9 Best Beaches near Beaufort, SC

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Beaufort has a nice selection of beaches, most of which are within an hour’s drive. 

Some options are family and dog-friendly, some have campgrounds, and others are fantastic for beach combing and finding shark teeth and shells. 

It’s hard to say which beach is the best, they all offer something unique and interesting. 

Visitors are guaranteed to spot wildlife like crabs, dolphins, and seabirds, no matter which one they choose.

Check out what Beaufort has to offer!

Beaches near Beaufort:

  1. The Sands
  2. Hunting Island Beach
  3. Lands End Beach
  4. Harbor Island Beach
  5. Fish Haul Beach Park
  6. Islanders Beach Park
  7. Folly Field Beach Park
  8. Burkes Beach
  9. Edisto Beach

1. The Sands

Sunsets on the Tower at the Port Royal Boardwalk in Port Royal, South Carolina, The Sands Beach
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 6 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, hiking, shark teeth hunting
  • Amenities: boardwalk, observation tower, boat ramp, seasonal food trucks

Tucked away at the southern tip of Port Royal, SC, is the beloved Sands Beach – a hidden gem for families seeking seaside adventures. 

Located just 6 miles from downtown, The Sands is the nearest beach to Beaufort.

This charming shoreline beckons with its inviting waters, sunny shores, and fishing opportunities. 

Best of all, it’s free to access and offers convenient amenities like a boardwalk, playground, and boat ramp. 

One exciting highlight of The Sands is the chance to hunt for shark teeth, often found when the tide recedes and exposes the sandbars. 

Alongside swimming, sunbathing, and fishing, you can also enjoy playing on the playground, strolling along the boardwalk, and sharing a picnic lunch. 

Another fantastic feature at The Sands is a paved boat ramp that attracts boaters and jet skiers.

During the high season, you will find food trucks and a beer garden here.

2. Hunting Island Beach

hunting island state park and beach in south carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 18 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, shark teeth hunting, camping, picnics
  • Amenities: lighthouse, campground, trails

Hunting Island Beach is located approximately 18 miles east of Beaufort, South Carolina, about 25 minutes drive.

The beach is part of Hunting Island State Park, a protected area known for its diverse wildlife and preserved ecosystems. It’s one of the busiest state parks in South Carolina, attracting crowds at any time of the year.

The park’s visitors can encounter a variety of bird species, sea turtles, dolphins, crabs, and other marine life. As well as hunt for shark teeth and collect shells.

Also, the park offers hiking trails and campgrounds, making for a fun beach holiday.

One of the most distinctive features of Hunting Island Beach is its historic lighthouse. Standing at 132.6 feet tall, it is the only lighthouse in South Carolina open to the public. Visitors can climb its spiral 167-step staircase to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

The park’s only disadvantage is summer crowds. Avoid peak season and public holidays if you want to have this piece of paradise for yourself. 

3. Lands End Beach

Fort Fremont Preserve Sign, St. Helena Island, South Carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 15 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, shark teeth hunting, picnics
  • Amenities: trails, historic fort, nature preserve

Lands End Beach is a small, secluded beach located near Fort Fremont Preserve, just 15 miles south of Beaufort.

It is known for its calm waters, soft sand, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Folks come here for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and bird watching.

The beach is also home to Fort Fremont, a Spanish-American War-era fort that is open for hiking and exploring.

Lands End Beach is open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild.

The beach can get crowded, especially on weekends and during the summer months. If you want to avoid the crowds, try to visit during the week or during the off-season.

There is no admission fee but no amenities either, so be sure to bring your own food, drinks, and sunscreen.

4. Harbor Island Beach

Seagull standing alone on a sandy beach in South Carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 16 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching
  • Amenities: trails, sports club, holiday rentals

Harbor Island Beach is a private beach located 16 miles from Beaufort. It is a highly-rated destination open to local residents, their guests, and holiday renters.

Situated on the picturesque barrier island this beach is loved for its unspoiled natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere.

It stretches for miles, providing ample space for visitors to find their own slice of paradise and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. 

With its calm waters and gradual slope, the beach is ideal for spotting wildlife, and finding shells and shark teeth.

However, the gradual slope and significant tides can cut off beachcombers within minutes, take extra care when the tide is flooding.

Harbor Island Beach also offers a range of outdoor activities. Anglers can try their luck with fishing and nature enthusiasts can explore the island’s marshland and nature trails.

Visitors to Harbor Island Beach can choose from a variety of vacation rentals and beachfront accommodations, allowing them to fully enjoy the island’s beauty and charm. 

5. Fish Haul Beach Park

The sandy beaches of Hilton Head Island with three seashells sitting in the water of the Atlantic Ocean
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 40 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching
  • Amenities: trails, shower, restroom

Fish Haul Beach Park is located on Hilton Head Island, some 40 miles drive from Beaufort.

One of the remarkable features of Fish Haul Beach Park is its secluded atmosphere. 

With its lesser-known status, the beach attracts fewer visitors compared to more popular destinations, allowing beachgoers to enjoy a sense of privacy and tranquility.

Like many beaches in the area, the exciting aspect of Fish Haul Beach Park is the opportunity to find shark teeth and spot hermit and horseshoe crabs. It’s not uncommon to encounter jellyfish as well.

Tides play a significant role in the beach experience at Fish Haul Beach Park. As the tide recedes, explorers can find the exposed tide pools teeming with small marine organisms, offering an opportunity for up-close encounters with coastal life.

It’s an uncrowded but interesting beach, probably our favorite on the list. The parking is free and the walk to the beach is short, too.

6. Islanders Beach Park

Sunset on Hilton head Island beach
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 40 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching, picnics
  • Amenities: trails, shower, restroom, boardwalk, seasonal lifeguards

Located on Hilton Head Island, Islanders Beach Park is a popular public beach that offers a delightful coastal experience. 

The beach is well-maintained and offers a clean and family-friendly atmosphere with showers and restrooms available.

Dogs are allowed at Islanders Beach Park, and during the peak season, the beach has lifeguards on duty, making it an ideal family destination.

The park features a picturesque boardwalk that meanders through the dunes, offering convenient access to the beach while preserving the natural coastal environment. 

For those looking to have a picnic by the beach, Islanders Beach Park offers picnic facilities and tables, too.

7. Folly Field Beach Park

A line of beach umbrellas and beach chairs placed in a row at the beach during the morning sunrise at Folly Field Beach on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 40 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching, picnics
  • Amenities: trails, shower, restroom, seasonal lifeguards, chair rentals

Similarly to Islanders Beach Park, Folly Field Beach Park is another option on Hilton Head Island, also about 40 miles away from Beaufort.

The park’s commitment to cleanliness is evident. It boasts well-maintained facilities including convenient showers and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable and hygienic experience for visitors. 

During the bustling peak season, seasonal lifeguards keep a watchful eye, making it safer for visitors.

Also, dogs of all sizes are allowed on Folly Field Beach which is another plus for families.

In summer, umbrellas and chairs are available for rent. Parking is paid.

8. Burkes Beach

Pink bracelets and wrist watch, sea shell called sand dollar found on the beach of the Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 40 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching, picnics
  • Amenities: trails, shower, restroom, seasonal lifeguards, chair rentals

Burkes Beach is another option on Hilton Head Island. It is renowned for its cleanliness, reflecting the dedicated efforts of beach maintenance crews. 

To ensure the safety of beachgoers, Burkes Beach offers the security of seasonal lifeguards who keep a watchful eye on swimmers, providing peace of mind for families and individuals enjoying the water.

For added convenience, seasonal chair and umbrella rentals are available, allowing beach enthusiasts to kick back and soak up the sun in comfort. 

It’s important to note that new dog restrictions are in place at Burkes Beach. Dogs are allowed all year except 10am – 5pm between Memorial and Labor Day weekends.

Visitors should be aware that reaching the beach requires a moderate walk from the car park. This trek may be a consideration for those with mobility challenges or carrying heavy beach gear. 

9. Edisto Beach

Waves in the Atlantic Ocean and morning light on beachfront homes at Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Beaufort: 65 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching, picnics, camping
  • Amenities: trails, showers, restrooms, campground, picnic tables, grills

Located in Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Beach stands as a picturesque coastal retreat that attracts visitors with its natural beauty and abundance of recreational opportunities. 

One of the standout features of Edisto Beach is its incredible shoreside campground. Nestled amidst a serene maritime forest, this campground provides a unique opportunity for camping on the beach.

Beyond the allure of its camping grounds, Edisto Beach boasts a treasure trove of shells and even the occasional shark tooth. 

Unlike some of the more crowded beaches, Edisto Beach offers a peaceful escape. With fewer crowds to contend with, visitors can relax and unwind, finding their own private slice of paradise.

What’s more, Edisto Beach State Park offers an extensive network of trails, allowing hikers and bikers to explore the diverse ecosystems that define this coastal paradise. 

Along the beach, keen observers may spot nesting sea turtles, scuttling crabs, and playful dolphins, adding to the allure of the island’s natural wonders.

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State Parks in South Carolina:

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