Arts & Culture, Discovery

Charleston’s Best Beaches

No Lowcountry vacation is complete without a trip to one of Charleston’s beautiful nearby beaches. Each beach has its own distinct charm, but all are guaranteed to make a great day trip and memory. Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and Folly Beach are all barrier islands located about 15 minutes from the downtown area. The popular summer days and even the months surrounding it offer perfect temperatures for swimming.  Even in the winter, you can find people sun bathing and combing the sand. The waters are known for being fairly mild with extremely gradual slopes.  Water coverage does, without a doubt, vary on the low and high tide times so check your charts.  If you fear little space to move and high-rise hotels, then you can breathe a sigh of relief; all three beaches, like the rest of downtown, pride themselves on staying laid back and local.

Sullivan’s Island is the smallest and most natural of the surrounding beaches. Located at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, the island is a mix between ultimate relaxation, natural landscapes, vibrant restaurants and shopping scene, and a touch of history. The views of Fort Sumter, Morris Island Lighthouse, and the Battery are unparalleled, and the occasional meandering cruise line is always a spectacle.

Concierge Tip: Visit Fort Moultrie on the eastern end of Sullivan’s Island for an unforgettable American history lesson.

Folly Beach is a great example of the classic beach town. The surfer-esque style is home to some of the best riding in the area, and great for those who enjoy some lively company. The beach stretches six miles, and has plenty of space to find a more secluded spot. While your heading north away from the crowd, you will arrive at what is called the Washout, named for the damage struck to the area from Hurricane Hugo in the late 80’s.  If you brought your surfboard, then this is the place to use it.  The area is most consistent in producing solid waves for more experienced riders.  Just outside of Folly Beach the area is dotted with fun restaurants and bars, perfect for post beach drinks and appetizers.

Concierge Tip: Visit the Folly Beach County Park at the west end of Folly Beach.  It features dressing areas, outdoor showers, and a swimming area with lifeguards on duty.  Perfect for kids!

Isle of Palms, also known as IOP, boasts beautiful white sand beaches and luxurious waterfront homes.  The beach area is about the same size as Folly, and has great places to rent kayaks, boats, stand up paddleboards and even charters. One major convenience of IOP are the public bathrooms, rinsing areas, and parking. After a day at the beach, visit some of the local restaurants, bars, and shops.

Concierge Tip: Keep up with the Isle of Palms Turtle Team for updates on where to search for nests and tracks. Take a look at the photo gallery as well to see the most recent turtle hatchings.

All three beaches are sure to please any visitor, with their laid back Southern attitude, and beautiful Charleston sun.  Just remember to leave the alcohol at home and be mindful of your pets, and you are sure to have a great time. While the beaches are a quick drive from the hotel, transportation to and from can be arranged by our masterful concierge team.

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