South Carolina's Atlantic Ocean coastline is home to a myriad of barrier islands, including the beautiful Sea Islands chain, which includes over 100 islands and stretches between the Santee and St. Johns Rivers. Charleston residents and visitors can enjoy vast stretches of coastline on nearby barrier islands or along the region's harbor and Intracoastal Waterway tracts. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island
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Kiawah Island has been named as the United States' top resort island destination by Condé Nast Traveler, renowned for its Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which has hosted a number of top PGA events. The charming island, which is located approximately 20 miles off of Charleston's coastline in the Atlantic Ocean, is home to gorgeous preserved marsh and maritime forest habitats and over 10 miles of pristine coastline. The island's only public beachfront, Kiawah Beachwalker Park, is operated by Charleston County's Parks and Recreation Department and stretches for 11 miles along the island's oceanfront and Bohicket River shores. Its calm waters make for great family-friendly swimming during the summer months, while its ADA-accessible boardwalk provides opportunities for strolling along beautiful live oak-covered pathways.

4475 Betsy Kerrison Pkwy, Johns Island, SC 29455, Phone: 800-774-0006

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2.Folly Beach

Folly Beach
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Folly Beach, commonly referred to as the "edge of America," is a lovely barrier island community that is known as one of the East Coast's top surfing destinations. More than 2,500 feet of beachfront provides excellent opportunities for a wide array of summer water sports, including kayaking and swimming, with an additional lifeguarded swimming area offered at Folly Beach County Park. Its Folly Beach Fishing Pier is the East Coast's second-longest public pier, stretching more than 1,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean. Within the town of Folly Beach, which is considered to be one of the nation's final remaining authentic beach towns, visitors can explore the George Gershwin-associated Porgy House or explore eclectic beachfront boutiques, bars, and restaurants.

21 Center St, Folly Beach, SC 29439, Phone: 843-588-2447

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3.Sullivan's Island

Sullivan's Island
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Sullivan's Island is a 3.3-mile island within Charleston Harbor that is best known for its connection to the transatlantic slave trade, with many historians deeming it as the "Ellis Island" of the event due to the high number of enslaved Africans brought into the Americas via its shores. Despite its sordid past, the island, which is accessible from Mount Pleasant using the Ben Sawyer Swing Bridge, is better known today for its pristine public beachfronts, which are a favorite destination for visitors looking to surf, paddleboard, kiteboard, or kayak. Spectacular sand dune formations are showcased at some of its more natural beaches, with excellent hidden-gem fishing spots aplenty. Further inland, the island's business district is home to some of the Charleston area's best seafood restaurants.

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4.Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms
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Isle of Palms is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the greater Charleston regions, located less than 12 miles from the city's center along the Intracoastal Waterway. The affluent resort community island is home to a lively business district, attracting shoppers looking for unique retail options and diners with gourmet palates. Great swimming conditions are offered at the island's public beach, while day-use picnic sites and a children's playground are available at Isle of Palms County Park. Visitors can also enjoy beach volleyball games and live music performances at The Windjammer, which hosts a number of annual beach volleyball tournaments. Other island attractions include the Tom Fazio-designed championship golf courses of the spectacular Wild Dunes oceanfront resort.

24 28th Ave, Isle of Palms, SC 29451, Phone: 843-886-8294

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5.Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island
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Seabrook Island, also known as Simmons Island, is an upscale resort community barrier island within Charleston County, located adjacent to Kiawah Island and spanning approximately seven square miles. The island is a veritable paradise for summer vacationers looking for outdoor recreation activities, home to two championship golf courses, a nationally-renowned racquetball club, and one of the East Coast's only waterfront equestrian centers. Beautiful private beachfronts can be accessed by residents and visitors alike, with opportunities for kayak and boat rentals at the island's marina. After a long day of play, visitors can dine at elegant waterfront venues such as Bohicket’s Lounge and the Palmetto Room.

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6.Edisto Beach

Edisto Beach
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Edisto Beach is a perfect getaway for Charleston-area visitors looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, known for its laid-back, traditional Lowcountry lifestyle and atmosphere. The beach town, which is located within South Carolina's Sea Islands region approximately 40 minutes from Charleston's city center, is devoid of chain businesses, luxury hotels, and even street lights, offering peaceful expanses of shoreline that are free of the tourist-trap chaos of many other nearby beaches. Visitors can stretch out on the spacious beachfront with umbrellas or rent kayaks to explore the island's creek and marshland areas within natural preserves such as the 4,630-acre Botany Bay Plantation. Unique regional attractions include the Edisto Island Serpentarium, which showcases a variety of exhibits related to the island's native wildlife. Visitors can also enjoy delicious crab-centric dishes at local restaurants such as Whaley's or peruse a wide variety of antique stores and art galleries for the perfect gift to take home.

42 Station Ct, Edisto Island, SC 29438, Phone: 843-869-3867

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7.Morris Island

Morris Island
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Morris Island is a charming uninhabited island within Charleston Harbor, best known as the site of a significant American Civil War battle that engaged the free African-American 54th Massachusetts Infantry in battle against Confederate troops. Today, visitors can explore the island's fort remains as part of guided tours, including Fort Wagner, which preserves a well-known candy-cane-striped lighthouse from the 19th century. Other historic lighthouses on the island include Morris Island Light, constructed in its current form in 1876 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Shell-collecting tours on the island's gorgeous beaches are offered by Adventure Harbor Tours, while adventurous wave-seeking catamaran excursions are available from Thriller Charleston.

99 Harry M. Hallman Jr Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464, Phone: 800-774-0006

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8.Capers Island

Capers Island
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Capers Island is a lovely three-mile barrier island located just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Charleston's city center, accessible via boat from South Carolina's mainland. The undeveloped island, which was named in honor of early 20th century Bishop William Theodotus Capers, is bordered by Dewees and Bulls Islands and has been preserved as a state-protected natural refuge for much of the 20th century. More than 214 acres of pristine beachfront is protected within the preserve, along with salt marsh, maritime upland, and brackish water ecosystems. Islandgoers can explore the unique Boneyard Beach, which features shoreline collections of sun-bleached tree stumps and skeletons, or hike along the natural stretches of the McCaskill Trail. Primitive campsites are available for overnight use with permit.

2669, 50 41st Ave C-6, Isle of Palms, SC 29451, Phone: 843-886-5000

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9.Bulls Island

Bulls Island
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Bulls Island is the largest barrier island within the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, accessible from the South Carolina mainland via private charter ferry at Garris Landing in Awendaw. The island serves as a primary visitor area for the refuge, which was originally established in 1932 to preserve significant native wildlife populations, including migratory birds and endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Pristine beachfront stretches and dense maritime forest habitats await visitors, who can enjoy opportunities for hiking, shelling, birding, and dolphin watching while on the island. 16 miles of inland trails are maintained on the island, which was formerly the site of the Bulls Bay Lighthouse, deactivated in 1913. VIsitors to the refuge can also view nature exhibits and information at the nearby Sewee Visitors and Environmental Education Center.

498 Bulls Island Rd, Awendaw, SC 29429, Phone: 843-881-4582

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9 Best Beaches in Charleston, SC



More Ideas: Angel Oak

Believed to be around 400 years old, this southern live oak makes its home in Angel Oak Park, Johns Island, South Carolina. It stands at 66.5 feet tall and measures 28 feet in circumference. The shade produced by the tree casts a shadow over 17,200 square feet and the longest branch from trunk to tip is 187 feet.

Thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country, its namesakes were Martha Waight Tucker Angel and her husband Justus Angel, the original owners of the estate. Local folklore spins a slightly more interesting origin however, linking the tree to spooky sightings of former slaves who have reappeared as angels or ghosts on the grounds nearby.

The tree was severely damaged in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo. It has since recovered and visitors will be pleased to hear it was not damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 . It was the 210th tree to be registered with the Live Oak Society and is afforded some protection due to its age and status. In 2012 there were plans for an apartment complex to be built a mere 160 yards from the Angel Oak, however the construction plan however was challenged and taken to court. The defense was made by the Coastal Conservation League as well as by a nonprofit group known as Save the Angel Oak. Their concerns focused on the negative impact the construction would have on the available nutrients present in the groundwater. In December 2013, the two groups celebrated a victory and the construction plans have been scrapped.

Trees with as long a life and as a rich history as this one are a stark reminder of the brief and beautiful time that we have on this Earth. They remind us that there is something much larger and more lasting; they force you to sit up and consider the legacy that we are going to leave. It’s so important to see humans and organizations coming to the defense of trees such as this one, because it’s clear that we still have much to learn; this is the lesson that can be found amongst the shade of this tree’s beautiful branches.

The tree has built itself a certain amount of celebrity status and remains one of South Carolina’s top tourist attractions. The tree is so old and has grown so large that it cannot even support its own weight, so visitors may see a few instances where the branches are being assisted with metal wiring or support beams. Owing to the gargantuan nature of this tree, budding photographers may actually struggle to get the whole entity in one shot, especially on a busy day when there can be up to 50 tourists between you and the tree.

Located down the end of an easily accessed dirt road, parking and basic facilities are available at the site, as are picnic tables and a gift shop. Otherwise, the Angel Oak and its surroundings are kept simple and left to nature.

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More Ideas: Charleston Music Hall

The Charleston Music Hall is a beautifully preserved 19th-century Gothic Revival hall that hosts an array of music and dance concerts, and theater and comedy shows. Ideally located in the heart of Historic Downtown Charleston in the vibrant Upper King Street area, the Charleston Music Hall is one of the city's most popular venues for shows of all varieties, with outstanding acoustics, modern functionality, and graceful historical elegance. Conveniently situated next to two award-winning hotels and three nationally acclaimed restaurants, the Hall offers the perfect setting for a night of entertainment.

The task of the Charleston Music Hall is to create unrivaled artistic and theatrical experiences for all ages, as well as to encourage an interest in performing arts and promote the finest local, regional, and national acts across all genres. The Hall also aims to provide a vital artistic resource for the surrounding community and set a national standard for enthusiastic programming and interactive engagement with its audiences.

Designed and built in 1849 - 1850 by Charleston architect Edward C. Jones as a passenger station of the South Carolina Railroad, the Charleston Music Hall (historically known as The Tower Depot) is one of the oldest buildings on the block with a rich history. The Tower Depot, as it was then known, was a Gothic Revival Style building, which originally had a central entrance large enough to admit a train and a tall three-story tower which overlooked John Street. One of the several buildings constructed in the mid-nineteenth century by the South Carolina Railroad, The Tower Depot was part of a larger complex called the Camden Depot in honor of the company's connection to the eponymous town.

Designed to resemble a Medieval castle with a Renaissance influence in the symmetry and balance, The Tower Depot featured pointed arch niches, projecting turrets, sunken panels, traceried lancet windows, and heavy doors. A quirky feature of the building is simulated arrow slots to make it seem as if there were yeomen quartered in the Tower and ready to defend the building from assault.

The Tower Depot closed down in 1853 and was used as a factory for making woven fiber bags for cotton after the Civil War until the Charleston earthquake of 1886 destroyed much of the building. The ruined building sat derelict for sixty years until it was transformed into an acclaimed art venue and performance facility by the Bennett-Hofford Company in 1995. Seamlessly blending modern functionality and traditional Charleston style, today, the Music Hall is a world-class venue for all types of musical, artistic, and theatrical experiences.

The Charleston Music Hall is located at 37 John Street in Charleston and hosts a variety of musical, artistic, and theatrical performances throughout the year. The Music Hall has three full service bars that serve a comprehensive menu of beverages, soda, and bottled water, as well as snacks and candy. Guided tours of the venue can be arranged in advance, and the Music Hall can be rented for special occasions and celebrations. The Hall offers additional services such as first-class catering and fine dining services, private, fully equipped conference rooms and meeting spaces, and luxurious accommodations in two affiliated hotels right next door to the Hall.

The Charleston Music Hall offers a variety of service packages, as well as tailor-made packages to suit individual needs. The Theater Package includes the use of the Charleston Music Hall and all of its facilities, as well as a cash beer and wine bar, concessions, and extra technical equipment and staff if required.

The John Street Package includes the use of the Charleston Music Hall and its facilities, as well as access to the Coast Bar Grille, and two elegant dining spaces (Upstairs at Virginia's on King and Upstairs at 39 Rue de Jean) with a banquet capacity of 125 and 45. Additional services with this package range from heavy hors d'oeuvres and drinks to full service fine dining. The Downtown Package includes the use of the Charleston Music Hall and its facilities, access to Coast Bar and Grill, Upstairs at Virginia's on King and Upstairs at 39 Rue de Jean, and accommodation at the Embassy Suites and The Hampton Inn, affiliated hotels located right next door to the Hall. Guests not only enjoy luxurious accommodations, but also have access to five meeting rooms with a capacity for up to 250 guests and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, and a 400-seater atrium.

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37 John Street, Charleston SC 29403, Phone: 843-853-2252

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More Ideas: The Wentworth Mansion

One of Charleston's grandest mansions, The Wentworth Mansion is a beautiful historic downtown Charleston inn that exudes the timeless grace, grandeur and intrigue of a bygone era. Boasting exquisite décor that includes hand-carved marble fireplaces and Italian crystal chandeliers, the 21-room inn also offers luxurious amenities, award-winning dining, and gracious hospitality to ensure an unforgettable stay.

Once a private residence, The Wentworth Mansion is now a grand historic hotel nestled in the charming neighborhood in the Holy City's historic district and features luxurious accommodations, deluxe amenities such as a luxury spa, and a seasonally-inspired restaurant that serves award-winning cuisine and fine wines. The Inn is also ideally located for the exploring the city and is within close proximity to King Street's shops and boutiques, the famous antique district, and a vibrant nightlife.

The Wentworth Mansion features 21 luxurious guest rooms and suites, each of which enjoys a unique size and shape with distinctive architectural features and deluxe amenities. All guest rooms and suites have king-size beds in designer linens, private bathrooms with walk-in showers, whirlpool tubs, thick bathrobes and organic bath products, gas fireplaces, and modern amenities. Rooms amenities include refrigerators with complimentary soft drinks and bottled water, iPod docking stations, flat screen televisions and DVD players, hair dryers, iron and ironing boards, and safety deposit boxes. Guest services include a complimentary continental breakfast each morning, afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres, evening port, sherry and brandy, in-room soft drinks and bottled water, and an evening turndown service.

East Wing Rooms are approximately 450 square feet in size and have outdoor porches with beautiful views, while Garden Rooms are located on the ground level and offer 575 square feet of stylishly designed space. Each Garden Room features a spacious sitting room with comfortable seating and natural light.

Mansion Rooms, once the bedrooms of the family that built the original mansion, are 475 square feet in size and feature beautiful décor and architectural features, such as original gas fireplaces and day beds. Mansion Suites are generously sized at over 700 square feet, with spacious sunrooms and comfortable seating.

Suite Nine is an elegant, 800-square-foot retreat filled with luxurious details, including a private library, sunroom, original gas fireplace and an extra sleeper sofa for additional guests, while the Grand Mansion Suite is a luxurious two-room haven at 1,000 square feet with original Italian chandeliers and Tiffany glass detailing. The opulent suite features two floor-to-ceiling marble gas fireplaces, an expansive en-suite bathroom with oversized whirlpool tub and walk-in shower, and a full-size sleeper sofa for additional guests.

Nestled in the gardens behind Wentworth Mansion in the original carriage house, the award-winning restaurant, Circa 1886 serves a menu of contemporary Charleston cuisine that celebrates the rich history of the city. Using only the finest locally sourced ingredients, Chef Marc Collins draws inspiration from international fare to create a menu of historic Southern dishes that is unique to Charleston's heritage. The food is accompanied by a selection of fine wines from around the world and served by attentive, experienced and professional staff.

Amenities and guest services at The Wentworth Mansion include a delicious complimentary breakfast served in the inn's restaurant, Circa 1886, afternoon hors d'oeuvres and wine served in the Harleston Parlor, and complimentary parking for all guests. Rooms amenities include refrigerators with complimentary soft drinks and bottled water, iPod docking stations, flat screen televisions and DVD players, hair dryers, iron and ironing boards, and safety deposit boxes and additional special services include a nightly turndown service with homemade chocolates.

Complimentary wireless is available in all guest rooms and common areas of the inn. Guests can keep fit with free access to a nearby athletic club with state-of-the-art fitness equipment and an array of classes or luxuriate in the hotel's on-site spa, which offers a range of massages, body and facial treatments, and other salon services. A 24-hour concierge service is also available to cater for every need.

Once the Mansion's stables, the luxury Spa at Wentworth Mansion provides an exclusive Wentworth Spa experience that promises to revitalize and rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. The intimate and serene Spa features 14-foot vaulted ceilings with exposed beams and elegant treatment rooms in which an array of treatments and services can be enjoyed, including aromatic scalp and body massages, detoxifying body wraps, custom and gentlemen's facials and unique couple's retreats.

The Wentworth Mansion is an ideal location for romantic weddings, intimate gatherings or special social occasions. With a range of venues from the award-winning Circa 1886 restaurant to the Grand Mansion Suite and the beautiful gardens, there is a special venue for all kinds of gatherings.

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149 Wentworth Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401, Phone: 888-466-1886

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