With 2,876 miles of tidal coastline, South Carolina is filled to the brim with some of the best beaches on the East Coast. While there are plenty of popular, well-known beaches to set your beach chair, escape the crowds when you take the sand less traveled to these hideaway havens.
Considered one of North Myrtle Beach’s best-kept secrets, the serene hidden gem of Waites Island is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands in South Carolina, with more than 1,000 acres of pristine land. Take a guided tour by Great Escapes Kayak Expeditions to explore the salty inlets and marshes via kayak or paddleboard while spotting bald eagles, blue herons and more. Also in North Myrtle Beach, Crescent Beach is close to casual hotels and condos and has plenty of wide-open stretches of sand and majestic dunes for enjoying the area’s coastal beauty.
Mitchelville Beach, also known as Fish Haul Beach Park, offers a natural landscape on Hilton Head Island. As one of the state’s less populated beaches, it is a great place for explorers who like to look for shells, hermit crabs, driftwood and deer tracks in the sand.
Found at the southernmost end of the Grand Strand, Pawleys Island is one of the most historic and oldest summer resort communities on the East Coast. It also happens to have the largest free public beach access lot in Georgetown County and is known for its laid-back lifestyle.
Ready to really get out there? Hop on the ferry—run by Coastal Expeditions and departing from Awendaw—to uninhabited Bulls Island, which is the largest of four barrier islands within the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll enjoy pristine beaches and plenty of wildlife such as bald eagles, dolphins, otters and crabs.