Charleston and Myrtle Beach are among the most popular beach destinations for those who visit South Carolina. Although there are different reasons for visiting both, a visit to Charleston will trump a trip to Dirty Myrtle any day. Charleston has four different public beaches to choose from -- each different, but the perfect destination. Myrtle Beach is a good place to head when you just want to lay out on the beach and stay for cheap and get a quick tan -- not to mention the fact that you will just have to excuse the slightly ratchet sightings that will take place. Just ignore it, I guess. Ultimately, Charleston is going to be the more pleasing experience, and for more than just the beaches.
Folly Beach. Also known as "The Edge of America," Folly is an all around ideal destination for everyone. One of the more popular of Charleston's four beaches. Folly Beach is such a great location because it is more than just a beach to sit on. Spend the day laying out, picnicking, biking, fishing, walking the pier, camping, paddleboarding, kayaking or listening to live music at Loggerhead's Beach Grill. Parking is $7/day at the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission lot. This is definitely your spot if you love a big beach with a big crowd, and a lot of things to do.
Isle of Palms. IOP borders six miles of beach front homes and is right next to Sullivan's Island. IOP is a smaller area than Folly, but still has a lot of beach area. This is also a great area if you love a large beach with a good crowd. Lay out on the beach, walk the pier, bike on over to Sullivan's Island, listen to some live music at the Windjammer, or grab a bite at Coconut Joe's. There is free parking on the street near houses and metered spots closer to the restaurants on the island. Less of a hubbub than you'll find at Folly, but still one of the most popular large beaches in the Charleston area.
Kiawah Island. Rated as the "Second Most Romantic Beach in America" by National Geographic Traveler, Kiawah is one of the quieter, serene, beautiful beaches in Charleston. There are over 40 miles of bike trails, five gorgeous golf courses, two centers of tennis courts, an oceanfront hotel and spa, an inside view of Charleston's wildlife and nature, and 10 miles of a vast, stunning beach. This is the perfect spot if you prefer a quiet, but beautiful beach to visit. You won't need to leave the island during your entire stay because of how accommodating Kiawah is.
Sullivan's Island. As a former resident of the gorgeous island, I have somewhat of a biased opinion. Sullivan's Island was always my favorite beach to visit because it was a perfect combination of Kiawah and IOP. Most people that pick between Sullivan's Island and IOP choose IOP because it's larger, therefore Sullivan's becomes a more private area with still a lot of beach. Sullivan's is great for biking, laying out, visiting the historic Fort Moultrie and grabbing one of the best burgers in the lowcountry at Poe's Tavern. Parking is free on the sidewalk, where permitted.
Downtown Charleston. If the beaches weren't enough to convince you, this is a reminder that Charleston is not only known for its beaches. The beautiful Holy City is a host to historical landmarks (ones that will actually interest you), the perfect shopping destination without the huge crowds of the Big Apple, and so much more. Once you get that perfect golden tan on Sullivan's, make the trip Downtown. Here's some pictures of landmarks to refer to so you can know you're heading the right direction. Not a bad view, right?
Once you've finally made it to King Street, head over to the Battery.