Best Beaches on the Georgia and South Carolina Coast

Kayaks resting on the beach on Cumberland Island.

Kayaks resting on the beach on Cumberland Island. Photo © Mary Fairchild, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

There are plenty of beaches to enjoy on the Georgia and South Carolina coast, many of them made even more enjoyable by the fact that they tend to get much less traffic than more touristy areas. Here’s a quick guide to match the beach to the trip:

Family Friendly

  • Hilton Head Island’s beaches are roomy and spotlessly maintained. And because no alcohol is allowed on them, they’re more geared to families with children.
  • Isle of Palms outside Charleston is home to the Wild Dunes Resort, which caters to beach-loving families.
  • Quiet Edisto Island has absolutely none of the flash that young people tend to gravitate to, but it is extraordinarily safe and friendly.
  • Popular state park Hunting Island is a great place to enjoy family time on the beach. Don’t miss the hike to the top of the lighthouse!
  • A playground for the people of Georgia by order of the state legislature, Jekyll Island is a safe, roomy, and friendly getaway.

Sportin’ Life

  • You can ride your bike for 12 miles on the expansive, hard-packed sand all around Hilton Head Island, as well as enjoy a number of more strenuous adventures such as parasailing.
  • Sullivan’s Island offers a long stretch of easy beach bicycling just outside Charleston.
  • Charleston’s Folly Beach offers some of the East Coast’s best surfing.
  • Tybee Island offers a number of kayak adventures, parasailing, and boogie boarding. Enjoy a nice bike ride on a converted rail bed that takes you into the grounds of historic Fort Pulaski.

Peace and Quiet

  • Evocative, romantic, and isolated, Cumberland Island is virtually the mossy picture of the old Sea Island South.
  • The total lack of chain hotels and high-rises on Edisto Island means a very laid-back and thoroughly noncommercial beach experience.
  • Low-traffic Sapelo Island offers friendly folks and a really beautiful beach.
  • Even lower-traffic Daufuskie Island is where you want to go when only the most laid-back will do.

Dog-Friendly

  • Easily the two most dog-friendly beaches in the area covered by Moon Charleston & Savannah are Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina, and Jekyll Island, Georgia. Just keep ’em on a leash and you’re fine year-round.
  • For a Charleston-area dog beach, go straight to Isle of Palms.
  • Hilton Head doesn’t allow canines at all Memorial Day–Labor Day, but you can take them on a leash 10 a.m.–5 p.m. from April 1 until the day before Memorial Day.
  • On Edisto Island, your pup must be on a leash May 1–October 31, under voice command or on a leash all other times.

Sorry, Rover can’t come over to Tybee Island, Georgia, at all.


Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Charleston & Savannah.


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