There is no doubt that Myrtle Beach is our state’s best-known and most popular beach. But South Carolina has many other wonderful family-friendly beaches that are also great places to spend your summer vacation or take a day trip. Here are a few of my favorites:
Folly Beach is a great family beach outside of Charleston. There are several public parking areas on Folly. One of my favorite restaurants on Folly Beach is The Crab Shack, which was voted one of the 10 Best Seafood Spots in South Carolina by Southern Living Magazine. Be sure to take your favorite walking shoes if you want to walk and see the Morris Island Lighthouse that is visible from Folly. My husband and I have also stayed at Tides Folly Beach and it was a wonderful experience! Folly Beach makes for a nice day trip from Columbia or an extended getaway.
When my oldest was younger I took him to Huntington Beach State Park. There is a small fee to use the park because it is one of our South Carolina State Parks. What I like about Huntington Beach State Park is that it is quiet, has plenty of parking, and rinse off showers. You can enjoy overnight sea-breeze camping, surf fishing, bird-watching, and landmarks such as Atalaya, the picturesque, Moorish-style winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, philanthropist and sculptor, respectively, who left the park and adjacent Brookgreen Gardens as their legacy. Nature lovers may have the opportunity to see loggerhead turtles and other endangered plant and animal species up close.
Isle of Palms is the very first beach I have childhood memories from with my paternal grandparents and has always been very special to me. It is also where my husband proposed! Isle of Palms has a large public parking area and several restaurants on the island, all within walking distance. The state park on the island includes a playground, plenty of parking, grills and picnic space, showers to rinse off after a day on the beach, and rentals for umbrellas and chairs. IOP is a great place to spend the day!
Surfside Beach is known as “The Family Beach,” and prides itself on being an autism-friendly destination. It is in Horry County just south of Myrtle Beach. There is plenty of public parking and a children’s park nearby. One of my favorite restaurants is Bubba’s Fish Shack, but you can also take a short drive to Murrells Inlet and check out the delicious restaurants there!
If you want to take your family to a quiet beach with a small-town feel, Edisto is the place to go! Have some great food from McConkey’s Jungle Shack and from the restaurant at the Edisto Pier. While in Edisto be sure to check out Botany Bay which contains tons of natural beauty – from the sunflower fields to the salt marsh and freshwater ponds to the Spanish moss-draped oaks to the miles of untouched private beach; it is truly breathtaking and a great way to immerse yourself in much of the beauty our state has to offer. Walk down the trails and you could very easily spot deer, fiddler crabs, egrets, alligators, and Loggerhead turtles who live in the area.