Flock to South Carolina's 200 Miles of Beaches
generations, northerners have been among the earliest-arriving snowbirds to the South Carolina coast for that first respite from winter's bite.
good reason. Spanning about 200 miles or so from Little River at the North Carolina
line to the Georgia border with Savannah (think Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head),
the South Carolina coast offers sweet weather, historic towns and plantations,
teeming tourism meccas… and the beach.
flock to beaches. South Carolina's are no exception. While the state has shared
in the explosive population growth along the United States coastline of the past
few decades, South Carolina's beaches remain accessible and attractive.
instance, travelers down Interstate 95 can turn left after crossing into South
Carolina and soon find themselves on the Grand
Strand, a 60-mile crescent of shoreline anchored by Myrtle Beach.
by long, sweeping stretches of sand and surf, the Grand Strand offers both bustling
and less-boisterous choices for plopping that plastic chaise lounge and propping
Sunrise over Myrtle Beach
In Myrtle Beach proper, hotels old and new, restaurants and shops line the beach, with public
access points interspersed. Then there are the quiet ocean-side beach communities
such as Cherry Grove, Atlantic Beach (considered perhaps the nation's first predominantly
African American beach town), Garden City and "elegantly shabby" Pawleys Island.
offers varying degrees of public beach access and wide choices of hotel, cottage
and condo rentals. (Just go to the Web, punch "Myrtle Beach vacations" into a
search engine and you're on your way.) Myrtle Beach and Huntington Beach State
Parks also offer beach access, camping and more.
Grand Strand ends as U.S. 17 takes travelers over picturesque Winyah
Bay and into Georgetown, an historic old shipping town. Much of the coast
then is protected wildlife refuges until the Charleston area, itself a world-class
destination for lovers of history and architecture but also home to popular beach
destinations at the Isle of Palms to the north of town and Folly
Beach just to the south.
up going south is storied Edisto
Island. Live oaks draped with Spanish moss overhang the narrow highway across
the big island to Edisto Beach, a classic beach town which offers public access
at Edisto Beach State Park and between many of the beach houses up for rent along
there's the Beaufort
area. Beaufort itself is a river town and home to the Marine Corps' legendary
Parris Island, while the major beach destination is nearby Hunting Island State
the south end of South Carolina's coast is Hilton
Head, where beach access primarily is offered to the hundreds of thousands
of visitors who book rooms, houses and condos on the big sea island. Rates are
lower now than in the summer and there's less traffic and crowds, too, making
this an ideal time to give it a go.