Exploring Coastal South Carolina

 

Though it’s sometimes overshadowed in the crowded U.S. tourism market, the coastline of South Carolina has a pleasant mix of historic cities, charming small towns and natural beauty that makes it an excellent holiday destination. Highlights include the historic city center of Charleston and the beaches and golf courses of Myrtle Beach, but smaller places, like the highly regarded Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort, have something to offer tourists as well.

Sand dunes and sea kayaks on the beach of the Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort.

Sand dunes and sea kayaks on the beach of the Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort.

Charleston

Charleston is the second largest city in the state and a great place to start a holiday on the South Carolina coast. Named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the most romantic cities in the United States, it’s a city that doesn’t disappoint.

The city’s romantic je ne sais quoi is due in no small part to its status as one of the country’s oldest cities. Indeed, it’s hard not to be overcome by visions of romantic grandeur when walking along Downtown Charleston’s historic, cobbled lanes and stopping in at its seaside bistros and cafes.

Speaking of bistros, one great place for a delicious and romantic dinner is the Amen Street Raw and Fish Bar, which has absolutely divine locally caught seafood and plump oysters.

Historic, seafront Charleston against the backdrop of a gorgeous sunset.

Historic, seafront Charleston against the backdrop of a gorgeous sunset.

Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort

For the next stage of our exploration, let’s travel south out of Charleston in the rental car, down the scenic byways and country lanes, to Fripp Island 100 miles south of the city. A barrier island in the Atlantic, the big attraction here is the Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort, which owns the majority of the land on the island. Besides its top-flight lodging and amenities, the resort’s appeal is its two highly ranked golf courses and, of course, the sandy beach.

One of the seaside golf courses at the Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort.

One of the seaside golf courses at the Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort.

Hilton Head

Just south of Fripp Island, Hilton Head is another barrier island and a hugely popular tourist destination on the South Carolina coast. Home to a charming, if somewhat touristy, city, Hilton Head also has 12 miles of pristine beachfront and almost two dozen golf courses!

Need even more to sell you on a visit to the island? Well, try any number of activities from kayaking, cycling to sailing or just relax at one of the island’s several day spas.

Ahh Green Spa is one acclaimed day spa, and the island’s first “green” spa. Its treatments use only fair-trade and organic products, which means its guests leave feeling both spiritually and physically refreshed.

A stunning sunset on the beach at Hilton Head Island. Photo credit Lee Coursey.

A stunning sunset on the beach at Hilton Head Island. Photo credit Lee Coursey.

Myrtle Beach

On the other side of Charleston and near the border with North Carolina, the coastal resort-town of Myrtle Beach hardly needs an introduction, as over 14 million tourists visit its shores each year.

They come mainly for the Grand Strand, which is the name given to the 60+ mile stretch of sand that’s centered around Myrtle Beach. A defining characteristic of the Grand Strand is its sand dunes that line the coast and provide a bit of privacy from the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach.

While in Myrtle Beach, one cool activity worth checking out is deep sea fishing. There are a number of fishing charter companies operating out of the city that can take travelers deep sea fishing for a fun-filled day in the sun.

The secluded sands of the Grand Strand with the hotels of Myrtle Beach in the distance. Photo credit Perry Quan / CC BY-SA.

The secluded sands of the Grand Strand with the hotels of Myrtle Beach in the distance. Photo credit Perry Quan / CC BY-SA.

See the Destinations on the Map

 

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