There is no shortage of fantastic beaches up and down the east coast. And we are lucky enough to have some of those here in South Carolina. The experts over at Travel + Leisure ranked the best east coast beaches. And they named two from the Palmetto state. To be fair, they included two from every state on the east coast. But it’s still interesting to see what the say the best beach in South Carolina is. Every spot on this list has something for everyone including of course the sand and water, but also activities, restaurants, and ways to relax.

From the rocky coastline of Maine, through the quaint New England beach towns, through the Outerbanks of NC, the Lowcountry of SC, and of course Florida! Whether you want to fly or drive there is an east coast beach that you’ll love. I’ve only been to one of Travel + Leisure’s picks for South Carolina, and coincidentally one for North Carolina as well. I have to say of both of those, I’d probably rank a different location above them. But I’m not the expert! Keep reading to see what Travel + Leisure ranked as the best beach in South Carolina! You’ll find a full detailed analysis of North and South Carolina, and then keep reading to see the winners from the other east coast states. You can read the full Travel + Leisure article here.

  • South Carolina

  • Myrtle Beach

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is 60 miles of beautiful grand-strand beaches. In addition to the beach, you’ll find exciting attractions and celebrity-designed golf courses, high-rise hotels, resorts, oceanfront condos, and vacation rentals. 

    What Travel + Leisure Says: Located along South Carolina’s Grand Strand coast sits Myrtle Beach, one of the most popular beach destinations in the state. Made up of several connected beaches, the sand here goes on for miles. It’s ideal for families, friends, and all who want to soak in the rays together. Plus, its proximity to nearby restaurants, accommodations, and attractions makes it easy to either pop in or spend the day. 

    Visit Myrtle Beach 

  • Burkes Beach

    Burkes Beach is a mid-island beach on Hilton Head Island. It is located right next to Chaplin Community Park and is a great beach to visit on a bike, as well as one to take your dog too.

    What Travel + Leisure Says:

    North Carolina isn’t the only state with island paradise beaches. Just look to Burkes Beach in the ever-popular Hilton Head Island for proof. Burkes Beach is often considered the more local of the island’s beaches, meaning it’s both a bit more relaxed and comes with fewer restaurants nearby. That said, the trade-off of peace and quiet just might be worth having to pack a sandwich.

    Visit Burkes Beach

  • North Carolina

  • Nag's Head

    Nags Head is located in the northern area of the Outer Banks adjacent to Jockey Ridge State Park. You’ll find plenty of places to stay- beach houses, seaside motels, and hotels with a view. Shopping- there are boutiques, surf shops, an outlet mall, and grocery stores. And of course, restaurants for everyone with fine dining to barbecue to casual bites and always exceptional seafood.

    What Travel + Leisure Says: What would a list of great eastern seaboard beaches be without mention of the Outer Banks? For the ultimate in solitude on the Outer Banks, head to Nags Head and its 12 miles of sandy shoreline. There are plenty of public access points — all you need to do is find a patch that’s ideal for you and set up shop. Just make sure to pack enough water and snacks to last the day.

    Visit Nags Head 

  • Emerald Isle

    Emerald Isle is a part of North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. Its located at the western end of Bogue Banks, and features 12 miles of pristine shoreline. The town boasts a variety of lodging options and is perfect for family fun.  Emerald Isle is known for its watersports, fishing (onshore, offshore, and on the Bogue Inlet Pier), or simply relaxing on the beach and enjoying the sound of the waves rolling in.

    What Travel + Leisure Says: For another island beach experience, make your way to Emerald Isle, which has fewer than 4,000 permanent residents, but swells to a much larger size when the weather is nice, thanks to its striking beach. Those looking to get out on the water can book a fishing charter to see the beach from a whole new perspective (and perhaps catch dinner while they’re at it).

    Visit Emerald Isle

  • Other East Coast States

  • Maine

    • Sand Beach
    • Gooch’s Beach


  • New Hampshire

    • Hampton Beach
    • Weirs Beach

    New Hampshire

  • Massachusetts

    • Race Point Beach
    • Coast Guard Beach


  • Rhode Island

    • Easton’s Beach
    • East Matunuck State Beach


  • Connecticut

    • Compo Beach
    • Harvey’s Beach


  • New York

    • Rockaway Beach
    • Cooper’s Beach

    New Jersey

  • New Jersey

    • The Cove
    • Sandy Hook

    New Jersey

  • Delaware

    • Bethany Beach
    • Cape Henlopen State Park


  • Maryland

    • Ocean City
    • Assateague Island


  • Virginia

    • Virginia Beach
    • Buckroe Beach

    Virginia Beach

  • Georgia

    • South Beach
    • Vero Beach


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