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Everything you Need to Know before Visiting These Top Beaches in Charleston

Kiawah Island Beach

Have you ever imagined yourself on a warm beach far and away from home, lost within the bright beams of sunlight, tuning into the ocean’s calming currents with sand underneath your toes? Has a beach with a surrounding cultural identity and social fabric become something of a dream? This guide was created to lead you through paths you haven’t crossed, as it outlines the hottest beach destinations in Charleston and its surrounding areas: Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Folly Beach and Isle of Palms.

Kiawah Beachwalker Park

Kiawah Beachwalker Park is fitted first in this guide for countless reasons. Besides cool waves and brushing winds, the beach is known for its central location at the west end of beautiful Kiawah Island. Some of the beach’s amenities include a boardwalk with a handicap-accessible ramp, restrooms, changing stalls, vending machines, snack bar and a designated picnic area.

The beach experiences something of a rare sight in Charleston—a low stream of traffic—which makes the location a must for book readers and small groups looking to divest day-to-day thoughts and let loose. And with eleven miles of beach located between the Bohicket River and the Atlantic Ocean, you will have plenty of room to observe and plan activities.

At the core of what sets Kiawah Beachwalker Park apart from the rest is its allowing of alcohol consumption on the sand. But, aluminum cans and glass bottles are prohibited to lessen environmental footprint and risk of physical harm. The beach is more of a private island in its own right, purchased in 1951 by the Royal Family of Aiken but happens to be the only stretch of Kiawah Island accessible to the public.

folly beach sc

Folly Beach

Folly Beach is home to a welcoming and laid-back environment that fosters a blend of eccentricity and artisanship with art displays (The Folly Boat) and fun locals of the norm. It sets a high bar for popular restaurants, beachwear stores, and other pinnacles of tourist and local attraction. Favorite landing spots include Snapper Jack’s, the Lost Dog Café, Woody’s Pizza and Rita’s; Taco Boy is the place to be for both tasty drinks and good food. No matter your taste in food, a delicious treat awaits all seeking to squeeze more fun into a trip.

Are you planning to stay a while and need to make a run to the supermarket? You’re in luck! There’s no need to travel off the island for a grocery trip with local favorite Bert’s Market located on Ashley Avenue, just off the main strip. Bert’s has been in business for over twenty-five years, serving an eager customer base uniquely sourced items such as fresh hot dogs under a dollar, plenty of alcohol and miscellaneous dry goods, and made-to-order sandwiches perfect for a beach-day picnic. And there’s fresh ice cream in the freezers toward the back. Being the premier “grocery store on the corner”, you will be treated with respect and friendliness, tourist and longtime visitor alike.

As you unpack your bags and get settled in, you will soon discover that Folly Beach possesses a number of fun activities including volleyball, cornhole and frisbee as on-beach exclusives. Don’t forget about the Pirate Skatepark! It has access to ramps, a miniature playground and a basketball court. And if you want to take it all in after a long day of soaking in the sun, the Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier is a delicate choice at 1,000+ feet long with local eateries alongside the entrance. The Tides Hotel is one of three hotels on the beach, ideally located at the end of Center St. with beach access—making it the most convenient and economic choice for your stay on Folly.

Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms

Situated 10 miles from Folly Beach, Isle of Palms is one of the many bright spots within the greater Charleston area. The barrier island embodies cleanliness and has a string of regulations in place to make it so, effectively creating a family-friendly trip destination. Alcohol is prohibited on its beachfront by the city, but leaves the availability open to consume it elsewhere (e.g., restaurants and around the block). Jetskis and motorboats are barred from entering designating swimming areas as a precautionary measure to protect surfers and swimmers from harm.

With over 50 access points in a six mile stretch of oceanfront, the nightmare of beach access is all but eliminated. And, finding parking is a breeze with two parking lots located on Pavillion Dr. and metered parking on Ocean Blvd. between 10th and 14th Ave. The beach is also home to a growing number of 5,000 residents, with a distinct sense of community in the form of the Windjammer—a live music venue host to local bands and craft beer—and lavish restaurants in Banana Cabana and Coconut Joe’s. Isle of Palms is the place to be for a fresh and invigorating experience unrivaled across South Carolina.  Looking for a place to stay close to the beach then be sure to check out Exclusive Properties for the very best in Isle of Palms Vacation Rentals.

Tour Guide Options

If going solo or planning a major event isn’t your cup of tea, there are little available options outside of what local travel itinerary Crafted Travel brings to the table. The travel agency is widely known for its winery, brewery and distillery tour options, but their expertise in creating customized options including a day at the beach can be easily overlooked.

Crafted Travel is hailed by locals across the Lowcountry, with a tailored selection of accommodations around the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, the Firefly Distillery, Deep Water Vineyard and Historic Charleston Driving Tours just to name a few. And if a Charleston Bachelorette Party is on your radar, reaching out to this tour guide is even more gainful with an included option of a Party Bus Package that will elevate your experience.

See what hundreds of satisfied customers are saying on Yelp! and TripAdvisor. Take this from Elizabeth H. of North Carolina, speaking of her experience with the popular “Booze Cruise”: “Josh, our tour guide, was incredible. We had a blast and he kept it entertaining. Definitely worth it to do while in Charleston and a must do!!” With consistently high ratings consistently earning five stars, you cannot go wrong with well-acclaimed service by a company committed to providing your entourage an unforgettable experience.