South Carolina’s Best Family Beaches, from 'Most Laid-Back' to 'Most Over-The-Top'

By:Kerry Egan


It’s no secret that South Carolina has some of the best beaches in the world, and is home to some of the best family beach vacations. But just like each family has its own personality, so does each beach. So to find the perfect place for the perfect vacation for your particular family, check out our insider’s guide to beach personalities.

1. The Hammock Coast

The tucked-away beaches between Myrtle Beach and Georgetown are known as the Hammock Coast. Believe us, they deserve their name. These are the most laid back beaches in South Carolina, and where the iconic rope hammocks that comes to mind when you think “hammock” were invented. Miles and miles of pristine beaches, lush salt marshes, low-slung old-fashioned beach houses and seafood shacks dot the coast. Pawleys Island and Litchfield Beach are two of the most famous and family-friendly of the towns to explore. If you’re a family who likes to float in the waves, paddle through the marshes, and just relax deeply, then the Hammock Coast may be where you belong.

Not to miss: Brookgreen Gardens, Huntington Island State Park and the Georgetown Historic District.

2. Hilton Head Island

Consistently ranked in national publications as one of the best vacation destinations in the world for families, Hilton Head is a mecca for families everywhere. And no wonder: The beaches are wide and go on for miles and miles, and the water is warm.

Hilton Head, because of strict development regulations, retains the amazing beauty of the Sea Islands. Even though it is full of great restaurants, places to shop, and things to do, all this development is tucked in amid live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, saw palmettos and beautiful lagoons. Miles of dedicated bike trails, safe from car traffic, wind their away across the island and a bicycle is the preferred method of travel for many families.

Not to miss: Coastal Discovery Museum, for an even better glimpse of what this beautiful island once looked like, before the advent of air conditioning and a bridge to the mainland.

3. Beaches of Charleston

You might think of world-class cuisine, breathtaking architecture and deep history when you think of Charleston. And of course, you’d be right. But Charleston is also a port city, and with ports come beaches.

Charleston has some of the best beaches in South Carolina. Isle of Palms, north of the city and Folly Beach, just to the south, are spectacular and less than half an hour from the hubbub of downtown Charleston. A beach vacation in either of these places gives the families the chance to have two vacations in one: time at the beach and time in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Perfect for the family that wants a little sophistication with their sandy bathing suits.

Not to miss: the South Carolina Aquarium, the Battery and don't forget to take a carriage ride.

4. Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand

Far and away the most jam-packed, activity-filled beach in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is a mecca for families for kids who love excitement.

The beach is long and lined with tall hotels, almost all of which have multiple pools for kids to swim in. And inland is where the fun begins: amusement park rides, water parks, dinner shows, haunted houses and an aquarium. If you and the kids want a great big dollop of excitement with your beach, you want Myrtle Beach.

Not to miss: SkyWheel and Boardwalk.

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