All along the Atlantic coastline, South Carolina offers beautiful beaches. If you are seeking a beach with a particular character or specialty, here are some of the best beaches to visit in South Carolina on your next road trip!

Best Family Beach – Hilton Head Island

Sunrise on the Beach at Hilton HeadJustly famous as a vacation destination, Hilton Head Island is a series of well-planned communities offering your family as much or as little in the way of activities as you wish, to keep everyone happy. Among the celebrated features of Hilton Head are the more than twelve miles of sandy white beaches. You will find that so many people are doing so many other things at Hilton Head that your only company on the beach might be a small herd of deer.

Best Beach for Sunrise – Pawleys Island

Just about an hour north of Charleston, is Pawleys Island, where the slower pace and charm will appeal to you. A goal for you is to arrive here before the sun comes up., so that you can enjoy the beautiful beach in daybreak solitude. On any given morning, you may see dolphins swimming close to shore. Enjoy the serenity and beauty all around, as you share the scene with shore birds. Have a swim if the weather permits.

Best Surfing Beach – Folly Beach

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Folly Beach has become known as one of the best beaches for surfing on the Atlantic coast. No wonder it serves as the venue for annual surfing contests, notably May’s Wahine Contest. The best known location at Folly is called the “Washout”. The Washout got its name when Hurricane Hugo washed out a section of the beach, taking out homes as well. There are other Folly Beach locations that are also popular among surfers. Be forewarned, it can get crowded; especially if there is a good hurricane swell. While at Folly Beach have a meal at the Lost Dog Café or the Folly Beach Crab Shack.

Best Secluded Beach – Harbor Island

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If you like the idea of a beach that is somewhat secret, head for Harbor Island. It is located between historic Beaufort and elegant Fripp Island. Harbor Island is quiet and offers a secluded beach three miles long. Usually there are more pelicans than there are people. Harbor Island Is a private barrier island, no wonder when you are there, you feel like you have left the rest of the world behind. Plan a visit, so you can take in the natural beauty, from the undulating dunes to the soft sand. Have a casual meal at the Marsh Tacky Market Café, famous for their grilled doughnuts, or The Harbor Panini, a combination of pimento cheese, pepper jelly and bacon.

Best Easy Access Beach and Best Lighthouse Beach – Hunting Island State Park

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Hunting Island State Park wins out in two categories. If you want ease of access, you have it here. And the gorgeous beach is not lined with condominiums or houses. You do have the chance to see and tour a beautiful lighthouse, offering a rigorous climb to the top with rewarding views from on high. This state park is well cared for. Be sure to enjoy the educational displays about lighthouses.

Best Shelling Beaches – Myrtle Beach State Park and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

Stroll along any South Carolina beach and you will probably come across some of nature’s treasures. Two beaches in particular get raves from shellers:

If you seek sea shells down by the seashore, then Myrtle Beach State Park is a beach you want to visit. To have the best luck shelling, go to the far southern end of park. Check the tide charts beforehand, so you are there at low tide. The park is situated alongside an oceanfront maritime forest. This is a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach. his park also offers educational opportunities, a nature trail and what many rank as the best surf fishing in the state.

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Or visit Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. It is uninhabited, and the seashells are amazing. Cape Romain’s beaches offer shelling for whelks, olives, angel wing, and sand dollars. You are permitted to collect one small bag of unoccupied shells. You can usually find great examples of unbroken and empty channeled whelks and knobby whelks.

Best Turtle Sanctuary Beach – Isle of Palms

By law, every beach in South Carolina is a turtle sanctuary, and many of the state’s beaches are carefully tended by a host of volunteers who mark and protect the nests, and who oversee their hatching. If you are vacationing in a home right on the beach, it will have posted instructions about keeping lights out at night, and more. Please follow them. For some of the most helpful and interesting interpretation of the sea turtles and their ways, as well as a rare chance to see a nest hatch, head for the lovely beeches at the Isle of Palms. Befriend the turtle volunteers; they are always glad to help people learn more about these ancient and gentle creatures.

Best Wakling Beach – Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah Island

Beachwalker County Park lives up to its name. This is a scenic and remote shoreline, ideal for fishing, swimming, biking, and wildlife viewing and hiking. You have ten miles of beach to stroll. You can see the various wading birds up close. Dog walking on the beach is permitted. And convenient restrooms are open in season.