One of the Queen City’s many appeals is its the number of beaches near Charlotte. Some of the country’s best coastal getaways are just a hop and a skip down the road. Here’s a list of five Carolina beaches less than four hours from Charlotte to help you plan your next beachside getaway.
On Pawleys Island, relaxation reigns supreme. It’s no surprise, given that the island is one of the southeast’s oldest vacation communities. Marsh and coast combine for bountiful fishing holes. When it’s time for a break from the sand, the Brookgreen Gardens, composed of nearly 10,000 acres, offers sculpture gardens and a pristine nature preserve.
Where to Stay: Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club
Distance from Charlotte: 3 hours, 47 minutes
This barrier island is nationally known as a golfer’s paradise. That’s because five championship golf courses sprawl across this beautiful island. Non-golfers will find plenty of temptations as well, including Kiawah Beachwalker Park. Beachwalker Park provides ten miles of public beach access and a boardwalk that winds through palmetto trees sandwiched between the river and the ocean.
Where to Stay: Kiawah Golf Resort, particularly the Sanctuary Hotel
Distance from Charlotte: 3 hours, 45 minutes
At the mouth of Charleston Harbor, Sullivan’s Island juts into the water from the northeast, attracting beachgoers eager to escape the urban hum. Here you’ll find a well-preserved, natural paradise free of beachfront developments. There are no public restrooms or showers, so if you’re planning a day trip, prepare to drive home sandy. In addition to this island’s beaches, visitors will find a rich Revolutionary War history and abundant shopping, particularly on Middle Street.
Best Place to Stay: Vacation rental – the dearth of commercial properties on Sullivan’s Island combined with the combination of stunning, oceanfront luxury properties means that vacation rentals will be your best option.
Distance from Charlotte: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Folly Beach is your destination for a laidback, unfussed good time. A haven for both fishermen and surfers, Folly Beach embodies their laid back demeanors. Bars and restaurants line the beaches. Top attractions include Folly Beach Pier, The Washout, Center Street, and Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve.
Best Place to Stay: Beachside Boutique Inn, which embodies the Folly Beach funk
Distance from Charlotte: 3 hours, 26 minutes
Bald Head Island
Okay, we’ve fudged the time constraint just a little. The drive to Bald Head clocks in at about 4.5 hours, but the destination is well worth the extra 30 minutes in the car, especially since once you arrive, you get to ditch the car altogether. Bald Head boasts its own transportation system, consisting largely of trams, golf carts, and bikes. Nature preserves cover over 75% of the island, making this a naturalist’s ideal getaway and popular sea turtle nesting site. Pitch your chairs on any of the island’s three beaches: West Beach, South Beach, and East Beach.
Best Place to Stay: You’re not likely to find many hotels, inns, or resorts on Bald Head. However, we recommend visiting baldheadisland.com for a directory of the best vacation rentals on the island.
Distance from Charlotte: 4 hours, 27 minutes