The Best Beach Towns in the Carolinas

Carolina Beaches

With the plethora of beach towns lining the coastal areas of the Carolinas, deciding where to hit the beach can be overwhelming. We narrowed down your search to ten essential Carolina coast destinations. 

Edisto 
Edisto, South Carolina is a paradise that, as far as beach towns go, is truly an escape from city life with its tidal streams and sleepy marshes. About a four hour drive from Charlotte, the island has a castaway feel. We recommend staying at a rental property in Club Wyndham Ocean Ridge with pool access or book a beachside stay at Edisto Beach Rentals.
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Hatteras Island
With its iconic lighthouse, Hatteras Island is a beacon of the Outer Banks. Extensive preservation efforts have protected the integrity of natural beauty such as the wild dunes, amplifying the appeal of this edge of the Atlantic that is 6 hours and 30 minutes away from Charlotte. We recommend staying at The Inn on Pamlico Sound, a charming boutique hotel on the water, or book a beachfront stay at Avon Cottages.

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Beach Towns of The Carolinas


Sullivan’s Island
As Edgar Allen Poe’s poetic muse and former residence, Sullivan’s Island is a hidden gem with a historic backbone. The town is located only ten miles from downtown Charleston and three and a half hours away from Charlotte. We recommend renting one of the beautiful homes on Flag Street or a beachfront stay.

Folly Beach
A stone’s throw from Charleston, Folly Beach is a tight knit small town beach community with a charismatic personality. Stay at the Regatta Inn, an upscale Bed and Breakfast, for waterfront views and top notch amenities or the Beachside Boutique Inn for flexible and unique spaces and eclectic décor. The island is 3 and a half hours from Charlotte.

Isle of Palms
The perfect combination of mild waves, ivory sand, and energetic beach city life lends itself to the Isle of Palms appeal. The Palms Oceanfront Hotel is a highly rated stay on Ocean Boulevard. We also recommend Wild Dunes resort which provides dining, golf, and tennis. Isle of Palms is a three hour forty minute drive from Charlotte.

Nags Head
Home to the towering dunes of Jockey State park, Nags Head is an Outer Banks destination five and a half hours from Charlotte. We recommend staying at First Colony Inn, a historic landmark of Nags Head with stunning beachfront views, that dates back to the early 20th century. For a laid-back experience on the Roanoke Sound, stay at the Oasis Suites hotel.

Topsail Island
With an energetic beach atmosphere paired with disco roller skating, Topsail Island has a sense of nostalgia that is unmatched. Stay at the Main Street Inn for a beach house ambience with hotel services or rent a beachfront stay at Carolina Condos and Castles. The drive from Charlotte is four hours.

Murrell’s Inlet
Murrell’s Inlet is a dynamic harbor town four hours from Charlotte. A seafood lover’s dream, the town has a thriving restaurant scene that is renowned for their fresh catches. As for where to stay, The Inlet Sports Lodge has a classic Southern atmosphere known for impeccable golfing opportunities.

Emerald Isle
Crown jewel of the Crystal Coast, Emerald Isle lives up to its name with its picturesque seawater and proximity to the serene Bogue Sound. Rent a pastel beachfront house through Emerald Isle Realty or stay at the Lighthouse Inn & Suites for amenities such as pool access. Emerald Isle is about 5 hours from Charlotte.

Ocracoke Island
Ocracoke Island is worth the eight hour trip from Charlotte and necessary plane or ferry ride to reach this off the beaten path haven. As the place Blackbeard took his last breath and a central location of native american and early american history, Ocracoke Island is a living testament to the past. We recommend staying at The Ocracoke Harbor Inn-family owned and operated since 1998–or The Anchorage Inn & Marina right next to the harbor.