Have you ever been to Charleston for a vacation? It is an amazing city, we have it all! If you want to sightsee or sit back and relax on a beach. The other week I shared 3 Hidden Gems to Visit on Your Next Trip to Charleston, click here to read! Today I am sharing 3 of our favorite beaches in the Charleston area. We have more than 3 but these are our favorite and I will share why!
I have shared this before, but my happy place is the beach. It so peaceful to sit and listen to the waves or go for a walk. I have wanted to live close to the beach for most of my life and now I get to! Talk about dreams coming true! I like all 3 of the beaches I am going to share for different reasons and for different times of the year!
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What do you look for when it comes to a beach? Do you like to bring your own chair and umbrella, or do you want to be able to rent one? We always bring ours with us, but we are also local. Other considerations; parking, shopping, restaurants, and restroom access!!
I would say out of the 3 beaches that I am sharing today, Folly Beach is the most entertaining for families. It has a great beach town feel and if you are looking for somewhere to stay close to the beach and be within walking distance to most everything this is your place! This is one of the best beaches for having “it all”!
Folly Beach is a 12 square mile barrier island which you can pretty much walk to almost everything. The downtown area has several locally owned stores and restaurants. It has a very fun vibe! When we have family visit this is the beach that we almost always go to.
What does Folly Beach have to offer?
They have a nice mix of rental homes and hotels to choose from. They also have parking on the street and have several beach public access points.
Folly Pier is a popular attraction, but it is currently under construction. When completed it is great for fishing and just talking a walk on. The observation deck is currently open along with the gift shop. It is set to be completed in 2023.
The County Park is a great choice, and we go there a lot! It is at the end of the island and has so much to offer! You can buy a yearly pass or pay a daily rate. Click here to see more about the County Park.
Some of the amenities include:
- Snack bar
- Chair & umbrella rental
- Picnic area
- Outdoor showers
If you love lighthouses then as you are driving down the main road into Folly, turn left on E. Ashley Ave and keep driving until it ends. You will end up at The Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve. This beach is beautiful! Don’t forget to bring your camera! There is a lot of driftwood, palm trees, and of course the lighthouse. If you go during low tide, you might even be able to walk out to the lighthouse.
In my eyes, Kiawah Beach is one of the prettiest beaches in the area. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult to access during the summer months. The only choice to rent is behind closed gates. The Kiawah Island Golf Resort and several homes to rent are a choice. If you are not renting you cannot get back into that area.
Don’t fret! There is a county park on the Island called Beachwalker County Park. This is the only public access to Kiawah’s beach and there is limited parking available. We typically avoid going there during the summer months because it gets crowded and the parking lot gets filled up and they will turn you away. I prefer going there off-season to avoid this from happening, if you get there early enough or stay at one of the properties it will not be a problem!
The Beachwalker County Park has a yearly pass that you can buy or go with a daily pass. You can get more information here.
Some of the amenities include:
- Boardwalk & handicap accessible ramp
- Snack bar
- Chair & umbrella rentals
- Picnic areas
- Outdoor showers
As far as shopping and restaurants go there is a very cute area called; Freshfield Village. It is a great place to visit shops and dine. There is also a grocery store there if you need it!
If you like to fish or camp this is the beach for you. Edisto Beach is where most of the locals go during the summer months because it is less crowded than the other beaches. The sand at Edisto is a little different, I think it is a little more “rocky” than soft fine sand.
Edisto Beach is a small town and has limited but great restaurants. The beach has public access points, and you can also park on the street for free. There are no bathrooms, no lifeguards on duty, no chair rentals.
What does Edisto Beach have to offer?
Edisto has a State Park! The State Park is not on the ocean but on the side by the marsh. They have campgrounds available along with a few cabin rentals. They have walking paths and boardwalks which are beautiful! You can find more information about the State Park here.
The Plantation Course at Edisto is a great place to go and golf! Well, if you are a golfer! It’s beautiful and the only one on the island.
Edisto Marina is where you want to be if you are interested in fishing. It is found at the tip of the island on Big Bay Creek. There is a boat dock available along with a restaurant, bait store, and free parking. If you love seafood, you should check out their restaurant! Click here for more information.
Alright, you have my favorite 3 beaches in the Charleston, SC area. I think the most beautiful beach out of all 3 is Kiawah, but it gets difficult to access during the summer unless you are staying behind the gates. Folly Beach is also beautiful and a lot of fun to walk around town to shop and eat. The Preserve and Lighthouse have great opportunities for photos. Edisto Beach is our top pick for a beach trip during the summer months due to the crowd.
Out of the 3 beaches that I talked about which do you think you are going to visit first? Do you have any favorite beaches in the Charleston area and if you do why is it your favorite? If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.