this is the place to go!

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