Pros and Cons: Your Ultimate Charleston Beach Guide

From a vast history to stunning shorelines to Southern hospitality, South Carolina’s Lowcountry is known for so much! However, there’s no doubt that many people visit year after year for the sandy Charleston, SC beaches. Below, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of the city’s nearest beaches, so you can decide which best fits your vacation needs.

We’ve once decided on a location for your beach getaway, you’ll have to plan the rest of your trip. Our complimentary Charleston, SC Destination Guide is the perfect resource! It’s full of the best attractions, places to eat, shopping, and more in the area.


Explore the Top Beaches in Charleston, SC

Folly Beach


Folly Beach definitely has the most character than any of the other Charleston, SC beaches on this list. Center Street is at the heart of the lively downtown, lined with laid-back restaurants and surf shops. The town and it’s people are known for their funky and colorful vibes making it a fun place for kids and adults. When it comes to things to do in Folly Beach, you’ll never run out of activities and things to see. Your kids will love the six miles of shoreline, while the adults will enjoy all the great places to grab a drink with a view. Folly Beach is also known to have the best surfing in the state. “The Washout” or “Hollywood” is a section of the beach with no homes because they were destroyed by Hurricane Hugo. With no houses to block to wind, the area is said to get the best waves in South Carolina.


During the summer, Folly Beach is a hot spot and for good reason, but that means the traffic to get on and off the barrier island can get thick on the weekends. An easy way to avoid that crowd is to just stay directly on Folly Beach! We have more than 100 vacation rentals available on the island, so we’re sure to have the perfect home base for your getaway.

Isle of Palms


Because of Wild Dunes, we vote Isle of Palms as the most family-friendly beach near Charleston. The resort houses countless state-of-the-art amenities including two golf courses, community pools, private beach access, and more! If you’re not staying in the resort, the ISLE OF PALMS COUNTY PARK offers rentals, bathrooms, changing rooms, lifeguards, and paid parking. The town has more of your classic laid-back beach vibe. Beach shops and OCEANFRONT RESTAURANTS sit along Ocean Boulevard perfect for an evening stroll with an ice cream cone from the local Ben and Jerry’s. Isle of Palms is also extremely pet-friendly because the city allows dogs on the beach all day and year-round. Many of our IOP vacation rentals allow dogs, so your furry family doesn’t have to miss out on the fun!


Isle of Palms may be the most popular of the three beaches on this list. Like we said, it’s a classic beach town with lots of amenities, so naturally, it attracts a lot of people from all over. The beach is wide and long, so it rarely seems crowded, but it’s also no longer one of our best kept secrets!

Sullivan’s Island


Sullivan’s Island is much less crowded and is a popular spot for locals to go for a sunset walk. Bonus- you can see the Downtown Charleston from the far westside of the island. The small town is mostly made up of restaurants, and that’s what it’s known for. Some of the Lowcountry’s most beloved eateries call Sullivan’s Island home. Some of our favorites include THE OBSTINATE DAUGHTERPOE’S TAVERN, and HOME TEAM BBQ. The small beach town is much slower than the rest of Charleston and provides the perfect place to relax.


Sullivan’s Island has only a small number of short term rentals but mostly allows long-term stays with a minimum stay of 28 days. This can be a bummer for families wanting to stay on the island for a week-long vacation. We currently have one property on our program that rents short term, but most require a longer commitment. Luckily, Isle of Palms is right next door. The two barrier islands are connected by a short bridge making it an easy beach to enjoy if you are staying on IOP. The long-term stay requirement is popular among retired couples and has become a great option for remote workers.

Choose Your Ideal Beach House

Now that you know all the pros and cons of the three Charleston, SC beaches, it’s time to book a getaway to your favorite!

Our collection of rentals in SULLIVAN’S ISLANDISLE OF PALMS, and FOLLY BEACH provide you with tons of incredible choices for your family beach trip. Our rentals feature new renovations, flawless decorations, ocean views, and special amenities to ensure you have a top-notch comfortable stay. Plus, our concierge team can help you plan your trip every step of the way. 

Start planning your Charleston getaway by browsing our VACATION RENTALS. We look forward to welcoming you to the Lowcountry! 


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