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Travelers to the Palmetto State are constantly flocking to take in the natural beauty of the pristine and unspoiled seashore. So, if you’re on the lookout for South Carolina beaches with white sand, you’re certainly not alone. I’m a huge fan of them; wherever I go, I always check where I find the finest sandy shores. I included many of SC’s highlights on this list, from family-friendly options to romantic destinations.
11 Best White Sand Beaches in South Carolina
- Coligny Beach Park – Hilton Head Island
- Sullivan’s Island Beach
- Cherry Grove Beach
- Myrtle Beach
- Folly Beach
- Pawleys Island
- Surfside Beach
- Kiawah Island
- Litchfield Beach
- Front Beach – Isle of Palm
- Hunting Island State Park Beach
Coligny Beach Park – Hilton Head Island
When you arrive at Coligny Beach Park, you’ll see at once why it’s one of the most popular destinations on Hilton Head Island. You’ll have to get here early in the morning if you want to snag a parking spot, but the beach is so gorgeous that an all-day excursion shouldn’t pose an issue.
Why is it called a “Beach Park” and not merely a beach? Well, because the sand and the water aren’t the only attractions. There’s an in-ground water fountain near the entrance that’s sure to delight little ones, along with the swings and gazebos that are dotted around the property. Outdoor showers and restrooms are available as well.
When you get hungry, pop into one of the restaurants along Coligny Plaza. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir to take home – the plaza has no shortage of exciting shopping opportunities.
All in all, you could spend several days in the area without getting bored, so I highly recommend spending your North Carolina vacation near this white sandy shoreline!
As a famous resort city, Myrtle Beach is a prime contender for the most visited beach in South Carolina. Part of the “Grand Strand,” a 60-mile swath of coastline in the northern portion of the state, this is a bucket list destination for serious beach enthusiasts looking for the state’s most beautiful white sandy shores.
There are so many things to do in Myrtle Beach that it would be impossible to list them all here. Parasailing, fishing, dolphin cruises, and jet skiing are a few of the highlights.
Book a massage at one of the luxurious spas nearby to work the kinks out of your sore muscles, then spend the evening sipping specialty cocktails at the Sea Captain’s House. If you are looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion, make a reservation in the Aspen Grille fine dining restaurant!
Sullivan’s Island Beach
At the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, you’ll find Sullivan’s Island, a darling 3.3-mile paradise of white sand dunes and unspoiled ocean views. You might want to plan on spending at least one night here; take a look at the options for hotels and vacation homes on the island. For family vacations, Haven by AvantStay is a fantastic choice! It is a luxury 6-bedroom holiday home just steps away from the beach!
Literature fans will enjoy the opportunity to visit the setting for Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story “The Gold Bug,” while adventurers will find it difficult to choose which activity to do next. Kiteboarding, cycling, sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing; take your pick. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the island is home to some truly show-stopping sunsets.
Note that while this is an island, you can drive there from Charleston (or take a taxi) via the Ben M. Sawyer Memorial Bridge. Expect the drive to take 25 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
Cherry Grove Beach
Most folks have heard of Myrtle Beach, but this gem -perched on the northernmost end of North Myrtle Beach- might have fallen under your radar. Don’t let it pass you by, though. With 9 miles of oceanfront as well as the Cherry Grove Pier, this is a family-friendly beach that serves as the ideal backdrop for a South Carolina beach vacation.
The pier measures nearly 1,000 feet long and attracts anglers of all skill levels. If fishing isn’t your thing, consider hitting the links; there are several top-rated courses in the area. Kayaking and paddleboarding are excellent ways to explore this unique spot from the vantage point of the mighty Atlantic.
Of course, if all you want to do is lounge in the sand, Cherry Grove Beach also has you covered there. There’s a walkway between Sea Pointe and Sea Marsh II that provides an easy access spot, especially if you’re parking a car nearby. Dig your toes into some of the whitest sand in the state and enjoy the ocean views!
An easy drive from the hustle and bustle of historic downtown Charleston, Folly Beach is waiting to welcome visitors to its shores. The area’s convenience and charm are just the warm-up act, as this is also one of the clearest water beaches in South Carolina.
Take a stroll down to Morris Island Lighthouse to get a feel for the area’s history. Enjoy the local bar scene at Chico Feo (a favorite of local surfers), Loggerheads Beach Grill (a dog-friendly place to eat in Folly Beach), or the Lowlife (a rustic locale with lively atmosphere).
Or you could just relax and catch some rays on the sand; always a seductive option, especially if you are on a romantic trip with your significant other. The views from the fishing pier are unforgettable, particularly at sunset!
Though it’s small by South Carolina beach standards -only three miles of coastline- Pawleys Island still manages to pack a ton of fun. As one of the oldest summer resorts on the US East Coast, it’s a popular and thriving community.
The beach is a surfer’s paradise, but beachcombers will also have a ball collecting shells from the sugary white sand. Anglers can try their luck at tideland creek, which pulls double duty as a great photo opportunity.
There are a few lovely vacation homes for rent, some with ocean views; my favorite is the Barracks Oceanfront Retreat. If you’d rather stay at a hotel, consider the Pelican or the Sea View, two of the area’s historic inns.
Though the two miles of oceanfront at Surfside are lined with condos, hotels, and beach homes, with its pristine beaches and laid-back vibes, it is the most family-friendly travel destination in South Carolina. The beach offers no fewer than 36 access points, so you won’t have any trouble finding a place to plant your umbrella.
There are many attractions and things to do in the area for all age groups ensuring that no one gets bored here; stroll down the famous Myrtle Beach boardwalk, go fishing at the beach’s pier, wade in the incredibly blue and clean water, or just lay down in the soft sand and work on your tan; the choice is yours!
Stay directly on the shores of Surfside Beach; Surfside Beach Oceanfront Hotel offers rooms with ocean views!
If cleanliness and privacy rank high on your list, consider visiting Kiawah Island. Despite the fact that this getaway is located just 25 miles from Charleston, this island gives home North Carolina’s least-crowded beaches. Everything from the exquisitely designed golf courses to the luxury hotels has a spic-and-span quality that will put you immediately at ease.
Splurge on a stay at the Sanctuary, which includes an onsite spa as well as gorgeously appointed pools. There are several dining options as well, notably the Ocean Room, an enticing steakhouse with a AAA Four-Diamond rating; perfect for a romantic getaway!
Nature lovers note that the island offers excellent animal-watching opportunities, from marshes to sand dunes to pristine maritime forests. Keep an eye out for turtles, sea birds, and white-tailed deer!
Litchfield Beach is known for its beautiful white sand and unparalleled views. The charming atmosphere of this seaside community will make you wish you’d planned a longer trip from the moment you arrive.
The Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort is the centerpiece of the region, with its well-kept courses and family-friendly pool complex. But there are plenty of other things to keep vacationers busy.
Walk, run, or bike along the 26-mile Waccamaw Neck Bikeway. Spend an afternoon birdwatching on the shore. Catch some rays while listening to the droning hum of the Atlantic Ocean. At Litchfield Beach, you’ll find that you can relax and recharge all at once.
Front Beach – Isle of Palms
A barrier island along the South Carolina coast, Isle of Palms is home to one of the best white sand beaches in South Carolina: Front Beach. Sandwiched between 10th and 14th Avenues on Ocean Boulevard, the beach is a true gem with its 7 miles-long and 1-mile-wide soft sandy shores.
When you’ve had your fill of the sun, duck into one of the eateries for some local seafood or pick up a souvenir at Island Time Beach Shop or My Favorite Things. Families with young children should check out the Isle of Palms County Park, which boasts a sand volleyball court in addition to a playground.
Hunting Island State Park Beach
Looking for an affordable beach where you can bring the kids? Then consider adding visiting Hunting Island State Park to your list when in the Beaufort area. There’s no fee for tots 5 and younger; adults can gain access for just $8 apiece.
This is widely regarded as one of South Carolina’s most popular state parks, and with good reason. More than a million visitors a year flock to the area to enjoy this white sandy shoreline, view the wildlife, explore the saltwater lagoon, and check out the Hunting Island Lighthouse.
The lighthouse was destroyed during the Civil War but rebuilt in 1875 using interchangeable segments that can be dismantled if the building ever needs to be relocated. That might sound like an odd feature, but it actually did have to be moved once in 1889 due to beach erosion.
If you’d like to stay longer than a day, camping is available on Hunting Island. There are 100 campsites with electrical hookups and water. Shower and restroom facilities are also available on-site. Note that you must reserve for a minimum of two nights.
What’s the best white sand beach in SC? As you can see, the competition is fierce. I’d have a hard time choosing just one. Fortunately, visiting several of these crown jewels in one trip is possible – so start planning today!
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